Opinion writing is my favorite! There are SO MANY fun ways to practice forming and supporting opinions. I've done candy wars, Chandra's sweet vs. sour, and other fun topics. However, writing data has shown my grade level that are students are showing weakness in supporting opinions with examples and citing text-evidence.

We turned to one of our favorite resources for nonfiction texts - ReadWorks.org. ReadWorks is free for educators, so if you don't have an account yet, make one RIGHT NOW. (Seriously, now!)

So we picked some articles from ReadWorks that could provide some prompts for our opinion writing unit. We let our students choose from 4 prompts:

Should we have year-round school?
Should students wear uniforms?
Should people be allowed to own exotic pets?
Should dogs work?

After they chose their topics, I gave them the corresponding article(s) from ReadWorks. I gave them time to sit with students that had chosen the same topic to read and discuss the texts. Many of my students actually changed their stances after reading - which I loved!! Then we began the writing process. We use many resources from WriteScore (as assessment we use) to teach writing. We taught explicit lessons on introductions, choosing reasons, finding examples, citing evidence, conclusions, and so on. They turned out great!


 I ended up displaying the entire writing process so that growth is evident.

   




I printed some photographs for my students to use and gave them the option for them to find and bring in their own. Some of them even illustrated instead of using a photograph!



To make this process easier for you , I developed a product that matches everything we did in my classroom. 

I know that your opportunities are endless when it comes to teaching opinion writing, but I firmly believe that students should learn to support their opinions with text-based evidence. Each prompt included in this download has a corresponding article on ReadWorks.org (again, free for teachers!!) that students can use to research and gather evidence.

In this download, you'll find:

  • a table of contents matching prompts to articles you can find on ReadWorks
  • a brainstorming page
  • a graphic organizer for planning
  • 14 prompts


Prompts were chosen to appeal to 3rd-5th grade students. Prompts include:
  • Should students wear uniforms?
  • Are extreme sports too dangerous?
  • Should schools offer healthier choices?
  • Should dogs work?



I suggest choosing a few prompts that you believe your students will get most excited about. Then, use this resource to teach students how to support their opinions with text-based, factual evidence.

Interested? Check it out RIGHT HERE, where it can be yours to use - forever and ever - for only $3.00! 





As long as I've been a teacher, I've had parents ask me for book suggestions. I struggle the most with suggesting books for advanced readers. So many popular book series are set in middle school and contain content that I consider inappropriate for my elementary students. My third graders don't need to be reading about girlfriends/boyfriends, over the top violence, any reference to alcohol or illegal substances, or foul language.

In order to be able to suggest books to parents that are academically challenging yet age-appropriate, I've compiled this list with the help of Scholastic Book Wizard, Common Sense Media, GoodReads, and some teacher friends on Instagram. I hope it helps you out!


Level P:

  • Wayside School series
  • Rescue Princesses series
  • Puppy Patrol series


Level Q:

  • American Girl Doll series
  • Who Is...? / What Is...? series
  • Little House series

Level R:
  • I Survived... series
    • E.B. White books (Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little...)
    • You Wouldn't Want To... series


    Level S:
    • Goosebumps series
    • many Matt Christopher books
    • Roald Dahl books (Matilda, James and the Giant Peach...)
    • Lemonade War series


    Level T:
    • Animorphs series
    • Chronicles of Narnia series


    Level U:
    • The 39 Clues series
    • Secrets of Bearhaven series 
    • Warriors series*


    Level V:
    • Harry Potter series
    • Series of Unfortunate Events series
    • NERDS series*
    • Story Thieves series*
    • Spirit Animals series*


    Level W:
    • Percy Jackson series
    • Wings of Fire series* (I'm a bit torn on this one. Common Sense Media states the first book is very violent and gory, but I have students who LOVEEE the series.)


    *Books marked with asterisks were suggested by other 3rd grade teachers and then researched, but I haven't actually read them myself! 


    *          *          *          *          *


    Are you looking for some appropriate yet super-engaging read alouds for your third grade class? Look no further! I've got you covered right here






    There are so many professional resources out there for teachers to use to grow their practices, but it's so hard to know where to invest your time and money. I plan to honestly review some popular resources, and I'm starting with one of my favorites: The Reading Strategies Book by Jennifer Serravallo. 

    The book is organized into 13 chapters, each named with a reading goal, beginning with fluency, moving towards comprehension of fiction and nonfiction, and ending with writing about reading. 


    Pros:
    • Strategies are for reading levels A to Z.
    • Each goal has its own super-organized table of contents, ordered by increasing reading level.
    • Each page is set up the same way. Each page tells relevant reading levels and text types are appropriate to be used with the strategy, which smaller skills can be tied in, and additional tips. Servallo even gives you child-appropriate language and prompts to use when teaching. 
    • Each page provides some sort of visual aid, whether it's student work or an anchor chart. 
    • Use it with a whole group, a small group, or one-on-one. The possibilities are endless!



    Cons:
    • Fiction chapters cover plot, characters, and themes. Nonfiction goals involve main idea, key details, and text features. This means that some smaller reading skills are either missing or hard to find relevant strategies for practice. Some skills that I have found to be lacking include identifying genres and understanding cause and effect. 
    • You won't find common core standards listed anywhere in this book. Of course, that's only a con if your district heavily emphasizes the CCS. 


    I already loved my Reading Strategies Book, but then I found these tabs for free on TPT. Now I love this resource even more! I printed them on cardstock, laminated, cut, then just used clear packing tape to attach them.


    Final Grade: A

    I use my Reading Strategies Book weekly - if not daily. It truly helps me meet the needs of all of my students in engaging, memorable, time-effective ways. Should you treat yo'self? Absolutely!