Teacher friends… the leaves are changing, the weather is getting colder and PSLs are back at Starbucks. My favorite season has joyfully returned (and in 2020, where nothing good seems to be happening, that’s a BIG deal!)! So with seasonal love affairs in mind, let’s talk about a fun and easy 2nd grade opinion writing activity that you can do with your students this week using the season as inspiration!
Please note this post contains affiliate links. If you do follow my links, please know that I do make a very, very small commission from your purchase. There is no cost to you, but this extra coinage helps keeps amazing content like this up on the blog! You can read more about the affiliate networks I’m a part of by clicking here.
When it comes to 2nd-grade opinion writing, one of the most powerful things you can do is make it meaningful for your students. That’s why I love this opinion writing project I’m sharing with you today so much! Not only is this writing activity super simple, but it teaches your writers how to support their opinions and guides them through organizing their opinion writing. I promise your students are going to actually want to write! Oh, and did I mention there’s a craft? (Don’t worry! It’s super simple and adds just enough fun to the project to help balance out all the learning that’s happening.)
My Favorite Season Opinion Writing: Start with a Book
To introduce this lesson, I love using the book, Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn by Kenard Pak.
As you read, point out all the things that are signaling the arrival of a new season! I love all the books from this author. You can check out more from him here on Amazon!
2nd Grade Opinion Writing Class Brainstorm
After reading the story, section a sheet of chart paper or whiteboard into four sections. As a class, discuss how the child in the story noticed all the things that signaled fall was coming. As students share, jot down their thoughts. Label this area “Fall.”
From there, you can share that your favorite season is fall and discuss all the things you love about it. If one of the items you love wasn’t mentioned, be sure to add it to the “Fall” area of the class brainstorm. Also, if at some point while reading this you are asking, “What if fall isn’t my favorite season?” … Are you even a teacher?
Do the same for all the other seasons. Discuss what makes each season special. Think of flowers and rain showers in the spring, swimming, and no school in the summer, etc. As students share, be sure to add it to your class brainstorm. This will serve as a reference point, so make sure it is written where students can see it.
Favorite Season Opinion Writing Brainstorm
Once you’ve filled in each season with at least 3-4 details, it’s time to set the purpose for today’s writing lesson. Show your students the brainstorming sheet you’ll use for the favorite season opinion writing activity.
Don’t worry, I’m sharing all the printables from this post at the end for free!
Discuss what an opinion is and how to use details to support it. Show students where to write their favorite season and then three reasons why it’s their favorite.
Now it’s time to transition to working on the brainstorm.
I know what you’re thinking… my students aren’t going to want to do this part. They aren’t going to want to write something down.
But… STOP! 🛑
Stop the negative thinking.
Instead: Acknowledge that writing is hard.
It takes a lot of brainpower to write (sounding out words, creating the letters, making sure what they write makes sense) but that’s why what you just did (that pre-brainstorming stuff) and what you’re about to do is so important!
Before sending students to work on their brainstorms, ask students to close their eyes, and think about their favorite time of the year. Which is it? Tell them to imagine themselves at that time of year. What are they doing? What do they see? What makes them happy? Once students have it, have them hold up their thumb to signal to you that they are ready to work on their own brainstorm.
Oh and ready to write they will be…
See… all the back work you just did with the book reading, the discussion of your favorite season (Fall- just in case you forgot, remember you’re a teacher!), and then writing down the class brainstorm does something powerful for your little writers. It activates their brains and helps them make connections. Connections are powerful things when it comes to learning (I’ll save all the science talk for another day) but know when your students make connections, they will want to do the work!
Dismiss students to begin working on their brainstorms. Remind them to use the list on the whiteboard if they get stuck on reasons that season is their favorite. Though I find when it comes to second graders voicing their opinions, they usually don’t struggle too much- the list just usually helps with spelling/grammar!
Give students about 10-15 minutes to work on their brainstorm. Some may need more time and that’s ok. You can extend it. Use your teacher judgment.
Now, you can stop here. This is a perfect place to end the writing for the day and move on to the next thing. If you do, complete the next part the following day during your writing time.
Easy Opinion Writing Paragraph Structure
The next day, remind your students about the seasons and their favorite seasonal writing they started the previous day. Have students review what they have written on their brainstorm. They should make sure they can read what they wrote and that it makes sense. This is also the perfect time to have students who didn’t get a chance to complete their brainstorm actually finish!
From there, model how you’ll use your brainstorm to guide your writing. (So if you haven’t already, be sure to fill one out! Here are some suggestions: Your favorite season is fall. Reason one: PSL. Reason 2: pumpkin-flavored everything. Reason 3: fall leaves. )
Now, pass out the final draft paper for the Favorite Season Writing (Don’t worry- that’s at the end, too! When I said everything, I meant- everything!) Now, yes, normally we’d do a rough draft, but when you’re short on time, sometimes rough drafts get cut, and that’s ok!)
Keep writing very simple at the beginning of the year in second grade (yes- November is still considered beginning). If students have a strong foundation of the simple stuff (structure, conventions), then the other stuff is much easier to layer on.
Here’s a quick peek at the opinion writing paragraph structure we’re using for this opinion writing project:
Opinion Writing Paragraph:
- Opening sentence- tells the reader your opinion
- supporting detail 1
- supporting detail 2
- supporting detail 3
- closing detail- reminds the reader of your opinion
Model how you’ll use the wording from the top line of the brainstorm to write an opening sentence. Remind your writers that an opening sentence tells the reader what the writing is about. We want our reader to know right away that we’re writing about our favorite season.
From there, we work to support our opinion using our reasons from the brainstorm. I show my students how I’m using what I’ve already written to form my sentences.
Over the years, I’ve found that many students who struggle with writing don’t actually struggle with the physical part of writing, but they struggle with the mental load of writing. Reminding them that we’ve already done “all the hard” stuff the previous day helps elevate the mental load block. Now, instead of having to think about all the things they need to think about when writing (letters, sounds, making sense, what they meant). they can just focus on writing what they mean and a few letter formations.
After we’ve worked through the opening and supporting sentences, I always like to model going back and rereading what was written. Have your students get in the habit of doing the same. This way they can catch errors and fix them early before getting too far along into the writing.
Last, we work on a closing sentence. Here, I remind students that a closing sentence reminds readers what they read about, and we work as a class to formulate a sentence.
And look at that, teacher friend! Your students just wrote an opinion paragraph. Simple, yes, but they did it! And they were excited about writing it, too.
Opinion Writing Rubric
Ok… here’s the thing about writing. Good writing (in general) ticks off certain boxes. You know what helps make sure your students tick off all the boxes? A rubric.
Friends, I live by a rubric when it comes to writing, and one of these days, I’ll write a whole blog post on just how you can harness the power of these bad boys, but for today, let’s focus on how you can use a rubric for a quick student spot check.
After students have written their paragraph, pass out the rubric. Discuss the items shown on the rubric and check them against YOUR writing sample. Demonstrate how you are looking for those things.
Capital letters…? Watch me skim through my writing.
Details? See how I count?
Words not spelled correctly? Look at me using this amazing resource called a word wall to spot check this tricky sight word I’m not sure is spelled correctly.
Remind students that the rubric will help ensure that their writing includes everything good writing should have. Encourage your students to fix mistakes they find and check it off on the rubric.
There’s so much more I want to say about the importance of using a rubric for writing, but let’s move along.
The Best Season Opinion Writing Craft
Ok, so I promised you an easy craft and here it is. Guys… don’t you even come at me with, Leigh, why does there need to be a craft?
The truth is… there doesn’t… but then again… there kinda does. Because second graders are seven. Writing is creative. Crafting is creative. Crafts allow our students to express thoughts and feelings and that’s exactly what we want our writers to do. So yes… there kinda needs to be a craft!
For the creative part of this My Favorite Season Opinion Writing, students get a chance to decorate a tree to match their favorite season.
Here is my sample. I decorated my tree using paint dotters in fun fall colors, but you could just have students use crayons and color.
Or, if you’re feeling extra fancy, have your students use tissue paper torn into small pieces and glued them on to represent the leaves on their tree. Just remember to provide lots of color options for the different seasons!
To publish the writing, have students glue their writing on a 12 x 18 sheet of construction paper with the tree craft next to it.
Then, most importantly, display their writings in the classroom or hallways and give students time to share their work with the class! We just took the time to write about their opinion, let’s make sure to show how important that opinion is by allowing time to share it!
My Favorite Season Opinion Writing Lesson Free Download
Ready to bring this lesson to your 2nd-grade classroom? Then just sign up below and hurry to check your email. There, you’ll find a little message from me 🧡 and everything you need to bring this introduction opinion writing lesson to life!
More Writing Ideas
Looking for more writing ideas? Check out these favorites!