Many young learners are starting to express their opinions. You have likley heard them share claims like “I love pizza” or “Puppies are my favorite pet.”
Encourage students to think more deeply about the characteristics of people they love and how they can support and share their opinion about them through a digital story gift to them.
Begin by talking to students about the meaning of family. Students will easily share words like mom, dad, brother or sister. Some may even include extended family like grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins.
Write the word “family” on a classroom whiteboard or shared digital document to create an anchor chart with their ideas.
To highlight all the different ways families can look, ask students if they have families will all of the people you listed or only some of them. Or more than one sister, aunt, or grandparent.
Some students may have a concept of family that goes beyond people related to them. Ask students if they have anybody they consider “family” who may not be related to them, such as a parent’s friend from college who visits all the time.
Share Teaching Tolerance's definition of a family:
“a group of people going through the world together.”
Let students know that they will be creating to showcase the reasons a particular person is their favorite relative.
If your classroom includes children in foster care, or with other unique family situations, emphasize a broad definition of family or name the project Favorite Friend.
Give students time, such as overnight, to think about the person they want to honor with the title of “favorite.”
Once students have decided on their favorite person, have them complete a character traits or cluster graphic organizer to identify the characteristics that make that person special, and thus, someone they would like to honor.
You might prompt them with questions like:
Students should name the person in the middle and add words to describe the person and experiences they have had with them in the connected circles.
Download a Cluster organizer
My favorite relative (friend) is “_______” is an easy way to state an opinion. The writing in this project focuses on the reasons and examples that back up that opinion without the need to persuade others to your view.
Give students an O-R-E-O graphic organizer to help them craft their writing, stating their Opinion, Reason, Example, and restating their Opinion.
Use paper and markers, or a digital tool like Wixie to create a booklet or digital story that includes their text and illustrations. If you are working digitally, you can even have students record their voice for an extra special memory.
Depending on their age, students may be ready to craft a 4-page presentation with the information from each section of their O-R-E-O organizer on a page. Older students can write statements that use multiple reasons or examples across the pages.
Create covers for student books if you have used paper. If you are working with a digital tool, save or export student projects to video. Email the videos to the family members mentioned in the student’s work, or to family members who can forward or share with the appropriate person.
You may also want to host a family night where students can showcase their opinions and stories. If they created with paper, have students read their work. If you students created digital video greetings, play them through a projector in your classroom or even in your school theater!
This lesson plan was written to help other educators implement Barbara Plum’s My Favorite Relative project. Read her story for more details and for the powerful parent reactions her student’s work received.
Use the cluster and OREO graphic organizers along with the initial writing drafts for formative assessment purposes. Use the final project as a summative assessment of opinion writing.
Opinion writing is a big step for emerging writers, so make sure the focus is on assessment for learning, not of it. This, along with the joyful nature of the project, will help keep up their motivation.
Create a checklist to help your emerging writers remember and consider what their writing and digital greeting should include.
Mercer Mayer. Just Me and My Little Brother. ISBN: 0307126285
Jilliam Harker. I Love You, Grandma. ISBN: 1680524259
The Sound of Music - My Favorite Things
Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose opinion pieces in which they tell a reader the topic or the name of the book they are writing about and state an opinion or preference about the topic or book (e.g., My favorite book is...).
Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or name the book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply a reason for the opinion, and provide some sense of closure.
Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply reasons that support the opinion, use linking words (e.g., because, and, also) to connect opinion and reasons, and provide a concluding statement or section.
6. Creative Communicator
Students communicate clearly and express themselves creatively for a variety of purposes using the platforms, tools, styles, formats and digital media appropriate to their goals. Students:
a. choose the appropriate platforms and tools for meeting the desired objectives of their creation or communication.
b. create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.
d. publish or present content that customizes the message and medium for their intended audiences.
What can your students create?
Create custom rubrics for your classroom.
Write, record, and illustrate a sentence.
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