illustrations · mentor texts · mentoring · minilesson · modeling · persuasive writing · student work

Opinion Writing in Kindergarten

In one of the kindergarten classrooms I’ve been working in, we’ve been learning:

Writers share their opinions.

This has been a unit of study inspired by the Common Core State Standards, which place a heavy emphasis on opinion writing. What does that look like in kindergarten, I wondered. So I’ve been trying out a few teaching points, then observing what five and six year olds can do.

I wasn’t sure if it was even appropriate to ask our youngest writers to share their opinions with words and pictures. After the first lesson, I knew even more scaffolding would have to be put in place. We worked with students to understand what an opinion was. We provided ideas for topics. And we watched.

They began to move from story to facts to opinions. Then they moved from mimicing our opinions, to one another’s opinions, to their own opinions. Today I taught:

Writers support their opinions with reasons.

Mentor Text by Hunter used during the minilesson. This is his fourth page, supporting his opinion that "Fishing is fun." (I like to bait my hook with a worm and a minnow and that is not all, you can bait a lure!)

I wondered if I needed my head examined for giving this lesson in kindergarten. I consoled myself, remembering some of the writers had already moved to offering support for their opinions. I used student writing as a mentor. We practiced writing in the air with partners in the meeting area. Then off they went to write.

I was amazed. (I don’t use that word lightly.) Their work is remarkable. Almost everyone was sharing an opinion with their pictures and words. Many had moved to support their opinions. The topics were their choice, not driven by a prompt. It was things they cared about; things that mattered to them. I collected a handful from students who said they were finished today. (I’m dreaming up a digital celebration to share at the end of this unit.) So I scanned some of them. I’m just so excited about this work, I have to share it with you.

Here are some opinions, shared in pictures and words, from some of our youngest writers.

I like to put the boat in the water because it is fun!
I think the goodest food is bread sticks because you can dip them.
I think that tigers are the best animal because they jump high and they run fast.
I like to write because you can make words. Also you can be done.
Me and my dad think camping is the best because you can make marshmallows, and you can make smores, and you can make a camp fire.

15 thoughts on “Opinion Writing in Kindergarten

  1. I love the idea of opinion writing in K as in my head opinion writing gives kids power and voice. The power comes through in your samples, thank you for sharing your thoughts and their writing.


  2. Thank you for sharing this experience and your thoughts surrounding it. I like the two Big Ideas: Writers share their opinions, and, Writers support their opinions with reasons. I will enjoy sharing this with my class (8-9 year olds) who will be delighted to see younger writer’s work and seeing what they can express so precisely in one sentence. I’m now convinced that bread sticks are the goodest food – what a great reason!


  3. Ruth, Thank you for sharing your work with our youngest writers. You have shared some really important examples of their potential and the possibilities. I think the Common Core has potential to bring new opportunities and balance what is needed for our k students. Thanks for sharing.


  4. What an exciting new opportunity for the students. Obviously they just needed a little encouragement; the thinking and ideas were already there.


  5. Thank you for addressing this topic. In planning lessons with the Common Core Standards in mind, this is one I’ve been grappling with!


  6. I agree with luckygirl. This time of year is magical in kindergarten. I am always surprised by the things they are able to do! Thanks for sharing the samples. I would love to see the digital celebration that you cook up! I am really trying to think of new ways for kids to celebrate their writing in K. Thanks.


  7. This is gorgeous, Ruth. How did you ask them to select topics? I’ve done some opinion writing with kindergarteners, but it was more in the context of “How should people take care of our school? Why is this important?” This is such a rich time of year in Kindergarten, I could see this genre really taking off!


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