Level Up Your Writing Instruction with Opinion Writing for Thanksgiving

Opinion writing can be difficult to teach. We want students to be engaged and motivated, as well as apply key strategies that will improve their opinion writing (or persuasive writing). Use these three steps to "level up" your writing instruction to help your students produce stronger opinion pieces.

Step 1: Pose a relatable, balanced question.

Focus students on a question to which they can relate. A question about a topic or issue students care about, have a reaction to, or feel compelled to ponder, will keep them engaged in the writing process. 

Balance is also important. Pose the question in a way so that multiple opinions can be shared. If you use a question that is too leading or too obvious, you lose authenticity of the process and get less motivated writers.

For example, a timely Thanksgiving-related focus question might be, "Should turkey be Thanksgiving's main dish?" or, "What is the most important part of Thanksgiving?"

Step 2: Develop opinions with facts.

A balanced, relatable question will get students' thoughts flowing. Many will already have an opinion about the issue. But it's important for students to develop their initial opinions. And the best way to do that is for them to learn more about the issue at hand. 

Depending on your students' age, you might send them off to do their own research. Or, like in my Thanksgiving Opinion Writing resource, you can provide a set of relevant facts. 

After building up their knowledge base on the issue, students may find their opinion has strengthened, or even completely changed! 

We want to help students not only absorb the information, but also analyze the facts to decide which ones can help support and explain their opinion. Some facts may support one particular opinion, while other facts may support multiple opinions on the issue, depending on how the fact is used. 

Step 3: Organize writing with a structure.

Once students have developed their opinion through learning and analyzing information, a planning template is a simple way to help students organize their thinking so their writing is clear and logical. How the planning template is structured will depend on your grade level, but an example framework might be: 

  1. opinion statement
  2. supporting fact #1 with explanation
  3. supporting fact #2 with explanation
  4. counterargument with supporting fact #3
  5. concluding statement

In the planning template pictured above, students are able to physically arrange their chosen fact cards on the planner as they explain how the facts support their opinion.

With an organized plan, students move on to writing their final opinion piece.

Be sure to pick up my Thanksgiving Opinion Writing resource from my TPT shop. It has all the materials for both Thanksgiving-related focus questions mentioned in this post, including:

  • lesson plan
  • opening "poll" question to hook students
  • focus question poster
  • fact cards and sorting mat (8 facts for each question)
  • essay planner (3 versions)
  • transition words and phrases reference tool
  • themed writing paper (2 pages)
  • point-of-view extension
  • complete DIGITAL versions included too! (using Google Slides)

Click HERE or the image below for details on getting the resource. You can also check out the bundle of all my opinion writing resources right HERE.

Need more resources for Thanksgiving? Check these out...