Saturday, April 4, 2015

Everyday Heroes: An Opinion Writing Unit

"Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings at a single bound! Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Superman!" Launching spider webs from your fingertips to scale a skyscraper in seconds, diving through the clouds to rescue a damsel in distress, or fighting crime under the disguise of night is just a normal day in the life of a superhero from the comic books. But you do not need to have SUPERhuman strength, SUPERnatural abilities, or even a fancy SUPERhero costume to be a hero. In fact, a hero can look a lot like someone you know very well, maybe even a person you see everyday. Moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas, doctors, firefighters, veterinarians, teachers, and police officers are some of our everyday heroes just to name a few. Ultimately, being a hero is less about what you look like on the outside and more about the heroic choices you make and quality of character you have. My most recent opinion writing unit is designed to have students explore just that.
This writing unit can be steered in a number of different ways. You may choose to have students write about a specific person they know if their life (such as their mom, sibling, grandfather), a famous person or hero from history (such as Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, Cesar Chavez), or an everyday hero based on job (surgeon, soldier, coach). Depending on the direction you want your students to take, you may even have them gather research should you want them to write about a historical hero. Once you have the direction you want to take narrowed down, it's time to get students brainstorming about what defines a hero.

Then, comes the fun part! I am SO EXCITED about this opinion writing graphic organizer! It is a foldable made to look like a cootie catcher (remember playing with those back in the day??). This OREO (O-Opinion, R-Reasons, E-Evidence, O-Opinion Restated) foldable comes with this everyday heroes unit but can be used with ANY OPINION WRITING UNIT!
How it works is that students write their topic and opinion on the front of the foldable. Then, each flap lifts up for students to write a reason with detailed evidence to support their opinion. FUN and RIGOROUS, the best combination, am I right?!

Students use the OREO graphic organizer to write their rough draft. Once drafts are written, there is a series of checklists for students to use during the revising and editing process. This pack comes with rubrics too to grade final copy papers and provide specific feedback!
There are two anchor paper included in this pack as well to use as your own while you model each step of the writing process. One is designed with lower grades in mind, the other is a multi-paragraph paper with upper grades in mind. You can refer to these anchor papers as examples of what a quality piece of opinion writing looks.
To access this unit at my store on TPT, click on the picture below!
To be a hero, you don't need to shoot sticky webs to climb buildings like Spiderman. You don't need to be able to fly through the sky as fast as a rocket like Superman. And you don't need to conceal your identity with a mask while stopping villains in their tracks like Batman. (Although admittedly, all of those things would be pretty cool) All you need is SUPER quality of character like having incredible heart, determination, and selflessness. Take a close look. You too just might have a SUPER hero living under your very own roof!
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