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Free Opinion Writing Graphic Organizer for Grades 4 & 5
November 14, 2020 by Cristy
Text-based opinion writing is a form of essay writing that is usually taught beginning in fourth grade. In this type of writing, students are asked to read anywhere from 2 – 4 sources. Then, they respond to a prompt by stating an opinion and supporting it with evidence from the texts. As you can imagine, this is a very complex and multistep process. As a teacher, it can be difficult to know where to even begin. Breaking it down into mini lessons supported by anchor charts and an opinion writing graphic organizer is extremely helpful. It can really help you organize your teaching and help stack the building blocks needed for students to develop a solid essay.
This post will share how to introduce an opinion prompt, teaching students how to gather text evidence, and create a solid plan for their writing by using a graphic organizer as a planner.
How to Teach Students to Plan for an Opinion Essay
1. Start with the Opinion Writing Prompt
Define an opinion writing prompt for students. Let them know that it consists of a few sentences that raise an issue or a question that they will respond to in an essay. It is the first thing they should read before heading into the sources.
Show students several prompts and have them identify keywords within the prompt. A couple of words that identify the prompt as an opinion writing prompt are ‘opinion’ and ‘whether.’ Then, have students underline keywords they should be referring to as the read and write.
Have students write these steps in their journal or provide them with a poster they can refer back to when they need it. Having students create a table of contents for their journals can also be beneficial because it will allow them to find these notes quickly and refer to them as often as needed.
2. Gathering Text Evidence While Reading
Provide students with a set of texts based on the same topic. It is best to make sure one text offers a variety of pros while the other offers a variety of cons.
Have students annotate the text as they read looking for pros and cons. Some of the symbols I suggest to my students are:
- + / –
- for / against
Students can simultaneously sort the information into a two-column “pros” and “cons” organizer. This will help them for the next step when they will choose a side.
3. Choosing a Side
Teach students how to analyze their evidence. Explain to them that in order to have a well written essay, they will need to be able to support their choice and elaborate on it. Review with them some of the questions they should be asking themselves:
- Which side has an overwhelming amount of evidence supporting it?
- Which side do I feel more connected to?
- Which side can I elaborate the most on?
4. Introduce How to Plan Your Writing
A well written opinion essay will be organize, supported with relevant facts, and include tightly connected elaborations. Introducing your students to an opinion writing graphic organizer will help guide them in their thinking and planning for their essay.
I have introduced many planners in the past to my students, but the 4-paragraph opinion writing graphic organizer pictured here is the one that has been the most helpful to my students.
Show students how each part represents a paragraph and go over what should be included in each one. Students should realize that bullet points and phrases are the best way to plan.
5. Model Filling in the Graphic Organizer
Now that you’ve gone over what goes in each section, model how to fill in the planner as students copy what you are writing. Think aloud through the process, so they understand what their thought process should be as they fill out their opinion writing graphic organizer.
Include the side you are choosing and write down words from the prompt. (The “hook” can be added to the planner later.)
Include the answer.
For “cite,” just include the source and the paragraph where the information is found. (Ex. Source #1 Paragraph #1) They may include a keyword or two, but it should not go further than that. Having students write out the entire evidence will waste precious writing time and may frustrate them as well.
In “elaborate,” have students write a word they might want to define, a connection they may make, or a remark they want to add to support or clarify.
Refer back to the introduction for keywords and circle back to where they started.
Grab a FREE Graphic Organizer
Click here or on the image below to download the PDF of the graphic organizer.
Looking for More Support?
Hopefully, these tips have helped you organize your beginning opinion writing lessons.
If you would like more than the opinion writing graphic organizer, you can check out this resource that includes teacher notes, pacing guides, posters, anchor charts, and more. Just click on the image to take a closer look.
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There's probably no shortage of opinions in your classroom. All day, every day, your students are sharing their thoughts on a variety of subjects, from why green is their favorite color to why they despise broccoli (even though it's green). But while those opinions provide a great opportunity for you to get to know your students, they're not always well structured, persuasive, or backed up with facts.
Teaching students to develop ideas and thoughts on important subjects, organize them, and then transform them into a strong, persuasive opinion takes time. Opinion writing is often complex and requires higher-order skills, such as evaluation and verification. Students must also understand the difference between fact and opinion—that facts can inform opinion, but not vice-versa—and that word choice is an important aspect of writing. All of this means that students can feel a bit overwhelmed when tasked with expressing their opinion, even though it's something they do every day.
Graphic organizers are great tools to help students develop well-supported opinions and improve their powers of persuasion. An organizer can help students expand and shape their thoughts in ways that simplify the writing process—once students fill out the graphic organizer, it becomes a resource they can reference while composing their opinion piece.
Wondering which graphic organizers will be most helpful to your young opinion writers? Check out these 6 resources, perfect for any student looking to make a strong case:
1. Opinion-Proof (Grades 4–8)
This framework sheet helps students develop and use higher-order skills, such as evaluation, verification, and persuasion, to compose convincing arguments.
2. Writing Graphic Organizer: Perfectly Persuasive (Grades 4–6)
Use this graphic organizer to help students build persuasive writing skills as they write essays or letters to the editor.
3. Fact/Opinion Glasses: Lesson Plan & Graphic Organizer (Grades 1–3)
These glasses help students develop the most important skill when it comes to effective opinion writing: being able to see the difference between fact and opinion.
4. Agree or Disagree? Graphic Organizer (Grades 2–4)
Students learn how to express and support their agreement, or disagreement, with a character’s statement, opinion, or action.
5. Your Opinion, Please (Leveled-Reading G/H): Guided Reading Response (Grades 1–2)
With this graphic organizer, students can show off their understanding of a story by sharing their own points of view.
6. Persuasive Essay (Nonfiction Writing): Leveled Graphic Organizers (Grades 4–8)
It’s one thing to have an opinion, but can your students convince their classmates their thoughts are correct? This graphic organizer set can help!
To see more graphic organizers and gain access to thousands of printable and downloadable teacher resources that will help your kids develop the power of persuasion and other skills, log in or subscribe to Scholastic Teachables today!
EL Education Curriculum
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- ELA G5:M3:U2:L10
Writing an Opinion Essay: Planning
In this lesson, daily learning targets, ongoing assessment.
- Technology and Multimedia
Supporting English Language Learners
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- ELA G5:M3:U2
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These are the CCS Standards addressed in this lesson:
- W.5.1: Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.
- W.5.1a: Introduce a topic or text clearly, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure in which ideas are logically grouped to support the writer's purpose.
- W.5.1b: Provide logically ordered reasons that are supported by facts and details.
- W.5.4: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
- W.5.5: With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
- W.5.9: Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
- W.5.9b: Apply grade 5 Reading standards to informational texts (e.g., "Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text, identifying which reasons and evidence support which point[s]"").
- SL.5.1: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 5 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
- I can plan an essay that states an opinion and has reasons that are supported by facts and details. ( W.5.1, W.5.4, W.5.9b )
- I can give kind, helpful, and specific feedback to my partner. ( W.5.5, SL.5.1 )
- Opinion Writing Planning graphic organizer ( W.5.1, W.5.4, W.5.5, W.5.9b )
- Strategically pair students for the peer critique in the Closing with at least one strong reader per pair.
- Review the Opinion Writing Checklist ( see the Tools page ).
- Post: Learning targets and applicable anchor charts (see Materials list).
Tech and Multimedia
- Continue to use the technology tools recommended throughout Modules 1-2 to create anchor charts to share with families; to record students as they participate in discussions and protocols to review with students later and to share with families; and for students to listen to and annotate text, record ideas on note-catchers, and word-process writing.
Supports guided in part by CA ELD Standards 5.I.A.1, 5.I.A.3, 5.I.A.4, 5.I.A.5, 5.I.C.10, 5.I.C.11, 5.I.C.12, 5.II.A.1, 5.II.A.2, 5.II.C.6 , and 5.II.C.7
Important points in the lesson itself
- The basic design of this lesson supports ELLs by referring to the Factors for Success anchor chart from Unit 1 to plan their essays, inviting students to draw on conclusions from the text-based discussion to form their focus statements, allowing time for discussion throughout the lesson, and explicitly reviewing the characteristics of opinion writing as a class.
- ELLs may find it challenging to go from annotating the Model Essay: Branch Rickey in Work Time A to planning their own opinion essays with the graphic organizer in Work Time B without having seen this process modeled. Consider filling in the graphic organizer with components of the model essay in Work Time A, providing students with concrete examples to refer to during their planning (see Meeting Students' Needs).
Levels of support
For lighter support:
- Encourage students to use the focus structure from the Language Dive in Lesson 9, but it was _____, to write their focus statement, supporting students in using linking words and phrases to connect ideas. Challenge students to think of more than one way they could use this linking language to write their focus statement.
For heavier support:
- Consider color-coding the text in the displayed Opinion Writing Planning graphic organizer to match the corresponding information in the Painted Essay(r) template, signaling the information that goes in each section. For example, in the introduction paragraph box, the text "What context do you need to give to your reader?" would be color-coded red; "State your opinion:" would be green; all text in "Proof Paragraph 1" would be yellow; etc.
- Multiple Means of Representation (MMR): Students provide kind, helpful, and specific feedback during a peer critique of their opinion writing planning. As this familiar learning target is displayed, consider inviting students to share examples of this type of feedback from previous lessons and note their responses for visual display.
- Multiple Means of Action and Expression (MMAE): Continue to support a range of fine motor abilities and writing needs by offering students options for writing utensils. Also, consider supporting students' expressive skills by offering partial dictation of student responses.
- Multiple Means of Engagement (MME): Since peer review can be threatening to some students, continue to emphasize the benefits of peer review and feedback for all students. Make this activity relevant by reminding students that writers have editors who provide feedback for their writing through each step in the writing process, which improves their writing.
Key: Lesson-Specific Vocabulary (L); Text-Specific Vocabulary (T); Vocabulary Used in Writing (W)
- states, support, specific, reason, evidence, use my strengths (L)
- Close Readers Do These Things anchor chart (begun in Module 1)
- Academic Word Wall (begun in Module 1)
- Vocabulary logs (from Module 1; one per student)
- Opinion Writing Planning graphic organizer (one per student and one to display)
- Model Essay: Branch Rickey (from Lesson 9; one per student and one to display)
- Working to Become Effective Learners anchor chart (begun in Module 1)
- Directions for Opinion Essay (from Lesson 9; one per student and one to display)
- Opinion Writing Checklist (from Lesson 9; one per student and one to display)
- Colored pencils (green, yellow, blue; one of each color per student)
- Preparing for a Text-Based Discussion: Jackie Robinson note-catcher (from Lesson 7; one per student)
- Discussion Notes Form: Jackie Robinson (from Lesson 8; one per student)
- Promises to Keep (from Unit 1, Lesson 1; one per student)
- "This I Believe: Free Minds and Hearts at Work" (text; from Lesson 2; one per student)
- Listening Closely: "Jackie Robinson: Royals to Obamas" note-catcher (from Lesson 4; one per student)
- Factor for Success anchor charts (begun in Unit 1)
- Domain-Specific Word Wall (begun in Unit 1, Lesson 1)
- Opinion Writing Planning graphic organizer (example, for teacher reference)
- Sticky notes (two per student)
- Working to Contribute to a Better World anchor chart (begun in Module 1)
- Directions for Peer Critique (from Module 1; one to display)
- Peer Critique Protocol anchor chart (begun in Module 1)
- Language Dive I Practice: Model Essay: Branch Rickey homework (from Lesson 9; one per student)
- Language Dive I Practice: Model Essay: Branch Rickey homework (example, for teacher reference)
Each unit in the 3-5 Language Arts Curriculum has two standards-based assessments built in, one mid-unit assessment and one end of unit assessment. The module concludes with a performance task at the end of Unit 3 to synthesize their understanding of what they accomplished through supported, standards-based writing.
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Free Printable: Opinion Writing Graphic Organizer
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At several points throughout the year, you’ll need to work on opinion writing with your students. There are many different ways you can help students understand the purpose of opinion writing. Here are a few ideas about opinion writing to get you started, plus an opinion writing graphic organizer you can download for free to get started right away:
Ask your students what they know about a topic, then teach them to ask questions about what they don’t know
This might seem obvious, but it’s important to get students to understand that they already know something about a topic and can learn more by asking questions. When you use something that students are already familiar with, you generally don’t need to teach new vocabulary or new concepts and can get right to the core of what it means to form an opinion. So consider reading this together with your students: Here’s What Zero Waste Schools are Doing . Then, ask them what they think about zero waste schools.
Follow this lesson plan on how to teach kids opinion writing
We’ve put together a lesson plan to help you teach your students about opinion writing. You’ll find ideas and resources to help you make your opinion writing unit engaging.
Download and print this graphic organizer
The graphic organizer on this page has all the basic parts of an opinion writing piece. Walk your students through each section.
Hot tip: Fill in your own graphic organizer. This way, you know places where kids might get stuck, and you can show visibly offer a template for your students to follow.
Opinion Writing Graphic Organizer
Recycle Rally is a free K-12 program that provides rewards and tools to help enhance recycling at your school!
Our comprehensive library of resources was designed to inspire the next generation of green leaders.
5-Paragraph Essay Lesson with PowerPoint, Graphic Organizers, and Anchor Charts
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Teach your students how to write a 5-paragraph essay that has an introduction, 3 body paragraphs, and a conclusion by using my in-depth PowerPoint and differentiated graphic organizers . A PowerPoint companion handout is included so that students can follow along and take notes while you progress through the PowerPoint.
Anchor Charts/Vocabulary posters are also included. These can be hung in your room so that students can refer to them anytime they are working on an opinion or informative essay. Or they can be printed and glued into writing notebooks.
I have also included printable anchor chart pieces that you can cut and attach to your large, chart paper. It can hang in your room and students can refer to it the rest of the year.
Please click the preview so you can see what some of the slides, graphic organizers, posters, and anchor charts looks like.
This 5-paragraph Essay resource includes:
- A lesson plan that lists the materials needed, student objective, preparation, and lesson instructions
- An 86-slide PowerPoint that is interactive and thoroughly explains 5-paragraph essays
- 5-Paragraph essay graphic organizers (multiple designs to choose from and differentiated)
- A 5-paragraph sample essay that you can copy onto chart paper as well as pass out to students
- Anchor chart pieces that can be printed and glued to chart paper.
- A Google Slides version of the PowerPoint (just open the PDF and click the link. It will ask if you want to make a copy in your Google Drive. Click, "Make Copy.")
*More details below*
The 86-slide PowerPoint teaches that 5-paragraph essays are like sandwiches. The top piece of bread is like the introduction, the middle of the sandwich is like the body paragraphs, and the bottom piece of bread is like the conclusion.
The PowerPoint explains that introductions need to have a hook, thesis statement, and 3 reasons/topics (If students are writing an opinion essay, then they would support their thesis statement with 3 reasons. If students are writing an informative essay, then they would support their thesis statement with 3 topics).
The PowerPoint then explains that 5-paragraph essays need to have 3 body paragraphs and that each body paragraph needs to have the following: a topic sentence, a closing sentence, and lots of details, facts, and evidence in between.
After explaining body paragraphs, the PowerPoint explains that 5-paragraph essays need to have conclusions. It explains that introductions and conclusions are similar, but that they are, in fact, different. It explains that conclusions do not have a hook, but a closing sentence instead. It also explains that the thesis statement and reasons/topics should be repeated using different words. Many examples are given.
The PowerPoint concludes by explaining that before students start writing, they should use an outline to help them plan out their essay.
⭐5 PARAGRAPH GRAPHIC ORGANIZERS/OUTLINES
Thirteen different outlines are included that you can choose from.
-6 that say "5 Paragraph Essay Graphic Organizer" at the top
-6 that say "5 Paragraph Essay Outline" at the top
-7 that say "Opinion writing Graphic Organizer" at the top
-7 that say "Opinion writing Outline" at the top
-6 that say "Informative writing Graphic Organizer" at the top
-6 that say "Informative writing Outline" at the top
⭐VOCABULARY POSTERS/ANCHOR CHARTS
Vocabulary posters for the following terms are included:
-Types of Writing (opinion, informative, narrative, and persuasive)
-Opinion Writing (2 choices)
-Informative Writing (2 choices)
-Narrative Writing (2 choices)
-Persuasive Writing (2 choices)
-Start of a paragraph
-5 Paragraph Essay (7 different choices to choose from)
-5 paragraph essay introduction
-Body Paragraphs (2 choices)
-5 Paragraph Essay conclusion
-Essay Closing Sentence
-Closing Sentence Examples
***All of these posters come in 3 different designs: rainbow letters, b&w headers with color pictures, and b&w headers with b&w pictures
If your students need extra help with introductions, you might be interested in my 5-star introduction product . (5-star introductions have 5 things: a hook, a thesis statement, and 3 reasons/topics). The PowerPoint teaches students how to write thesis statement that answer the writing prompt- a skill that is difficult for many elementary students to do.
**Please note that this product is part of my MEGA Writing Bundle , a bundle that includes all of my current writing products and future writing products. Any time I make a new writing product, it will be added to the Mega Writing Bundle. Each time I add a new writing product, the price will increase, so buying it now will get you the best value.
If you are interested in test prep writing prompts that come with articles/passages, I've got you covered!
Opinion writing prompts:
1. Which is a Better Pet, a Cat or a Dog?
2. Are Teens too old to go Trick-or-Treating?
3. Should Fidget Spinners be banned from Schools?
4. Why should the leprechaun give you his gold?
5. Should bugs be added to the school cafeteria menu?
Informative writing prompts:
1. Explain how Caribou Survive the Cold Weather
2. Explain the three Types of Rocks
3. Explain three major things that Abraham Lincoln did during his lifetime.
4. Explain how Water Changes the Earth's Surface
5. Write an informative essay that describes Canada
Need to do a research project with your students? The following resource includes EVERYTHING you need to successfully implement a career research project with your students:
Career Research Project (Write an essay describing a career of your choice.)
Want ALL of these writing prompts at a discount price? No problem! I have bundled all of my writing prompts into one big bundle for almost half the price! Click HERE to check it out! (it includes all of the writing prompts listed above EXCEPT for the Canada writing prompt)
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A List of Topics for Opinion Writing for the Fifth Grade
What Is Freestyle Writing?
At the fifth grade level, students should be able to write a well constructed, convincing opinion writing sample. According to the Common Core state standards initiative, an effective opinion paper at the fifth grade level should introduce the topic clearly; state the writer’s opinion; provide supporting facts and details in an organized structure; use appropriate opinion and reasoning words; and finish with a concluding statement. Opinion writing assignments that include these components will help strengthen the language arts writing skills needed for junior high and high school writing.
Your class of fifth graders is no stranger to the idea of social media. Ask your students to write about the pros and cons of Facebook or what they think the ideal age is to obtain access to social media. Have them write up their views on cyberbullying, if they really think it’s a problem and how this issue should be resolved if it arises. The final drafts of this writing assignment should produce some interesting opinions and well-thought out arguments.
It’s very likely that most, if not all, of your students have asked, pleaded, begged and bartered with their parents to get the newest, most popular form of technology. Your opinion writing prompt could include “What is the best age to get a cell phone,” “Why are laptops important in the educational setting?” or “What skills can children learn playing video games?” Since these are hot topics at this age level, you won’t receive too much grief when you assign this writing prompt.
Your fifth graders have some strong views on school policy and you may have heard them grumbling about some of the rules from time to time. Opinion writing topics with this scope could be “What are the top five best and worst school rules,” “If I was principal I would change ____ about the school,” “Is the homework load too much, too little or just right” or “Should there be a dress code?” Each opinion must be backed by at least three facts or pieces of evidence to support it.
Although pollution, litter, reusing, recycling and reducing waste can be a discussion for any age, your fifth graders are old enough to grasp the importance of the topic while still holding a naive view of the state of the world. The topic assignment could be “How people can reduce their carbon footprint,” "How can I reduce litter and pollution" or “What are the 20 ways to recycle plastic bottles”. This writing topic encourages your students to delve deeper into the topic and widen their understanding of the impact human have on this planet. Hopefully the effect will go beyond a simple writing assignment and potentially lead to real action on the part of the students.
How to Write an Anecdotal Essay
How to Write Research Papers From Start to Finish
How to Do a Paper Review Presentation
How to write a rebuttal speech.
Rules for Writing an Effective Research Paper
How to write an opinion paragraph.
How to Write High School Research Papers
Middle School Journalism Activities
- Common Core State Standards Initiative; English Language Arts Structure; Writing Grade 5
- California Department of Education: A Look at Fifth Grade in California Public Schools and the Common Core State Standards
- PBS: When Should You Get Your Kid a Cell Phone?
- Facebook: How Old Do You Have to Be to Sign Up for Facebook?
- National Institute of Environmental Health Services: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
14 Great Topic Ideas for Opinion Essay Assignments
In most schools, fifth-grade students begin to develop their skills in writing by starting on opinion pieces or short essay where they must present a clear and concise view on given topics and back up their position with sound, logical arguments. It lays the foundation for other types of writing, particularly the argumentative or persuasive essay assignment. Opinion essay topics at this level shouldn’t be too difficult for the students to address thoroughly, but they should encourage and challenge them to take sides and present support their opinions with good reasons. A company that helped me to write my college essay is presenting some great opinion essay topics 5th grade for you to consider in class:
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Good Opinion Essay Topics
- What is your favorite work of fiction? What makes it so special for you and how is unlike other books you have read?
- Do you think your school principal should expand the amount of time for recess, after-lunch outdoor activities, or physical education?
- Should parents have the sole responsibility for allowing or disallowing their children to listen to music with explicit or offensive language?
- Do we need to have stricter rules and regulations for the prevention of animal testing? Would this be placing people in danger?
- Is it better for kids to grow up in urban or rural areas? What are the different types of activities kids would likely partake in each area?
- Should students be limited to fewer hours of nightly television when school is in session? Who should be responsible for deciding how much time is adequate?
- Does watching too much television affect the way kids at school interact with another? How has this negatively or positively impact social behavior?
Simple Topics For Opinion Essay
- Should students be allowed to bring small pets to school? Would this teach students to be more responsible in class?
- Should people be allowed to keep strange or unusual pets? What are the potentially dangerous situations that could arise if the owners aren’t careful?
- Should students be allowed to decide the kind of homework assignments and topics they receive after reaching the 5th grade?
- Should school administration prohibit the sale of junk food on campus? What if this meant removing vending machines altogether?
- Should health-food options be made more affordable in order to encourage greater consumption in the homes of children?
- Is private education higher in quality than public education? What are the major differences and similarities between the two?
- Can students trust the facts and figures they find on the internet? How can students be sure that the information they find can be trusted?
For more opinion essay ideas, check out our other free prompts or contact one of our skilled academic writers to order admission essay that is designed to fit your needs precisely. There are also a number of other resources you can use to develop skills in writing for all levels between primary school and graduate school.