Example Opinion Essay 4th Grade

We’re heading into the final days of my 20 days of opinion writing series with a focus today on using student work samples. As you progress through your writing curriculum, be on the look-out for excellent examples of student writing. An “excellent” example, however, doesn’t necessarily mean a 4- or 5-point paper. You want to find student writing that clearly demonstrates characteristics at each of the possible score points along your scoring guide continuum.

Saving Student Work Samples

As you can see in the photo above, I selected one student sample that I thought best represented each of the five score points in the writing scoring guide. After covering up the authors’ names to conceal their identities, I made copies of the original essays and then laminated them for durability. These samples were then posted directly below the scoring point chart that they best represented. Sometimes it’s just easier for students to see an example when faced with a long list of scoring criteria no matter how “kid-friendly” it is written. I plan to store these samples and pull them out in subsequent years. Of course, I’m always looking for good work sample candidates so these will by no means be the only writings that I will save for future reference.

Here you see the 5-point scoring chart listing specific criteria for different categories of writing. Posted directly below is the student work sample that best demonstrates these criteria.

Another Use for Work Samples

If you have time for it, here’s another great use of student writing work samples. After I had collected one student writing that represented each score point, I typed them and formatted them in our final copy paper template. I did this to make them even more anonymous and with an identical format, kids could focus more on the craft and content instead of the visual presentation.

Student work samples can be used to help kids better understand the scoring guide used with opinion writing.

Make copies of the papers – either one for the entire class per day or just a few of each for small groups of students. Ask the students to read and compare the writings to the scoring guide. Can they figure out what score point each paper represents? Ask students to use highlighters or colored pencils to mark up the text with examples of various scoring criteria as they find it. For example, if there is a simile in the writing then this might indicate a 5-point paper because use of figurative language is shown in this score point. This type of activity really helps cement the scoring criteria in students’ minds so if possible it’s best to do this early in your writing unit. If you haven’t already downloaded it, you can get a a free copy of one week’s prompt from my opinion writing unit by clicking on the link below. I’m also including the student work samples featured in today’s post. Happy Teaching! ~ Sally

Filed Under: WritingTagged With: assessment, assessment capable learner, opinion writing, rubrics, scoring guides, student work samples

Writing an Opinion Piece

Before we get started, I'd like you to click the link below and read the opinion piece.  It was written by a fourth grader JUST LIKE YOU!  It should give you an idea of what an opinion piece is.
An opinion piece encourages the reader to accept the writer's beliefs or opinions.

Using the forums below, I'd like you to write your own persuasive essay.

Continue reading for the directions below:

Objective: Write an organized and logical 130 word persuasive essay to explain your view and opinion on a given topic.
1) Choose one of the topics below to write about. 
1.) Improve Your School:  The local school committee is looking for ways to improve your school.  The ideas will be discussed during meetings with students, teachers, parents, administrators and other interested parties.  The changes proposed by students will be seriously considered since the students are the reason for the school's existence.  Choose one change that might improve your school for all students.  Write a persuasive essay explaining why your suggested change is an improvement. Give at least two reasons to support your suggestion.

2.) School Uniforms:  Write a persuasive essay stating whether or not the students at your school should be required to wear uniforms to school.  Give at least two reasons to support your position.  Remember, you must argue in such a convincing way that others will agree with you.

3.)  Censorship:  Write a persuasive essay stating whether certain television programs that are considered to be unsuitable should be censored for children under 16 in your community.  Give at least two reasons to support your position.

4.) Field Trips:  In order to save money, your principal is thinking about canceling all field trips for the remainder of the year!  Write a letter to your principal persuading him or her to allow students to continue attending field trips.  Give at least two reasons to support your position.

5.) Litter:  A litter problem has developed on your school's campus.  Students are throwing trash on the ground, leaving empty soda cans and bottles outside, and dropping napkins or other trash on the floor in the cafeteria rather than carrying them to the trash can.  Your principal has asked students to take more care, but the litter problem still persists.  The principal has reacted by cancelling all after school activites and pizza parties.  What is your position on this issue?  Write a letter to your local newspaper stating your position and supporting it with two convincing reasons.
3) After choosing your topic, create a post in the OFF-TOPIC forum below and place the title of your essay as the topic of your post.  You will see MY post there already; use it as a guide to help you.
4) Remember to READ THE RUBRIC to help you complete your essay.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.1 Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.1a Introduce a topic or text clearly, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure in which related ideas are grouped to support the writer’s purpose.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.1b Provide reasons that are supported by facts and details.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.1c Link opinion and reasons using words and phrases (e.g., for instance, in order to, in addition).
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.1d Provide a concluding statement or section related to the opinion presented.

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