Writing an Opinion Essay: Drafting the Conclusion | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA G5:M4:U3:L5

Writing an Opinion Essay: Drafting the Conclusion

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These are the CCS Standards addressed in this lesson:

  • RI.5.1: Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
  • 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.5.1c: Link opinion and reasons using words, phrases, and clauses (e.g., consequently, specifically).
  • W.5.1d: Provide a concluding statement or section related to the opinion presented.
  • W.5.4: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • W.5.6: With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of two pages in a single sitting.
  • W.5.8: Recall relevant information from experiences or gather relevant information from print and digital sources; summarize or paraphrase information in notes and finished work, and provide a list of sources.
  • 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 literature (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]").
  • L.5.1: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
  • L.5.2: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
  • L.5.2e: Spell grade-appropriate words correctly, consulting references as needed.

Daily Learning Targets

  • I can write the conclusion of my opinion essay. (RI.5.1, W.5.1, W.5.4, W.5.6, W.5.9b)
  • I can cite my sources. (W.5.8)
  • I can give kind, helpful, and specific feedback. (W.5.1d, W.5.5, L.5.1, L.5.2)

Ongoing Assessment

  • Complete opinion essay with sources cited (RI.5.1, W.5.1, W.5.4, W.5.6, W.5.8, W.5.9b)

Agenda

AgendaTeaching Notes

1. Opening

A. Reviewing Learning Targets (5 minutes)

2. Work Time

A. Independent Writing: Drafting Conclusion and Citing Sources (35 minutes)

3. Closing and Assessment

A. Whole Group Critique: Conclusion (20 minutes)

4. Homework

A. Accountable Research Reading. Select a prompt and respond in the front of your independent reading journal

Purpose of lesson and alignment to standards: 

  • In Work Time A, students draft the conclusion of their opinion essays and cite sources (W.5.1, W.5.4, W.5.6, W.5.8, W.5.9b). To address W.5.6, students continue to word-process their essays. If technology is not available for this, students can continue to handwrite their essays, leaving a line between each line of writing for editing.As with the previous writing lessons in this unit, this writing is done with minimal teacher guidance and without a topic-specific model in order to gradually release students to write opinion essays independently in response to an essay prompt in an on-demand assessment. Instead, students are directed to look back at the Model Essay: Branch Rickey (from Module 3, Unit 2, Lesson 9) and to transfer what they learned in Module 3 to this content.
  • Similar to Lesson 4, in the Closing students participate in a whole group peer critique focused on having a conclusion that is clearly related to their opinion, with words and sentences following the rules of writing, and correct spelling, capitalization, and punctuation (W.5.1d, L.5.1, L.5.2). It is important for this whole group critique that a student volunteers to participate and that a relatively strong model is shown for all students to learn from. As students are writing during Work Time A, circulate to identify students with strong work and ask if they would be willing to have their work critiqued by the whole group. Allow the student to remain anonymous if this is preferred.
  • In this lesson, students continue to focus on working to contribute to a better world as they apply their learning to help their school and community by educating them about preparing for natural disasters. They also consider the Working to Become Ethical People anchor chart, specifically respect, as they provide kind, specific, and helpful peer feedback during the whole group critique.

How this lesson builds on previous work:

  • In the previous lesson, students wrote their proof paragraphs. In this lesson, they finish their essays by writing the conclusion and citing sources.

Areas in which students may need additional support:

  • Students may need additional support writing their conclusions. Consider placing those students in a group for focused teacher guidance.

Assessment guidance:

  • Review students' conclusions as they write during Work Time to identify common issues to use as whole group teaching points in the Closing and also to identify a strong model to use in the whole group critique.

Down the road:

  • In the next lesson, students will write an on-demand opinion essay for their end of unit assessment about the personal items they would select to include in their emergency preparedness kits.

In Advance

  • Prepare technology necessary for students to word-process their conclusions (see Technology and Multimedia).
  • Consider working with a technology teacher to support students in word-processing their essays.
  • Post: Learning targets and applicable anchor charts (see materials list).

Tech and Multimedia

  • Continue to use the technology tools recommended throughout Modules 1-3 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.
  • Work Time A: Prepare technology and tools necessary for students to word-process their essays (one device per student).
  • Closing and Assessment A: Prepare technology necessary to display word-processed student work to the whole group.

Supporting English Language Learners

Supports guided in part by CA ELD Standards 5.I.A.2, 5.I.A.4, 5.I.B.6, 5.I.C.10, 5.I.C.11, 5.I.C.12, 5.II.A.1, 5.II.A.2

Important points in the lesson itself: 

  • The basic design of this lesson supports ELLs by building on the work started in the previous lessons of planning an opinion essay and drafting an introduction and proof paragraphs; by providing the opportunity for students to work in pairs to write their conclusion and to verbally practice it before writing it down; and by inviting students to apply their learning from whole group critique to their own essay.
  • ELLs may find it challenging to draft a concluding paragraph without a model essay to reference that is specific to this writing prompt, as they have had in previous modules. Consider working with a small group of students who need heavier support to draft their concluding paragraphs during Work Time A (see levels of support and the Meeting Students' Needs column).

Levels of support

For lighter support: 

  • Invite students to create sentence starters for classmates who need heavier support to use when drafting their concluding paragraph.

For heavier support:

  • Consider modeling and thinking aloud the process of drafting a conclusion that restates the opinion expressed in the introduction and provides some reflection. This provides students with a topical model of the content, language, and organization expected for the conclusion.

Universal Design for Learning

  • Multiple Means of Representation (MMR): Continue to support students as they generalize skills that they learned from the previous lessons to set themselves up for success during independent writing.
  • Multiple Means of Action and Expression (MMAE): In this lesson, students draft their conclusions and cite sources for their opinion essay. Continue to support them in setting appropriate goals for their effort and the level of difficulty expected.
  • Multiple Means of Engagement (MME): Continue to provide prompts and sentence frames for those students who require them to be successful in peer interactions and collaboration. Also support students in sustaining effort and/or attention by restating the goal of each activity.

Vocabulary

Key: Lesson-Specific Vocabulary (L); Text-Specific Vocabulary (T); Vocabulary Used in Writing (W)

  • cite (L)

Materials

  • Close Readers Do These Things anchor chart (begun in Module 1)
  • Working to Contribute to a Better World anchor chart (begun in Module 1)
  • Devices (one per student; see Technology and Multimedia)
  • Essay Planner graphic organizers (completed in Lesson 3; one per student)
  • Opinion Writing Checklist (from Lesson 3; one per student and one to display)
  • Opinion essays (begun in Lesson 3; added to during Work Time A; one per student)
  • Opinion Writing Checklist (from Lesson 3; example, for teacher reference)
  • The Painted Essay(r) template (from Module 1; one per student)
  • Model Essay: Branch Rickey (from Module 3; one per student)
  • Two Items Essay and Graphic Organizer (from Lesson 3; example, for teacher reference)
  • Working to Become Ethical People anchor chart (begun in Module 1)
  • Sticky notes (two different colors; two of each per student)
  • Peer Critique anchor chart (begun in Module 1)

Assessment

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.

Opening

OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Reviewing Learning Targets (5 minutes) 

  • Invite students to move to sit with their writing partner from Lessons 3-4 and label themselves A and B.
  • Direct students' attention to the posted learning targets and select volunteers to read them aloud:
    • "I can write the conclusion of my opinion essay. "
    • "I can cite my sources."
    • "I can give kind, helpful, and specific feedback."
  • Remind students that they saw the first and third learning targets in Module 3 when writing opinion essays about Jackie Robinson and in this unit when providing peer feedback on introductions and proof paragraphs.
  • Focus students on the second learning target and underline the word cite. Invite students to use vocabulary strategies listed on the Close Readers Do These Things anchor chart to identify the meaning of cite (to quote or mention).
  • Turn and Talk:

"When we cite sources in an essay, what do we do? Why?" (list the sources at the end of the essay, so people know where to look to check our information and to find out more)

  • Remind students of the Working to Contribute to a Better World anchor chart, specifically applying their learning to help their school and community by educating them about preparing for natural disasters.
  • For ELLs: (Stopping between Learning Targets) Consider stopping after each learning target to ask students what they think they will be doing in this lesson. Invite students to rephrase each learning target in their own words to ensure comprehension and to discuss how they worked toward the first and third target in Module 3.
  • For ELLs: (Transparency: Citing Sources) To ensure that the purpose of citing sources is transparent, cue students to problem-solve:
    • "Can you figure out why we cite sources in our writing?" (Responses will vary, but may include: to show we used reliable sources to research the topic; to tell readers where they can find the information.)

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Independent Writing: Drafting Conclusion and Citing Sources (35 minutes) 

  • Set up students on devices and follow the same routine from Work Time A of Lesson 4 to guide students through reviewing their Essay Planner graphic organizers, highlighting and reviewing the proper criteria on their Opinion Writing Checklist, and orally planning their concluding paragraphs with their partner:
    • Post and review the writing prompt as needed.
    • Invite students to retrieve and review their planning graphic organizers.
    • Direct students to read their opinion essays aloud to their partner.
    • Invite students to mark/highlight the following criteria on their checklist:
      • "W.5.1d: I have a conclusion that is clearly related to my opinion."
      • "W.5.8: I provide a list of sources."
      • "L.5.1: My words and sentences follow the rules of writing."
      • "L.5.2: My spelling, capitalization, and punctuation are correct."
    • Focus students on the third column of the checklist and Think-Pair-Share:

"What is specific to this essay for each of those criteria you have highlighted? What is the opinion?"

    • As students share out, refer to the Opinion Writing Checklist (example, for teacher reference) and invite students to update the third column of their checklists accordingly.
    • Think-Pair-Share:

"When we cite our sources so readers know where to look to check our information or to find out more, what do we need to include so a reader can easily find the sources?" (author (if listed), text title, where it can be found)

    • Review the conclusion on The Painted Essay(r) template and the Model Essay: Branch Rickey.
    • Invite students to orally rehearse their concluding paragraphs.
  • Refocus whole group, post the following information on the board, and model an example:
    • Citing sources:
      • Only cite sources you have used to write your essay.
      • Author (if listed), text title, where it can be found ("Tornadoes." Ready.gov. )
  • Answer clarifying questions.
  • Post and review the following directions:

1. Draft your conclusion.

2. Cite your sources at the end of the essay under the heading "Sources."

3. Read through your essay to check rules of writing, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation.

4. Swap work with your partner and check his or her essay for the rules of writing, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation.

  • Answer clarifying questions.
  • Invite students to begin writing. Circulate to support them and to identify a strong conclusion to use in the whole group critique in the Closing. Refer to the Two Items Essay and Graphic Organizer (example, for teacher reference).
  • When 2 minutes remain, invite students to record "Y" for "Yes" on their Informative Writing Checklist and the date in the final column if they feel the criteria marked on their checklists in this lesson have been achieved in their writing.
  • Use a checking for understanding technique (e.g., Red Light, Green Light or Thumb-O-Meter) for students to self-assess against the first and second learning targets.
  • For students who may need additional support in organizing ideas for written expression: Offer sentence starters or frames as scaffolding for student expression and communication. (MMAE)
  • For ELLs: (Providing Concrete Examples) Display the Enlarged Model Essay: Branch Rickey (see Lesson 3, "For heavier support") next to the Opinion Writing Checklist. Model and think aloud identifying an example of each criterion in the conclusion of the model essay. This provides students with concrete examples of how each criterion applies to their own conclusion. As necessary, consider providing non-examples to clarify criteria. (Example: "Criterion W.5.1d says: 'I have a conclusion that is clearly related to my opinion.' What if the conclusion to the Model Essay: Branch Rickey was about Branch Rickey's love of reading? Would that be clearly related to the opinion stated in the introduction? Why or why not?")
  • For ELLs: (Mini Language Dive) "There were other factors to Rickey's success,/like recognizing that the timing was right, and his strong personality."
    • Deconstruct: Discuss the sentence and each chunk. Language goals for focus structure:
      • like: "Can you figure out why the author wrote like?" It is used to introduce examples of other factors to Rickey's success mentioned in the previous chunk. Note that the phrase such as could replace like in this sentence without changing the meaning.(preposition)
      • recognizing that the timing was right: "What does this chunk tell us?" It tells us one other factor that contributed to Rickey's success. He knew it was good timing. (noun phrase)
      • and his strong personality: "What does this chunk tell us?" And connects the previous chunk to this one andsignals that we will hear about another factor. This chunk tells us that Ricky's strong personality was important to his success. (conjunction + noun phrase)
      • Students can recall their learning from the mini lesson in Unit 1, Lesson 10 about using commas to separate items in a series and discuss in pairs why they think the author used a comma in this chunk.(The comma is not necessary here. The author may have used it to try to make the sentence clearer for readers.) (Note: Not all style guides agree about using a comma to separate two items in a series. Teachers can use their discretion and let their students know what is preferred in their classroom.)
      • Practice: Students can practice using this structure to speak or write about something in their own lives. Point out that in the focus structure, the noun phrases look different--one starts with a gerund that looks like a verb and one looks like a conventional noun phrase. Encourage students to choose andconsistently use one form of noun or noun phrase in their sentence for clarity:
      • There are many things I enjoy, like __________ and ___________. (There are many things I enjoy, like reading books and playing with my friends.)
    • Reconstruct:

"What is another way to say this sentence?" (Responses will vary.)
"Are the factors listed in this sentence the factors the author thinks are most important to Rickey's success? How do we know?
"No, the author states his/her opinion about the most important factors in the subsequent sentence, which starts with the conjunction but to signal contrast with this sentence. In this sentence, the author uses the word other to emphasize that there were additional factors besides those the author thinks are most important.
"How does your understanding of this sentence add to your understanding of how a conclusion is clearly related to an opinion?" (Responses will vary.)

    • Practice: "What other supplies are important to include in an emergency kit besides the two you think are most important? How can you use the focus structure like _____ and _____ to modify the opinion statement for the first sentence of your conclusion?"
      • Students can refer to the list of supplies they created in the Mid-Unit 3 Assessment and choose two other important items to include in an emergency kit. Invite students to review their opinion statements and then discuss in pairs how to use the focus structure to help them modify their opinion statement. For heavier support, provide a sentence frame. (Example: There are many supplies that ___________, like _________ and ________, but it is _______ and _______ that are the most important.)
      • Next, invite students to choose a third item from their list to add to their sentence. Remind them that when writing three or more items in a series, they need to use commas to separate them. Invite them to refer to the Using Punctuation in a Series handout from Unit 1, Lesson 10 of this module. For heavier support, provide a sentence frame. (Example: There are many supplies that ___________, like _________, _________, and _________, but it is _______ and _______that are the most important.)

Closing & Assessments

ClosingMeeting Students' Needs

A. Whole Group Critique: Conclusion (20 minutes) 

  • Follow the routine from the Closing of Lesson 4 to guide students through a whole class critique:
    • Focus them on the Working to Become Ethical People anchor chart and review the respect criteria as needed.
    • Invite students to highlight or star the following criteria on their Opinion Writing Checklist:
      • "W.5.1d: I have a conclusion that is clearly related to my opinion."
      • "L.5.1: My words and sentences follow the rules of writing."
      • "L.5.2: My spelling, capitalization, and punctuation are correct."
    • Distribute sticky notes and review the Peer Critique anchor chart as needed.
    • Display the student work you have selected as a model and read aloud the complete essay.
    • Think-Pair-Share:

"What is the opinion here?" (Responses will vary.)
"What are the reasons given for the opinion?" (Responses will vary.)

    • Tell students that now you are going to read just the conclusion and, while you read, they are going to consider the first criterion marked on their Opinion Writing Checklists for today's critique (a conclusion clearly related to the opinion). On their sticky notes, they will record one star and one step relevant to that criterion.
    • Once you have read the conclusion twice, give students a couple of minutes to write their star and step.
    • Begin with stars. Use total participation techniques to select three or four students to share out their stars and use the "comment" function if available and desired. Otherwise, adhere the shared sticky notes in the margin next to the writing.
    • Repeat this process with steps.
  • Tell students you are going to read the entire essay again, and this time they should look and listen for stars and steps relevant to the other two criteria marked on the Opinion Writing Checklist (words and sentences follow the rules of writing, and the correct use of spelling, capitalization, and punctuation). Provide the example that to follow the rules of writing, sentences should be complete; they should have a subject and a verb, and they should make sense.
    • Emphasize that as students have only one sticky note for a star and one for a step left, if they see multiple stars and steps for rules of writing, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation, they need to choose just one star and one step--preferably the most significant star and step they see.
    • Once you have read the essay again, give students a couple of minutes to write their star and step.
    • Begin with stars and use total participation techniques to select students to share out their stars. Mark the stars on the document.
    • Repeat this process with steps.
  • Having participated in the whole group peer critique, invite students to return to their own essays to consider how the stars and steps given to the displayed essay could be used to improve their own work.
  • When 2 minutes remain, use a checking for understanding protocol (e.g., Red Light, Green Light or Thumb-O-Meter) for students to self-assess against the final learning target and how well they demonstrated respect during the peer critique.
  • For students who may need additional support with fine motor skills: Offer large lined index cards on which students can write stars and steps during the whole group critique. (MMAE)
  • For ELLs: (Sentence Starters) Provide sentence starters on sticky notes for students to complete when writing stars and steps for the displayed essay during the whole group critique.
  • For ELLs: (Oral Processing) Before students return to their own essays, invite them to orally process in pairs how they will apply the steps given to the displayed essay to their own conclusion and to share one or two specific changes they will make to their conclusion based on their learning during the whole group critique.

Homework

HomeworkMeeting Students' Needs

A. Accountable Research Reading. Select a prompt and respond in the front of your independent reading journal.

  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support with written expression: (Oral Response) Read aloud, discuss, and respond to your prompt orally, either with a partner, family member, or student from Grades 4 or 6, or record an audio response. (MMAE)

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