Getting kids to write is a whole lot easier when you have a great prompt. If you’ve ever had a hard time coming up with 2nd grade opinion writing prompts that actually excite your students and get them eager to start writing, then read on! These are fun and unique writing activities that are the perfect extensions to reading Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.
Alexander and 2nd Grade Opinion Writing
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is a favorite with kids. Perfect for teaching cause and effect, it also has endless opportunities for teaching conflict resolution, problem solving, and social skills. Every students can relate to all the things that make Alexander’s day a bad one and our favorite line is always, “I think I’ll move to Australia”.
But will moving to Australia solve Alexander’s problems? It’s one of those loaded with teachable moments type questions that set the stage for some passionate opinion writing. In this post, I’ll share activities from my classroom that started with a poll, turned into a prompt, and inspired a class movie.
Take a Poll
After reading Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, we had a class discussion about Alexander. I asked my students do discuss with each other, “Why Australia?” and “What would moving solve?”. Everybody had a very different opinion and some very good reasons to back them up. Next, we took a poll.
Students wrote their reasons on sticky notes and added them to our chart. These later became the opinion statements for their writing.
Using graphic organizers to plan their writing came next. Students brainstormed lots of reasons they chose yes or no and wrote them in a bubble map.
They chose three of their favorite reasons to include in their writing.
Color Code and Model the Process
Since this was only our second ever opinion writing activity, my students still needed a lot of modeling. I projected the planning pages and modeled each step in an I Do, You Do format. I then had them color code the boxes on their organizer.
Some of my students could take it from there independently, while others needed guidance with how to turn notes on a planning page into sentences and paragraphs.
Following the color coding, I transferred information from my planning page. I color coded each part on the chart paper to demonstrate transferring an idea from the organizer and turning it into a sentence. I first did mine, then students did theirs. We divided this process into two short sessions.
Fun Ways to Publish Opinion Writing
Once students completed their writing and illustration, it was time to publish. I’ve done this a couple of different ways. One year, we displayed them with our polling chart and a timeline we made to retell and sequence the story.
Another year, students published their writing with Alexander holding the paper.
Source: Alexander Book Study
Make a Class Movie
The opinions my second graders voiced about Alexander were so thoughtful and eye-opening, they inspired us to make a class movie. We used the Chatter Pix app and some pictures I took of illustrations in the book. Students then chose a picture to use and recorded their opinions. I uploaded each file into iMove, added some music, and that’s it!
Making a class movie like this is super easy and we LOVE how it turned out!
Teaching Conflict Resolution & Social Skills
Besides opinion writing, this book lends itself well to teaching social skills, conflict resolution, and how to be a good friend. Opportunities abound for class discussion about how to respond to sibling conflict, disappointment, expected behavior in public places, and hurt feelings. It offers lots of opportunities for students to make personal connections to times when they have felt as Alexander does and gives context for discussing how Alexander’s reactions impacted others around him.
Have students find situations and events from Alexander’s day that he could have handled differently. Ask them to talk about ways Alexander could have reacted more appropriately or done things differently to achieve a better outcome and avoid some of his problems.
We used social skills discussion cards and opinion writing prompts from my Alexander Book Study. The cards and journal prompts support the teaching of social skills and help students be able to identify how big a problem really is (and if it’s worth moving to Australia over), how to appropriately respond, and how to behave in similar situations. The illustrations offer opportunities for discussion as well, to interpret body language and how this can give us a clue to how someone is feeling.
Source: Alexander Book Study
CLICK HERE to see the entire, week long Alexander book study with 5-lesson teaching Power Point.
I hope you’ve found some opinion writing prompts and activities you can use with your students. Be sure to pin this for later so you have it when you plan!
For more writing ideas, freebies, and Alexander book activities be sure to check out these posts.