Writing often comes easiest when you’re describing something you love. Kids may not be particularly excited about a typical writing assignment, but ask them to talk about an adventure they’d like to go on or debate which is the best Pokemon, and their eyes light up. These three thoughtful writing prompts will help motivate your 1st grade students to express their opinions more clearly, creatively and convincingly than ever before—and, best of all, learn to enjoy it!
Prompt #1: “What is your favorite thing about this season, and why?”
Kids love to list their favorite things, whether it’s their favorite colors or the best desserts they’ve ever tasted. For this opinion writing prompt, ask your 1st graders to turn their attention to the world around them and consider what they enjoy about the current season, whether it’s spring, fall, summer or winter. Ask them to choose the thing they love best about it and explain what it is, and why they like it so much. (Hint: If they need a little help getting started, consider providing them with a simple writing strategy like framed sentences to help guide their responses!)
Prompt #2: “Choose an animal you think is amazing, and explain what makes it so special.”
It’s no secret that children love animals. Some prefer cuddling a soft bunny or kitty while others think birds of prey and big bad dinosaurs are where it’s at. Encourage your 1st grade students to learn more about their favorite animals by asking them to write about one animal in particular, highlighting specific facts they’ve come across that they consider proof of their chosen animal’s “wow” factor.
Prompt #3: “Write a letter to the President offering some good advice.”
When you’re young, it can be hard to imagine that you have the power to change the world—which is why it’s so important to keep reminding your students of their own potential to create positive change! They may not be able to run for President of the United States quite yet, but with the right writing prompt, you can get your students thinking critically about what it means to be president—especially what it means to be a good president.
Ask your students to write a letter to the current commander-in-chief offering their very best advice for running the country. This is a subtler form of opinion writing; instead of writing about why they like or dislike something, they’re describing what they believe makes a president good at his or her job. Better yet, it will also encourage them to be more aware of what they could do as citizens (and perhaps even future presidents!) to help build a brighter future for their country.
Expressing Opinions Creatively
For your 1st graders, writing is still relatively new to them, and it’s up to you as their teacher to help them forge a solid foundation on which to build and refine future literacy skills. One of the most important elements of that foundation involves understanding the difference between facts and opinions and the importance of effectively expressing both, not just in writing but in all communication.
The best way to teach opinion writing, of course, is to use prompts and topics that are guaranteed to get your students engaged and even excited to practice their opinion writing. And, by publishing their work in a hardcover classbook, you’ll help them better understand the writing process as a whole, while building up their confidence in themselves and their own beliefs.