The quote above is her way of explaining what an opinion is to her second grade classmates. She continues, “I mean everybody has opinions—everybody! And what could be more fun than to write what you think about an important topic? Now that’s power!”
Stella learns from her teacher, Ms. Merkley, she needs reasons to support her opinion, "You can't just say what you want, or what bugs you, or what you'd like to change. To write a good opinion, you have to have reasons to support it. Reasons!" She ponders aloud and comes up with two reasons for her opinion, one of which is: "I get grumpy when I'm hungry. I mean grumpy like snappy at my friends or classmates. "Don't touch that!" "I know! I know!" "Stop making that noise!" They call this low blood sugar. Does that ever happen to you?"
Naturally, like so many of our writers do, Stella prematurely thinks she's done at this point. But, then Ms. Merkely instructs the class on closings. Now, Stella gets really stuck. She can't think of a closing that fits and sounds like her. She tries multiple endings (all of which are shown), thinks and rethinks, even on the school bus and at home that night.
Finally, she perseveres and comes up with something she likes, "To conclude, morning snacks are important! We should bring them back for second graders. When our stomachs are happy, we're happy kids who can learn better because we can concentrate. And, that's what school is all about." "Yes! I like that one! It sounds like me, and it reminds everyone why my opinion deserves attention. I'm glad I tried writing a few different endings, or I never would have come up with that one."
Stella decides to "do what good writers do" and reread her writing to "make sure it says what I want it to say and sounds like I want it to sound." Her draft and revisions/edits are shown in the book and she challenges readers to find some of her changes.
Lastly, and this is something I ADORE about these books, the writing concludes with purpose. (When students' reading, writing, and conversations have real purpose, engagement and learning outcomes increase exponentially.) Stella's opinion is shared with the principal who agrees the policy on student snacks should be changed: "Once he read it, he agreed! We get to start bringing morning snack next week! See, I told you opinions are powerful. Who knows what we opinion writers might change? The world needs us!"
This week, I shared a Periscope broadcast to highlight the #Stellawrites series. You can view the broadcast here.
Stella Writes An Opinion is featured during the first ten minutes. Stella and Class: Information Experts, the book about informative writing, is featured in the second half of the broadcast.
If you'd like to learn more about Stella, here are some related posts:
How the Stella Writes series came to be
The Stella Writes Website with a host of instructional ideas for using the books
Model and Celebrate the Writing Struggle with Stella
Stella Writes Poster Set (Note now a 5th poster is available)
Thanks for visiting! Stay tuned for more great things from Stella!
P.S. Here's a little recent praise for Stella. The books were featured on the Two Writing Teachers blog. You can view the post here.
-"Really liking Stella's "can do" attitude! That's what I try to instill into all my students."
-"A heroine who inspires other kids to write...Stella sounds like someone I want to introduce to teachers and students alike. Excited to see the books!"
-"What an amazing idea! I can't believe we haven't seen anything like this before. I love using mentor texts as a model with students, but this offers a new way."