A White Iris!

Just finished some work in a second grade classroom on opinion writing as detailed in the Common Core State Standards.  The classroom teacher and I have done several lessons and this last one was using the popular book Stellaluna by Janelle Cannon.  Students were asked to form an opinion about the book and detail reasons for that opinion through some informal writing.  Naturally, pretty much everyone loved the book…save, one lone oppositional soul.  How grand!  This little boy was in a reading intervention group I worked with last year.  It’s been a thrill to see him blossom AND now, to see him bravely stand up in the crowd and say, “Wait a minute, I think this and here is why!”  What a memorable teaching moment.  Naturally, we made a HUGE deal about his confidence and how this is the sort of thinking we strive for when we develop our own opinions.  Here’s a bit of what wrote:
“I did not like the book.  I don’t think you should read it.  The book is not a good book because the baby gets taken away (from his mother) and they get separated.  I don’t think anyone should read this book because he (Stellaluna) is being threatened to do stuff he doesn’t want to do (by the bird mother).” 
Yes, the thinking could be further developed and detailed.  But, I had to share this today, in honor of this little boy:  the solitary white iris in a crowd of purple!     
(Just FYI:  The lessons we’ve been using were adapted from the Unit on Opinion Writing I posted on my school website.  For info, see my April 22nd post.)
(Also must say, I love Janelle Cannon’s books!)  J


  1. Congratulations! That is a great teaching moment.

  2. Thanks for your note, Anita! The same thing happened yesterday in a first grade classroom. So much of this comes from how we frame and respond to student writing. We have to be so open, thoughtful and encouraging to get students to come forward and share a dissenting opinion (especially in front of their peers). And...it's great when they go well beyond trying to figure out 'what the teacher wants.' We get amazing things when we succeed in freeing up our thinkers! :) -Janiel

  3. Janiel. I'm so glad you share your ideas and knowledge with everyone. I tweaked your fact/opinion lesson for my 2nd graders and am looking forward to additional lessons. I did lesson 1 today. It was fun fascinating to have them come up a definition for opinion after enganing in the candy writing activity. One student responded "Opinion is what you are thinking. It can be different than somebody else." Others added to this idea. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Writing too late. Sorry for the misspelled words! Yikes. :)

  5. Rea,
    Let us know how the second graders' writing and thinking developed over the course of the unit. :)
    Hope to see you this summer!


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