Halloween opinion writing prompt with mentor texts: Are teens too old to go trick or treating?
Nowadays, there is a noticeable difference in how students are expected to write their essays on the standardized writing test. Many standardized tests, such as SAGE in Utah, PARCC in New Jersey, and FSA in Florida, require the students to read/listen to multiple texts and then use information from those passages in their writing.
According to the SAGE rubric, students are expected to write essays that are well-organized (this includes writing strong introductions and conclusions), incorporate text evidence, elaborate on their details (this includes using domain-specific vocabulary), and use proper grammar/spelling. This product provides many resources to help you do just that!
To prepare my students for the SAGE test, I don’t hesitate to get them started. From the very beginning, my students are given writing prompts with mentor texts. We practice annotating the text and then we practice using that information to write a well-organized, 5-paragraph essay. It typically takes me three weeks to get through one writing prompt with the students, especially at the beginning of the year. This product includes a prompt and mentor texts that are great for challenging the students and preparing them for the state test.
On Halloween night, thousands of little children go trick-or-treating each year. They happily go from door to door without any complaints. But what about the teens? Should they go trick-or-treating? Many people think they are too old, while many others think, “Why not?” Write an essay where you give your opinion. Are teens too old to go trick-or-treating? Make sure to use information from both passages in your essay.
THE MENTOR TEXTS
This product comes with a prompt and two unique mentor texts written by me (paired passages.) Both passages are informational texts. The first passage explains why people think teens are too old to go trick-or-treating. The second passage explains why people think teens are not too old to go trick-or-treating. In each passage, the paragraphs are numbered and include a glossary. (Just like the SAGE test in Utah)
This product has quite a few extras! If you buy this product, you will not only be getting a prompt and two mentor texts, but you will also be getting the following: (please click the preview, where I have posted EVERY SINGLE PAGE of this product):
•Day-to-day instructions that explain what I do with the students for 14 days
•4 different rubrics to choose from (I’ve taken information from the SAGE rubric and turned it into one that, I think, is more student-friendly and teacher friendly.)
•Descriptions of each rubric so that you can know which one you want to use (or you can use the rubrics to give you inspiration for making your own rubric.)
•A schedule that outlines what the students will be doing for the next 3 weeks (the rubric and schedule are things you should be showing the students before you begin writing essays.)
•A checklist that the students can use while they write their essays to make sure they are including everything that their essay needs
•Two different graphic organizers to choose from (one is completely blank, while the other one has fill in the blanks to help those who struggle with writing)
•Alternative graphic organizers that are more festive (they write their reasons in a candy corn.)
•Three different types of rough draft paper that you can choose from (the rough draft paper has big spaces in between the lines so that there is plenty of room for you to edit and write comments
•Peer Editing Sheets (I love using these! Instead of having students write all over each others’ papers with red pens, they look for certain criteria and give feedback)
•Sample graphic organizers that have been filled in for both sides
•Sample final drafts for both sides (written by me)
•Decorative lined paper that the students can write their final drafts on
•Decorative title pages (the students can use these as a cover for their final drafts.)
•A note that can be sent home to parents to announce the completion of their essays and the sharing party that will take place in class
At the end of previous school years, many of my students expressed phrases such as, “Mrs. Lott, thank you for teaching me how to write an essay,” “I like writing now,” “I finally get how to write an essay,” and “I’m not as worried to take the SAGE test because I know what I’m doing.” These comments, of course, brought tears to my eyes. That’s what teaching is all about. Then seeing their SAGE scores brought even more tears to my eyes. All students improved and almost all scored between 400-500, which is proficient. I even had several students score over 500!! :)
Please note that this product does not teach students how to write an essay. The intent of this product is to provide an outline and description of what I do for 3 weeks and the resources I use to do it. If you are interested in how I teach my students to write, follow me on TPT and stay tuned. It is my goal to make product(s) that you can use to teach students how to write very soon!
This product is aligned with the following 4th grade writing standards:
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