5 Best Lessons on Constructed Response
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5 Best Lessons on Constructed Response

Opinion Writing- Grade 5 - Autumn

Autumn the Best Time of the Year Image
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Informational/Opinion Writing
Grade 5 Sample

Feedback for Improvement

Topic: Autumn - my favorite season
Main Reason#1: changes in nature
Main Reason #2: animals prepare 
Main Reason #3: weather changes

What worked:

  • Organization:  This piece includes an introduction, three main reasons and a conclusion. The student clearly understands the organization and author’s purpose of informational/opinion writing.

  • Main Ideas: There are three main reasons, however, the nature of the main reasons is overlapping. See the prescriptive lessons below for additional commentary.

  • Elaboration: There is some evidence of the detail generating questions. In paragraph two the author writes, “The leaves change slowly to red, orange, and yellow. This gives people the chance to gaze at this beautiful scenery for a little over two months.” There are additional sentences that are descriptive in nature, however they are extraneous from the main reason. In some instances, the descriptive detail does not go on to include “Why is it important?” so it reads like a description for the sake of description.

  • Sentence Variety/Word Choice: The student uses interesting sentences. For example, “Therefore autumn offers us a large assortment of positive changes.” Another example, “Thus animals once again are ready for survival!”


Feedback with Prescriptive Lesson:

CHOOSE a Focus Skill: What skill will make the biggest impact for this writer?

Broad Yet Distinct Main Ideas/Reasons:  This piece of writing displayed some overlapping of main reasons. This student would benefit from a deep dive into this skill. When looking at the details that support each main reason, the reader can easily see that there are details that could fit into any one of these main reasons. For example, in the first main reason paragraph the author writes, “Many birds except for crows fly south where it’s a bit warmer in early October.” This detail could easily fit into the paragraph all about how animals prepare. Another example of the overlapping nature of the main reasons is in main reason three where the student writes, “The days get darker and darker as the earth rotates further and further away from the sun.” This detail is really about changes in nature. Because of this overlapping nature, the reader is left to wonder what this piece is really all about. 

All lessons in this section need to be taught with an emphasis on Lesson 3 Pick, List, and Choose. The importance of choosing broad yet distinct main ideas/reasons affects every other part of the writing. Once you’ve established a number of main ideas/reasons through the pick, list, choose process, then it’s imperative that you look at those that could potentially overlap and make sure students choose main ideas/reasons that are distinct from one another. 

  • Section 2 Lesson 3: Pick, List, and Choose
  • Section 2 Lesson 5: Main Ideas - Don't Overlap Them!
  • Section 2 Lesson 6: Main Ideas/Reasons - Broad or Too Narrow?

This student obviously understands the structure of informational/opinion writing but needs direct instruction in choosing main ideas/reasons that are distinct. The fact that there is some powerful word choice, interesting description, and sentence variety is overshadowed by the overlapping nature of the main ideas/reasons.

Recommended Resources


Download “Autumn" Opinion Writing - Grade 5 Sample

Topics:Student Writing SamplesOpinion Writing