Saturday, April 5, 2014

Opinion Writing - Should Participation Be a Part of Your Grade?

I am finally getting around to sharing this fun writing activity that I did with my class a few weeks ago.

If your class is like mine,
you have a few students that ALWAYS participate,
a few that NEVER participate,
and most of them only participate if they have to!

This topic made for a good discussion 
and writing activity in my class.

We started out by talking about what participation is 
and what it looks like in the classroom.

Then we moved on to talk about whether or not 
participation should be included 
as a part of their grade.

They all pretty much agreed that participation is important,
but were divided in whether or not it should receive a grade.
We made lists of the pros and cons.

We had a lot more pros than cons!

We were ready to begin our week-long writing project.

We covered quite a few standards with this activity!

They started by listing as many pros and cons as they could think of.
(They were also able to refer to our anchor charts.)

From there they chose which side they favored and identified their 3 best reasons.

For each of their reasons, they added at least one supporting detail.

Next they came up with a topic sentence and a conclusion or wrap-up sentence.

Finally they worked on creating a grabber or clincher for their paragraph.

Now they were ready to put it all together and write their paragraphs.

After they had written their drafts, the used this revision checklist to help improve their writing.

We had some really great discussion throughout the week, and they did a great job on their writing.
Here are just a few examples...

I had fun creating the unit, and the kids enjoyed it too!
The file includes lesson plans, all student work pages, and a grading rubric.

How about you?
Do you grade participation in your class?
I will send copy of the unit to the first 3 people to comment below about how you encourage participation in your class.
Don't forget to leave your email so I can send you the file!
If you missed the freebie, you can purchase the file here or by clicking on the images.

And don't forget to check out the awesome anniversary deals at Educents this month!
Lots of great deals and BIG giveaway!
(But hey, if YOU don't enter, that improves MYchances of winning!)


  1. Though I'm only a sub right now, I like to encourage participation by providing incentives for those who do participate. Whoever gives me an answer can line up first, or sit in the teacher's chair, or anything else to make them work on providing answers!

  2. Through our PBIS we have stickers that show: respect, ready, responsible, and proud. The kids do anything for a sticker because their name goes into a school wide raffled for bigger prizes! It really helps participation! Love your lesson! :)

  3. I work hard to make sure our classroom is a place where students feel free to make that means we don't laugh at wrong answers. I always tell the class, "At least he tried." (Which is more than some of the biggest gigglers do.)

    This is a very thorough approach to the debate, and hopefully, it will get some students thinking about increased participation, too!

    tokyoshoes at hotmail dot com

  4. Is this available for purchase anywhere? This is just what I need for opinion writing practice and also to encourage my kiddos to reflect on their own individual participation.

    1. Ursula,
      Here's the link...

  5. Hoping I can use the link you sent Ursula to. this looks terrific and definitely would l love a copy. What a terrific idea. Thanks

  6. This would be a great conversation to have at the beginning of the school year. Thanks for sharing!

    Sara :)
    The Colorful Apple


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