Opinion Writing About the Causes of the American Revolution

I’m a big believer in writing in all subjects.  When kids formally record their ideas on paper, it helps new concepts stick.  Being self contained gives me the freedom to integrate writing into everything!  We write in science, math, and even social studies. My 5th graders study American history and learn about the causes leading up to the American Revolution.  This makes for the perfect opinion essay prompt!  Students discuss in groups which event most upset the colonists and why.  We then share them in small groups or hold a class debate, depending on how much time we have.

Content Writing Opinion Essay Anchor Chart American Revolution

Here’s the prompt, some sentence starters to support your ELL students, and a definition of ‘opinion essay.’

You can see my Revolutionary Thinking Maps series at The Lesson Deli blog.  There’s a post and anchor chart on the events leading up to the American Revolution to help support this content-area writing assignment.

–The Pensive Sloth


Today I Spotted a Digital Native…Texting an Essay

Laptops are in short supply around school.  It’s the end of the year and everyone is in project mode trying to finish end of the year research and such.  Our final read-aloud for the year is “You’ll Like it Here, Everybody Does” by Ruth White and it’s a mish mash of aliens, adventure, and utopian societies.  What fun!

You'll Like It Here Everybody Does Book Cover

Strange start. Stranger story. A school librarian highly recommended this book to me, and I’m trying it as a read aloud. The kids are loving it!

We are about 2 chapters in, so today I asked students to send me a short essay explaining why they do or do not believe in aliens.  They were to use Google docs and share the essay with me.  The problem was that students had to share computers, so a few asked if they could use their own tech.  Of course!  My mind thought tablets, but that wasn’t what one of my digital natives had in mind.  We all got busy and about 10 minutes later I looked over to see him hunched over his phone texting away, and a lightbulb went off.  The conversation went something like this:

ME:  Are you…texting your essay?

STUDENT: Yep. (without looking up or pausing)

ME: Wouldn’t it be easier to wait to type on the computer after you’ve written it out?

STUDENT:  Nope.  I’m much faster with texting than typing.

ME:  Ok.  Good luck!  Let me know if you change your mind.  Maybe look over it later before submitting?

STUDENT:  (text, text, text,…)

And that’s it.  I’m in my early 30s and consider myself pretty tech-savvy, but I didn’t grow up as one of these digital natives.  It would have driven me crazy to text-type my essay!  For this student, it was natural.  He didn’t miss a beat.  By the time he got a computer, he had already typed the essay and just had to do a few format fixes.  The essay was pretty good, too!

@thepensivesloth text my essay meme 5th grade

What have you spotted your digital natives doing lately?

What have YOU spotted your digital natives doing lately?


–The Pensive Sloth