At the fifth grade level, students should be able to write a well constructed, convincing opinion writing sample. According to the Common Core state standards initiative, an effective opinion paper at the fifth grade level should introduce the topic clearly; state the writer’s opinion; provide supporting facts and details in an organized structure; use appropriate opinion and reasoning words; and finish with a concluding statement. Opinion writing assignments that include these components will help strengthen the language arts writing skills needed for junior high and high school writing.
Your class of fifth graders is no stranger to the idea of social media. Ask your students to write about the pros and cons of Facebook or what they think the ideal age is to obtain access to social media. Have them write up their views on cyberbullying, if they really think it’s a problem and how this issue should be resolved if it arises. The final drafts of this writing assignment should produce some interesting opinions and well-thought out arguments.
It’s very likely that most, if not all, of your students have asked, pleaded, begged and bartered with their parents to get the newest, most popular form of technology. Your opinion writing prompt could include “What is the best age to get a cell phone,” “Why are laptops important in the educational setting?” or “What skills can children learn playing video games?” Since these are hot topics at this age level, you won’t receive too much grief when you assign this writing prompt.
Your fifth graders have some strong views on school policy and you may have heard them grumbling about some of the rules from time to time. Opinion writing topics with this scope could be “What are the top five best and worst school rules,” “If I was principal I would change ____ about the school,” “Is the homework load too much, too little or just right” or “Should there be a dress code?” Each opinion must be backed by at least three facts or pieces of evidence to support it.
Although pollution, litter, reusing, recycling and reducing waste can be a discussion for any age, your fifth graders are old enough to grasp the importance of the topic while still holding a naive view of the state of the world. The topic assignment could be “How people can reduce their carbon footprint,” "How can I reduce litter and pollution" or “What are the 20 ways to recycle plastic bottles”. This writing topic encourages your students to delve deeper into the topic and widen their understanding of the impact human have on this planet. Hopefully the effect will go beyond a simple writing assignment and potentially lead to real action on the part of the students.