Opinion Writing: Just Plain Vanilla!

The following lessons came from a wonderful conference on the MU campus about a year ago.  A fellow teacher and I learned oodles of information about opinion, persuasive, and argumentative writing.


“Just Plain Vanilla!!!!”  Intro to Opinion Writing 

Day 1:  Determine your favorite ice cream.  Mine is Vanilla!  Oh so many childhood memories…..Unfortunately thanks to my dad’s incessant desire to goad me, nearly all ice cream occasions resulted in a near catastrophic meltdown.  I only wanted, “JUST PLAIN VANILLA!!!!”

Once you know your favorite flavor jot it down at the top of the first clean sheet of paper in your writing journal.  Next, create your own ice cream bowl like the one below under where you wrote the flavor.

ice cream

Inside the bowl write all the reasons it might be your favorite ice cream.  It could be the taste or include special memories like mine.

Taking these ideas from your journal “write in the air” with a partner.  Next, begin writing your flash draft using the Opinion Essay Template.  Don’t forget to color code your “Painted Essay”

Student Examples

Cappuccino Fudge



My favorite ice cream is cappuccino fudge.  It makes a dark rainy day a bright sunny day.

Reason 1:  Cappuccino ice cream is the best flavor because it taste good with hot fudge.
    Evidence 1:  With hot fudge it gives it more flavor.     Evidence 2:  With more flavor it makes more people want to eat it.     Evidence 3:  If everyone tries it no one could rub it in anyones face.
Reason 2: Lets say your parents do not let you have coffee.  As long as they did not say you cannot have coffee flavored ice cream you can have some.  Taste it and weep.
    Evidence 1: Well one reason is coffee flavored ice cream does not have actual coffee in it.     Evidence 2:  It might taste like coffee, but one thing you should know is the ice cream does not keep you awake at night.     Evidence 3: Last time I had cappuccino ice cream I fell asleep in the car so you will not have to worry about staying up all night.
Reason 3: It is like heaven on the tip of your tongue.
    Evidence 1:  It has fudge on it so of course it would be delicious.     Evidence 2:  It has a light creamy texture that makes you want more.     Evidence 3: The aroma is light, but also very strong.  They should make it a candle.
Conclusion:  Now is this enough to make you want some, because if it is not then I might as well give up on you.  If you do try it make sure you brought extra money.

Banana Ice Cream is the BEST!!!!


As everyone knows banana ice cream is the best ice cream in the world. If you think it’s horrible, I’m sorry but you deserve to go to jail. By the time I’m done talking, your mouth will be watering for banana ice cream.

Reason 1: Every single 4th of July my mom gets banana ice cream.
    Evidence 1: She would call “ice cream time!!!” and all the kids would sprint to the house like a cheetah.
    Evidence 2: Most the time people will be asking for seconds but there was none because people had already finished it off.     Evidence 3: Next time my mom needs to make 2 batches of it.
Reason 2: It’s all homemade
    Evidence 1: She buys Vanilla ice cream and lots of bananas at the store, then cuts them all up and tosses them into the mixer     Evidence 2: The mixer is so loud it gives me a headache. Evidence 3: But its worth it for the banana ice cream.

    Reason 3: Chunks of bananas
  Evidence 1: its delicious with the chunks of banana against the creamy ice cream     Evidence 2:


Day 2:  Elaboration is the hardest part!  Use the following suggestions to help you develop your elaboration and micro stories.

  • I think
  • I feel
  • I like…./I don’t like
  • My favorite part
  • My favorite thing
  • This was interesting
  • This was sad
  • The book is so…
  • Because…
  • When…
  • The reason…
  • One reason…
  • I suggest…
  • I would recommend…

Use the following starters to push your thinking

  • In other words…
  • That is…
  • The important thing about this is…
  • As I’m saying this, I’m realizing…
  • This is giving me the idea that…
  • An example of this is…
  • This shows…
  • Another example of this is…
  • This connects to…

Find a partner.  One is the teacher, one is the student.  The “student” will write in the air, stating clam and reasons.  The “teacher” uses the prompts to help develop reasons through conversation.

Mentor Text Options:

  • Dear Mrs. LaRue:  Letters from Obedience School
  • Click, Clack, Moo:  Cows that Type
  • Duck for President
  • The True Story of the Three Little Pigs


W.5.1: Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.

State an opinion, and create an organizational structure in which ideas are logically grouped to support the writer’s purpose.

  • Provide logically ordered reasons that are supported by facts and details.
  • Link opinion and reasons using words, phrases, and clauses.
  • Provide a concluding statement or section related to the opinion presented.



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