Generating Topics for Opinion Writing

Do your students have a tough time coming up with writing topics?? I love to give my students choice when writing, but I always find that one of their biggest struggles is deciding what to write about. At the beginning of any of my writing units, one of the very first lessons I teach is on generating writing topics. For OPINION WRITING, I thought I would share some of the categories I discuss with students when generating opinion writing topics of their own.

Favorite Things

For students who are new to Opinion Writing, writing about their favorite things is a good place to start. Each student has their own special interests, and we all know that they hold very strong opinions about their favorite things. I ask students to create a list of all of their favorite things, and provide topic suggestions, such as favorite sport, food, book, movie, school subject, and animal. Students can add any of their favorites to their lists, and after discussions with their classmates these lists continue to grow. One of my most successful opinion writing assignments was when I asked students to write about their favorite restaurants. They were able to support their opinions with so many great reasons and examples.

This or That

Another great starting point for beginning opinion writers is using THIS or THAT prompts. This is when you give students two topics to choose from and ask them to defend their choices. Some topics might include Cats or Dogs, Books or Movies, Fiction or Non-Fiction. These types of topics make great discussions for debate, even if students never use them to write an opinion essay. Having these discussions helps them to build language and strategies that will help them when writing about their opinions. Would You Rather prompts also work well for these types of opinion discussions.

Time for Change

As students gain more experience with opinion writing, their topics should become a bit more sophisticated. One thing I like students to think about is changes they would like to see in their world. They could be as simple as changes they would like to see in their classroom or school. Maybe there is a classroom rule they would like to see implemented or new technology that they would like to see in their school. They could also go bit further and think about issues that would make their communities and the world a better place.

Of Great Importance 

A great way to implement opinion writing in the content areas is for students to think and write about things that were important throughout history and in our lives today. In Social Studies or History, students might write about the most influential historical figure or a historical event that they believe helped to shape our world. In Science they might write about an invention or scientific discovery that they think most changed the world we live in today.

Things to Consider

Whenever students are selecting a topic for opinion writing, there are a couple things that should be taken into consideration. First, students need to choose a topic that they will be able to defend or support with strong reasons and examples. Students will also have to be able to research and find information on their topics, especially as those topics become more sophisticated. As students choose topics for writing, I would highly suggest conferencing with them to make sure they have selected well-developed topics.

I have provided this FREE DOWNLOAD on Opinion Writing Topics straight from my Opinion Writing Unit. In this unit, these are the pages that I have students use to record their opinion topics. You can click the pics below to download!
If you're looking for more lessons and ideas on opinion writing, click HERE to take a closer look at my Opinion Writing Unit.