Argumentative Opinion Essay

Title

Author’s Name

Paragraph One: Introduction

Three reasons for my opinion

Thesis statement

Paragraph Two: Develops the first reason by giving examples

Topic Sentence

Paragraph Three:

Topic Sentence

Develops the second reason, giving facts and statistics to support the statement.

Paragraph Four:

Topic sentence

Develops third reason, giving an example

Paragraph Five: Conclusion

Restatement of thesis

Summary of reasons

Why You Should Vaccinate Your Kids

sample essay for student use by Trudy Morgan-Cole

Since Edward Jenner introduced the first successful smallpox vaccine by injecting an eight-year-old boy with cowpox pus in 1796, vaccines have been an important part of public health care around the world (“Edward Jenner”). Yet today, many parents choose not to vaccinate their children. Because vaccines are widely supported by research, have few side effects, and have proven successful in halting the spread of disease, I believe it is important that all parents continue to vaccinate their children.

All major health organizations, including the Centres for Disease Control and the World Health Organization, recommend vaccination. The value of vaccination is supported by research from around the world, and researchers are constantly working to improve the safety and effectiveness of vaccines. Epidemiologists, the scientists whose job is to study the outbreak of disease, all recommend vaccination.

Many parents worry about the safety of vaccines. While side effects do occur, they are usually minor, like redness or swelling around the site of an injection. In Canada, only about one in a million doses of vaccine leads to serious side effects (“Fact and Fiction”). The most famous study linking vaccines to autism, one which got many parents worried about vaccination, has been proven false and the doctor who conducted the study has had his medical license taken away (Triggle).

Around the world, increased vaccination leads to better public health. Diseases like smallpox and polio which once killed and disabled millions of people are virtually unknown today thanks to immunization programs. Yet in countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan where the Taliban discourage immunization, rates of polio are on the rise again (Nordland).

If and when you have children, please get them vaccinated. The risks are minimal and you’ll not only be following the best advice of medical science and protecting your own child from disease; you’ll be helping in the fight to eradicate infectious diseases in your community and around the world.

Sources Cited

“Edward Jenner (1749-1823),” BBC History: Historic Figures. http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/jenner_edward.shtml

“Immunization Fact and Fiction,” Public Health Agency of Canada. http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/im/iyc-vve/fic

Nordland, Rod, “After Year of Decline, PolioCases in Afghanistan Triple in a Year.” The New York Times, Jan. 17, 2012. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/18/world/asia/after-years-of-decline-polio-cases-in-afghanistan-rise.html

Triggle, Nick, “MMR Doctor Struck from Register,” BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8695267.stm

It seems everyone has an opinion these days, and most of us don’t aren’t too shy about sharing them!  I’ve even heard some make the claim that opinion is the lowest form of knowledge. Maybe…but that doesn’t change the reality that opinion writing is now included in my curriculum. Today’s post begins a series about opinion writing with a focus on how I taught it to my 4th graders. Before we begin, let’s start with a clear understanding of the differences between opinion, persuasive, and argumentative writing. Are they the same or not?

Persuasive Writing 101

For years my curriculum required students to write a persuasive essay. The focus was on convincing the reader to take an action or accept a belief as true. We worked hard at asking students to write in authentic situations (for example, more recess or a longer lunch period) about which they could also write passionately. I loved to use children’s literature to reinforce how other writers wrote persuasively. My favorite texts were I Wanna Iguana and Dear Mrs. LaRue: Letters from Obedience School.

What’s the Difference, Anyway?

The focus has shifted away from persuasive essays in recent years, however. We now teach students how to write an opinion essay – a small but distinct difference. The graphic below from Write Steps Writing breaks down the differences between what we used to teach students (persuasive), what we teach them now (opinion), and what will be expected of them in the future (argument) as they progress through school.

Another excellent website is The Six Trait Gurus. This post goes into great detail about the differences with LOTS of instructional suggestions for teachers.

Blogging Blitz!

My focus in the next several posts will be about opinion writing – specifically how I taught it to my students. We spent 6 weeks on our unit of study, with a different prompt every week. The first week was an introduction to the genre, then 4 weeks of practice prompts with the (you guessed it) assessment prompt the final week. At the end of this week I’ll be offering one prompt as a free download if your interested. I’m challenging myself to publish a lot more posts than I normally would, but I really enjoyed this unit and have lots of thoughts I want to share. Happy teaching!

Filed Under: WritingTagged With: argumentative writing, curriculum, opinion writing, persuasive writing

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