3rd-grade class writes honest Yelp reviews to sharpen opinion writing skills
When it came time for a class of third-grade students to try their hand at opinion writing their teacher found the perfect forum to practice with "real world" impact.
Taryn Snyder, a third-grade teacher at Boston Teachers Union School, told ABC News that according to the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks, in third-grade students need to be able to write an opinion piece on a topic and support their opinion with reasons.
Her idea? She instructed her students to write Yelp reviews from restaurants they've been to around the area.
"I started printing consumer reviews for the toys and games that they play with, movie reviews for movies they have seen or want to see, and restaurant reviews of the places they've been to in our neighborhood," Snyder said. "Then, I decided it'd be fun to write our own restaurant reviews and publish them. I thought it'd be cool for the kids to be able to see their own writing published in the 'real world.'" Some of the student reviews are not only spot on, but fun to read.
"I like the 99 because they have great food… The macaroni and cheese is delightful. It is always hot and cheesy," he said describing the dish. "Are you a big baseball fan? If so, when the Red Sox win kids eat for free. Great news grown-ups, you don't have to pay!"
The now 10-year-old's mom Audrey White told ABC News this was a fun project for the kids that "made them really think about descriptive language."
"They describe things you probably wouldn’t see in other Yelp reviews," she said laughing about her son's mention of specials for parents and seating amenities. "I thought it was just a brilliant way to get kids to think and write critically."
She said Quentin was "really excited" about having his work published online for others to see it and said his classmates enjoyed reading each others' reviews.
Another young student, Freddy, described in detail his favorite menu items, like "the big, juicy burgers" at TGI Friday's.
"The chocolate milk is soo cold like a wave of water," he wrote in his review. "The pizza there is so cheesy that your brain might EXPLODE! You should go TGI Friday's because it's the greatest."
Snyder, 33, said her students feel like experts on their favorite restaurants and "have a lot of valid opinions to share about the places they go."
She went on to explain, "I think it's nice for them to feel as though their voices and opinions are being listened to and valued by people in their community. A couple of times, my kids have gotten messages back from a restaurant manager or a gift card for a free meal. They really love that! It also reinforces that people are reading their writing and taking it seriously."
Another enthusiastic student reviewer, Ava, wrote about her favorite restaurant that serves "divine" macaroni and cheese and complimented the waiter's "cheery smile."
Snyder first started the writing project in 2015 and her newest class of students will be writing up their own reviews this spring.
Auden, a student in Snyder's class last year, wrote about Pleasant Cafe and said he appreciates the convenience factor in addition to the food and ambiance.
"The last reason why the Pleasant Cafe is my favorite restaurant is because it's very convenient. Not a lot people go there because it is not super famous, so it is never too busy to get a table. There is a parking lot which makes driving and parking there easy," Auden wrote.
Snyder, who has been teaching for eight years, said she recognizes that the assignment may seem like a tall order for kids to take on, but the students continue to make her proud.
"It's not an easy task for a third-grader to produce a piece of writing that's several paragraphs long and then to stick with it for a few weeks as they work to revise and edit before it's ready to be published," Snyder said. "They work so hard and continue to exceed my expectations year after year."
Yelp did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.