EL Support Lesson
Signal Words, Facts, and Opinions
Students will be able to differentiate between statements of fact and opinion within nonfiction texts.
Students will be able to differentiate between fact and opinion statements with specific vocabulary using word banks and strategic partnering.
- Write this sentence frame on the board: "I think ____ is the best movie because ____." Call on a volunteer to fill in the blanks.
- Explain to students that this sentence is an example of an opinion, which is a statement or belief that says what someone thinks or feels.
- Call on a second volunteer to fill in the blanks and tell students that these two students have different opinions about what they believe is the best movie.
- Write this sentence frame on the board: "There are ____ students in our class today." Call on a volunteer to fill in the blank.
- Explain to students that this sentence is an example of a fact, which is a statement that can be proven to be true.
- Tell students that today they will be reading texts and determining if they are facts or opinions.
Building academic language
- Tell students that in today's lesson, as they are exploring fact and opinion, they may encounter some new words that they have not learned.
- Divide your students into six groups and distribute one Frayer Model worksheet to each group. Tip: design groups so that there are beginning ELs mixed with advanced ELs.
- Show students the vocabulary cards and assign one new vocabulary word to each group.
- Move through each card one at a time and read aloud the definition to the class. Tell students to write down the definition for their group's vocabulary word.
- Model how to complete the Frayer Model and tell students to work with their groups to complete the remaining sections of their worksheet.
- Call on groups to present their Frayer Models to the class and encourage students in the audience to listen closely to see if they can contribute additional information to their peer's Frayer Models.
- Display the vocabulary cards with the words "fact" and "opinion." Review the definitions for each term and place the cards at the top of a pocket chart. Tell students we will read sentences and sort them based on whether they are a fact or an opinion. Model how to complete this sorting activity by showing the students a sentence card, reading it aloud, and thinking aloud about whether it is a fact or an opinion. Instruct students to look for signal words, which are words that will give clues as to whether a sentence is a fact or an opinion, on each sentence card.
- Assign students a partner and distribute the Sentence Sort: Fact or Opinion? worksheet and tell students they will now sort sentences with their partners. Remind students to use the signal words in each sentence to help them determine if a sentence is a fact or an opinion.
- Call on volunteers to share their answers by placing their sentence cards on the pocket chart under the correct heading.
- Write "Signal Words" on the board with a T-chart with the headings fact and opinion.
- Call on students to identify signal words that they encountered during this sentence sort. Guide students to understand the that fact signal words include numbers, dates, and statistics, while opinion signal words include words such as "prefer," "think," "feel," "should," and "best." Encourage students to add to this list to create a word bank for them to use throughout the lesson.
- Tell students to turn to an elbow partner. One partner will state a fact using a signal word (e.g., "I am 15 years old.") and the other partner will state an opinion (e.g., "Thursdays are the best day of the week.").
- Project and distribute the Seahorse Search: Signal Words, Facts, and Opinions worksheet and read the passage aloud as students follow along.
- Distribute two highlighters to each student and tell them to reread the passage to themselves and circle the signal words. Remind students to use the word bank on the board to assist them.
- Tell students to then highlight sentences containing facts in one color and opinions in another color.
- Pair students with a partner and tell them to do the following:
- Compare their answers.
- Discuss strategies they used to determine if a sentence was a fact or an opinion.
- Discuss the purpose of this text.
- Call on volunteers to share some highlights from their discussions with their partners.
Additional EL adaptations
- Allow students to use bilingual dictionaries throughout the lesson to define unfamiliar words.
- Provide students with access to the Sentence Sort: Fact or Opinion? worksheet in their home language (L1).
- Place students in a teacher-led small group to listen to the text aloud during the discourse level section.
- Pair advanced ELs with beginning ELs and have them summarize the main ideas from this lesson plan and answer any questions in their shared home language (L1).
- Encourage students to write their own fact and opinion sentences after completing the worksheet during the discourse level section.
Formative Assessment of Academic Language(3 minutes)
- Tell students that you will say a sentence aloud and they will hold up one finger if the sentence is a fact and two fingers if the sentence is an opinion.
- Say at least six sentences, one at a time, and monitor students' responses to gauge their level of understanding.
Review and closing(4 minutes)
- Tell students that today we learned about clues, called signal words, that we can look for in sentences to help us determine if the sentence is a fact or an opinion.
- Explain to students that they will be getting more practice with fact and opinion in the future and encourage them to use these clues to help them when they are reading and discussing this topic.
- Play several rounds of telephone by whispering a sentence into the ear of your student and tell them to whisper it to their neighbor. Continue this process until everyone has heard the sentence. Ask the last person to hear the sentence to say what they heard and state whether it is a fact or an opinion.