Fact vs. Opinion in Nonfiction Texts
Students will be able to differentiate between statements of fact and opinion.
- Display a piece of chart paper and divide it into two columns.
- Label one column "facts" and the other "opinions."
- Choose a topic that your students are familiar with, like dogs.
- Ask students to share facts they know about dogs (i.e., dogs are omnivores, there are many different breeds of dogs). Prompt students as needed with questions like, "What do dogs eat?" or "What is something that is true for all dogs?"
- Invite students to share their personal opinions about dogs (i.e., dogs are cute; dogs are the best pet). Prompt students with questions like, "What do you think about dogs?" or "How do dogs make you feel?"
- Explain that today we will be looking for facts and opinions in nonfiction texts.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher modeling(10 minutes)
- Show students an introductory video about facts and opinions, like the videoo "Fact or Opinion for Kids" (see related media).
- Review the definition of fact (something that is always true; facts can be proven) and opinion (what you think or feel; opinions cannot be proven) and write each definition on the board for student reference.
- Explain that there is a place for both fact and opinion, but it is important to know the difference. If we mistake an opinion for fact, we could be swayed to believe that someone’s personal opinion is provable and true.
Guided Practice(15 minutes)
- Use a document camera to display the first page of the worksheet Facts & Opinions. Read the first five statements aloud and model your thinking aloud as you answer each one.
- Continue reading the statements aloud, but ask students to determine whether each statement is a fact or opinion. Have them turn to an elbow partner to discuss each one, then signal students to shout out their answer ("fact" or "opinion").
- Display the second page of the worksheet and model how to write a factual statement (i.e., "Hot weather is common in desert regions."). Then model an opinion statement (i.e., "Fishing is really fun.").
- Have students talk with a partner to come up with statements for the rest of the topics on the page. Call on a student to share their statement for each topic and record their answers on the displayed worksheet.
- Display the text portion of the Chocolatey Facts & Opinions worksheet and read it aloud as students follow along.
- Ask students to talk with a partner or small group to come up with three facts and three opinions they heard in the read-aloud. (Note: keep the text displayed for student reference.)
- Hand out a sheet of unlined paper to each small group and instruct them to make a poster with the title "Chocolate." Tell them to include three facts they learned from the text and three of their own opinions about chocolate. (Note: if time allows, have students add illustrations to their posters.)
Independent working time(10 minutes)
- Hand out the worksheet Identifying Fact and Opinion. (Note: students will need highlighters or yellow pencils for this activity.)
- Instruct students to complete the worksheet independently.
- Circulate and offer support as needed.
- Offer additional practice with a basic worksheet (see optional materials).
- Play a "cross the line" game. Lay a piece of masking tape on the floor to make a line. Designate one side as "fact" and the other as "opinion." Say a statement aloud and tell students to stand on the side of the line that shows whether the statement is fact or opinion. Include some challenging statements to encourage discussion (i.e., war is always wrong; a hammer is the best tool to use when driving nails; there is too much unemployment in the United States).
- Say several statements aloud that are examples of facts or opinions (i.e., "Popcorn smells delicious," ""Ice cream contains a lot of sugar," "Our classroom is too hot," "There are 32 students in our class").
- After each statement, have students make a motion to show whether they think it is a fact or opinion (i.e., tap your head if you think it’s a fact; tap your heart if you think it’s an opinion).
- After you have made several statements, invite students to make statements and have the rest of the class determine if it is a fact or opinion.
- Observe student responses to gauge understanding.
Review and closing(10 minutes)
- Guide students through a "snowstorm" closing activity:
- Hand out small pieces of scratch paper to each student.
- Have students sit in a large circle and divide the class in half with an "invisible line" across the circle (Note: students should bring their pencils to the circle.)
- Tell half of the class to write a factual statement about any topic on their piece of scratch paper.
- Tell the other half to write an opinion statement about any topic on their piece of scratch paper.
- Instruct students to wad up their paper and throw it into the middle of the circle. This is the "snowstorm."
- Invite students to pick up a piece of crumpled paper from the pile.
- Go around the circle and have each student read the statement on their paper aloud and say whether it is a fact or opinion.