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Is It True?
Students will be able to differentiate between statements of fact and opinion within nonfiction texts.
- Hook your students with a controversial statement of opinion, such as “Recess is the worst time of the day!” or “Broccoli tastes better than chocolate.”
- Ask your students if they agree. Then explain that an opinion is a statement of belief. It says what someone thinks or feels, but not everyone will agree. It usually cannot be proven to be true.
- Then, follow up with a statement of fact, such as “We just returned from recess,” or “Broccoli is healthier than chocolate.”
- Point out that this statement is a fact because it can be proven to be true.
- 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.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher modeling(10 minutes)
- Display the Identifying Fact and Opinion worksheet and read the statements in the top portion aloud. Think aloud as you complete the examples. (E.g., "This says that orcas eat seals, sharks, and squid. That is something that could be proven to be true through observation, so this statement is a fact.")
- As a class, discuss the features of factual statements versus statements of opinion (i.e., statements of fact might have a specific detail, like a number, or can be proven by looking at something; statements of opinion might use words like best, beautiful, or should). Use the completed portion of the worksheet as examples of the features.
- Then, read the passage in the bottom portion aloud, while students follow along silently. As you read, underline statements of opinion and highlight statements of fact.
Guided Practice(10 minutes)
- Display the first page of the Facts & Opinions worksheet and hand out a copy to each student. Read the directions aloud to students as they silently follow along.
- Read and answer two examples on the worksheet as a model for students. Think aloud as you complete the examples. (E.g., "This example says ‘mystery books are the most exciting books to read,’ but not everyone would agree with that. It can't be proven, so I think this is a statement of opinion.")
- Have students work in small groups to discuss and complete the rest of the worksheet. Sit with groups to offer support or mediate conversation as needed. Encourage students to explain their reasoning for their answers within their groups.
Independent working time(10 minutes)
- Hand out the Chocolatey Facts and Opinions worksheet to each student.
- Have students read the passage to themselves, highlighting facts and underlining opinions as they read.
- Circulate and offer support as needed.
- Provide additional examples during guided practice by completing more of the worksheet as a model for the class.
- Provide a partially completed worksheet during independent practice by underlining and highlighting some examples in the text before handing it out.
- Have students apply the skills learned to identify facts and opinions in other texts.
- Have students complete the second page of the Facts & Opinions worksheet so they can practice writing their own examples of facts and opinions.
- Discuss how statements of opinion can be used to sway people’s thoughts and actions. Explore examples in history when this has happened and discuss the consequences that can occur when people mistake opinions for facts.
- 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.
Review and closing(3 minutes)
- Hand out two sticky notes to each student.
- On one, have them write a fact about a topic you’ve been studying in class (i.e., the rock cycle). On the other, have them write a personal opinion about the same topic.
- Invite students to place their sticky notes on a T-chart with columns labeled fact and opinion.