Fact and Opinion
1 Mini Lesson
Elicit from students the difference between fact and opinion.Draw on board a line down the middle, naming one section “Fact” and one section “Opinion,” leaving a little bit of room over the words “Fact” and “Opinion” for additional writing.Elicit from students statements of fact and opinion. Ex.: “Barack Obama is currently President of the United States.” And, “I think he is a good president.” Write both sentences on the board in the appropriate column.Tell students that a statement is a fact if you can answer yes to these two questions:
- “Is it true?”
- “Can it be proven?”
Write these two things on the board over the “Fact” column.Tell students a statement is an opinion if you can agree or disagree with it. Write “Agree/Disagree” over the “Opinion” column.Elicit sentences from students and have them come up to the board and put them in either the “Fact” or the “Opinion” column.Give them these examples:
- Everyone loves to watch tv.
- Nobody likes doing the dishes.
- Fire needs oxygen to burn.
- We are now in the month of January. Explain that a fact is an actual thing that exists and is provable, observable, and measurable.Ask students how they might prove that the sentences in the “Fact” column are true. (They might consult encyclopedias, almanacs, maps, dictionaries, or an expert in the field).Explain that an opinion is a personal belief or judgment that is not founded on proof or certainty.Ask students how they might agree or disagree with each of the sentences written on the “Opinion” side of the board.Students will likely point out an exception to each statement of opinion sentence, such as someone who does not like to watch tv or someone who likes doing the dishes.Explain to students that these opinions show personal beliefs, and they cannot be proven by checking a reliable source, asking an expert, or performing an experiment.
How do readers determine facts from opinions? How do readers use evidence to demonstrate support for an opinion about a literary selection? How are facts and opinions gathered from various sources, organized and recorded in a systematic way? How do readers distinguish between facts, opinions, and bias information presented in print and non-print media? How do readers interpret and organize information to support facts and/or opinions?
2 Guided/ Independent / Share
Distribute a two-sided assessment to each student as well as two paragraphs to students for them to read. As we go through the two paragraphs together, we will write the fact or opinion sentence in the appropriate fact or opinion box and students will volunteer to say why they know the details are facts or opinions. Distribute a grade level article and have students complete a new assessment.
The first side of the assessment will be filled out based on the paragraph on the Everglades National Park. The second side of the two-sided assessment will be filled out based upon the paragraph on Thomas Jefferson.
When students are done reading the article, ask students to share their assessments by stating what sentences they found to be factual and what sentences they found to be opinion-based.As sentences are shared, ask the rest of the class for their opinion on whether they agree that that sentence from the article is a fact or an opinion.