Focus Question: How can a reader determine what is fact and what is opinion when reading nonfiction texts?
Display a two-column chart on the board/chart paper/interactive whiteboard. Spread out the Fact and Opinion Cards (L-3-4-3_Fact and Opinion Cards.docx). Give students time to read the cards.
- Choose a fact card and tape it in the left column on the chart. Then choose an opinion card and tape it in the right column on the chart.
- Have students sort the remaining cards and tape them in the appropriate columns on the chart. Ask students how the cards have been sorted. Help students come to the conclusion that one column has facts and the other column has opinions. If students struggle with sorting the cards, provide labels for the columns first, and then proceed with the activity.
- Write Facts at the top of the left column and Opinions at the top of the right column. Encourage students to use the chart for reference throughout the lesson.
- Ask students the difference between a fact and an opinion. Write a definition for each word at the bottom of the chart. (Fact: information that can be proved; Opinion: a belief or conclusion that cannot be proved)
- Highlight words in opinion statements to help students identify opinions. Point out that not all opinion statements will use these or similar words. Explain that “The story is boring” expresses an opinion but does not include an opinion word like the ones below.
I think great very all
I feel words that end in -est too
Give each student an index card with fact written on one side and opinion written on the other side. Explain that you are going to read a passage and after each sentence, students should hold up the side of the card that identifies that sentence. Read aloud the Stingray Passage (L-3-4-3 Stingray Passage.docx). You may wish to choose another piece of text of varying complexity instead. Discuss students’ answers and resolve any disagreements. When students identify a sentence as a fact, ask them to justify their choice. Ask, “How would you prove the sentence is a fact?” If students identify a sentence as an opinion, ask, “What key word shows the sentence is an opinion?” Make note of students who are able to distinguish between facts and opinions.
Discuss why nonfiction texts use facts and opinions. (They add interest to the piece, lend voice to the writing, and help the author persuade the reader.) Read aloud the article again without the opinions. Ask students to discuss whether the article is as interesting without the opinions.
Give each student a few sticky notes and a nonfiction book that is at his/her reading level. Tell students to read their books and choose interesting facts and opinions. Have students write each fact or opinion on a sticky note. Point out that opinions might be more difficult to find and that not all books will have opinions. If their book doesn’t have an opinion, tell students to write on a sticky note an opinion of their own about the book. Similarly, a single sentence can include both a fact and an opinion.
After students have written the facts and opinions, have partners share their answers and determine whether they agree about which statements are facts and which are opinions. Then ask students to add their sticky notes to the appropriate columns on the chart.
Have the class review the chart and decide whether all the answers are in the appropriate columns.
- On the board/interactive whiteboard, list topics related to science, such as mountains, storms, or the solar system. Provide sources to help students obtain facts about the topics. Have students write a nonfiction piece that includes both facts and opinions on one of the topics.
- Challenge students to find nonfiction books that contain both facts and opinions. Have students identify an interesting fact and an interesting opinion in the book and share their findings with the class.