Fact or Opinion?

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SWBAT identify facts from opinions that will later lead students to discovering an author's perspective.

Big Idea

The world of advertisement is a world riddled with opinions. Can the students discover what opinions are used to persuade their life choices?

Advanced Organizer

7 minutes

To move the students in to the direction of fact and opinion, I will have the students look at a statement that is an opinion statement.  "I believe dogs are the best pets."   I will ask the students if this statement can be proven.  This will lead to a discussion on what it means to "prove" something.  A common misconception the students struggle with is determining the difference between claims and actual proof.  The students will often think that just because they can support their opinion, that makes it proof.  I use this opportunity to clarify what the word "proof" means.  I will use the example of a police office coming to their door and them asking for "proof" that he is a cop.  What could the officer show them?  They will respond by saying things such as the officer's badge, his uniform, an I.D.   I will point out all of these items are things we can see-actual evidence. 

Next, I will have the students take the statement about dogs and ask them to write three facts that can be proven.  This will help the student differentiate between fact and opinion.  For example:  dogs can be trained, dogs are used for protection, and dogs come in a variety of breeds.  

Once they have their facts written down, I will ask them to share in a Round Robin.  We can discuss the students facts and why they are facts and how the fact can be proven. 

This will lead us into our instruction on fact and opinion. 


15 minutes

Once the student are familiar and refreshed with the concept of fact and opinions, I want them to see how to use that knowledge to determine how it is used to persuade buyers in advertising.  I am working my way up to author's perspective and in order for students to be able to determine perspective, they need to know how to identify facts from opinions.  Authors will use language to influence their readers just as advertisers will use language to persuade their buyers.  The same tactic is used when authors want to influence their readers' opinion on a subject. 

I will have the students open to the next blank page in their spiral and title it "Face Vs. Opinion".  I am continuing to use the interactive spirals.  I will remind the students to update their Table of Contents.  This helps keep their spirals organized and functional. 

Once the students have updated their table of contents and titled the page, I will display the power point and continue with the notes.  On the first slide, I review the exact definition of fact and opinion.  The students will open their textbooks to page 48 which also has the definitions on the page.   I will have the students copy down what is in red.  The red signifies the key words.  In 6th grade, the students still need some guidance on note taking.  I usually provide the students with guided notes or I will use color to emphasis what should get written down. 

I will review the definitions as they write.  I will also verbally give them some examples and ask students to identify fact or opinion.  This will be a good check for understanding as well as a quick engagement for them to use the notes they just took!  Try to use the signal words for the opinion statements.  "I believe..."  "I think..." "In my opinion..." 

Next, I will go over the two text examples and start the students on identifying fact and opinion within a text.  I will model my thinking and how I mark the text.  The modeling component is key.  It demonstrates what is expected as well as how to think!

Guided Practice

10 minutes

To demonstrate an advertisers use of language to appeal to the buyer, I will display the applesauce label in the power point.  My students have this page in their textbooks.  I will discuss some of the pieces to the label.  I will point out the product name, logo, design, as well as the nutrition label. 

I want to discuss where the students think more facts will be listed and why.  This will get the students thinking about how facts MUST be proven true, so they must be located in a area you can prove.  The label is something that you would want to look appealing and draw in a buyer's attention, so you may use more powerful opinions. 

I will then go through the statements I have pulled out, eliciting answers from the students.  At this point, we are in guided practice and I want to involve the students more in the learning.  I will guide, clarify, prompt, and re teach as needed.  This provides the students a low risk opportunity for learning. 

Once I feel we have worked through the guided practice and answered the questions, I will move the students into working independently on a similar task. 

Independent Practice

15 minutes

Let's get them working! For this engagement, the students will be working in pairs.  I will have them work in pairs to provide support for the students who struggle.  In  my classroom, every student who struggles is paired with a student who has strong skills.  This allows for modeling and support. 

I will start this engagement off by displaying the image of the advertisement onto the white board.  I like to tell the students about how I am always looking for a tasty treat that is healthy and one day when I was walking down the isle, this product caught my eye.   When I picked up the box and began to read the label and nutritional facts, I was persuaded to give the product a try.  I will then ask the students to work in pairs to determine what facts and opinions may have persuaded me to purchase the item.  I have them underline the facts and circle the opinions.  This will help the students differentiate between the two when they are filling out the chart that goes with it. 

Each pair will receive an Independent Practice-Fact vs. Opinion Informational Advertisement.    The students will work in pairs to analyze the label and information provided on the advertisement.  They will complete Independent Practice-Fact vs. Opinion, which is a table similar to the one we did in guided practice. This will help bridge that skill to be more independent.  One shift in Common Core is to release the students to work more independently with complex texts.  In order to help prepare the students for that instructional shift, I will gradually incorporate more independent work time and what I like to call "struggle" time.  I will often tell the students they need to feel challenged and when something is hard, they need to struggle through it for a bit before asking for help or giving up.  The skill set required to master the rigor of Common Core is going to require the students to have to persevere.

This is giving the students a chance to analyze the information and determine fact and opinion.  It's very meaningful because they will see how the facts and opinions can and do influence their decisions every day. 

Once they have finished the activity, they will turn in the completed handout for a grade. 

I will assign extra credit for them tonight to go home and do the exact same thing with an advertisement they locate.  This is an easy way to reinforce the skill at home. 


7 minutes

I will have the students complete the Closure Slip for the day.  This will give the students the chance to process what we learned today as well as express any concerns they have and share their strengths.