Now that’s a Fact!

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Objective

Students will be able to distinguish the difference between a fact and an opinion and then write an opinion on a given topic.

Big Idea

A fact is something that is true and an opinion is something that tells how I think or feel.

Introduction

15 minutes

Gather students on the rug using a preferred classroom management technique. I like to use my “Stop, look, listen.” The students stop what they are doing, look at me and listen for the direction. I usually preface the direction with, “When I say go…” This reminds the students to listen to the whole direction before moving to follow the directive.

In this case I would say, “When I say go I would like you to clear your space, push in your chair and go take a spot on your dot. Walking feet go.” By saying walking feet I am reminding the students to use walking feet in the classroom to ensure safe movement between areas.

When all of the students are seated on their dot in the rug area I place the globe in front of them and tell them to pack their suitcases because we are going to climb aboard our imaginary plane to head off to the country of New Zealand.

“This will be a long flight so be ready. We will take off from here in Maryland; head over to Los Angles where we will board a big plane to take us across the Pacific Ocean, down into the Southern Hemisphere and down to New Zealand.” As I talk I move my finger around the globe to track the path we will be taking in order to reach our final destination. Once we get to New Zealand on the globe I place a push pin in the globe to mark New Zealand’s location.

“Now when we left Maryland what season was it?”

“Right; it was winter. Well I hope you bought your bathing suit because right now it is the beginning of summer and the sun is shining ready for us to hit the beach.”

“America is in the Northern Hemisphere and New Zealand is in the Southern Hemisphere. This line around the center of the globe is called the equator and it divides the globe into the two hemispheres. Everything on the top half of the globe is the Northern Hemisphere. Everything below the equator is the Southern Hemisphere.”

“So which hemisphere is Maryland in?”

I will select a student to respond or allow a group “shout out.”

“And Maryland is a state of which country?”

I will select a student to respond or allow a group “shout out.”

“So if it is summer in America, what season do you think it will be in New Zealand?”

 

I will select a student to respond to the question or allow a group “shout out.”  

“Now you know I am from New Zealand and most of New Zealand celebrates Christmas just like here in America. There are a few differences for New Zealand children though. I brought in some pictures of what Santa looks like to most New Zealand children.”

I will show the students the pictures I have of Santa.

“Well, what do you think? How is my Santa different to your Santa?”

I will take a few students responses.

“Those were all very good observations. Well today we are going to read a book which will give us some information about New Zealand.”

Activity

45 minutes

“The book for today is called New Zealand ABC’s. It was written by Holly Schroeder and illustrated by Claudia Wolf. This book is an alphabetical exploration of the people, geography, animals, plants, history, and culture of New Zealand.”  

 

During reading I will ask questions of the students to see;

(a)   If they are paying attention, and

(b)    To make connections to previous discussions we have had.

For example, “I notice something in this picture of the children on their way to school. Can anyone tell me what they notice?” (I am hoping to bring up the point that the students are all in uniforms).

“Good observation. So a fact about New Zealand would be that most children wear uniforms when they go to school. Do you think they like to wear uniforms?”

“Why do you think that way?”

“Do you like wearing a uniform?”

The reason I am following this line of questioning is because I want to create a dialog about facts and opinions.

“So a fact would be that children here at the Charter School wear a uniform Monday through Thursday.”

“My opinion would be that I think wearing a uniform is a good idea.”

“A fact is real information that you can prove. You could get the information from a non-fiction book, ask an expert on the topic, or do some fact finding research. An opinion is how somebody thinks or feels. An opinion usually starts with words like, I think…, I feel…, or I like…”   

 

When the book is over I ask the students, “Can anyone tell me a fact they learned about New Zealand?”

I will take two or three responses.

“Those were good facts.”

“Now can anyone tell me their favorite part of the book?”

I will take two or three responses.

“Those were all good opinions.”

 

“Today at integrated work station time we are going to examine one of my favorite foods from New Zealand – the kiwi fruit. Raise your hand if you have ever tried the kiwi fruit before?”

“Okay hands down. Well at my station we are going to sort some facts and opinions about the kiwi fruit, then you can eat a piece of the kiwifruit if you want to and then finally you will write your opinion of the kiwi fruit.”   Fact or Opinion Sorting Pieces

“Does anyone have any questions?”

 

Once I feel the group has a good grasp of the instructions I send the students over one table group at a time to maintain a safe and orderly classroom. It usually sounds like this;

“Table number one let’s go have some fact and opinion fun.

Table number two, you know what to do.

Table number three, hope you were listening to me, and

Table number four, you shouldn’t be here anymore.”

 

Allow the students 15 minutes to work on this activity. Set a visual timer and remind the students to look at the timer so they will use their time wisely. 

Closure

10 minutes

When the time is up I blow two short blasts on my whistle and use the “Stop, look listen” technique mentioned above. “When I say go, I would like you to clean up your space remembering to take care of our things, push in your chair, and use walking feet to go and take a spot on your dot.”

Students know to put completed work in the finished work bin. Any work that is not completed goes into the under construction bin and can be completed throughout the day whenever the student finds he/she has spare time or it will be completed during free choice center time.

 

Once the students are seated I tell them that their exit slip for today is to tell me one fact, or one opinion.

Once a student has told me his/her fact or opinion they are able to use the hand sanitizer and go to get their snack. If a student is unable to give me an answer, they know they can do one of two things.

  1. They can ask a friend to help, or
  2. They can wait until everyone else has gone and then we will work together on coming up with a fact or an opinion. 

Assessment

15 minutes

For this assignment I present the students with some easy to read facts and opinions for them to sort. They will need to read the facts and opinions, cut them out and glue them under the correct heading. Fact or Opinion Sort

I will then check over the students work, attach the checklist and place the work into the student’s working portfolio.  

Extensions

Have the students visit the Zespri Kiwifruit Website. Let them play the game. This may work better as a whole group activity on the SMARTBoard as there is some reading involved.

 

Have students paint the kiwi as a still life using water colors.

 

The science station will make the life cycle of a kiwi fruit to review life cycles of a flowering plant.

Images for Kiwi fruit life cycle

 

The math station will play the game “Fill the Vine.”

Pieces for the Fill the Vine math game