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My anchor chart today focuses on facts and opinions. I have to admit that I was surprised to discover how difficult it is for some students to distinguish fact from opinion. My experience indicates that the statements that confuse students most are those opinions that nearly everybody would agree with. Take this sentence, for example:
"Running a marathon is difficult."
Since most people would agree that running a marathon is difficult, some students wrongly assume that it is a fact.
Also, if a student passionately agrees with a statement, they tend to want to make it a fact.
"Dogs make better pets than cats."
Oh, MY! Does that ever lead to some arguments! Because some students think they have stories that can "prove" this statement true, they believe this statement is a fact, and it sure can be difficult to convince them otherwise. It can be challenging to persuade a student that that statement is an opinion, and arguments like "But dogs protect their owners... cats don't" will not work as sufficient proof.
Prior to the fact and opinion lesson, I create this anchor chart:
|Clip art by Krista Wallden.|
We begin by defining the words "fact" and "opinion", and looking at key words and ideas that are often in each type of statement. Yes, I have to explain the quote "Just the facts, Ma'am." as being a phrase made popular by an old television show named Dragnet. (When Detective Joe Friday would question a woman about a crime he was trying to solve, he would sometimes say this phrase.)
After the introduction, I give each student a slip of paper with a statement. Students take turns reading the statements aloud. After each student reads it, he/she states whether he/she believes the statement is a FACT or an OPINION. I also require each student to justify his/her answer. I try to keep all of the students engaged throughout the lesson by instructing them to "give us a thumbs up if you agree, and a thumbs down if you disagree".
Would you like to replicate this anchor chart in your classroom? Or, would you like to print the statements above and have your students work with a partner to sort them? Click on either of these images to download these items for FREE!!