We have been reviewing fact and opinion this week in Reading and I found that many of my students struggled to distinguish between some facts and opinions. We talked about key words to identify opinions and questions you can ask yourself to determine fact or opinion, such as "Can this statement be proven," and "Would everyone agree with this statement?" Alas, they struggled still...
I found some other activities to try to help scaffold student learning about fact and opinion. When introducing the concept, start with a picture of the beach or some other vacation destination. Discuss how the picture is a place where people go on vacation (fact.) Explain how some people think the beach is the best place to go on a vacation (opinion). Allow students to state facts about the picture and list them in a chart. Then have them form their own opinions about the picture and list those in a chart as well.
Another idea to introduce fact and opinion is to pick 5 things people have varying opinions on like broccoli, bedtimes, or colors. Present one fact about the item and ask students if they agree. Tally the result. Present one opinion about the item and ask students if they agree. Tally the result. Hopefully this will help them see that everyone agrees on facts whereas people have differing points of view about opinions. Give students a topic and have them write one fact and one opinion.
You can also do a fact and opinion sort. Type up some facts and opinions in a 2 columned table. Print them out and have students cut them apart. Students can sort them into a fact column and an opinion column.
A fact and opinion matching game can also be fun and engaging. Write some facts and opinions on index cards or print them on paper. I would place them in an envelope for each group. Students work in groups of two and turn all the cards face down in a square. Students take turns flipping over cards to match two facts or two opinions. If a student gets a match, they take another turn. If the cards are not a match, they are turned back over in the same place and the next player takes a turn. The person with the most matches at the end of the game wins!
These are just a few activities to help students understand fact and opinion. What activities do you use in your classroom to teach this concept?