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Teaching Fact and Opinion in Upper Elementary

October 27, 2022 No Comments
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Identifying facts and opinions is not a new skill for 4th and 5th graders, but it can still stump them! With all the fake news out there, it’s especially important for students to learn how to differentiate between opinion and fact. And that means plenty of practice in reading workshop, even in the upper grades!

But before we dig into fact and opinion activities to try with your students, here are a few things to watch out for…

Why Can Fact and Opinion Be Tricky?

By 3rd and 4th grade, most students have learned that a fact can be proven, while an opinion is a feeling or belief that can change from person to person.

That said, it can be tough for students when opinions are subtle, have less familiar signal words (or none at all), or are buried in really long sentences.

They may also not recognize an opinion when it’s a statement that most people agree with (like “you should wear a seatbelt when you’re in a car”).

This means that students need to learn to think critically about what the text is saying. Reviewing author’s purpose and bias is also helpful.

This fact and opinion anchor chart for fourth grade is perfect for reading notebooks.

It’s worth taking the time to reteach this skill and give students plenty of practice with differentiated activities!

Fact vs. Opinion Activities

After teaching a mini-lesson, I love to have students search for facts and opinions in their reading! I like to do this with independent reading books, nonfiction passages, media messages, and functional text.

It's important for students to practice identifying facts and opinions in passages and other texts

Highlighters or sticky notes make it fun to “hunt” for examples. Fact and opinion graphic organizers are great to use for a quick assessment and for centers, guided reading groups, and homework.

You can also make an anchor chart with a list of opinion signal words they find – plus trickier words like always/never, inferior/superior, probably, likely, usually, most, and should. These can be challenging for any student and especially ELL students.

Interactive Notebook

I love using interactive notebook pages throughout a nonfiction unit. They’re great to help students work through a skill and to come back to later in the year for review.

The templates in my facts and opinions activities pack are easy to cut and use in a short amount of time. There are a few options, including a blank foldable so students can add their own examples and even a little mini-book they can take notes in.

fact and opinion interactive notebooks are great for students to refer back to

Task Cards

Task cards are an awesome activity to review the difference between facts and opinions. They’re great for centers and test prep and even to use as a daily ELA warmup.

These task cards include a printable version as well as digital Boom cards for immediate feedback! They give students practice with stand-alone sentences and short passages for a little more challenge.

Task cards make it easy to review Virginia SOL 4.6g

I also created some cross-curricular task cards to bring this skill into science and social studies lessons. This is a helpful way to support other content areas that require students to use nonfiction reading skills.

Sorting Activity

You knew I’d include a sort! This hands-on fact and opinion sort makes a great center or quick assessment during a nonfiction unit, but it’s also perfect for spiral review as you get closer to spring testing time.

sorting activities make great nonfiction reading centers

Play Games

Sometimes it’s nice to have a game option! Four Corners, 2 Facts and an Opinion (like 2 Truths and a Lie), and I Have, Who Has? all work well. You can even pair flash cards or task cards with board games!

Writing Connection

I also like to have students practice writing facts and opinions. You can get super creative with prompts and they always have a blast! Paragraphs, persuasive letters, and media messages all work really well.

If you need more scaffolding, you can try a partner activity where one student writes facts about a topic and the other writes opinions.

Writing workshop is another place I like to use fact and opinion worksheets

Where to Find These Activities

All of the activities described above (and more) are available in my Fact and Opinions Activities pack. This resource is aimed at 4th grade but also works for 3rd and 5th.

What’s included:

  • 4 anchor charts
  • 5 interactive notebook activities
  • 3 sticky note templates
  • graphic organizer
  • 5 worksheets
  • 4 passages
  • sort
  • 20 task cards (paper and digital Boom Learning™ versions)
  • 30 flash cards
  • guessing game activity

I hope this post gave you some good ideas to help 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders practice identifying facts and opinions. This is such an important life skill and one of my favorite nonfiction lessons to teach!

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