What is the Fact or Opinion Strategy?

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WhatistheFactorOpinionStrategyThe Fact or Opinion strategy teaches students to differentiate a fact from an opinion. This strategy is valuable to a student’s learning process as it facilitates evidence based learning and encourages them to be analytical in their reading and listening skills.

Defining Fact and Opinion:
Students are taught that “a fact” is an “actuality” i.e. an existence of an object, occurrence of an event or information which is objective. Facts are those statements that are proved by the presence of evidence. On the other hand “an opinion” can be a general or individual view, belief or impression. These statements are identified by the presence of words such as, “feel, believe, think.”

Fact or Opinion activities:
These are a few simple, quick and easy to implement activities that will encourage the use of this strategy within the classroom.

Teaching the strategy:

  • Identify the statement: On the whiteboard draw two columns, one with sentences (around ten) and another for writing the word ‘fact’ or ‘opinion’. Students have to determine whether ‘fact’ or ‘opinion’ is written next to each sentence.
  • State a fact or an opinion: Make some chits with the words ‘fact’ or ‘opinion’ written on them. Ask each student to come up to the teacher’s table, pick a chit and make a statement according to the word on the chit.
  • True or false: A sentence is displayed as fact or an opinion. Call out students randomly, to determine whether the sentence is true or false with explanation.
  • Gathering evidence: Give a worksheet containing sentences related to a topic that was covered in class. Students are instructed to verify if the sentences are fact or opinions, by finding evidence from their textbooks. They should write down the evidence next to each statement. After completion, students are asked to compare their answers with their neighbor.

In between lectures:

  • Fact or opinion corners: Sign boards with the word ‘fact’ and ‘opinion’ are placed in two corners of the classroom. Students have to assemble in the middle. After reading out a sentence, they are instructed to stand in the appropriate corner based on their reasoning. Students who do not know the answer must continue standing in the middle. A student from each group can explain their thought of reasoning. This activity helps teachers clear any doubts and is also provides good feedback regarding the student’s comprehension of the topic.
  • Sit or stand: Students are instructed to stand up when a fact is stated and continue sitting when it is an opinion. It helps teachers to easily identify those students who have not understood the statement.

Closure activity:

As a closure activity, you can prepare a text material, content from a newspaper or even an audio recording. Students are grouped together and asked to read or listen to the material and to categorize sentences as facts or opinions with explanations for each.

Discuss here: What are some ways you teach students to classify content as facts or opinions?

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