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Persuasive Writing
Grade Level(s): 6-8
By: Judy Sandlin Warden, BS, MA. Eds

Understanding fact and opinion.

Objectives:

  • Students will review the attributes of facts and opinions.
  • Students will recognize facts and opinions.
  • Students will develop facts and opinions to support a thesis statement prompt.

Materials:

Activity 1:
  • Chart Tablet
  • Marker

The chart tablet should be marked off into 2 columns labeled fact and opinion

Activity 2:
  • Large butcher paper sheets (one per cooperative learning group)
  • Markers (one per cooperative learning group)
  • Overhead Projector
  • Teacher Prepared Transparency Strips: (samples)

    Thesis Statement strip:

    School lunch periods need to be longer.

    Facts / Opinions

    Fact and Opinion Statement strips: Eating at a fast rate is not good for the digestive system and can lead to stomach disorder. I believe that eating quickly is a bad habit.

*These need to be clipped apart as students will direct you into which column they should be put during Activity 2.

Each sheet of butcher paper should be preheaded with a thesis statement prompt across the top. The lower portion of the paper should be divided into 2 columns labeled facts and opinions.

Sample thesis statements:
  • A leash law is needed in our community.
  • Our school science textbooks are outdated.
  • Trailers are not effective school classrooms.

*Note: The thesis statements that you create need to be issues that you know your students already care about. This will make the activity more productive.

Plan:

Prewriting Phase:

This activity is an excellent lead into the writing of the persuasive essay. In the prewriting phase of the writing students begin by listing issues that they care or feel very strongly about. Students begin by brainstorming for a list of issues. This may be done in cooperative learning groups or individually. Students narrow their choices and finally chose one topic which they will develop into a thesis statement.

Thesis Development Activities

Activities 1 and 2 below will help your students understand how facts and opinions are used in developing the body of a persuasive essay.

Activity 1: Whole Group Activity

Today we are going to continue working towards the development of our persuasive essays. Facts, as well opinions that support your thesis, will be used to develop the body of the essay. First, let’s quickly review facts and opinions. What makes a fact a fact? What makes an opinion and opinion? Let’s make a list.

(At this point the teacher should call on students and list the attributes in the correct column on the chart.)

Great work class, I now know that you have understanding of the definition of fact and opinion. You really covered that concept well. Let’s see if you can apply this concept to a few statements. I will read a few sentences. Please give me a thumbs up if you think the statement is a fact, and thumbs down if you think the statement is an opinion.

(Samples)
  1. Herbert Hoover helped organize food for war refugees in Europe.
  2. School should begin at 9:00.
  3. Anne Frank was a Jewish girl who lived during the Holocaust.
Activity 2: Cooperative Learning Group Activity

We will now begin a group activity. Managers and group members, listen and watch closely as I model your task.

Teacher Modeling:

Here is my thesis: School lunch periods need to be longer.

(Place your thesis strip on overhead)

Now, here are some thoughts that I have on this issue which I feel very strongly about. Help me put them in the correct category as either a fact or an opinion.

(Use several prepared statements. Read them one at a time allowing the students to tell what type of statement it is and place it in the appropriate category.)

Now your group will be given a butcher paper activity sheet. There will be a sample thesis statement at the top of the page. Below the thesis statement you will find two columns - one labeled facts and the other opinions. Your group is to brainstorm for facts and opinions that you could use in the body of an essay to support the thesis statement. The recorder will list your ideas in the appropriate column. Does anyone have any questions?

(Answer any questions and give further explanation if necessary.)

Pass out butcher paper activity sheets - one per group. You should circulate and monitor the groups giving assistance when needed.

After about 5-8 minutes call time.

Whole Group Sharing:

Select a spokesman from your group to bring your chart to the front of the classroom and share your ideas with the rest of the class. When you come up - read your thesis, state the facts and opinions that your group decided you would use to support your thesis. Be prepared to explain your ideas.

Independent Activity:

Now I would like for you to develop a similar chart independently using your own thesis statement.

Following the development of individual charts, students should be ready to move into the drafting stage of the Writing Process.


 


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