Have you ever had your students complete an opinion piece but when they turn it in, their facts and examples are all over the place? Yep, me too! That’s why I started teaching strategic lessons that focus only on connecting examples and facts to opinion statements.
Today, I’m going to provide step-by-step guidance and a detailed lesson plan to successfully lead this learning exercise. By following these instructions, your students will be able to connect details and facts in an opinion writing piece with ease. Plus, I’m sharing a free opinion writing unit at the end of the lesson plan that you can use to implement these tips.
Step 1: Introduce the Activity
Explain to the students that they will be working in small groups to create a persuasive argument. Explain that each group should have an opinion statement and three supporting facts that back up their opinion. Make sure to emphasize that the group’s facts must be realistic and verifiable.
Some example opinion statements that the students could work on in small groups include:
- Eating fast food is unhealthy
- Social media can be a distraction at school
- Video games can lead to positive problem-solving skills
Step 2: Discuss & Brainstorm
Have the students discuss and brainstorm possible facts for their opinion statement. Encourage them to think of facts that are relevant, realistic, and verifiable. If a student has an idea but is struggling with something specific, use this as an opportunity to further explain how they can research facts online or in a library.
Here are some examples of facts that students might come up with to support their opinion statements:
- Eating fast food can lead to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
- Social media use in school can lead to lower grades, distraction from class work, and lack of academic engagement.
- Video games can increase creativity, critical thinking skills, and hand-eye coordination.
Step 3: Pair & Share
Once the students have had an opportunity to brainstorm facts independently, provide them with time to discuss their facts. Have them pair up with someone from their group and share their ideas. Then, each group should review each person’s list of facts and help them edit or add onto it as needed in order for the list to be persuasive and convincing.
Examples of feedback that students could give to one another in their small groups include:
- Offering alternative facts if someone’s are incorrect or not convincing.
- Checking the accuracy of each other’s facts and giving suggestions for sources where they can find more information.
- Encouraging one another when an idea is good but needs some more details.
Step 4: Connecting
Once the students have their facts ready, it’s time to connect them to their opinion statement. You can support students with this in a variety of ways. One way that supports many writers is provide sentence frames that help them connect their facts and opinion in one sentence.
You can also have each student in a group take one fact and explain how it is connected to the opinion statement. Once they are done, have the other students review their work and make sure that the fact is properly connected to the opinion statement. They can collaboratively write a paragraph using all of their facts and explanations together.
Here are some sentence frame ideas that you might provide to students:
- Eating fast food is _____________ because it can lead to _____________.
- Social media can be _____________ at school due _____________.
- Video games can _____________ because _____________.
Step 5: Writing & Editing
Finally, after students have practiced this skill in small groups, provide them with a new topic to write about and have students practice writing connecting facts on their own. Encourage them to use the sentence frames if they are having difficulty getting started. After they’ve written their supporting facts, they can turn their ideas into a paragraph.
When students have completed their writing, have them read and edit their work. Make sure that each of their facts is properly connected to their opinion statement and all the evidence is organized in a logical manner.
By following this five-step lesson plan, you will be able to help your 3rd-5th grade students better understand how to connect facts and evidence to their opinion statements. This will give them an important foundation for understanding how to write persuasive pieces of writing in the future.
Ready for more opinion writing practice? Have students write connecting facts and examples for these topics.
- Should students be able to use cell phones in school?
- Should all schools have uniform policies?
- Is homework necessary for learning?
- Are zoos beneficial or harmful?
- Should students get recess every day?
- Are video games a positive pastime activity?
- Should there be more options for healthy school lunches?
- Should students have to take physical education classes?
- Are online classes a good alternative to traditional classroom learning?
- Should standardized testing be required in schools?
Grab this free opinion writing unit and practice teaching your students to match facts & examples with their opinion statements by incorporating the lesson ideas above.