Professional Learning Podcast Treasury Lesson Plans Personal Workspace Site Search ALEXville Learning Assets Home Courses of Study
Home  |    Add Bookmark   |   Print Friendly   |   Rate This Lesson Plan   |   Suggest a Variation

Lesson Plan

You may save this lesson plan to your hard drive as an html file by selecting "File", then "Save As" from your browser's pull down menu. The file name extension must be .html.

This lesson provided by:
Author:Natasha Flowers
System: Leeds City
School: Leeds City Board of Education
Lesson Plan ID: 33141

Having Your Say: Opinion Writing with Text Based Support


A reading and writing connection lesson designed to help elementary students learn about writing opinions based on textual evidence. This lesson is designed to link social studies with the literacy block.

This is a College- and Career-Ready Standards showcase lesson plan.


Content Standard(s):
ELA2015(6) 11. Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text. [RI.6.1]
ELA2015(6) 21. Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence. [W.6.1]
SS2010(6) United States Studies: The Industrial Revolution to the Present9. Critique major social and cultural changes in the United States since World War II.
SS2010(6) United States Studies: The Industrial Revolution to the Present12. Evaluate significant political issues and policies of presidential administrations since World War II.
Local/National Standards:  
Primary Learning Objective(s):

Apply knowledge of fact and opinion to reading informational text.

Read text closely to select evidence that answers the essential question.

Compose a response to the essentail question(s) which includes original commentary supported by facts from the text


Additional Learning Objective(s):

Identify key figures and events in the modern U.S. Civil Rights Movement.

Approximate Duration of the Lesson: 31 to 60 Minutes
Materials and Equipment:

Picture Books on Civil Rights Movement this lesson uses Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney.

Sticky notes for students to record thinking/mark pages

Commentary Box graphic organizer

Chart paper and markers

Technology Resources Needed:

Document camera, interactive whiteboard (optional)



  • Students should already know the difference between fact and opinion to the degree they can consistently distinguish between the two in a variety of texts.
  • Students should also be somewhat familiar with drafting or developing a piece of writing
  • Students should have experience working collaboratively with partners.

  1. Teacher should read text aloud to students prior to the lesson (preferably the day before) in order to familiarize them with the context.
  2. Teachers should be prepared to model and think aloud in front of their students.
  3. Teacher should read the text prior to teaching the lesson to mark the appropriate pages in the text where the leaders' actions are highlighted or featured.
    Four Friends – sit –in
    Dr. King- speech
    President Johnson – signing Civil Rights Acts
  4. Teacher should prepare anchor charts or sheets (chart paper, document camera, or overhead projector) with the following information on separate charts:
    1. Essential question
    2. Definitions and examples of fact and opinion.
    3. Sample fact and opinion sentences (not labeled) for assessing students
    4. Definition and example of concrete detail (facts found directly in the text)
    5. Definition and example of commentary (opinion(s) about the fact(s))

Before: Activating Prior Knowledge Time 5-8 minutes

1. Yesterday we met three leaders in the book Sit-In How Four Friends Stood Up By Sitting Down: the four friends, Dr. King, and President Johnson. Each of these leaders made an important contribution to the Civil Rights Movement. Today, we are going to read and think so we can answer this (Essential) question: which leader’s action was most impactful?
Display the essential question (chart paper, document camera, or overhead projector).

2. Say: in order to answer this question, we will have to give our opinion, but that opinion must be based on the facts we will read in the text.

3. Ask for volunteers to read the anchor chart /sheet with the definition of opinion and fact written on it.

4. Review the examples on the chart.

5. Next show students the three sentences you prepared (all three should at least be a fact or opinion) but did NOT label as fact or opinion.

6. Quickly assess students understanding of fact and opinion by asking students to give a thumbs up for fact and thumbs down for opinion to show understanding of the concept. 

During: Engaging with the Text Time: 40 miuntes

Transition – Now that we all remember the difference between fact and opinion let’s see how knowing this will help us answer our essential question.

7. Display the essential question: Which leader’s actions- the Four Friends, Dr. King, or President Johnson- was the most impactful? The answer to this question is not located in the book. In order to answer it we must think about the facts in the book and use those to give 

8. Remind students of each leader’s actions:

a. The Four Friends lead the Sit-Ins in Greensboro, NC
b. Dr. King’s speeches
c. President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964

9.  I am going to model using another leader, Ella Baker. Turn to the page about Ella.

Her action or contribution to the movement was to organize young demonstrators and form the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. She said a pretty important and inspiring quote, “We are all leaders.”

10. Direct students back to text to look at the paragraph about Baker. Read it again.

Follow the steps listed on the Commentary Box graphic organizer.
a. Fact – Ella Baker organized a student leadership conference.
b. Opinions or insights answer stems I think, I believe, I feel, and In my experience- model using each one. Record your answers so students will have an example to reference as they learn how to do this kind of thinking and writing.
c. Select the commentaries that best show or prove why you believe Ella’s action of organizing students was impactful. 

Transition: In order to share our opinions and have people consider our point of view, we need to support our opinion with concrete details or facts from the text. Let’s think about how I just did that very thing.
Review the steps with students. 
Point out the steps to the class

1. Re-read the text.
2. Locate a fact that answers the essential question or represents the topic.
3. Think about life experiences or background knowledge we have that relate to that fact. Use the commentary answer stems to help us share our opinions or insights.
4. Evaluate our commentary by focusing on the ones that best answer the essential question AND is supported by our concrete detail or fact.

11.  Now we are going to look at the actions of the three leaders. We will use the steps to have our say and share our opinions.

12.  Repeat the process for each leader using the gradual release model
We Do (Teacher and students think, read, and write together) –Four Friends

Y’all Do (Students are grouped in pairs or triads to think, read, and write together)

You Do (Students are expected to work independently to think, read, and write)
Please note: you may need to do the We Do or Y’all Do steps with the next example(s) before asking students to demonstrate this independently.
Transition: Sharing your opinion is more than just telling what you think. Good readers and writers know they need to support their opinions with evidence or concrete details from the text. Facts make opinions stronger and more believable.

Attachments:**Some files will display in a new window. Others will prompt you to download. ConcreteDetailandCommentary.pdf
Assessment Strategies:

Students will complete the Commentary Box Graphic organizer throughout the During Stage of the lesson. Teacher will circulate the room stopping in to question and confer with students about their thinking and writing.

At the end of the lesson ( leave about 10 minutes to complete)
Exit Slip- students will answer the essential question using the notes from their graphic organizer.
Essential Question: Which leader’s action was most impactful?


Students who are already proficient with adding commentary to concrete details can read multiple texts about the same topic, theme, or person and complete the Concrete Detail and Commentary graphic organizer from and then answer the essential question provided by the teacher.


Students who need additional support could practice completing the commentary answer stems for facts based on simpler text or more familiar topic.

Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior

Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.
Variations Submitted by ALEX Users:
Alabama Virtual Library
Alabama Virtual Library

Hosted by Alabama Supercomputer Authority
The University of Alabama at Birmingham
The University of Alabama at Birmingham
The Malone Family Foundation
The Malone Family Foundation
Best of the Web