ALEX Lesson Plan


Having Your Say: Opinion Writing with Text Based Support

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Natasha Flowers
System: Leeds City
School: Leeds City Board of Education
  General Lesson Information  
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.


 Associated Standards and Objectives 
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]
a. Introduce claim(s) and organize the reasons and evidence clearly. [W.6.1a]
b. Support claim(s) with clear reasons and relevant evidence, using credible sources and demonstrating an understanding of the topic or text. [W.6.1b]
c. Use words, phrases, and clauses to clarify the relationships among claim(s) and reasons. [W.6.1c]
d. Establish and maintain a formal style. [W.6.1d]
e. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from the argument presented. [W.6.1e]
SS2010 (6) United States Studies: The Industrial Revolution to the Present
9. Critique major social and cultural changes in the United States since World War II.
  • Identifying key persons and events of the modern Civil Rights Movement
  • Examples: persons—Martin Luther King Jr.; Rosa Parks; Fred Shuttlesworth; John Lewis (Alabama)
    events—Brown versus Board of Education, Montgomery Bus Boycott, student protests, Freedom Rides, Selma-to-Montgomery Voting Rights March, political assassinations (Alabama)
  • Describing the changing role of women in United States' society and how it affected the family unit
  • Examples: women in the workplace, latchkey children
  • Recognizing the impact of music genres and artists on United States' culture since World War II
  • Examples: genres—protest songs; Motown, rock and roll, rap, folk, and country music
    artists—Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Hank Williams (Alabama)
  • Identifying the impact of media, including newspapers, AM and FM radio, television, twenty-four hour sports and news programming, talk radio, and Internet social networking, on United States' culture since World War II
  • SS2010 (6) United States Studies: The Industrial Revolution to the Present
    12. Evaluate significant political issues and policies of presidential administrations since World War II.
  • Identifying domestic policies that shaped the United States since World War II
  • Examples: desegregation of the military, Interstate Highway System, federal funding for education, Great Society, affirmative action, Americans with Disabilities Act, welfare reform, Patriot Act, No Child Left Behind Act
  • Recognizing domestic issues that shaped the United States since World War II
  • Examples: McCarthyism, Watergate scandal, political assassinations, health care, impeachment, Hurricane Katrina
  • Identifying issues of foreign affairs that shaped the United States since World War II
  • Examples: Vietnam Conflict, Richard Nixon's China initiative, Jimmy Carter's human rights initiative, emergence of China and India as economic powers
  • Explaining how conflict in the Middle East impacted life in the United States since World War II
  • Examples: oil embargoes; Iranian hostage situation; Camp David Accords; Persian Gulf Wars; 1993 World Trade Center bombing; terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001; War on Terrorism; homeland security
  • Recognizing the election of Barack Obama as the culmination of a movement in the United States to realize equal opportunity for all Americans
  • Identifying the 2008 presidential election as a watershed in the use of new technology and mass participation in the electoral process
  • 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.

     Preparation Information 

    Total Duration:

    31 to 60 Minutes

    Materials and Resources:

    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.

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    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.