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Teach Fact vs Opinion

By Jessica Miller

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Storyboard That is great for teaching older or more advanced ESL students more complicated topics. Recently, I created some storyboards to help me educate students about the differences between facts and opinions and how to state them in English.

While this topic is still not that advanced, it's not necessarily for students just starting out in their English language journey. Storyboard That makes teaching facts and opinions more fun - even from the teacher's perspective - and it has the visual aspect that makes it easier for students to comprehend and see the contrasts.

Students are even able to create their own visuals, which helps them learn better and helps you as the teacher assess where they are in their understanding!

Opinion Statements & Common Phrases

When introducing new concepts, it’s best to keep it as simple as possible. Storyboard That is great for doing just this. In just one storyboard, you can briefly explain a new topic, provide examples, and give students the opportunity to create their own examples.

In the following storyboard, I included a few of the most common phrases that we use to introduce opinion statements. I filled in two of the cells to illustrate a couple of ways in which we use these opinion phrases; I left two cells blank for the student to fill in with his/her own opinion statements, or for you and the student to do together. I used the "Frayer Model" layout because it has a space to write the phrase, as well as a cell for an example image/scene and a place to write the title of the lesson.



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Introducing Facts

In the following storyboard example, I have provided a definition of "facts," two examples, and an empty cell where the student can create an example. This storyboard includes more of a written explanation compared to the previous one.

These two storyboards (above and below) offer two different methods of introducing these topics. You can use both or choose one style over the other based on the age or level of the students. I also used the "Frayer Model" layout for this storyboard, but you can see that I used it differently than a typical Frayer model might be used.



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Fact vs Opinion

For this storyboard, I used the "T-Chart" layout to compare and contrast opinions and facts. It allows you to juxtapose the definitions and examples of each term so the students have a visual as well as a written and verbal explanation. Write simple definitions or, like I have done, write a few points about each concept and how each is used. I provided two side-by-side examples to demonstrate the difference between fact and opinion, but you can include as many as it takes for your students to understand. I left two cells blank for the students to create an example of each, although you can certainly add more blank cells for further practice. You might consider making a separate storyboard activity where the student has to make a certain number of examples.



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I use this storyboard after the first two, which are used to introduce each concept separately. However this "T-Chart" storyboard can be used to to introduce the subject, as it might help some students better grasp the relationship and differences between the two ideas.


Exercise: Fact or Opinion?

One final way that I use Storyboard That to teach fact and opinion statements is through this "Fact or Opinion?" activity. The previous storyboards provided a basis for the lesson, which culminates in students being able to complete an exercise like this successfully. The "Circle Layout" enables you to make several opinion and fact statements around the simple instructions for the activity.



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One by one, ask the students whether the statement in each scene is a fact or an opinion. You can play with multiple students and keep score, or have each student create their own storyboard that the other students complete. The latter suggestion is aimed at more advanced students and it is only possible if you are able to have your students create storyboards.

I encourage you to play around with the different layouts because they are important to the visual aspect - you can demonstrate connections and make comparisons between concepts, create various exercises and activities, etc. Providing visual components is one of the best ways to facilitate learning and total understanding of a concept.



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