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Unit Title: Opinions

Grade Level: 5th Subject/Topic Areas: Language Arts

Key Words: opinion, argument, debate, logical sequence, fact, hook, conclusion, descriptive
words, transitions, research, self-assessment, strength, weakness, coherent, stance, audience.
Designed by: Susannah Reel
Time Frame for Instruction: 2 weeks
School District: N/A School: Chaminade University of Honolulu

Brief Summary

Throughout this unit, students will be active participants in forming opinions. Opinions are an
essential part of our everyday lives and it is important to idenfity the purpose of a well-formed
opinion. Students will gain an understanding of how to effectively support opinions with
evidence and present topics in an successful manner. In preparation for the final essay
assignment, students will closely follow the writing process to incorporate transitions, hooks,
supporting evidence, and conclusions for a powerful opinion piece. Students will become
engaged in hands-on activities that will provoke inquiry about opinions vs. facts as well as group
work to stimulate real-world thinking. As a concluding assessment, students will present their
well-researched opinion topic to the class and will then engage in self-evaluation to identify
future improvements.
Stage 1 Identify Desired Results

Established Goals (Standards)
Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.
Introduce a topic or text clearly, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure in which
ideas are logically grouped to support the writers purpose.
Provide logically ordered reasons that are supported by facts and details.
Link opinion and reasons using words, phrases, and clauses (e.g., consequently, specifically).
Provide a concluding statement or section related to the opinion presented.
Report on a topic or text or present an opinion, sequencing ideas logically and using appropriate
facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an
understandable pace.

Big Ideas
A well-formed opinion should present ideas in a logical sequence and with supporting
Essential Questions
How are opinions formed?
Why are opinions important?
How will opinions be important in the real-world/workplace?
What is the purpose of conducting research when forming an opinion?
When should opinions be used? When should opinions not be used?
How do we convince others?
How are facts distorted to form opinions?
How can we analyze someone else's opinion to add to our own opinion?
How do we determine if facts are true? How do we evaluate the arguments supporting

Students will understand that...
Students will understand the difference between an opinion and a fact.
Students will understand how to formulate an opinion with sufficient reasoning.
Students will understand the importance of forming an opinion and how to effectively present
their ideas.

Key Knowledge and Skills
Students will know...
Students will know the difference between an opinion and a fact.
Students will know that opinions must have supporting evidence.
Students will know that facts can be distorted to show support for an opinion.
Students will know that there is more than one perspective to each idea/conflict.
Key terms: transition words, fact, opinion, argument, debate, and logical sequence
Students will be able to...
Students will be able to construct an informed opinion.
Students will be able to support their opinion in coherent and logical writing.
Students will be able to effectively present their opinion.
Students will be able to clearly state their opinion on a topic.
Students will be able to link their opinion to supporting reasons using words, phrases, and
clauses (transition words and phrases).

Stage 2: Determine Acceptable Evidence

6 Facets of Understanding

Explain: Provide thorough, supported, and justifiable accounts of phenomena, facts, and
Students will gain experience providing support for various opinion pieces with facts and data.
Students will understand the importance of providing explanation and detail in essay
Interpret: Tell meaningful stories; offer apt translations; provide a revealing historical or
personal dimension to ideas and events; make something personal or accessible
through images, anecdotes, analogies, or models.
Students will take on personal stances for each opinion topic that is presented. Students will
be able to add personal meaning to the topic with reasoning and support.
Apply: Effectively use and adapt knowledge in diverse contexts.
Students will be given a variety of opportunities to demonstrate knowledge of writing and
presentation. This will be done in independent settings, group settings, and whole class
discussions. Students will be given a variety of assessments that will provide educators
with a balanced overview of student knowledge.
Perspective: See points of view, with critical eye and ears; see the big picture.
Students will take on a variety of perspectives when writing opinion pieces. Students will learn
to hear from opposing arguments with a critical viewpoint. Students will also learn to find
supporting reasoning for topics that they may not agree with.
Empathize: Get inside, find value in what others might find odd, alien, or implausible;
perceive sensitively, based on prior direct experience.
Students will be active participants in the evaluation process as they listen to their peers
opinion pieces. Students will learn to respond in a positive manner and agree to
Self-Knowledge: Perceive the personal style, prejudices, projections, and habits of mind
that both shape and impede understanding; be aware of what is not understood and why
it is so hard to understand.
Students will be fully involved in the self-evaluation process as they critique and evaluate
the various tasks that they will be instructed to perform. Students will write reflections and
explain dispositions on opinion writing.
Tests and Worksheets: Selected Response
Selected Response: Students will take a short selected response assessment identifying the
characteristics of an opinion. This assessment will consist of true/false, multiple choices,
matching, and/or fill in. Students will be tested on basic understanding of key terms and
identification of opinions. Students will also be assessed on their understanding and use of
transition words and phrases.
Essay (constructed response) item
Essay Assessment/Written Response: Students will take an essay assessment that will consist
of 2-4 prompts. Students will evaluate the prompts that provide supporting evidence for a topic.
Then, students will respond to the prompt with their own formulated opinion based on the
information provided. These will be short responses to evaluate student understanding of how to
form an opinion based on given information. Prompts and Rubric from Smarter Balanced
Sample Items, found
at (Item 43010 and 43019,
prompt also found in attachments as "Cell Phone Prompt" and "School Days Prompt".

Essay Assessment/Written Response: Students will choose a topic in which they wish to
research and formulate a well-supported opinion. Students will write an essay about their topic
with reasons and information. Students will demonstrate proper grammar use. Students will
understand how to logically sequence their reasoning and support for a well-organized
essay. See attached for directions. Link used as resource. Sample Ideas for Opinion
Writing (p. 5).
"Opinion Writing: Teaching Students to Voice their Opinions Effectively with the Common Core
Standards" by Rachel
Fielhauer (2013)
Rubrics for Essay Items
Cell Phone Prompt Rubric -
School Days Prompt Rubric -
Individual Research Essay Rubric -
Self-Assessment Instruments and Personal Communication
From "The Creative Teacher" (2007) by Steve Springer, Brandy Alexander, and Kimberly
Persiani-becker, Ed.D. McGraw-Hill, New York, NY.
p. 168 "Self-Editing and Peer Editing Checklist"
p. 167 "How I See Myself as a Writer"
p. 165 "Writing Interest Inventory"
From "Teach Terrific Writing" (2006) by Gary Robert Muschla. McGraw-Hill, New York, NY
p. 154 "Guidelines for Revision"
p. 186 "Guidelines for Proofreading"
Other possible self-assessment questions:
Is my opinion supported with evidence?
Is my opinion well constructed and logical?
Does my opinion draw the attention of my audience?
Is my writing coherent and organized?
Did I use proper grammar and punctuation?
How can I improve?
What are my strengths?
Students will also watch their opinion presentation to critique, analyze, and find ways for
Personal Communication
Students will complete daily writing journals that follow an opinion prompt.
Journals will be assessed with a completion grade.
Stage 3 Plan Learning Experiences
Code each learning activity with one of these letters:
W - Ensure that students understand WHERE the unit is headed, and WHY.
H - HOOK students in the beginning and HOLD their attention throughout.
E - EQUIP students with necessary experiences, tools, knowledge, and know-how to meet
performance goals.
R - Provide students with numerous opportunities to RETHINK big ideas, REFLECT on
progress, and REVISE their work.
E2 - Build in opportunities for students to EVALUATE progress and self-assess.
T - Be TAILORED to reflect individual talents, interests, styles, and needs.
O - Be ORGANIZED to optimize deep understanding as opposed to superficial coverage.

Timeline for WhereTo Elements
Day 1
Soda Challenge (Small Group Activity)
Why do we have opinions? ( Class Discussion)
Form definitions (Class Discussion)
Distribute word list, study! (Partner/Independent work)
Use writing journals (Independent Work)
Day 2
Write in journals (Independent Work)
Play Fact vs. Opinion Games (Class Activity)
Discuss transitional words/phrases (Class discussion)
Complete transitional words/phrases worksheets (Independent work)
Study Word List (Partner/Independent work)
Day 3
Write in journals (Independent Work)
Review transitional words/phrases (Class Discussion)
Review/Study Word List (Class Review)
Introduce Opinions with Supporting evidence (Class Discussion)
Handout Cats vs. Dogs information, work in group to support opinion with 3
reasons/facts (Group work)
Use graphic organizers (Group work)
Day 4
Write in Journals (Independent Work)
Review Word List. Study! (Class Review/Independent study)
Take Selected Response Assessment (Independent assessment)
Discuss Hooks, use handouts/worksheets (Class discussion, independent work)
Discuss Conclusions (Class discussion)
Work in Cats vs. Dogs small groups, add transitional words, hook, discussion (Group work)
Finalize small group work, prepare to present to class (Group work)
Present opinion to class (Group presentation)
Day 5
Write in Journals (Independent Work)
Introduce scoring rubrics and self-evaluation guides (Class discussion)
Students work in Cat vs. Dogs small groups to use evaluation guides (Group work)
Introduce Independent Opinion Research essay assignment (Class discussion)
Look over topic list, have students pick topic and turn into teacher (Class work)
Day 6 & 7
Writie in Journals (Independent Work)
Research in computer lab (Independent Work)
Use graphic organize to organize ideas (Independent Work)
Day 8
Return to classroom setting
Write in Journals (Independent work)
Finalize graphic organizer using printed research findings (Independent work)
Work on Hook, Transitions, and Conclusion (Independent work)
Work with a partner to provide feedback on topic (Partner work)
Day 9
Write in Journals (Independent work)
Begin rough draft in journal, transfer ideas to lined paper from graphic organizer (Independent
Use proofreading checklists to revise rough draft (Independent work)
Work with a partner to revise eachother's rough draft, use rubrics and guides (Partner work)
Recieve teacher approval on final rough draft (Independent work)
Day 10
Write in Journals (Independent work)
Transfer approved rough draft to computer (Lab work)
Discuss effective oral presentation techniques (Class discussion)
Look over oral presentation rubric (Independent/Partner/Class work)
Day 11
Write in Journals (Independent work)
Review oral presentation techniques (Class discussion)
Provide ungraded opportunity for students to present a topic to class.
1 minute presentation by each student, familiar topic (Class presentation)
Each student provide speaker with strengths/weaknesses anonymously
Return critiques
Day 12
Write in Journals (Independent work)
Divide class into 4-5 groups, each student present researched topic to small group (Group
Group members provide each other with feedback
Prepare oral presentation (Independent work)
Day 13
Write in Journals (Independent work)
Begin Presentations
Each student provide speaker with strengths and weaknesses anonymously
Presenter recieve feedback
Day 14
Each student presenter will watch videotaping of own presentation. Student will write a
reflection about their presentation effectiveness.
Students take final essay assessments (Smarter Balanced Prompts)
Summarize Unit (Class discussion)

Sequence of Teaching and Learning Experiences

Sprite vs. 7up vs. Sierra Mist - SODA CHALLENGE! H
Why do we have opinions? How do we present these ideas effectively? How do we support
these ideas? W H
Provide students with daily writing journals in which they will be provided with a short opinion-
writing prompt each day. Students will be able to see how their writing improves
throughout the unit. W R E2
Fact vs. Opinion? Ask the students for their definition of each. Form the definitions together.
Compare our definition to the official definition. E
Play Fact vs. Opinion learning games. H
Discuss transitional words/phrases. What is a transitional word/phrase? Complete
worksheets/activities H E (worksheets/activities) (word banner)
Have students take selected response assessment. E2
Introduce using research and facts to support opinions. E
See PDF "Grade 5 Opinion Prompt DR8.6" attached
Use Graphic Organizer for students to respond to prompt. E
"Opinion Writing: Teaching Students to Voice their Opinions Effectively with the Common
Core Standards" by Rachel Fielhauer (2013) - p. 11-12
Add in transitional words/phrases R E (Printable)
Use Graphic Organizer and transitional words to begin writing in paragraph form. Discuss
usage of paragraphs for hook, body, conclusion. R E
Discuss hooks/conclusions and add in. Use "Writing Hook Handout" in attachments [Word
Doc] plus resources below [14, 15, 16]. R E (Word Document, Different
ways to write hooks, handout)
%20Writing%20Fantastic%20Hooks.pdf (8 types of hooks with examples, handout)
4/edit (Write your own hook, practice work)
Have students work in pairs to evaluate work using self-assessment PDFs and final rubric for
the individual research essay . This will allow students to become acclimated to
evaluation process. R E2
"Editing Check", "Self Assess Writing Inventory", "Self Assess How I see Myself as a Writer",
"Revision", "Proofreading" - PDFs attached
_Gr_Opinion" - Individual Research Essay Rubric, PDF
1. Introduce Individual Research Essay assignment (Provide students with prompt and topic list,
in attachments "Independent Opinion Research 2"). Students will spend at least 2 days
picking their topic and researching in computer lab/library, finding 1-3 sources. Discuss
questions/concerns with students about assignment. Students should be aware that they
will orally present topic to class at end of unit. W T
"Independent Opinion Reasearch 2" - Writing Prompt with directions, PDF attached
1. Begin research with graphic organizers. Follow drafting process. E R E2
"Opinion Writing: Teaching Students to Voice their Opinions Effectively with the Common
Core Standards" by Rachel Fielhauer (2013) - p. 11-
1. Students will spend time peer evaluating essays, revising, and self-assessing using previous
handouts/PDFs found in attachments. R E2
2. Students begin their final drafts written in journal first. R
3. Students copy final draft from journal to computer (Computer Lab needed). R
4. Class will discuss oral presentation techniques (Use Performance Task Rubric for Oral
Presentation). WE
"Oral Presentation Student Self Assessment" - Word Document attached
1. Practice Oral presentation in front of class on an ungraded, unrelated topic. Use topics about
student (i.e. My favorite move/book/holiday, etc.) E
2. Allow students to give feedback to one another during ungraded/unrelated oral presentations.
Each student will write down one thing that the presenter did well and one thing the
presenter could improve. E R E2
3. Provide time for students to read through strengths/weaknesses from class. R E2
4. Students will work in small groups to become comfortable in sharing their graded topic
orally. E
5. Students present topic to class for evaluation.
6. Presentations will be videotaped. Students will independently watch presentation for self-
evaluation using rubric. E2
"Oral Presentation Student Self Assessment" - Word Document attached
1. Final assessment of student understanding will be assigned. This will be the prompts from
Smarter Balanced, assessed with rubrics (School Days & Cell Phone prompts) E2
Additional Idea: Have students participate in a debate.
O - Organize: The steps taken for this unit are organized in a manner that promotes
scaffolding within the learning process. Each lesson will implement a new technique in
order to continually build new knowledge for achievement.