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You are here: Home > Co-opme > Action plans and tips > Preparing for future: Youth and finance > Educational Activities - Teachers > Distinguishing between information and opinion

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Distinguishing between information and opinion

  • Age group:
    Students ages 8 to 9
  • When:
    March and April
  • Time required:
    8 hours

Areas of learning:

  • Environment and consumerism
  • Media

Financial skills

  • Comparing objective and subjective information
  • Distinguishing between needs and wants

Activity summary

After reading informational and opinion pieces, the students will have learned to distinguish between objective and subjective information. Next they write pieces of their own that contain both types of content. They then read classified ads from the newspaper or composed by their teammates to identify the subjective information contained within.

Competencies

Table of disciplinary and non-disciplinary competencies

Disciplinary competencies taught

Disciplines Competency Learning progression
English
  • Write a variety of texts
  • Read a variety of texts
Use all the concepts developed in class.

Non-disciplinary competencies

  • Make use of information
  • Exercise critical thinking

Preparation

Students learn to distinguish between objective and subjective information, and write their own texts containing these 2 types of content.

Task 1: Distinguish between objective and subjective information

Task 1 objective

At the end of this task, students will recognize objective statements in informational texts and subjective information in opinion pieces.

Instructions

  1. Give the students the 2 texts for the worksheet Informational Texts and Opinion Pieces and go through them together.
  2. Ask the students to react to the texts they read with a show of hands: What surprised them? Which text did they react to most? List their comments on the board.
  3. Form teams of 2 students and ask them to list what they noticed about the 2 texts.
  4. Present the teaching material comparing the 2 types of texts.
  5. Ask the students to look at the 2 texts again and identify the distinguishing features of each.

Teacher's notes

  • Make sure the students realize that they are reacting more strongly to the second text than the first, because the latter expresses opinions about ingratitude that are not necessarily well founded.
  • Make clear to the students that they are to focus on the way in which the content is presented—not on its actual message. In identifying the distinguishing features of the text, they should not dwell on what is being said, but rather on how it is being said.

Execution

Students learn to distinguish between informational texts and opinion pieces by writing their own content.

All the documents you need to carry out this activity are in the right-hand column under Useful links.

Task 1 objective

Instructions

  1. Form teams of 2 students.
  2. Explain to the students that they are going to become “journalists for a day” and write 2 articles on the same topic, using 2 different approaches to produce an informational text and an opinion piece.
  3. Give the students some suggested topics for their articles.
  4. Suggest that they take notes using the Observation Chart.

Teacher's notes

Articles can be on any topic. Here are several suggestions:

  • Visiting a school exhibit
  • Attending an athletic event
  • Going to a specific class (e.g., music class in Grade 1)
  • Going to an event outside of school
  • Watching a movie or television program
  • Reading an article or a book

Task 2 objective

  • Time required
    3 hours 20 minutes

At the end of this task students, working in pairs, will be able to write 2 articles—one an informational text and the other an opinion piece—on the same topic, in keeping with the features that characterize these types of writing.

Instructions

  1. Give the teams time to write their articles in class.
  2. Each student writes 1 type of article, then gives it to his or her teammate who will add or correct the information. The student who reviews the opinion piece adds subjective information as needed. The student who reviews the informational text ensures that it does not contain subjective statements.
  3. Students then make final corrections to their own articles.
  4. Each team reads its 2 texts to the rest of the class.
  5. The students in the audience identify the informational article and the subjective one, explaining their choices.

Teacher's notes

  • Provide guidelines for writing the articles, depending on what has been reviewed in class thus far: length of the text, criteria to be evaluated, etc.
  • Suggestion: Create an anthology of the articles that students will be able to read

Task 3 objective

  • Time required
    45 minutes
  • Teaching material
    Classifieds
    (PDF, 471 KB)

At the end of this task, students will be able to distinguish between subjective and objective content in a classified ad.

Instructions

  1. Give students the Classifieds worksheet.
  2. Read the ads with the students.
  3. After each ad, give the students time to identify objective (factual) words or groups of words and subjective (opinion-based) words or groups of words. Suggest that the students use 2 different colours to highlight the 2 types of content in the ad.
  4. Ask the students to state which words or groups of words are objective, and which are subjective.

Teacher's notes

  • Use the classified ads in your local paper or on an Internet site for this exercise.

Evaluation

Each student writes a classified ad, then the class compares all the ads and distinguishes between their objective and subjective statements.

Task 1: Write a classified ad

Task 1 objective

  • Time required
    90 minutes

At the end of this task, students will be able to write a classified ad containing objective and subjective statements about a consumer product.

Instructions

  1. Ask the students to write a classified ad to sell an item they really like.
  2. Tell the students that the ad copy must include at least 4 objective statements and 1 subjective statement.
  3. Evaluate the students' work 1 ad a time, asking for changes as needed, then print the ads so others can read them.
  4. Ask the students to highlight the subjective statement in each ad.

Teacher's notes

  • If school policy permits, ask the students to write their ads using a computer with word processing software so they can email their work to you. If this is not possible, ask the students to copy their ads on a large sheet of paper, 1 at a time.

Reinforcement

  • Time required
    Depends on how many items students read
  • Teaching material
    Newspapers

Students identify objective and subjective newspaper content.

Instructions

  1. Bring newspapers to class.
  2. Go through the papers and compare different types of content: facts, opinions, editorials.
  3. Identify the objective and subjective content.

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