K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

Important Announcement about Online Courses and LEARN NC.

Important Message about LEARN NC

LEARN NC is evaluating its role in the current online education environment as it relates directly to the mission of UNC-Chapel Hill School of Education (UNC-CH SOE). We plan to look at our ability to facilitate the transmission of the best research coming out of UNC-CH SOE and other campus partners to support classroom teachers across North Carolina. We will begin by evaluating our existing faculty and student involvement with various NC public schools to determine what might be useful to share with you.

Don’t worry! The lesson plans, articles, and textbooks you use and love aren’t going away. They are simply being moved into the new LEARN NC Digital Archive. While we are moving away from a focus on publishing, we know it’s important that educators have access to these kinds of resources. These resources will be preserved on our website for the foreseeable future. That said, we’re directing our resources into our newest efforts, so we won’t be adding to the archive or updating its contents. This means that as the North Carolina Standard Course of Study changes in the future, we won’t be re-aligning resources. Our full-text and tag searches should make it possible for you to find exactly what you need, regardless of standards alignment.

Learn more

Related pages

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  • Creating community in the classroom: Part 4 (rewarding improvement): The fourth lesson in a series on improving classroom learning climate, this lesson provides an opportunity to evaluate student progress and to provide positive reinforcement for improvements in behavior. Using a one to ten continuum, students will subjectively evaluate class progress on the ten adjectives listed as class climate goals. After this process, students will publicly recognize those classmates who have helped the class improve or who have personally improved.
  • Creating community in the classroom: Part 1 (setting goals ): This series of lessons is designed to help develop a sense of classroom community. Group goal-setting, brainstorming, peer feedback, group decision-making, positive reinforcement, and positive peer pressure are used to create a safe, supportive environment for learning in the classroom.

    In Part 1, students are introduced to the goal-setting process. They will practice the first step of the process as they set individual and class behavioral goals.

Related topics


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Learning outcomes

Students will distinguish between fact and opinion.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

45 minutes


Handouts copied on construction paper, scissors, pencils, and creativity!


  1. Define fact and opinion. Facts can be all or some of the following: can be proven, real for all people and places, can be duplicated, can be observed, historical, or 100 percent true. Opinions refer to a particular person’s (or group’s) feeling, thought, judgment, belief, estimate, and/or anything that is not 100 percent true and can’t be proven.
  2. Have students distinguish between facts and opinions:
    • All people must breathe to live.
    • All people love basketball.
    • Blue is the best color.
    • He is stupid.
    • Abraham Lincoln was a United States president.
    • North Carolina is a southern state.
    • I don’t like broccoli.
    • Fire needs oxygen to burn.
    • Pizza tastes great.
    • Most people have two arms and legs.
  3. Ask students to identify books where facts can be found (encyclopedia, dictionary, almanac, atlas, text books, Guinness Book of World Records, etc.).
  4. Ask students to identify books where opinions can be found. (Autobiographies, self-help books, novels, journals, etc.)
  5. Students should distinguish which parts of a newspaper are factual and which are opinion. Ask them to identify the following:
    • letters to the editor
    • restaurant reviews
    • sports scores
    • weather prediction
    • birth announcements
    • rainfall measurements
    • advice columns
    • astrology reports
    • obituaries
    • calendar of events
    • wedding announcements
    • movie reviews
  6. Cut out newspaper and magazine advertisements and separate facts and opinions. Students will be amazed to recognize that 99 percent of ads are opinions.


  1. Make sure students understand that just because someone else says something, it’s not necessarily a fact. It’s most likely just his/her opinion. To simply agree with someone else’s opinion is to consider it a fact and thus make it real. For example, believing others who say “You can’t play soccer very well” can either convince you to agree with them and continue being poor at soccer OR motivate you to believe “I’m better now than before and I’ll improve with even more practice!” One’s attitude of others’ opinions can either 1) encourage and help us grow and improve or 2) discourage and inhibit us from growing.
  2. Have students create the “My Opinion Matters” wheel using attachment 1 and attachment 2. Students cut out the window that they will use to record in the five sections “What I can say to myself” in response to “When others say…”
  3. Write on the board different comments for them to choose from, including:
    • “You can’t read.”
    • “You can’t spell.”
    • “You can’t _____.”
    • “You’re stupid.”
    • “You’re ugly.”
    • “You’re mean.”
    • “You’re lazy.”
  4. Have students choose five to record on their wheel with a positive self-talk statement they can use to respond in a healthy way. For example, when someone might say, “You can’t read,” a positive self-talk statement might be “I’m reading a lot better now than before and I’ll be an even better reader by the end of this school year.”
  5. After students have completed and assembled their wheels, have them share with a partner and then select volunteers to share with the entire class.


Collect the “My Opinion Matters” wheels to read and determine if responses demonstrate positive messages that students can say to themselves.

Students who need additional clarification can be re-taught individually and/or in small groups.

Students who successfully completed four of the five positive self-talk responses correctly have mastered this objective.

Supplemental information

Students can create a Fact Finding Scavenger Hunt, with each student contributing different questions (that they’ve found the answer to!). The teacher can combine everyone’s question to complete the hunt. For example, students can research about your school, staff, or next unit topic with questions like:


  • When was the school founded?
  • How many students attend our school?
  • What’s the record number of pizzas served in one day?
  • Which grade has the best attendance?


  • Where was the principal born?
  • Who was Teacher of the Year last year?
  • Which teacher has been at this school the longest?
  • What college/university did your teacher attend?

Upcoming unit topics

  • What is the largest land mammal?
  • What were some of the most significant inventions during the Industrial Revolution?
  • How long have women had the right to vote?
  • What is necessary for fires to burn?


Students commonly believe that what is printed, aired on TV, or found on the internet are all facts. It’s critical for them to distinguish between what people say is so and what is so.

Teachers are commonly aware of the Pygmalion Effect and the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy. Both emphasize that we tend to think and behave to prove ourselves right. If we believe something will be positive, it turns out so. If we believe something will be negative, it turns out negative as well. Also, the Garbage In-Garbage Out theory that if we have stinking thinking, we will produce poor behaviors.

Therefore, it’s vital for students to create and maintain positive self-talk statements that they can use regularly to deflect others’ negative opinions. Otherwise, it will be easy for students to believe that what others say is true (fact).

  • North Carolina Essential Standards
    • Guidance (2010)
      • Early Emergent/Emergent

        • EEE.SE.2 Understand the relationship between self and others in the broader world. EEE.SE.2.1 Contrast the influence of self and others in relationship building. EEE.SE.2.2 Explain why it is important to follow rules in order to build relationships. EEE.SE.2.3...
      • Readiness/Exploration/Discovery

        • RED.SE.1 Understand the meaning and importance of personal responsibility and self-awareness. RED.SE.1.1 Understand the importance of self-control and responsibility. RED.SE.1.2 Identify ways of controlling behaviors associated with emotional states, feelings,...
        • RED.SE.2 Understand the relationship between self and others in the broader world. RED.SE.2.1 Identify ways of making and keeping friends. RED.SE.2.2 Understand how to support positive relationship building (e.g., managing impulsivity, adaptability, and flexibility)....

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Guidance (2001)

Grade K–5

  • Goal 4: Acquire the skills to investigate the world of work in relation to knowledge of self and to make informed career decisions.
    • Objective 4.02: Develop an awareness of personal abilities, skills, interests and motivations.
    • Objective 4.08: Generate respect for individual uniqueness in the workplace.