It’s the little things that you find when going about your day, that you discover these teachable moments. The moments when you realize, “first graders don’t know how to use a glue stick” or “learning to cut with scissors” or “what is an opinion?” These things are sometimes planned in our lesson as a discussion or learning activity, whereas others come from a simple movement or discovery that shows us as teachers that there is more to be learned. In these teachable moments we get to shed light on something different and focus on some specific detail to our assigned task or lesson. They can happen suddenly and usually take no more than 5-10 minutes to share.
We can’t cut and paste words in alphabetical order if we don’t know how to hold scissors or manage a glue stick in an orderly fashion. When completing a reading check over, A Rainbow of Foods, there came a question asking “Which sentence is an opinion?
A. Corn can keep your stomach healthy.
B. Blueberries can help you remember things.
C. Avocados are best used in dip for chips.
Both of my students said “A” and didn’t understand the brief reminder that an opinion is what someone thinks. The mini-lesson then came with three new statements written on the board. After reading each sentence I asked is this a fact or opinion and why. This opened up the discussion as to why certain statements are indeed true facts, with others being what a person thinks or favors. This short activity was easy, quick, and efficient.
We then went back to the reading check and focused specifically on that opinion of “Avocados are best used in dip for chips. Do you agree or disagree? Why?” A new short answer response to ensure that we understand the term “opinion” as well as practice writing our own.
An extension activity would be to then ask students to write their own facts and opinions about themselves and things they enjoy. They could trade statements with a partner to try and figure out their facts and opinions.