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Spotlight on Reasoning & Problem Solving Facts and Opinions
Ages: 6-12   Grades: 1-7

Students with language delays are concrete thinkers.  Help them separate facts from opinions and become better decision-makers.    

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Outcomes

  • Improve language-based thinking and problem solving
  • Distinguish facts from opinions
  • Draw accurate conclusions
Book
#31838
$14.95
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** This is a Cloud E-Book that is accessible from any device with Internet access. .

Build basic reasoning skills with step-by-step instruction and activities designed to build on success. 

Students learn to:

  • identify facts and opinions
  • state reasons for opinions
  • support opinions
  • separate facts from opinions in the news and in advertisements

The book is written in the proven format of the Spotlight Series with: 

  • activities sequenced by complexity
  • visual cues that are gradually faded
  • skills defined in student-friendly terms
  • a variety of curricular and daily living topics
  • simple sentence structure and vocabulary so students can focus on learning the concepts 
  • minimal writing requirements in the beginning lessons
  • a pretest/posttest

You may purchase Spotlight on Reasoning & Problem Solving Facts & Opinions individually or as part of the 6-book Spotlight on Reasoning & Problem Solving set.  The 6-book set consists of:

Spotlight on Reasoning & Problem Solving Causes & Effects

Spotlight on Reasoning & Problem Solving Comparing & Contrasting

Spotlight on Reasoning & Problem Solving Facts & Opinions

Spotlight on Reasoning & Problem Solving Making Predictions & Inferences

Spotlight on Reasoning & Problem Solving Sequencing

Spotlight on Reasoning & Problem Solving Solving Problems

 

Copyright © 2007

Components
40 pages, pretest/posttest, answer key
  • Reasoning skills encourage critical thinking and meta-awareness of internal thought processes.  Reasoning skills support students' logical judgments based on conscious reflection and sensitivity to multiple viewpoints (Little, 2002).
  • Reasoning and critical thinking are necessary skills for competence across the curriculum.  They require students to examine, relate, and analyze all aspects of a problem or situation.  Students engaged in critical thinking must make associations that connect problems with their prior knowledge (Pellegrini, 1995).
  • Questioning is the core of critical reflection.  It prompts students to engage in a research process that fosters higher-order thinking skills and social-moral attitudes (Daniel et al., 2005).
  • Explicitly teaching and reinforcing inference-making leads to better outcomes in overall text comprehension, text engagement, and metacognitive thinking (Borné, Cox, Hartgering, & Pratt, 2005).

Spotlight on Reasoning & Problem Solving Facts and Opinions incorporates these principles and is also based on expert professional practice.

References

Borné, L., Cox, J., Hartgering, M., & Pratt, E. (2005). Making inferences from text [Overview]. Dorchester, MA: Project for School Innovation.

Daniel, M.F., Lafortune, L., Pallascio, R., Splitter, L., Slade, C., & de la Garza, T. (2005). Modeling the development process of dialogical critical thinking in pupils aged 10 to 12 years. Communication Education, 54(4), 334-354.

Little, C. (2002). Reasoning as a key component of language arts curricula. The Journal of Secondary Gifted Education, 13(2), 52-59.

Pellegrini, J. (1995). Developing thinking and reasoning skills in primary learners using detective fiction. Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, 1. Retrieved April 8, 2009, from http://www.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/1995/1/95.01.05.x.html

Author(s)

Paul Johnson, Carolyn LoGiudice

Biography

Paul F. Johnson, B.A., and Carolyn LoGiudice, M.S., CCC-SLP, are editors and writers for LinguiSystems.  They have collaborated to develop several publications, including Story Comprehension To Go, No-Glamour Sequencing Cards, and Spotlight on Reading & Listening Comprehension.  Paul and Carolyn share a special interest in boosting students' language, critical thinking, and academic skills.

In their spare time, Paul and Carolyn enjoy their families, music, gourmet cooking, and reading.  Paul, a proud father of three children, also enjoys bicycling, playing music, and spending rare moments alone with his wife, Kenya.  Carolyn is learning to craft greeting cards and spoil grandchildren.

Introduction

Reasoning and problem solving are not simply life skills, they are quality of life skills.  Throughout our lives, the abilities to reason and solve problems are the difference between succeeding or failing in academic pursuits, making good and bad everyday decisions, and improving or destroying social relationships.

The world assumes we come to it with well-developed reasoning and problem-solving skills, but that is not always the case.  Because of language delays and other factors, many students lack basic skills to achieve positive outcomes in academic and everyday living situations.

The goal of Spotlight on Reasoning & Problem Solving is to build skills, step-by-step, using a focused instructional approach.  The situations students will use for practice in these books are ones many of them have faced or will face throughout their lives.  We support the approach that Richard Paul suggests in his landmark 1990 book, Critical Thinking:

". . . because we can form new ideas, beliefs, and patterns of thought only through the scaffolding of our previously formed thought, it is essential that we learn to think critically in environments in which a variety of competing ideas are taken seriously." (page xv)

Before students can reach and approach the kind of proficiency Paul describes, they must fully understand and master the building blocks of reasoning and problem solving.  Spotlight on Reasoning & Problem Solving presents six crucial areas for developing the language-based thinking skills that, when mastered, provide students with the tools to become better thinkers and problem solvers:

  • Causes & Effects
  • Comparing & Contrasting
  • Facts & Opinions
  • Making Predictions & Inferences
  • Sequencing
  • Solving Problems

Most students will benefit from working through each book from beginning to end.  Even if a student's proficiency is beyond the initial activities presented, the feeling of success he experiences by mastering them will motivate him to approach the more challenging activities that follow with confidence.

In today's culture of media bombardment, separating the truth from someone's opinion is essential.  The activities in Spotlight on Reasoning & Problem Solving Facts & Opinions will help your students build skills that will help them decipher messages and become better decision makers.  Many students with language delays interpret messages concretely and don't often consider that words in print might be anything but the truth.  When your students begin to understand that most messages are a combination of fact and opinion, they'll begin to draw more complete and accurate conclusions.

Although all of the activities in this book can be done independently, present as many as possible to groups of students.  Review all possible answers for multiple-choice tasks before your students choose the best answer.  Ask students to explain how they knew the other choices weren't correct.  This type of discussion helps students master identifying salient characteristics to compare and contrast.  Here are some other ways to enrich your students' learning of facts and opinions:

  • Use a single item, idea, or activity to generate several fact and opinion statements.  For example, present the word carrot to your students.  How many facts can they brainstorm about carrots?  After they have exhausted the facts, challenge them to formulate opinion statements about carrots.  Encourge them to come up with silly opinions, too ("I don't think a carrot would make a very good baseball bat") to practice using opinion forms.
  • Videotape several commercials—preferably ones advertising products that appeal directly to kids (breakfast cereals, snacks, toys, etc.).  Show the commercials to your students and have them identify the facts and opinions (promises, claims) presented in the commercial.  Ask your students to talk about the information they should use when making a buying decision.
  • Facts are generally supported by statistics, but what do we call values that are generally accepted to be true?  Present your students with some value statements ("We should not steal from, lie to, or harm one another").  Ask your students to tell you whether they think those beliefs are facts or opinions and to back up their thoughts with reasons.
  • Present a hypothetical "case" to your students (a stolen book from a locker, for example).  Explain the facts as you know them.  Then lead your students to formulate wh- questions that would help them solve the case.
  • Present opposing opinions on a controversial issue to your students.  Help them generate reasons and facts that support both opinions.  Decide as a group which opinion presents the strongest argument.

We hope you and your students enjoy working through these activities together, and we are certain that with your guidance, your students' reasoning and problem-solving skills will improve with each completed page.

Paul and Carolyn