Lesson 1: Author’s Opinion
The Story of Jackie Robinson: Bravest Man in Baseball | 760L
- Learning Goal
- Infer an author’s unstated opinion about a subject using facts from the text.
- Approximately 2 Days (40 minutes for each class)
- Necessary Materials
- Provided: Implicit Opinion Chart 1, Implicit Opinion Chart 2, Implicit Opinion Worksheet (Student Packet, page 7)
Not Provided: Two “treats” that elicit different opinions, placed in a brown paper bag (i.e. a jar of pickles and a chocolate candy bar), chart paper, markers, The Story of Jackie Robinson, Bravest Man in Baseball by Margaret Davidson
Before the Lesson
Read Introductory Letter-Chapter 3: “’Stop Robinson!;’” Complete Student Packet Worksheets for Chapter 1: “Before It All Began” – Chapter 3: “’Stop Robinson!’”
Activation & Motivation
Bring in two “treats” that strongly elicit different opinions—for example, a jar of pickles and a chocolate candy bar. Place both of these items in a brown paper bag, so that the class cannot see them. Ask for two volunteer students to describe each item in the bag using facts. For example, “the item is lumpy.” Then, have the remaining students guess what is in the bag.
The group will discuss if they could tell what the student’s opinion about the item was, even though they were using facts to describe it. For example, if the student described the pickle as lumpy and green (as opposed to salty and crunchy), did students think that the student liked or disliked the pickle?
will explain that a biographer’s task is to retell the factual life of a person. Often a biographer has a strong opinion about the person they are writing about, as well as the other people and historical events surrounding that person. However, they will not say exactly how they feel because a biography is supposed to be a factual retelling. Just like we figured out the student’s unsaid opinion of the items in the paper bag from the facts that they shared, a good reader thinks about the biographer’s unstated opinion of the subject, to understand how the facts in the story support the author’s opinion.
How do I determine an author’s unstated opinion? First, I will identify facts in the text about a particular subject or topic, and then I will look for descriptive language that communicates the author’s opinion. Based on the facts that the author shares and the way the author tells the facts, I can draw a conclusion about the author’s opinion.
I will model determining an author’s unstated or implied opinion in Jackie Robinson: Bravest Man in Baseball. I will start by answering the question, what is the author’s opinion of racism and prejudice in Chapter 1: “Before it All Began”? What is the author’s opinion of Branch Rickey?
First, I will look for facts that will give me clues as to how the author feels about racism in Chapter 1. Fact: Before the Civil Rights Movement, there was more prejudice and outright racial slurs in America. Fact: A hotel clerk would not allow Charlie Thomas, an African-American baseball player, to register for a hotel room in 1904. I will record these facts on Implicit Opinion Chart 1. Note: See Implicit Opinion Chart 1 for specific examples.
Next, I will look for strong, descriptive language that might suggest how the author feels about these facts. I will draw an arrow from the first fact on Implicit Opinion Chart 1 and write that the author explains how the racial slurs were a “painful” part of Jackie’s life. I will draw an arrow from the second fact and note that the racist clerk was described as angry and interrupting.
Finally, I will use the facts and descriptive language that I have recorded on Implicit Opinion Chart 1 to draw my conclusion about the author’s opinion. The author’s opinion of racism is that it is an ugly, angry attitude that is unfair. I know this because the author tells the reader the facts about the mean-spirited words used outright before the Civil Rights Movement, and describes them as painful for Jackie. Also, because the clerk was described as angry and interrupting, I know that the author does not approve of his behavior and his treatment of Charlie. I will record my conclusion on the chart.
Ask: "How can I determine an author’s unstated (implied) opinion?" Students should answer that you look for the facts that the author chooses to tell that influence your view of the subject. You can also look for strong, descriptive language about the subject of the book. You can then draw a conclusion about how the author feels or what the author thinks about the subject based on these facts.
will answer two Fact and Opinions questions about Chapter 2: “Pro at an Early Age.” What is the author’s opinion about Mallie, Jackie’s mom? What is the author’s opinion about Jackie’s gang years? Even though we might already have a feeling about this, we want to identify specific facts and descriptive language in the text that show what the author thinks.
We will start by looking for facts about Mallie, racism, and gangs in Chapter 2: “Pro at an Early Age.” For example, one fact that the author shares about Mallie is that “[She] worked long and hard every day to support her family.” (page 7). We will record these facts on Implicit Opinion Chart 2. We will then find descriptive language about Mallie and record the information on our chart. For example, the author describes Mallie as “the heart” of the Robinson household.
Finally, we will use the facts and descriptive language to draw a conclusion about the author’s opinion and record our conclusion on Implicit Opinion Chart 2. The author’s opinion of Mallie is that she is a caring, nurturing person. She uses examples of how Mallie works very hard to support her children and always makes time to listen to them each evening, and she describes her as the “heart” of the family. The author also think she is brave, and shows this by using the fact that she defended her husband’s freedom to leave, even though his departure hurt her.
will complete the Implicit Opinion Worksheet in your Student Packet, which will ask you to draw a conclusion about the author’s opinions about Jackie Robinson through Chapter 3: “’Stop Robinson!’” (See page 7 in the Student Packet.)
will come together to share our answers to the Implicit Opinion Worksheet. We will discuss the facts that we used to come to our conclusions about the author’s opinion.
Build Student Vocabulary segregate
|Tier 2 Word: segregate|
|Contextualize the word as it is used in the story||"Almost everything was segregated. Blacks and whites led separate lives in almost every way..." "Even children suffered from segregation. Boys and girls had to go to separate schools. And these schools were almost always crowded, poorly equipped, and run-down."|
|Explain the meaning student-friendly definition)||Segregated means separate or kept apart. In America, many states used to segregate according to race. That meant that black people and white people were kept separate, and weren’t allowed to use the same schools, restaurants, or stores.|
|Students repeat the word||Say the word segregate with me: segregate.|
|Teacher gives examples of the word in other contexts||If we say that a group of students has been “segregated by gender,” we mean that they have been split up into groups of boys and groups of girls.|
|Students provide examples||Can you explain what it means if I say that “schools used to be segregated by race?” Students should say, “Saying that schools used to be segregated means that…"|
|Students repeat the word again.||What word are we talking about? segregate|
|Additional Vocabulary Words||pioneer, prejudice, muttered, haul, stern, dire, crouch, tense, triumph|
Texts & Materials
(To see all of the ReadWorks lessons aligned to your standards, click here.)