Beacon Lesson Plan Library

What's Your Opinion?

Michelle Gowan
Liberty County Schools


Through a Think-Share pre-reading activity, students formulate and negotiate opinions on issues that will be addressed in the literature to be studied in preparation for reading the novel, [Sing Down the Moon]. Students also make predictions based on the activity about what events might occur in the novel.


The student predicts ideas or events that may take place in the text, gives rationale for predictions, and confirms and discusses predictions as the story progresses.

The student participates as a contributor and occasionally acts as a leader in a group discussion.


-[Sing Down the Moon] Opinionnaire (See attached file)
-Tips for Good Group Discussion transparency or computer presentation (See attached file)
-Background on the novel [Sing Down the Moon] (See attached file, for teacher use)
-Overhead projection or computer presentation system
-Pencils or pens for completing opinionnaire


1. Make copies of [Sing Down the Moon] Opinionnaire, one for each individual and one for every group. (See attached file.)
2. Obtain copies of the novel [Sing Down the Moon] by Scott O'Dell, New York: Dell Publshing.
3. Make an overhead transparency of Tips for Good Group Discussions or upload to computer presentation system. (See attached file.)


1. Hand out opinionnaire handout to each student. (See attached file.) Read and explain the directions aloud. Instruct students to complete the handout by themselves with no discussion with classmates. Allow five to ten minutes for them to do so. Circulate among students during this time and verify that students are completing the opinionnaire satisfactorily.

2. Review Tips for Good Group Discussions via overhead or computer projection system.

3. Assemble students into groups of four to six students. Select one strong leader to facilitate this activity to ensure a successful panel discussion to follow. Give the group leader a clean copy of the opinionnaire handout. Instruct students that they must discuss each issue and come to a consensus for each issue to complete the handout. All must agree on each issue. This will lend to rigorous discussion. Allow ten to fifteen minutes for group discussions. Circulate among groups to monitor all students are participating in the group discussion and to foster healthy exchange of ideas based on the Tips for Good Group Discussion Handout.

4. Group leaders will represent their group and provide an oral summary of each issue to the class. Encourage the leader to elaborate on any particular issue that was the source of more intense discussion or of particular interest to his/her group. The teacher should facilitate discussion that fosters a variety of points of view and perspectives.

5. Invite other students to share their comments about the opinionnaire.

6. Randomly select several students to share their written response to the last question that predicts events to occur in the novel and discuss to satisfaction.

7. Collect opinionnaires and perform formative evaluation for completion. The teacher may save these for future use as noted in the Extension Activities section.


This is a formative pre-reading assessment for the purpose of engaging the reader to take a position on issues that will be addressed from the novel. As the study continues, students will be challenged to stand or amend their positions based on the content from the novel. Full completion of the opinionnaire handout with student showing evidence of having taken a position on each issue is required. The student will also submit at least one prediction for the reading based on the issues of the opinionnaire. Each student should contribute his or her individual opinion to each issue on the Opinionnaire Handout. The teacher will verify while circulating among groups through observation and/or by checking with group members whether each member contributed an opinion.


1. Teachers may create opinionnaires for any novel or piece of literature to engage students in issues that will link to that literature.

2. As an activity during the reading, teachers and students could create opinionnaires together and hold group discussions.

3. ESE/ESOL modifications: Place reading-challenged students with partners for the purpose of the partner reading the prompt to the student during the individual opinionnaire survey session.

4. Optional assessment: As issues that are connected to the opinionnaire occur, generate summative writing prompts that will challenge the student to demonstrate understanding of the content. For example, on the issue of "It is sometimes OK to run away," ask students to support or defend the statement based on content in the novel. (A satisfactory response might include content from when Bright Morning was kidnapped by Spanish slavers and her running away back to her home.) Teachers might consider using the FCAT Short Response rubric to evaluate.

5. Journal Entry: Students select one statement from the opinionnaire to elaborate and relate to prior knowledge of the issue.

Web Links

This article is an excellent source of information on the usefulness of opinionnaires as a pre-reading strategy to engage readers in their learning. A plethora of other reading strategies are also shared.
Supporting and Managing the Reading Process

Attached Files

Sing Down the Moon Opinionnaire.     File Extension:  pdf

Teacher Background for Sing Down the Moon.     File Extension:  pdf

Tips for Good Group Discussion.     File Extension:  pdf
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