Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fact vs. Opinion

factsIn Facts? We Don’t Need Facts from Tinkerings, Tim states,

“Nothing irritates me more than to watch the national news and hear the high paid talking heads on both sides of the political spectrum talking about what they “think” or “believe” rather than what they can prove.”

I wonder if it is just me, or does anyone else notice that there really isn’t real news on the news reports anymore. When I watch the evening news, it seems like everything is a commentary about a news event or they are promoting some charity.

When I was in school, I remember learning that a news story involved answering questions like who, what, when, where, and why. If I added my opinion or interpreted from my own point of view, it became an editorial and not a news story. In fact, I would get a lower grade if the assignment was to state only the facts and I added my own opinion to it.

We try to teach our students the difference between facts and opinions. We teach them to read stories and decide if the information is fact or opinion. It seems like if I did this same lesson with the news reports lately, all of the information would be mostly opinion.

When did the news suddenly stop reporting the facts. Our local news is starting to feel more like the tabloids. (Does anyone else remember the old Enquirer magazine? Inquiring minds want to know!)

Maybe it would be fun to watch a news report and then take out all of the opinions in order to write a news report with only facts. This can be done by watching a TV segment or even reading an article out of the newspaper.

I feel this is an important lesson to learn this time of year especially since we are going to have a major election. Students need to listen and read information about candidates and learn how to tell the difference between facts and opinions. It is important to see if statements given answer the questions of who, what, where, how, and why. If the statements deal with how someone is feeling, thinking, or believing, then they are opinions. Students need a lot of practice with this throughout the school year and not just during election times though.

How do you teach your students to tell the difference between facts and opinions. Please share.

Image: 'Facts'

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