Friday, December 16, 2011

Fact or Opinion?

Fact: Something that can be proven. Something that is true or the same every time, no matter who you ask.
Opinion: What someone feels, believes, or thinks about something.

Ok, so those probably aren't Webster's definitions, but they are the most user-friendly, 4th grade definitions that I can think of! And even still, the kids get confused! They get the concept for the most part, but there are some that just baffle them every time.
For example, today during Reading they had to decide if the sentence "Patrick Henry was a noble patriot and was admired by everyone." was a fact or an opinion. Considering 99% of them don't understand the words noble, patriot, and admired, I let it slide if they missed it. But, I mean, come on kids. Obviously there were some who thought he spoke treason and too outspoken, it's CLEARLY an opinion. :)
Just kidding. The ones they usually miss are ones like this:
"Summer is the best season." - Definitely a fact. It can be proven and no matter who you ask, you always get the same answer...  at least when your sphere of influence is limited to 24 other school-crazed fourth graders who are dying to hear the words "it's the last day of school"!
"Ice cream is yummy." - Same thing. How can it be an opinion when it's a fact of life?
"My teacher is the best teacher in the world." - I honestly had a student come up to me and ask me if this was a fact... "because we all know it's true and you really are the best teacher and everyone in the whole class thinks so." So precious. But I'm pretty sure the 'best teacher' would've figured out a way to teach them enough to know the difference between facts and opinions.... :)

Having them identify facts or opinions is fun enough, but having them come up with their own facts and opinions is opening a whole new can of worms.
Fact: Bengermen Franklin made lightning. - In this student's and my defense, we haven't studied the electricity unit yet. :) 
Fact: Susan B. Antaney was deaf and blind. - Well, based on my decoding, I think you were trying to spell "Anthony"... based on your information, I must be mistaken. I appreciate you trying to share your wealth of knowledge, but in the future, why don't you just put a fact like your classmates' "I am at school."?
Fact: God is real. - Agreed. 

(On a similar note, one of my sneaky little students came up to me on one of our Fact and Opinion days and said, "Ms. Wacek, fact or opinion, Santa is real?" Haha. It's always important to tread lightly this time of year!!)

1 comment:

  1. I asked my fourth graders to create their own facts and opinions back in the fall as well. My favorite was "The earth has one moon" - OPINION! They're hilarious at that age!