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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

In my ever so humble opinion

I was banging my head against the wall today while trying to teach a lesson about Fact and Opinion. And that's a fact.

When I first started teaching, my first lesson was on place value. Ones, Tens, and Hundreds. I had to stop myself from exclaiming, "How can you not get this??!???" to a couple of the kids that didn't comprehend. But I learned to take it down a level and teach it to their level, and in different ways.

With fact and opinion, I still haven't figured out how to teach it to the lower levels. Yet I still find myself struggling mightily not to just scream, "What about this is so difficult??!!???"

I started by talking about how a fact was something that could be proven right or wrong. I used a student's shirt as an example. "A has a gray shirt on. Can we prove this?" The kids told me that we could look at the shirt to prove it. Excellent. Gold star. We proved that it's gray. "A's shirt is awesome. Can we prove this?" The kids told me that we could look at the shirt to see that it was awesome, and that proved it.

OK, clearly I'm doing something wrong. How about this one? "Spaghetti tastes delicious! Is that a fact or opinion?" "FACT!" the kids shout. "We can prove it by tasting it!!"

I tried to differentiate the two by saying that opinions are merely how someone feels or what they think -- something that not everyone in the world might agree with. But they just didn't get it.

At one point, I sat down in my chair and asked, "I am sitting in a chair. Fact or opinion?" At least 5 kids shouted, "OPINION!!"

1 or 2 kids may have even shouted, "ESTIMATE!" just because they like to shout random vocabulary words in the hopes they are right.

Teaching fact vs opinion is very hard. And I'm pretty sure that's an opinion, even though all of my kids would say it is a fact.


Patty N said...

"Teaching fact vs. opinion is very hard"- of course that is a fact!! You can prove it by pointing out that bloody place on the wall where your teacher bangs her head during reading time. I also have the group that yells out random words- usually parts of speech "noun!" "verb!" -to answer questions, sometimes even in math. Sigh.....

Mad Engineering said...

I know a lot of adults who can't tell the difference between fact and opinion either. :(

IMC Guy said...

Ahhh, the joys of working with younger students.