Posts tagged ‘facts’


About 64 million Americans get their news from social media. The reliance on newspapers, radio, and television news segments has been diminished or disappeared. Even broadcasts advertised as the “breaking news” rely on panels of “experts” to relay information. The days of a journalist simply reporting the facts without attaching opinions are gone.

Our children probably rely on social media to an even greater degree. How can we teach them to cut through the noise, sift through the mire, and uncover the objective truth? I have a few suggestions.


Make it a point to watch and listen to many different stations and social media outlets. Show your children how different outlets and reporters present information. Do they show both sides of an issue? Are certain people and groups ignored? Tell children they need to hear and see both sides of an issue before judging it as authentic. Ask them if the information was reported fairly. Did they get the whole picture?


Explain how different people look at the same situation differently. Use examples of how family members like different foods, play different sports and choose different friends. Even mom and dad sometimes argue about preferences. The same applies to news issues. Adults can choose different media outlets and reporters to illustrate how there can be a multitude of different views about the same topic in the news.


Use everyday situations to illustrate the difference between a fact and an opinion. I am wearing a red shirt today. That is a fact. When you say, that red shirt is ugly, you are issuing your opinion. Facebook and Twitter are littered with opinions. What do people share or retweet? They share and comment on the opinions with which they strongly agree or disagree. Social media outlets do not report the news, they display the opinions of those followers who have decided to reject or endorse them. Children need to understand that reality does not coincide with the majority of social media opinions. Point of view on an issue does not necessarily make what is communicated true. In fact, the reality might be something completely different.


Adults and children can have fun and learn a lot by analyzing the ads seen in print and on TV. Study that boring commercial and think deeply about the message that is being communicated. How are the actors dressed? What do their gestures tell you? What words do they use? Do they exaggerate the benefits of the product? How are they trying to manipulate you into buying something you don’t really need?

After doing this a few times, take what you learned and apply it to the commentators, reporters, and “expert panels” that you see reporting the news. You will learn a lot about how much opinion is introduced into what is being reported as factual news. This knowledge will go a long way in developing critical thinking skills that will benefit children as they mature and develop the life skills they will need in future careers.


It’s okay to be skeptical. In the world of modern technology in which we can press a button to order in minutes, see ourselves in virtual reality, and communicate with friends, family, and co-workers instantly, it has never been more important to be vigilant and careful. We worry about computer hackers but often neglect to train our own brains to filter out the noise and the mixed messages that seek to distract and deceive us.


Watch this quick video to learn how.

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Nifty Fifty State Facts for Fun! (Book 2)

Written by Wyatt Michaels


This is the second in a series making learning about the fifty states fun and informative. Rather than presenting a list of state capitols, symbols and associations, Michaels assembles trivia and facts in game format. In each case, the question is posed with three possible choices. The reader is asked to choose the correct answer. If you are wrong, you are given the opportunity to make another choice. In many cases, the reader is given a hint to help make a decision.

There are many where questions. For example: Where is Mount Rushmore?; Where did the sundae begin?;Where was the birthplace of the first TV?  A lot of questions involve firsts: the first state to vote for independence, the first National Park, the first state to make laws for cars, the first celebration of Memorial Day, and  the location of the first public zoo. Another group of questions deal with the longest and the largest. These include the longest running radio station, longest floating bridge, longest sky way bridge, the largest gold producing state, and largest cable bridge. Then there are the facts dealing with unique situations. Which state was the birthplace of four presidents? Which state holds the world record for most rainfall in a 24 hour period? What is the name of the state which turned down hosting the Olympics? Name the state that has a floating post office. From which state do the names on the Monopoly game board originate? Whose state flag was designed by a teenager? What governor has a state named after him even though he never set foot in that state?

This book makes a great activity for children on a long car ride. Much better than name the license plate. Children and adults will also learn some useful information to use as conversation starters. The game provides a quick reference source. There are maps and photographs that will enhance geographical knowledge as well. So if you are going on a road trip or want a new book to place on your coffee table, you might want to consider this quick read.

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