Media Moments Western Reserve Public Media

Constructing the News Story


Fact or Fiction — Middle School and High School

Facts are provable information. Opinions are personal attitudes about a person or a topic. It is VERY important for an individual to be able to determine between fact and fiction. Facts are usually verifiable (provable) through sources such as books, Internet, television, etc. Opinions are usually found in editorials or commentaries. It is most important for a person to be able to tell the difference between facts and opinions. Opinions are sometimes presented as facts and can color a person’s perception of what he/she is seeing or hearing.


Student will discuss the difference between fact and opinion.

Student will write a letter to the editor on a topic of interest to them and include both fact and opinion in the article.


Standard Addressed:

Language Arts, Writing, Communication
Grade 9, Benchmark B, Listening and Viewing

3. Analyze the credibility of the speaker (e.g., hidden agendas, slanted or biased material) and recognize fallacies of reasoning used in presentations and media messages.

Grade 9, Benchmark E, Writing Applications

5. Write persuasive compositions that:

  • establish and develop a controlling idea;
  • support arguments with detailed evidence;
  • exclude irrelevant information; and
  • cite sources of information.



short commercial, computer access



  1. Discuss the difference between fact and opinion. Use examples from the classroom, for example, “Your dress is red. ” is a fact. “Your dress is pretty.” is an opinion.

  2. Watch a short commercial on television, (It may be necessary to watch it more than one time.) or pass out an advertisement from a newspaper or magazine.

  3. Have the students discuss what the facts and opinions are in what they are looking at.

  4. Bring is some letters to the editor of your local newspaper and discuss what these letters include. Discuss topics on which the students might want to write a letter to the editor.

  5. Explain how letters to the editor give the opinion of the writer but how that opinion is based upon facts germane to the issue at hand.

  6. Either with a partner or independently have the students write a letter to the editor about a topic about which they have an interest. Remind them that the letter should include not only their opinion but also the facts that led them to have that opinion.




The following rubric will be used for evaluation.

CATEGORY 4 3 2 1
Content Knowledge Student demonstrates full knowledge (more than required). Student is at ease with content, but fails to elaborate. Student is uncomfortable with content and is able to demonstrate basic concepts. Student does not have grasp of information; student cannot answer questions about subject.
Grammar and Spelling Presentation has no misspellings or grammatical errors Presentation has no more than two misspellings and/or grammatical errors. Presentation has three misspellings and/or grammatical errors. Work has four or more spelling errors and/or grammatical errors.
Neatness Work is neatly done. Work has one or two areas that are sloppy. Work has three or four areas that are sloppy. Work is Illegible.
References Work displays the correct number of references, written correctly. Reference section was completed incorrectly Work does not have the appropriate number of required references. Work displays no references.
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