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Thanks to Cheriee Weichel for hosting Poetry Friday this week! You’ll find links to book reviews, original poems, and more at her blog, Library Matters.

Hi, Poetry Friday friends. Are you ready for a robot invasion?

I have a new robot friend. Its name is Po-M. Po-M Bot is helping me with this week’s post.

Meet my newest pal, Po-M Bot.

We recently received a book from a robot-loving friend, author-illustrator Michael Rex. It’s called FACTS VS. OPINIONS VS. ROBOTS.

As an educator, I love this book!

One of the poetry workshops I run with young writers is a persona poem. (Instructions on how to run the workshop are at Today’s Little Ditty).

I give each poet an image of a person to start with. Then we use a t-chart and record the FACTS we can observe about the image on one side, and the things we imagine about that person (OPINIONS) on the other.

 

 

Mike uses robots to show readers the difference between a fact — “there are three robots on this page” — and an opinion “the red robot is the most fun.” (Po-M Bot agrees with that opinion.)

This is a useful skill for children, especially today. Being able to discern a fact from an opinion sets a foundation for how kids interact with social media, news, and infotainment.

Speaking of facts, I read an article about robots recently and it inspired a poem.

“If You Want a Robot to Learn Better, Be  Jerk to It”
Matt Simon, Wired Magazine, 11-6-2019
(Article is here)

Robots aren’t people
their feelings don’t get hurt
when someone takes their ice cream cone
or mocks their new plaid shirt.

Wait … Robots don’t wear plaid.
They’re metal, bolts, and brains
following computer codes.
Who cares if they’re called names?

And they don’t eat ice cream.
Not Mint or Rainbow Cream.
I must have seen an ice cream-eating
plaid-bot in a dream.

Originally, this poem had the robots eating donuts, but after Po-M Bot and I read Mike’s book, we made a small revision.

FACTS VS. OPINIONS VS. ROBOTS is a fun, informative book to add to your elementary classroom or home library. Maybe it will inspire your young poets to write some robot poems of their own.

26 responses to “Poetry Friday: Facts vs. Opinions vs. Robots”

  1. Kathryn Apel says:

    I love your Po-M Bot, Laura. Perfect name! And fun poem, too – though I am now craving mint rainbow cream ice-cream! (In my mind it would be creamier, lighter, fluffier than ordinary ice-cream.)

  2. Kay Jernigan McGriff says:

    What an adorable Po-M Bot! Thanks for sharing the book–I can think of a few adults who could benefit from it as well. And like Kat, I’m now craving ice cream–yummy!

    • Laura Shovan says:

      For sure. It’s a good reminder of the separation between provable facts and personal opinions. No alternative facts here.

  3. Ruth says:

    I love all this robotic goodness!

  4. Very cute robot. He looks friendly. Thanks for sharing him.

  5. jama says:

    Adorable robot with the perfect name. Fun poem, and thanks for sharing about Rex’s book!

  6. Linda Baie says:

    Happy to see this book, Laura, and my library has it, now on hold! Thanks for that & the poem, too. I rather like the idea of linking those opinions to a dream.

  7. Molly Hogan says:

    This book looks great, Laura, and I’m so glad to meet Po-M bot. Clearly he’s an inspirational force to be reckoned with!

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Hi, Molly. The robots have been part of my life for almost two years now! I’m happy others, like Mike, are as enthusiastic about their possibilities as I am.

  8. Linda Mitchell says:

    I really like this idea of teaching fact. v. opinion. Even though I’m in a middle school…we can use a lot more reinforcement on the difference between the two! This post is a keeper. I mean a bot named Po M. That’s kinda brilliant! I prefer ice cream too!

  9. Thanks for highlighting this book laura, I’ll be looking forward to it. I also want to thank you for the link to the workshop to the persona poem. I’ve added it to my tool box for when I am substitute teaching.

  10. Karen Eastlund says:

    Interesting post! Thanks very much.

  11. Such a great idea to pair this book with your persona poem activity, Laura! Fact vs. opinion—Yes!Yes!YES! It was a pleasure meeting Po-M today and reading your poem. Though now I must ingest some mint chip ice cream before my programming aborts.

  12. I love the combination of the Facts/Opinions book with your persona workshop, Laura!
    And I think it’s safe to say it’s both a fact and an opinion that Po-M Bot adds delightful whimsy to this post. 🙂 The only thing he needs is his own plaid shirt.

  13. Mike Rex says:

    Great post! Love that little robot. Thanks for the kind words about the book.— Mike

  14. Michael Rex’s book looks marvelous and goes so well with your Robot poem! I like your new side kick, Po-M Bot. too. There’s much to be had for all ages, including us adults from all here, thanks Laura!

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Laura Shovan

Laura Shovan is the author of the award-winning middle grade novel, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary. Her second book, Takedown, is a Junior Library Guild and PJ Our Way selection. Look for A Place at the Table, co-written with Saadia Faruqi, in 2020. Laura is a poet-in-the-schools Maryland.

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