Writing to change the world. What does that mean and where do you start?

One way to start is with your opinion. Here's what the dictionary says about opinion: A belief or conclusion held with confidence but not substantiated by positive knowledge or proof.

That's a pretty fancy way of saying that an opinion is something you believe--you might be able to point to facts that helped you come to the opinion or you might not. The important thing is that you believe that something is true or that something should be a certain way. Sometimes, you have an opinion and then you learn more about the topic and your opinion changes. Sometimes, you have an opinion and then someone presents information that persuades you to change your mind.

Another way to start writing to change the world is to start with a feeling. All good writers NOTICE what is going on in his or her own life, his or her own community, the country, the world! Sometimes, we notice or experience things that make us feel sad or that trouble us, might even make us feel afraid or angry. We may not yet have an opinion, we just have the feeling.

Which leads us to facts. The dictionary says that fact are: Knowledge or information based on real occurrences. Something demonstrated to exist or known to have existed.

You probably have gathered facts before--maybe you've looked for facts about a country or a tradition and pasted them onto a poster. Some facts just can't be argued with--we live in Asheville, North Carolina, for example. You go to school at Isaac Dickson Elementary School.

But not all facts are seen in the same way by every person. Think about Kek. In his country, a cow is special, to be treated with the greatest respect. A cow is a cow. That's a fact. But because he has a particular world view, he has an opinion of cows that might be different from the average citizen in the United States. In fact, he might point to all the same qualities of the cow that you would--and value them more highly.

It's all very interesting--and we'll be talking more about opinion, feelings, facts and how to write to change the world using all of them.

Here's is a video of a boy who lives right here in Asheville who has a very strong opinion about food. He researched his topic and then presented his opinion, his feelings, and his facts to an audience.  

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