Sunday, January 15, 2017

Fake vs. Real News

Today I am participating in Digital Learning Sunday with Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche.  This week Margaret has encouraged us to share our thoughts on fake vs. real news.

When Margaret gave her plan for this month, and I read the topic, fake vs. real news, I didn't think I would have much to contribute. This is such an important topic in today's classrooms, but I have yet to really tackle it with my students.  

I always begin our research unit with lessons on how to evaluate websites.  It is a lesson plan from Common Sense Education and Teaching Channel where students evaluate websites using an extensive set of criteria.  I know these lessons open their eyes as to what sources they can trust and what makes a website reliable, but there is so much more to teach.  With the recent overwhelming amount of fake news in the media, teachers are scrambling to not only educate themselves, but to also find lessons, resources and ideas to teach media literacy, especially the discernment of fake and real news.  

After researching, reading, and learning, I have curated a list of links and sources that will hopefully encourage teachers to begin tackling this issue.  

I suggest you begin with a recent study by Standford researchers on "civic online reasoning" by middle, high school and college students.  They state that "Overall, young people's ability to reason about the information on the Internet can be summed up in one word:  bleak."  You can read their findings and see samples of their assessments here. The students' responses are interesting, yet disturbing, but I think they also would reflect the thoughts and reasoning skills of my students.

Website Dedicated to News Literacy

The News Literacy Project is a nonprofit organization that "works with educators and journalists to teach middle and high school students how to sort fact from fiction in the digital age."  I am still sifting through their website, but I have enjoyed reading their teachable moments section on their blog which takes news stories and shows how you can use turn them into "teachable moments."  Below is a video from their website.

Article for Students

Real news reports on fake news people try to figure out the difference by Newsela

Articles to get the thinking started.

How to Spot Fake News (and Teach Kids to Be Media-Savvy) and Teaching Kids Media Smarts During Breaking News by Comon Sense Media

Battling Fake News in the Classroom by Edutopia

Who Stands Between Fake News and Students?  Educators by NEA Today

10 Ways to Spot Fake News by EasyBib

Lesson plans and teaching ideas for middle to high school students.

Hoax or No Hoax?  Strategies fro Online Comprehension and Evaluations by ReadWriteThink

How to teach your students about fake news by PBS Newshour Extra

News Literacy:  Critical-Thinking Skills for the 21st Century by Edutopia

Teachers no longer teach just reading, writing, and arithmetic.  Fake news is in our world and in our classrooms.  We must teach media literacy and give our students the skills needed to navigate this media-driven society in which they live.

How are you helping your students to develop media literacy skills?  I would love to hear your ideas and for you to share them in the comments section below.


  1. Leigh Anne,
    Thanks for all these resources.

    This is so true . . . "Fake news is in our world and in our classrooms. We must teach media literacy and give our students the skills needed to navigate this media-driven world."

    We have to work with students and adults to develop media literacy skills!

  2. I feel like this is a much bigger topic by the day. Thanks for all the resources. I need to take some time to explore these and keep this topic ongoing in my classroom.