Skip to main content

Big 6+ Inquiry GLEs for 6th-12th Grade: Fake News & News Literacy

Common Sense Media Resources

In today's 24/7 digital world, we have instant access to all kinds of information online. Educators need strategies to equip students with the core skills they need to think critically about today's media. We teach foundational skills in news and media literacy through our Digital Citizenship program, specifically through our Creative Credit & Copyright and Information Literacy topics. Built on more than 10 years of expertise and classroom testing, these lessons and related teaching materials give students the essential skills to be smart, savvy media consumers and creators. From lesson plans about fact-checking to clickbait headlines and fake news, we've covered everything. To learn more about our approach, read the Topic Backgrounder on news and media literacy.

Resources are organized by grade level.

In today's 24/7 digital world, we have instant access to all kinds of information online. Educators need strategies to equip students with the core skills they need to think critically about today's media. We teach foundational skills in news and media literacy through our Digital Citizenship program, specifically through our Creative Credit & Copyright and Information Literacy topics. Built on more than 10 years of expertise and classroom testing, these lessons and related teaching materials give students the essential skills to be smart, savvy media consumers and creators. From lesson plans about fact-checking to clickbait headlines and fake news, we've covered everything. To learn more about our approach, read the Topic Backgrounder on news and media literacy.

CSM--How to Spot Fake News (and Teach Kids to be Media-Savvy)

From Common Sense Media:

If you get your news online or from social media, this type of headline sounds very familiar. What's real? What's fake? What's satire? Now that anyone with access to a phone or computer can publish information online, it's getting harder to tell. But as more people go to Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and other online sources for their news and information, it's even more crucial that all of us -- especially kids -- learn to decode what we read online.

Check out the link below to the full article which provides some basic questions students should ask themselves when encoutering apiece of media and some trick older kids can use to spot fake news.

CSM--Turning Students into Fact Finding Web Detectives

Can the web be your students' best tool in the fight against falsehood?

From viral memes to so-called "fake news," the web is overflowing with information -- true, false, and everything in between. For many kids, this makes the web a challenging place to find credible and reliable sources. So what's the best way to help your students use the web effectively as a fact-checking tool? Here you'll find tips, resources, and practical advice on helping students find credible information online.

Fake News

Lesson on the Influence of Fake News

C-SPAN Classroom has a new lesson plan that is timely given the recent discussions about fake news stories created and shared through social media. Media Literacy & Fake News is a free lesson plan based on five C-SPAN videos featuring authors and other experts talking about the role of media in influencing how people think about political topics. Two of the video clips used in the lesson are titled “Fake News” Sites and Effects on Democracy and Role of Media and Fake News. The last video in the lesson plan, Satire vs Fake News, features writers from The Onion talking about political satire versus misinformation.

ASCD--Critical Literacy in the Age of Clickbait

ADL--Fake News Lesson Plan

There has been a lot of talk lately about “fake news” because it has been particularly prevalent during the recent 2016 Presidential election campaign. According to a recent Pew Research Center study, 62% of Americans get their news from social media sites and 44% get their news specifically from Facebook. Nearly 90% of millennials regularly get news from Facebook. In addition, a recent study from Stanford University revealed that many teens have difficulty analyzing the news; 82% of middle school students
surveyed couldn’t tell the difference between an ad labeled “sponsored content” and a legitimate news story.

This lesson provides an opportunity for students to learn what fake news is, differentiate it from other types of news (including satirical, misleading and tabloid news), develop strategies for spotting fake news and consider what can be done about the proliferation of fake news.

NPR--Fake-News and Students Study from Stanford

This article presents very valid reasons why learning to evaluate informational sites is a skill critically needed by our students today and that is something that is embedded and essential to the inquiry process taught by certified school librarians.

Students have 'Dismaying' Inability to Tell Fake News from Real, Study Finds (November 23, 2016)  by Camila Domonoske

"The researchers at Stanford's Graduate School of Education have spent more than a year evaluating how well students across the country can evaluate online sources of information.

Middle school, high school and college students in 12 states were asked to evaluate the information presented in tweets, comments and articles. More than 7,800 student responses were collected."

ISTE--Top 10 sites to help students check their facts

A good fact-checking site uses neutral wording, provides unbiased sources to support its claims and reliable links, says Frank Baker, author of Media Literacy in the K-12 Classroomand creator of the Media Literacy Clearinghouse. He adds, “Readers should apply the same critical thinking/questioning to fact-check sites.”

Here's a rundown of 10 of the top fact- and bias-checking sites to share with your students.

Fake News: A Library Resources Round-up

Scrabble tiles that spell "Fake News"

As librarians everywhere will attest, fake news is not new; fabricated stories have been presented as truth for centuries. But take a divided electorate and add a social media landscape where misinformation is shared with a click, and interest in the topic has soared.

Learning to decipher fact from fiction is a key skill for all news consumers, and libraries across the country are stepping up to help patrons gain the information literacy skills they need. With that in mind, Programming Librarian has compiled the following round-up of resources* to help libraries deliver their best programming about fake news.

Fake News Infographic

SLJ-Seven Tips for Teaching News Literacy to Eight- to 12-Year-Olds

With talk of “fake news” most everywhere and lots of great media literacy resources for students of all ages, practitioners may be asking: How young can kids be to start learning about news media?

The good news is that it is never too early to start teaching students how to evaluate, analyze, and create media. However, there are some specific considerations for younger learners, especially given the complex and often frightening current events that children may be exposed to.

SLJ-13 Tips for Teaching News and Information Literacy

How can educators teach elementary and middle school students to be critical consumers of news and media? We asked media literacy experts—teachers and librarians—for their best tips. Here’s what they had to say.

This is a great list to read and to share!

SLJ--The Smell Test: Educators can counter fake news with information literacy. Here’s how.

Illustration by Steve Brodner

Discerning fact from fiction in news and online content has never been more challenging. From “pizzagate”—false reports of a child sex ring operating in a DC pizza parlor—and creepy clown attacks to retweeted election headlines touting events that never happened, fake news is rampant. Twenty-three percent of Americans say they have shared fabricated reports, knowingly or not, according to a December Pew Research Center report.

Librarians have an opportunity to take leadership in the current crisis. As proven authorities on information literacy, library professionals can help students analyze news authenticity. It’s time to step up to the plate.

SLJ--Supermoons Cause Tidal Waves—True or False? Our news literacy program challenges fourth graders to find out

“Last week scientists at NASA announced that they will send a manned spacecraft to the moon by the year 2018.” “Supermoons can trigger tidal waves and catastrophic earthquakes.” “A rare liger cub with a lion dad and tigress mother was born in Russia.” Only one of these news headlines is real. Can you tell which one? Can your students?

For years, it has been considered best practice to teach students to evaluate online resources for their validity....   

But as these elementary students grow to become independent online consumers and their trusted online sources push thousands of news articles their way, we wondered: will these verification skills hold up in the snap-judgement world of social media link-sharing? Or will these new contexts cause students to drop their armor and wander, completely vulnerable, into the world of online news sharing?

School Library Journal Webinar

A new season of SLJ’s webcast series in conjunction with ISTE starts off with a bang this month. “Information Literacy in the Age of Fake News,” an hour-long program on March 16, will feature four experts who will weigh in with their perspective and provide resources and tips to address this critical topic.

The program will cover how to vet information, consider point of view and bias, establish best practices for students, and manage the digital fire hose of information. The panelists are:

SLJ--News Literacy Pinterest Page

Seeking one-stop shopping for news literacy resources? Look no further than School Library Journal‘s News Literacy Pinterest page, curated by Jen Thomas, media and educational technology specialist at West Bridgewater (MA) Middle Senior High School.

Pinterest fake news

Omaha Public Schools does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, age, genetic information, citizenship status, or economic status in its programs, activities and employment and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The following individual has been designated to address inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Superintendent of Schools, 3215 Cuming Street, Omaha, NE 68131 (402-557-2001).

Las Escuelas Públicas de Omaha no discriminan basados en la raza, color, origen nacional, religión, sexo, estado civil, orientación sexual, discapacidad , edad, información genética, estado de ciudadanía, o estado económico, en sus programas, actividades y empleo, y provee acceso equitativo a los “Boy Scouts” y a otros grupos juveniles designados. La siguiente persona ha sido designada para atender estas inquietudes referentes a las pólizas de no discriminación: El Superintendente de las Escuelas, 3215 Cuming Street, Omaha, NE 68131 (402-557-2001).