Is it fake or real news?

To start my dive into fake news I thought to check my Facebook to see if I was being fed fake news and if so what was it about? Though I did not find much, I found that there was a lot of creditable news centers, such as the Leader Post being shared around but the articles were five plus years old.

Within the article “How do we teach students to identify fake news?” it explains that students should be taught to find biases within media. I made a lesson plan for grade 8 health students to find Saskatchewan biases, particularly in the news. Students may not be able to see how a news article is manipulating them to lean one way or the other on a topic.

In grade 8 ELA, we practice pre-reading skills all of the time, before reading anything we went over all of the areas of the text, including table of context, photos and page numbers. This is something that could be used when finding news articles including looking for the authors, headings and photos.

The following two outcomes from the grade 8 English curriculum ask students to view and react properly to text (which can include news articles)


Select and use appropriate strategies to construct meaning before (e.g., previewing and anticipating message), during (e.g., making inferences based on text and prior knowledge), and after (e.g., paraphrasing and summarizing) viewing, listening, and reading.


View critically and demonstrate comprehension of a variety of visual and multimedia texts including videos, television broadcasts, informational presentations, dramatic presentations, websites, and news programs to locate and interpret key messages and details, to develop conclusions, opinions, and understanding, and to evaluate the effectiveness of the text.

At the beginning of the year I would have my students complete a quiz similar to “Quiz: can you spot the fake news headline? to see what my students look for in news articles. I would start by having the students take the quiz individually, then as a class going over every area and ending by taking a different quiz as individuals to see if they could use the techniques they developed.

When creating research assignments, especially for younger students, giving students the links to websites to use for research will help them to know what is credible before they start searching through other websites. Having the five C’s from John Spencer’s video hanging up in the classroom as a friendly reminder of what to look for when they are researching.

The biggest questions that students need to learn is “why”, in particular “why is this content being made”. As Claire Wardle explains in her article, there are 7 types of Mis and Disinformation, which help to show why the content is being made.It would be interesting to see if students would be able to put different articles onto the spectrum they provide.

With anything a student reads, it is important to have them read it with an open mind but understand that all news is made for a reason

Photo Credit: Christoph Scholz Flickr via Compfight cc


3 thoughts on “Is it fake or real news?

  1. Sarah, great post!

    I like the idea of having students take a “fake news” quiz to develop a basis and find out where students weakness are. Giving students a list of resources to use is a great start and useful but I find that the students will always let there mind wander and then go off the list the teacher provides them. As teachers, we cannot hold the students hand through everything so it is important to teach them how to identify fake news.


  2. Hi Sarah,
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us! I love that you included indicators directly from the curriculum so we are able to see what learning about fake news would connect to.
    I would definitely check out as you could also use it as an introductory activity within your classroom! (And it even has different grade levels). I think more people need to be able to spot fake news and we should teach them at a young age! 🙂


  3. Hey Sarah,

    I like the approach you used for this post. It was helpful to see you put the idea of Fake News into an education context and talk about how you would teach to be critical thinkers and readers. I may use the idea of doing a “fake news quiz” in my internship as I will be with grade eights.
    Have you ever taught a lesson on being critical readers and analyzing if something is fact or opinion?


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