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Checking your sources, evaluating and verifying them


Part of  JEA’s Scholastic Press Rights Commission’s Constitution Day lessons and activity package:

4. LESSON PLAN: Quick hits: Checking your sources, evaluating and verifying them

In this lesson, students will complete a quick exercise in which they attempt to check a publication’s sources, evaluating and verifying them.

The discussion will lead toward the development of a process for a staff manual.

Summative evaluation tool: Student created product

Primary Common Core: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.2

Secondary Common Core Standard(s) Addressed: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.3

21st Century Skills Incorporated: Critical thinking, collaboration

Supplies, Technology, Other Materials Needed: Handouts, software for desktop publishing (online or computer installed), examples of magazines, yearbooks and newspapers

Length of the Lesson: 45 minutes

Evaluation tools:

Appropriate for Grades: 9-12

Created by: John Bowen, MJE

Brief description of lesson:

Students will access the following article online, reading it, evaluating the information and sources and attempting to verify the information.

Article: Government caught paying protesters after Trayvon Martin shooting to create racial division


Lesson details:
Individually, give students the article and have them read and begin to evaluate the information and the sources.

Once they have done that, have them see if they can verify the information. That process should lead students to critique not only the information but also the sources and the websites.

As they try to verify the information, have them keep track of the types of sources, the links  and their credibility.

The can also consider questions like these:

If they were going to publish this information, what would they do to:
• ensure they were accurate and had reported verified, reliable information
• accept responsibility for reporting the information
• being accountable to their audience

What should a journalist do if/when s/he finds information:
–      Provably false
–      Non verifiable
–      Non existant or misapplied sources

What additional sources might they use to help them evaluate this story and its information?

What ethical considerations should they take if they were to publish the information

How does this exercise help them establish a process for reporting their stories, one they can include in their staff manual

Possible additional exercise: Find a story they feel has information that should be evaluated and verified and do the evaluation.

The good, the bad and the ugly



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