Learning Plans & Activities
Exploring "Fake News" with Kent State

Using Kent State by Deborah Wiles and other resources, students will learn ways to evaluate sources for accuracy, bias, and reliability. They will apply that knowledge to historical and current events.


English, media literacy




English teacher, social studies teacher, technology teacher


Students will learn to analyze content (written or visual) for accuracy, bias, and reliability.

Students will be able to apply these skills to historical and current events.


Kent State by Deborah Wiles (Scholastic 2020)

Stanford History Education Group (SHEG), Evaluating Information: The Cornerstone of Civic Online Reasoning, p. 16 and pp. 21–22 (https://stacks.stanford.edu/file/druid:fv751yt5934/SHEG%20Evaluating%20Information%20Online.pdf)

News Literacy Project posters:

Understanding Bias (https://newslit.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/NLP-Understanding-Bias-Poster_FIX.pdf)

Info Zones (https://newslit.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/NLP-InfoZones-Poster.pdf)

Craig Silverman's Six Steps to Spot Fake News and Other Misinformation (http://pshs.psd202.org/documents/1503681816_CraigSilvermanGO_Updated.pdf)


4–5 Days


AASL Standards Framework for Learners

I.B.1. Using evidence to investigate questions.

I.C.1. Interacting with content presented by others.

II.B.2. Evaluating a variety of perspectives during learning activities.

III.B.2. Establishing connections with other learners to build on their own prior knowledge and create new knowledge.

IV.A.3. Making critical choices about information sources to use.

IV.B.3. Systematically questioning and assessing the validity and accuracy of information.

VI.A.3. Evaluating information for accuracy, validity, social and cultural context, and appropriateness for need.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.6 Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.6 Identify aspects of a text that reveal an author's point of view or purpose (e.g., loaded language, inclusion or avoidance of particular facts).

Instructional Procedure

After reading Kent State:

Day 1

Warm up: Project the image from p.16 of the SHEG Evaluating Information document. Pass out copies of that page and have students answer the question. Discuss answers, creating a two-column chart of reasons students believe it is or is not credible.

Mini-lesson: Discuss Understanding Bias and Info Zone posters. Have students assign types of bias and information to the chart they created during the warm-up exercise. Have students work with shoulder partners to answer the questions on p. 21 from the SHEG document, adding in information from the Understanding Bias and Info Zone posters. Have table groups discuss answers and the evaluation process.

Exit ticket/homework: Assign different students to read one of the following from Kent State: pp. 15–16, p. 23, p. 30, p. 72, p. 76. Students will write 3 to 4 sentences identifying the speaker, his/her bias, which information zones apply and examples of fake news.

Day 2–3

Read aloud pp. 108–114 of Kent State. Project pp. 113–114. Assign students an event or person listed. Have them conduct an online search on that person or event and analyze two websites with information on that topic. Have students use Craig Silverman's worksheet to aid in evaluating the websites and create Google slides or posters on their topic that summarize their person or event and "fake news" that exists on that topic.

Day 4

Students do a gallery walk to learn about the other topics. After viewing at least five topics, students write a reflection on what kinds of topics generate fake news, any trends or similarities among the fake news stories and steps they think could be taken to combat fake news.


Shoulder partners should be assigned heterogeneously so second language learners or others in need of differentiation have a supportive partner. Reading passages assigned as exit ticket/homework should take into account student abilities, as should the person/event assigned for research. Students could also work in pairs on the final assignment.


Students will be formatively assessed through the worksheets and homework. Summative assessments will consist of the Google slide/poster and final reflection.

Additional Resources

Lubar, David. "Pulling up Stakes" in Pulling up Stakes and Other Piercing Stories. David Lubar, 2011.

Parkinson, Robert G. "Fake News: That's an Old Story," The Washington Post, Opinions, November 25, 2016.

Get more ideas for teaching with this book in our "Curriculum Connections for Kent State" and "Kent State with Primary Sources" lesson.

Suzanne Libra

MLA Citation Libra, Suzanne. "Exploring 'Fake News' with Kent State." School Library Connection, May 2020, schoollibraryconnection.com/Home/Display/2245757?childId=2245758&topicCenterId=1955265.

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Entry ID: 2245758

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