Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Teachable Moments About Fake News and Credible Sources

Wow, it has been since October when I last blogged! I promised I would blog more often and I haven't. Just like riding and falling off a bicycle, it is important to pick oneself up and do it again. So, I'm picking myself up, warming my keyboarding fingers up, and blogging today!

Today's post is timely and speaks not only to my heart as a citizen of the United States of America, but also as a teacher-librarian.

I was incredibly touched and moved by last night's moment when President Trump acknowledged and honored fallen Navy SEAL Ryan Owens and his wife.

I got emotional watching that moment. It not only represented Ryan and his wife and the heartache, but it also represented all those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice to serve and fight for our country. It was during that moment that I thought of and remembered fallen Navy SEAL Jon Tumilson (a close family friend of ours and my two sons, ages 5 and 7, admire and look up to), Chris Kyle, Marcus Lutrell, Morgan Lutrell, Boss (Navy SEAL and close friend of the Tumilsons whose daughter, Amelie, is fighting a huge battle against huge battle against Pineoblastoma brain cancer), Iowa National Guard Transportation Company 1133rd (local people that I am honored to know and be friends with), all their families, and many more who have served or are serving and fighting for our country.

My boys visiting Jon Tumilson on August 6, 2016.

Last week and this week (Wednesday, February 22, Thursday, February 23, and Monday, February 27), I had the honor and privilege of collaborating and co-teaching about fake news and credible resources with JAMS 8th grade English Language Arts (ELA) teachers Stephanie Heft Scholl, Ashley Graf, Kelly Penn, and Robin Wagner and their students. Those 3 days were filled with lots of insightful discussion between the students and us, the teachers. It was a great lesson that left me feeling hopeful, inspired, and fulfilled at the end of each day!

Pictures of Mrs. Scholl's ELA Class in Action Taking A Live Poll To Indicate Where They Get Their News

Mrs. Scholl's ELA Class Working in Groups to Determine Fake or Credible Websites

Mrs. Graf's ELA Classes in Action Working Together to Determine Fake or Credible News Articles

Mrs. Penn's Class in Action Working in Groups to Determine Fake or Credible News Articles

Now, Let's Fast Forward to Today...

Today, as I scrolled through my Facebook feed, I came across the following from Snopes. This particular article by Snopes is timely as I immediately thought about how it connects to the lesson I recently taught to John Adams Middle School 8th graders about fake news and credible sources. I shared this particular Snopes article with the teachers mentioned above, as a follow-up and teachable moment. I am hopeful that they will share this with students to gain another real world connection between current events and credible sources.

Last night's moment of honoring fallen Navy SEAL Ryan Owens and his wife, and the media headlines that have since followed, all show why it is important to check facts before making declared statements and opinions.

Please understand that I do not want any controversy or negative feedback over this particular blog post. I am not writing this blog post to indicate my preference for a specific political party or to side with one version of the story or another. I just want to share in the heartfelt sentiments of honoring those who have served, or are serving, our country and have paid the ultimate sacrifice, as well as shed light on fake news and credible sources, and what we must do as consumers of that information.

We have more access to information, than ever before, and we can access it so fast, as it is right there with the snap of our fingers. I will end with this: The JAMS ELA teachers and I both emphasized to students that it is our job, more than ever, to edit and filter news and information shared from media. We no longer have editors filter that information, so it is up to us to filter and edit.