Saturday, January 13, 2018

Spark Debate and Encourage Student Response to Real News

"Fake News" has continued to grow as a real issue and upper elementary is a great place to start some debate but where should you look for the "real news" and how can you share it easily with students in a format that will encourage open and polite debate? This blog post will address all of that!We all know Fake News is out there. How we handle it in the classroom can make all the difference. Do we ignore it? Of course not. Do we push our own political views? Nope that's not prudent for a teacher either. So what exactly should we be doing about Fake News?

My position is that we approach the phenomenon of Fake News like most things in education. Teachers should provide students with opportunities to gain knowledge, understanding, make comparisons, judgements, and engaging in collegial debate. On that point, you may disagree and if so, I welcome collegial debate in the comments below.

If on the other hand, you agree, then the next logical questions are how can teachers frame the conversation and where can we locate content in the form of real and fake news that is appropriate for sparking debate in the classroom?  I have a few suggestions for that.

First, you should know that my experience is with upper elementary students and I have found that 4th & 5th grade students respond well to this type of debate. I'm certain older students would benefit from some of the ideas I am going to share too.  

When introducing debate into the classroom, I have found it to be helpful to give students some structure.  I have created a template that helps guide students as they form their arguments based on evidence from the text. You can grab it for free on TeachersPayTeachers for a limited time. 
Click the image to get your free copy for a limited time.

A template does very little good, if you can't find appropriate news articles to share.  I have a couple favorites linked below that might help you get started.

DogoNews - This is a great source for real news written for kids. There are current events and articles are searchable by content area. Do you have students who require audio support? No problem. Want to embed the article in Google Classroom? Sure thing!

NewsELA - This is another great source for real news. You can search by grade level and a quick search on the term "Fake News" generated 17 sources. I like that because it's kind of hard to spark the debate between real and fake if all you offer students is the real news.

Of course both of those have free and paid levels. I've been quite content with the free level to accomplish my learning objectives. There are some nice bonuses to going Pro that you can check out for yourself. I will leave it for you to decide what you need.

Coming soon: quick preview of how students can use the template while reading the selected news article.


  1. I'm an Instructional Technology Facilitator in Catawba County NC. I'd love to share your link on my Edubloggers in NC page Here's the form to add your information!
    Thank you!!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...