“Fake News” Need Real Tools

I am often skeptical to what I read online, especially on social media sites such as Facebook.  It is hard to decipher “fake news” from real news. Which brings to my attention the need to equip our students with tools that help them decipher between “fake news” and real news. If we can give our students the tools and experiences of unarming “fake news” we can help them be smart consumers, use reliable resources to increase knowledge, and help end an ongoing phenomenon. But how? What are some tools we can use to decide if news is “fake’? How can we teach these things in a way which they connect to curriculum? Keep reading, hopefully I can help you answer these questions.

Let’s discuss the first step in understanding fake news for ourselves. Claire Wardle wrote, “Fake News It’s Complicated”, in this article she discusses fake news as an “information ecosystem”. She explains this ecosystem as being polluted and that it is our responsibility, as consumers of the internet, to be checking what we see online. She tells us we need “emotional skepticism”, to second guess our instinctual reactions. To do this she suggests we use tools to help us, an easy first tool is to wait about 2 minutes to check our feelings before clicking share. This allows our brain to catch up with our feelings. We must check our source, check other sources about the topic, and check our biases and opinions.

Next let’s talk tools, I have compiled a nifty list that may be useful for elementary students using the resources linked below my list.

Tools for deciphering fake news: 

  • If the author is anonymous, assume it is “fake”
  • Look for opinion words like, “think”, “probably”, or “likely”
  • Find recent dates
  • Ask the person involved in the news or read their article/ watch their videos
  • Use 2+ resources to see if information matches
  • Use websites such as, FactsCanorgSnopes, and Hoax Slayer to verify websites
  • Identify biases by using a media bias chart, to understand perspectives


How to Change Your News- Damon Brown

How Do We Teach Students to Identify Fake News?Dr. Alec CourosKatia Hildebrandt

Fake News. It’s ComplicatedClaire Wardle

Please note that in my tool kit, I am attempting to use language friendly to students grades one – five. I also tried to write the list in order which I would teach the tools. Please give me any feedback as to how I could use friendlier language for children or any tools you might add!

How can we connect to the Saskatchewan Curriculum? Great question!

I have chosen to focus in on grade one, three, and five using only one or two outcomes to show you how I might teach fake news with my students.

Grade One: 

English Language Arts Outcome

CR1.1 – Comprehend and respond to a variety of grade-level texts (including contemporary and traditional visual, oral, written, and multimedia) that address:

  • identity (e.g., All About Me)
  • community (e.g., Friends and Family)
  • social responsibility (e.g., Conservation) and relate to own feelings, ideas, and experiences.

Through this outcome I would teach students the dangers of fake news, how it can hurt people’s identity and feelings. I would create a fake news article about myself and who I am, with an anonymous author, old date, and the opinion words we discuss in a previous lesson. I would then show them an example of real news about myself using my name as the author, a recent date, and no opinion language. I would then have students think and discuss how the fake news could hurt my feelings or make me sound like a bad teacher. By using myself as an example I am hoping the students would feel more connected and empathetic about the fake news.

This idea would connect directly with the grade one Health Outcome

USC1.1- Examine healthy behaviours and opportunities and begin to determine how these behaviours and opportunities may affect personal well-being.

Grade Three: 

English Language Arts Outcome

CR3.4- Read fluently and demonstrate comprehension of grade-appropriate fiction, script, poetry, and non-fiction from various cultures (including First Nations and Métis) and countries (including Canada) and explain reactions and connections to texts read.

I would discuss the importance of interviewing, asking questions of the person involved in the news, reading articles or viewing videos of those involved. I would demonstrate how this is important by asking students to share a story about an event in their lives that mean a lot to them, then I would have their partner try to retell the story using as much description as possible. Hopefully the retelling is not as accurate and descriptive (I may have to work out some kinks here) to show students how their own story is more important, more detailed, and accurate.

I would then model how to find matching information between two articles to find true facts about a topic or news story. I would then allow students to work in small groups to try to fact check two articles on their own. These experiences will allow students to think critically about their sources and hopefully weed out fake news.

I would try to use current articles discussing Canadian or Aboriginal news, keeping their learning relevant. I believe these activities could lead to writing their own news article using the facts they cross reference in their two articles, demonstrating their comprehension.

I believe these activities tie directly into the grade three Social Studies Outcome

RW3.3- Evaluate the ways in which technologies have impacted daily life.

The curriculum asks that we teach about technologies which are not electronics. So, this would be the perfect opportunity to discuss news beyond the internet and into magazines, billboards, and newspapers. I would facilitate a discussion asking questions about how we could discover fake news that is not on the internet, how this news spreads, what is oral story telling, and more that would engage students in critical thinking beyond the internet.

Grade Five:

English Language Arts Outcome

CR5.2- View and evaluate, critically, visual and multimedia texts identifying the persuasive techniques including promises, flattery, and comparisons used to influence or persuade an audience.

I would teach about fake news by addressing all the tools listed in our list. I would put special focus on the last two, checking websites using the website verifiers provided, discussing biases (what are they), and using bias charts to understand perspectives. I would allow students to choose between a set of topics to research for this learning experience. The topics would include links to real and fake news in which the students would have to all sources and decipher the fake from the real, they would do so by using the tools taught and specifically demonstrating their use of the bias chart. I would first model a few examples for the students on how to use the bias charts and other tools. I would provide feedback along the way to give students opportunity for success and growth in discovering the difference between fake and real news.

I realize that my curricular connections need more details to create a true lesson plan with more logical sequence, critical questions, and specific articles. I also realize that the lessons might need trial and error while working with students to work out any kinks. Any feedback or suggestions to my curricular connections would be greatly appreciated.

“In the 1990s, the National Council of Teachers of English [NCTE] and the International Reading Association established national standards for English language arts learners that anticipated the more sophisticated literacy skills and abilities required for full participation in a global, 21st century community.” 

The NTCE recognizes the importance of teaching our students about digital literacy and wants teachers guiding students to become critical consumers while online. Some of the points outlined by the article are as indicated below, please know there are more (I encourage you to check out the website). However I chose these in specific as I believe they support the curricular connections I have made.

“Design and share information for global communities that have a variety of purposes”

The NCTE asks “do students critically analyze a variety of information from a variety of sources?”

“Develop proficiency and fluency with the tools of technology”

The NCTE asks “do students evaluate and use digital tools and resources that match the work they are doing?” and “do students find relevant and reliable sources that meet their needs?”

I believe my ideas on how to teach students about deciphering between fake and real news directly meets the NCTE’s Framework for the curriculum.

I believe it is so important to begin teaching students about fake news as early as possible to help them become critical consumers.

Updos & New “Views”

Hey everyone! I just wanted to say my title doesn’t make a ton of sense, but it rhymed and seemed catchy, haha! I did another updo today and tried some new ways of presenting my learning project.

I tried a vlog type style for sharing my learning project this week. I explain most of my process through the video below. I just wanted to add that I now love Screencastify for Google Chrome. I can definitely see myself using it in the future.

Without further ado, enjoy my journey today.


Here is the link to Missy Sue’s website if you are interested!

And here is the link to just my updo video!


Elegant Bun *Cheese

IMG_7348.jpeg  Screen Shot 2019-03-13 at 4.11.13 PM.png

I wanted to update you all on my hair curling skills with a flat iron. The image on the left is how my hair dresser curled my hair with a flat iron after my hair cut a couple weeks ago. The images on the right are after I attempted to curl my hair with a flat iron, using the no twist method! YIKES! I will have to keep practicing to say the least!




I also wanted to share the twist braid I did on my own hair the other day. I loved it so much on Mackenzie I had to try it on myself. I will definitely continue to use this style to keep my bangs back.



Screen Shot 2019-03-13 at 4.08.59 PM.pngThis week I figured it was time to start working on buns. The FINAL STEP towards my end goal! I found this step by step picture on Pinterest and I knew I needed to try it! I still don’t love the method of learning from picture only steps, it is frustrating because you can’t see the transition steps or hand positions that take you from step to step, it also does not show you how to place the bobby pins.

Which, SIDE NOTE I looked into how to place bobby pins for ultimate hold. I found this great video that goes through examples and explains the reasoning for her tricks! And I personally think I did a better job at hiding the bobby pins, thanks to this tip. Thank you Courtney for the suggestion to look into this!

I still had some difficulties getting the hair style to HOLD because Mackenzie’s hair is so thick and heavy. I asked her to shake her head, as I know someone at an event would be moving all day and wanted to see if it would hold, like most hair stylists are able to do for their clients!


Part of my learning experience this week was taking a video. I realized afterwards that the angle of my video is not the best for my viewers to see my hands and the hair I am working with. I also really wanted to add music, but I couldn’t remember how and felt rushed for time, so I will have to try again next week! I also was not sure if I sped the video up too much or if I should have sped it up more, so please give me your opinions in the comments! Any tips as to how I can improve my videos for my views would be greatly appreciated!

IMG_7492.jpeg IMG_7493.jpeg

I am just so proud of how beautiful this looks! 

Sleuthing & the Forever of the Internet

Buckle up friends, I have a lot to say this week!

This week our professor asked us to sleuth a classmate and see what we could find out about them via a Google search. My partner was Brooklyn Selinger.

I have known Brooklyn since my first year of University and we quickly became good friends. Since I know Brooklyn quite well and have her on many social media accounts, I used an incognito tab on my Chrome browser. This allowed my browsing to not have any of my accounts logged in which may lead to Brooklyn on a personal level.

Screen Shot 2019-03-11 at 9.00.25 PM.pngScreen Shot 2019-03-11 at 9.01.12 PM.png

My experience sleuthing Brooklyn was tricky. I could only find a little cake cutting video on YouTube when I typed in her name to Google. I am not even sure if it is her because it never shows a face, nor does it have sound. From there I tried Googling her name with +Facebook and I still couldn’t find her. So, I then tried her name with +Instagram, also nothing. I was starting to get worried I would never be able to find her. I typed in Brooklyn Selinger wordpress.com” just like that, and her personal blog never showed up. But I clicked on another blog that looked promising.From that blog post there was a link to Brooklyn’s personal blog.

Screen Shot 2019-03-11 at 11.25.13 AM.pngI was able to gain a lot of information about her as a teacher through her blog as well as access her twitter account where I learned more about Ms. Selinger. I felt like the FBI trying different “codes” to try and find her and then dig on all her pages to try and find more and more information. It was actually really fun to really look into her and see what I could find out about her. If I did not already have her on Facebook it would have been interesting to see what I could find out about her there, as I know some people show their relatives, birthdays, and more personal information. Overall, I believe Brooklyn has a very professional digital citizenship that makes her look like a great teacher to have in any school!

Next we were asked to think about digital identity and I felt like I had a lot to say.

While reading Nicole Lee’s article, “Having Multiple Online Identities is More Normal than You Think”. I kept thinking to myself, “Wow, how do people do this? How can people keep up multiple accounts on one type of social media? Is that even healthy?” I only have one Instagram, one Facebook, and one twitter account. Those are my three social media outlets. However, the more I read into Lee’s article I realized that in a way I do portray myself differently on each account. Heck, I even deleted my Facebook account when I graduated high school because I realized it was very unprofessional and could hinder my chances of getting a job as a teacher.

  • My Facebook now only has friends and family that I am close with and see orScreen Shot 2019-03-11 at 9.17.46 PM.png communicate with on a regular basis. I do not accept people I have only talked to or met once because I want it to be a network with people in my life who I like to keep up on their lives and them with mine. However, I barely post. When I do, I am usually reposting about local businesses, talking about my education journey, my horse, boyfriend, or family. But, I don’t post often and I keep it very locked up as to not share too much about myself with strangers.

Screen Shot 2019-03-11 at 9.16.03 PM.png

My Instagram is also private, and my bio is a series of emojies a crayon, stack of books, wheat, and sunflower. My posts on this network portray only my best and happiest memories and moments. Which in a sense is not the real me, I have many boring and hard moments in life too, but never post about these. Why? Is it bad that I don’t want others to see me vulnerable?Screen Shot 2019-03-11 at 9.13.26 PM.png

  • My twitter is a new outlet for me to be a professional and share with the world my ideas surrounding mostly education-based content, while also posting a few personal moments.

Why do we feel we can only share our best moments? Why do we post to meet different audiences? Is it to feel good about our own lives? To feel validated by different people? Is it healthy to have multiple accounts?

I carefully construct what I post now days because I am so fearful of people capturing a moment that could ruin my life. Monica Lewinsky’s Ted Talk
The Price of Shame” talks about a culture of humiliation we have created in today’s online world which publicly shames people for things they have posted or had stolen from their private devices without consent and shared online. She says, “a marketplace has emerged where public humiliation is a commodity and shame is an industry” (16:14) in which clicking on gossip provides money to the person who put the content up. Making it a vicious cycle, especially for those who are being humiliated. And recently I have been so conscious about what I click on, what I like, share, and comment on.

There are so many memes with brutal comments put on humiliating photos of people all over the internet these days. I am super worried about offending someone because I know I would be very angry if someone used one of my worst photos, only meant for a friend, was leaked publicly and covered with mean or dehumanizing comments. I actually cried tears as I listened to Lewinsky say, “cruelty to other is nothing new, but online, technologically enhanced shaming is amplified, uncontained, and permanently accessible” (12:58) because we are never truly private on social media, no matter how many restrictions we put on our accounts. All it takes is one person to screenshot and send or share that screenshot with another person, another website and then the whole world sees it. This is why I am so afraid of the internet sometimes. We need to really trust our networks and ourselves and be confident and very sure of what we post and share.

Cell Phones in the Classroom, Ya or Nah?

Two classmates and I constructed a conversation between a concerned parent, a classroom teacher and principal of a school. Take a look at their text message conversation one school day morning.

Screen Shot 2019-03-06 at 10.31.27 AM.png


Screen Shot 2019-03-06 at 10.32.13 AM.png

The parent believes her child is losing opportunities for engagement and learning about technology by not being allowed her cell phone in class, however the classroom teacher has been having difficulties with the students using their cell phones inappropriately during class time. The principal wants to please both parties by presenting the knowledge s/he has about the topic and to try something different that may help benefit all involved.

If you look at this conversation critically, it is quite hypocritical. The teacher and principal are texting a parent during class time. This conversation could have been set up to have in a face-to-face meeting, like the teachers are advocating for the students to be doing. Most of the sources the principal also refers to are studies done in England, by white dominant schools led by males. While this may or may not matter, it is something to consider. Not once was it considered how the use or discontinued use of cell phones may affect cultural practices or beliefs. I think the meeting should have also been had between the entire staff and entire school community of parents and students, this would allow more voices to be heard and for all to receive the same message in the end.

I, personally, do not know where I stand on the issue. Most classrooms I have been in students do not have cell phones or social media yet, so I cannot speak to experience from a teacher’s perspective. However, as a high school and university student I can honestly say my phone is a huge distraction during class time and unless I place it out of reach and on silent, I will constantly check it for no reason at all.

I invite my readers to share their experiences with cell phones in the classroom or your opinion on the conversation and strategies presented in the conversation, or in which you may have added to the conversation for either side.

Here are the links to the sources we used to construct our conversation:







Do the Twist, Twist, Twist!

Hey everyone! Sorry I have been MIA for awhile! It has been a busy few weeks.

This week I am trying some hair twisting. Mackenzie once again agreed to let me do her hair! The first thing I tried was this French Twist.

Screen Shot 2019-03-04 at 12.36.11 PM.pngI found the steps on Pinterest, it is now pinned on my “Hair” board if you want to check out my profile! There was no video to follow this week, only these short few picture-steps, no words! It was super tricky to do step four because I had no idea how the hair stylist twisted the hair around their hand like that. It took me at least five attempts to twist Mackenzie’s hair to make it look somewhat like step four. I was then unsure where or how the stylist pinned the hair into place, so my bobby pins are everywhere and very visible. Mackenzie’s hair is super heavy, so even with over 12 bobby pins it felt loos on her head and like it might fall apart at any moment. Some word directions and more picture-steps would have been very helpful in accomplishing the “DIY messy French Twist”.

Screen Shot 2019-03-05 at 10.16.01 AM.png

I then wanted to try a different kind of twist to explore my options on how to do the three twists in my “final goal” hair style (below).

Screen Shot 2019-03-05 at 10.34.13 AM.pngSo, I went back to Pinterest and I did some more scrolling. I found a “How To: Twist Braid” and it looks super cool. It was also a picture-step process, however there were very helpful instructions in words attached as well. While the pictures were very easy to follow and broken down into finer steps, the words were a blessing. They helped to describe the process from one picture to the next. I think my twist braid turned out fairly good, however next time I would like to try and make it less thick. In my final hair style I think this method would be more useful than the French Twist.

Here are the results from the twist braid!