Investigating CLIMATE CHANGE in the news - student activity

I created this activity as a follow up activity the 8th grade science teachers could use with their students after my lesson about news literacy.  (Note: I am providing teachers with this lesson as I am only at the school one day a week.  Ideally, I would do this with them.)  

INVESTIGATING CLIMATE CHANGE IN THE NEWS

TASK: Investigate a false claim related to CLIMATE CHANGE .


CHOOSE TOPIC: Use Snopes.com to select two claims related to CLIMATE CHANGE - have your teacher approve the claims you have chosen. REMEMBER WHAT YOU CHOOSE!


You will be using a Google Slide template that your teacher will share with you.  Make sure you rename it to your last name and a couple words describing the topic. You will be deleting the text on each slide and replacing as directed.


STEPS:
For each topic you will:
  • Slide 2: Read the Claim/Falsehood on Snopes and explain the claim in your own words.
  • Slide 3: In 2-3 sentences explain the ORIGIN of the claim.
  • Slide 4: Read the FACTS provided by Snopes. summarize and bullet the facts that you found most important.


Web Site #1
  • Find 2 factual websites besides Snopes that disprove the claim.
  • Slide 5: Write the name & URL of the first site.
  • Slide 5: explain why you know the site is TRUE.
  • Slide 6:Bullet at least 3 important facts from site.


Web Site #2
  • Slide 7: Write the name & URL of the second site.
  • Slide 7: explain why you know the site is TRUE.
  • Slide 8: Bullet at least 3 important facts from the site.


CONCLUSION:

  • Slide 9: In 2-3 sentences write your personal conclusion about the claim on.
You may go back when you are done inputting data to change fonts or add graphics, but be sure to cite any images or multimedia as well.

You can find a copy of slide here as well.



Sample of 8th grade student work.  I was super impressed by the time and thought the student put in to evaluating and explaining what she learned.  

It's exam time, relax to be successful


Today I want to focus on the REST piece of this blog. 

Exams are fast approaching and the library has become a busy place with end of semester projects and studying.  The stress levels are evident on student's faces.  

A graphic has been circulating on social media with the Angela Clarke quote that "Libraries are a haven, in a world where communities are being ground down to nothing."  Similarly, I want the the school library to be a haven.   

Here are a few ideas to help students to quietly relax and keep calm and stay focused as they study for and take exams.   

Relax & Color
Re-focus with a Puzzle 
Rest with a Therapy Dogs
Rejuvenate with Meditation
Headspace is one app and provides accessible meditation and offers the first 10 sessions for free.   



News Imposters and the Role of Journalists


The quote above from Joshua Johnson struck a cord with me when I saw it on Twitter this week. In talking about 'Fake News' I fear I have contributed to diminishing the integrity of the journalistic field.  

The term "fake news" has become an oxymoron we see in the headlines every day. The news is about fake news...confusing? As teachers we use the term "fake news" to teach students to stop, think and evaluate. Politicians use the term to point fingers at news they do not like.  

"If it is fake, it is not news." 

The Internet has created an information explosion where news happens in real time but then gets shared and distorted through social media and other outlets.  We are lucky to live in a country with the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press.   But this freedom also allows for fake, false information out there so what do we call it?   

I have chosen to replace "fake news" with NEW IMPOSTERS in my news literacy lessons. I have also decided to include the role of journalists and their verification process in my unit.

There are many journalists and media outlets that are committed to providing accurate news.  However, students need to understand that they need to get information straight from those outlets and not from just a headline (READ the article) or a friend's interpretation in a social media post.  

Students need to understand that there different types of journalists.  Some give commentary on the news and we, the consumers of news, need to listen for any bias in those editorials.  We need to look for other perspectives on the issue before forming their own opinion. 

Some journalists risk their lives reporting news from war zones, revolutions and disasters. They are dedicated to keeping the world informed, even in the most dangerous situations, and to give a voice to those who have none.  

Even in the 21st century there are many countries where journalists are assassinated for their work. Lasantha Wickrematunge was the editor of Sri Lanka's Sunday Leader. He knew the risks he was taking as a journalist and wrote an article in case something were to happen to him. He was assassinated on January 9, 2009. Three days later the article was published.  He wrote this in the article:

"The free media serve as a mirror in which the public can see itself sans mascara and styling gel. From us you learn the state of your nation, and especially its management by the people you elected to give your children a better future. Sometimes the image you see in that mirror is not a pleasant one. But while you may grumble in the privacy of your armchair, the journalists who hold the mirror up to you do so publicly and at great risk to themselves. That is our calling, and we do not shirk it."

News literacy lessons should include the important work of the real journalists in our world. I want my students to walk away with more than just the skills to identify news imposters, I want them to critically evaluate the role of the press and media in our society. 
  • What would happen if we lived in a country without free press?  
  • What if the media was controlled by the government? 
  • What if reporters in the USA could be executed for reporting a story they did not like?
  • What would happen to our world if there were no journalists or no news? 
  • Is it important for journalists to put their lives at risk to report the news?
  • What is the role of news commentary and editorials? 
  • Should news imposters be punished? Why? How?
 

Thank you Joshua Johnson for forcing me to stop, think and evaluate. 



Groundhog's Runaway Shadow Activity Ideas




Groundhog's Day is right around the corner. If you are looking to do something with your students beyond predicting the weather, check out David Biedrzycki's newest book. Groundhog's Runaway Shadow is a creative story is not your traditional "will the groundhog see his show?" storyline and that will lend itself to a variety of student learning opportunities.





Personification 

In the story, the Groundhog's shadow has a personality of it's own, with likes and dislikes. Use this to discuss personification. 








Activities:
- Students create "Wanted" signs for their own shadows using creative personification.

- Create "Shadow Cards" similar to a baseball card with a list of personified traits on the back (favorite food, sports, likes, hobbies).   Students can create their own Shadow Card, illustrating their shadow and listing the personified traits on the back of the card 








Student Writing
The shadow decides to leave and follow it's own desire for adventure. Students can write stories about their own shadow's adventures.  











Individuality and Friendship:  In the end the Groundhog and it's shadow find each other again.  Students can discuss value of differences in friendship does not mean doing and liking everything their friends do. It is good to be different!!









United States Geography
As in all David Biedrzycki books, there is a hidden image on each page.  This book has a hidden Pennsylvania on each page.   Use this to learn about states and geography.  Pair with Puzzle Maps USA which takes each state and creates pictures of flowers and clowns, it is the reader's job to figure out each state.  Students could create their own puzzle maps.  




 _______________________

Thank you to David Biedrzycki for sharing his artwork with me!  
Learn more about the author and his books (Ace Lacewing is another favorite of mine!) at www.davidbiedrzycki.com.   



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