Lesson Plan

Technology Source Evaluation

This is lesson plan is designed to help students in evaluating source legitimacy and usefulness
John H.
Classroom teacher
Lincoln East High School
Lincoln, NE
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My Grades 9, 10, 11, 12
My Subjects English Language Arts

Students will be able to...

Identify whether a source is credible and valid

Select sources based on usefulness

English Language Arts
using supporting evidence
Grades 9
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Set

Students will go to the class Piazza site and respond to the following prompt:

What makes a source credible? What information do you look for when deciding whether to use an article (or other media) in an assignment? What things would make you likely to NOT use a source?

The site should be set to the mode that prevents students from seeing replies until they have answered.

Student Instructions

Please log into the class Piazza site and respond to the questions on the class page. Make sure that you consider all parts of the prompt.

2 Direct Instruction and Modeling

Load this Google Spreadsheet:  https://docs.google.com/a/lps.org/spreadsheets/d/1ia_MeC2LhAV5i0LQDb431cF3bCITFzjH8pHg5cBC1es/edit?usp=sharing

Using this spreadsheet, the teacher will work through two separate articles with the class. The first article will be a legitimate, credible source while the second will not. The teacher should make sure to point out the importance of each item that would be needed to make the second one useable.

It is important to remind students that there may be some instance where a source meets the minimum requirement in the "Yes" column but is still not credible. For example, conspiracy theory websites and parody news sources might pass the test but still should not be used. 

Here are two possible example sources:

Credible (Sheet #1)-http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/06/brexit-voters-self-i...

Not Credible (Sheet #2)- http://www.breitbart.com/2016-presidential-race/2016/06/29/obama-populis...

Student Instructions

Today we will be learning how to evaluate sources. This is a relatively easy process but one that people frequently fail to properly utilize.

To assist in evaluation we will be using a spreadsheet which contains a series of questions about the source's content.

Once enough "yes" answers have been entered, the "Total" box at the bottom will turn green which means that you can likely use it.

 To practice this, we are going to work through two different articles and decide if they are credible.

Remember that, even if the website passes, it might still not be credible so always ask if in doubt!

3 Guided Practice

Using the same spreadsheet, students should work in pairs on their choice of 3 articles of from a list provided by the teacher on the class Piazza site. 

These articles should be divided into 3 groups labeled A, B, and C. In one group all of the articles should be credible, in the second group the articles should not be credible and the final group should contain a mix (for differentiated classes the teacher may choose to fill this third category either with sources that appear legitimate but actually are not or visa versa). Students should not know which group is which but must select one article from each group.

Remember to ensure that the articles are accessible in school computers and not blocked by content filters!

After they have completed their sheets, they should submit them via the class site. 

Make use of this time to answer questions and monitor student progress.

Student Instructions

Now I want you to work in pairs to do your own source evaluations.

On the class site, there are 3 lists of articles. I would like each pair to pick one from each list and evaluate them.

Everyone will have at least 1 non-credible source though you may have more so be careful!

When you have decided whether each source is credible, upload the results to the class site.

4 Independent Practice

As a final practice students will find an article on their own using Google News and evaluate whether that source is credible and valid.

They should upload their response to the class site.

Student Instructions

Now as a final practice, I would like each student to find one article about the election on Google News and evaluate its credibility.

When you are done submit the sheet via the class site. Important: remember to include a link to the article!

This is your homework for the evening 

5 Wrap-up

Students should select one of the non-credible sources which they have looked at today and respond to the following prompt on Piazza as an exit ticket:

What made the source clearly not credible? What would be needed to make it a better source? Try to brainstorm some ideas as to where you might be able to find a better source that says similar things!

Student Instructions

Before leaving, please respond to the prompt on Piazza.