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Why Teach Fake News in the Middle School ELA Classroom?

Fake news is ever-present in today’s society. Learn 6 reasons why you should teach fake news in your middle school ELA classroom from 2 Peas and a Dog.


Fake news is ever-present in today’s society. All we have to do is scroll through our social media feeds to see that the accounts we follow and our friends and families share it. Students must learn about the existence of this menace and how to identify it. 

If you’re wondering just how prevalent fake news is today and how important it is for students to learn how to identify it, check out this article by Scientific American.  

Unfortunately, fake news isn’t going anywhere and with social media being a place where many people get their news, students must know how to identify it and educate their fellow peers – and even their family – about the issue and the ramifications it can cause.

Why Teach Fake News in the Middle School ELA Classroom?

The following are 10 reasons you should teach about fake news in your middle school ELA classroom.

  1. Students need to learn to think critically about the media they consume daily. They are bombarded with messages and must sift through the fake and find the real.
  2. Fake news lessons are extremely engaging and will keep students interested in your lessons. 
  3. Students need explicit practice looking at this type of news to work on their thinking skills. 
  4. Students will learn to recognize this type of news and not get scammed by all the online phishing that occurs.  
  5. Teaching students to look beyond the headline and dig deeper into their reading material is important. Not everything online is truthful. This message needs to be regularly reinforced.
  6. Recognizing an advertisement versus real information is also a critical skill that can be taught alongside fake news. 
  7. Teaching this concept will help students develop independent thinking skills.
  8. Students will learn to analyze videos and seek out the truth versus clickbait.
  9. Learning to think about if photos and videos are real or have been AI-generated. 
  10.  When consuming music, students need to understand that it, too, can be generated by AI.

Fake News Media Literacy Analysis Unit

If you want to teach your middle school students about this topic, check out this ready-to-go Fake News Unit.

This comprehensive Fake News Unit has ten engaging lessons designed to boost middle school students’ media literacy skills and critical thinking and help them become responsible digital citizens. This unit dives into the complexities of distinguishing truth from misinformation across various media platforms, including print and digital sources. 

Addressing contemporary challenges, such as social media dynamics, algorithmic influence, and emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and deepfakes, the unit will help your students navigate the digital realm with confidence and knowledge.

Teachers will guide students through a scaffolded learning journey, beginning with an interactive QR code vocabulary scavenger hunt and headline analysis to establish foundational skills. Subsequent lessons delve deeper into the nuances of fake news, equipping students with strategies to identify and critically evaluate misleading information. By progressively building upon these fundamentals, educators facilitate a comprehensive understanding of media literacy and empower students to become discerning consumers and creators of information in the digital age.

Lesson Topics

➡️ Introduction – QR Code Vocabulary Search
➡️ Lesson 1 – What is Media Literacy?
➡️ Lesson 2 – Media Literacy in Action: Headline Analysis
➡️ Lesson 3 – What is Fake News?
➡️ Lesson 4 – Social Media and Fake News
➡️ Lesson 5 – Case Study: The War of the Worlds Radio Broadcast
➡️ Lesson 6 – How to Spot Fake News
➡️ Lesson 7 – Fake News Stations: Spot The Fake (Satire, Websites, Videos, News Articles, Ted Talks, Social Media Algorithms, Deep Fakes, AI Music)
➡️ Lesson 8 – Digital Citizenship
➡️ Lesson 9 – Creating Fake News Assignment

This Comprehensive Resource Includes:

  • 10 Engaging Lessons
  • Detailed Teacher Lesson Plans
  • Interactive Content (QR Codes, Scenarios, Group Work)
  • Group Work Stations
  • Vocabulary Lesson
  • Historical Example Case Study
  • MP3 Audio Files
  • Answer Keys
  • Video Links
  • Graphic Organizers
  • Pre-Made Google Slideshow
  • Print & Digital Formats

Find the Fake News Media Literacy Analysis Unit on Shopify CAD or Teachers Pay Teachers USD

Digital literacy is important. 

Along with teaching students about fake news, they must be informed on how to be good digital citizens. Learning about digital citizenship should be essential learning in middle school. Read the blog post, Engaging Middle School Digital Citizenship Lessons, to learn more about digital citizenship in middle school and get lesson ideas.

More Media Literacy Lessons

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