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Teaching Information & Media Literacy in K-12

This guide offers lesson plans, activities, further reading, and other resources for teachers in K-12 classrooms incorporating information and media literacy skills in their classrooms.

Example Lesson Plans and Activities

This lesson plan from Theresa Benson uses the Super3, a process model of how people of all solve an information problem. The Super3 is adapted from the Big6 model to be understandable for the youngest learners. This is appropriate for grades Pre-K-2.

This lesson plan comes from the S.O.S. for Information Literacy database. "This information skills lesson uses a 5WH (who, what, when, where, why, how) framework to assist students in making sense out of newspaper articles. In this lesson, students will be shown how to focus on the important details when reading a newspaper article. They will search online for an article that interests them, answer who, what, when, where, why, and how, and then write a summary of the article. Finally they will present their summary to the class." You can use the links below to let students explore news written for kids. This lesson plan is appropriate for grades 3 and 4.

This lesson plan from the Newseum requires a free account. In this lesson plan, students learn about seven different forms of communication, then play a game to explore when they would want to use these different forms. This is appropriate for grades 3-5.

This lesson plan is adapted from The Sift, the newsletter of the News Literacy Project, in the September 28, 2020 newsletter. This is appropriate for grades 5-12.

  1. Have students read this report from the Reboot Foundation: Link
  2. Then, have students read this article (a news summary of a study by the author): Link
  3. Discuss how no generation is the culprit for spreading falsehoods online. Recognizing that we are all vulnerable to viral misinformation can help efforts to curb its spread.
  4. Option: have students complete the Misinformation module in Checkology.
  5. Activity
    1. Idea 1: Have students replicate part of the Reboot Foundation report by discussing their own confidence in detecting unreliable websites. Then, have them peruse two websites (here and here) to decide if they can be trusted. Challenge students to defend their reasoning before revealing that neither website is a reliable source of information. In fact, both are funded by groups with significant conflicts of interest, despite efforts to appear objective. Refer to the REboot study for a more detailed overview of why these websites should not be trusted.
    2. Idea 2: Ask students to discuss online habits with older relatives and compare how they determine what information can be trusted. Do both the students and their older relatives always read content carefully before sharing it on social media? Or have students take the News Literacy Project's “Should you share it?” quiz and compare their results with those of older relatives.

This lesson plan from the Stanford History Education Group's Civic Online Reasoning curriculum teaches students how to read laterally. Lateral reading is a way to check unfamiliar sources by cross-checking. Lateral readers use search engines to see what websites they do trust have to say about this information or the source that published it. In this lesson, the teacher first demonstrates lateral reading and then the students will practice it themselves, investigating the people and organizations behind websites and evaluating for trustworthiness. There are two lesson plans: one for lower levels and one for upper levels. This lesson plan is appropriate for grades 7-12.