Purveyors of fake news often rely on making false connections between seemingly related topics. Such is the stuff of conspiracy theories and conjecture. To help our students be more aware of fake news, we should help them understand the tricks of the trade. To help develop your students’ ability to synthesize information, let’s try playing a game, that I am calling 2 Abe Lincolns and 1 Pinocchio.
This activity is based on the Bluff the Listener game from my favorite NPR radio program, Wait, Wait . . . Don’t Tell Me! The premise of the game is that the three celebrity panelists each tell a story about a common theme, but only one of the stories is true. The caller then has to guess which one of the stories is true. If you are not familiar with the program, try searching for Bluff the Listener. You will find a multitude of examples to listen to. To introduce your students to the activity, consider playing one of the segments for them. You should preview the segment to determine that the content is appropriate for your students.
I have created my own game based for you to try using three news stories focusing on the environment. See if you can determine which ONE of the stories is the Pinocchio and which TWO are more honest and truthful.
A Great Global Sand Shortage Is Upon Us
Rocks Falling Into Oceans, Not Climate, Causing Seas To Rise
Freak Blizzard Covers Sahara Desert in SNOW as Temperatures Turn Sub Zero
Not sure which ones are true? Try using the CAPES framework that I discussed in this post to more critically examine the stories.
After you and your students have explored my example. Have them try to create their own. It is actually harder than you might first think it to be. Unlike in the Bluff the Listener game, your students should locate two Abraham Lincolns, or true stories, instead of only one. Based on my experiences in completing this activity working with students and teachers, it works much better to have only one false story.
After your students have compiled their stories, I encourage you to share them in the comment section below or online via social media using the hashtags #FightingFakeNews and #2Lincolns1Pinocchio.
Here is a set of directions for you to use with your students.
Indeed, this is not new advice, and in many ways owe a debt of gratitude to The Art of War by Sun Tzu.
Know the enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles you will never be in peril.
When you are ignorant of the enemy but know yourself, your chances of winning or losing are equal.
If ignorant both of your enemy and of yourself, you are certain in every battle to be in peril.
By more deeply considering what stories might be real and might be fake and intentionally going in search of fake news, we can better know our enemy and be more equipped to battle the Fake News Boss in every arena.
Fighting Fake News! was reviewed by VOYA Magazine in the June 2018 issue and is featured in the October 2018 issue as one of the best reviewed professional books from the previous year in “Extending the Five-Foot Bookshelf: More Essential Books for Professionals Who Serve Teens”
Here is some of what they had to say!
“Rather than waging war against the internet and information technology, Housand argues, we should be teaching young people to be critical consumers of it. . . . Housand puts forth ideas that manage to bridge the gap between theory and practice—and he does it all without underestimating (or pandering to) the teachers or students he imagines using his guide. Without being glib or overly serious, Housand has created a highly accessible, highly useful guide.”
Creativity has long been a big part of what we do in gifted education. When I was a teacher of the gifted, we spent a fair amount of class time each week devoted to creativity activities. I enjoyed seeing them wrestle with a problem, think deeply, and ultimately come up with interesting solutions. When you ask kids if they are creative, the answer is almost always a resounding YES! However, if you ask a group of adults if they are creative, they are not nearly as willing to say that they are creative. In working teachers, I can not tell you how many times I have heard, “I am just not creative.” It really breaks my heart every time.
For those of us that work in gifted education, you know that it can be a pretty fascinating place with everyday bringing a new adventure. It has long served as the laboratory and testing ground for the latest innovations in pedagogy. Yet, gifted education has had a tendency to operate in relative secrecy and isolation from the rest of education. As a consequence of flying underneath the radar, myths, misconceptions, and misinformation have permeated our field. Meanwhile, those outside of gifted education are left devices to create their own uninformed version of what is happening in our classrooms. It’s time that we open our classroom doors and invite the world inside to see the difference that gifted programs are making in the lives of the students that we serve.
Welcome to October! Pumpkin Season is here, and thanks to Hurricane Florence, I have never been happier to see September go. Wilmington, NC is a fantastic place to live, but the past several weeks have been far less than ideal. Let's take a look ahead at my favorite season of the year and the FALL 2018 TOUR that is upon us!
I have always been fascinated with the Periodic Table of Elements. I mean, what is there not to love about the systematic organization of the very fiber of everything known to exist. It is kind of a beautiful thing to think about. A few years ago in a previous attempt to blog on a regular basis I created a spreadsheet in Google Drive that contained 60 periodic tables of things other than elements. I have been working to substantially update that list. What follows is a collection of 200 Periodic Tables of Almost Everything Except Elements ranging from Academic Disciplines to Yo-Yos!
Critically evaluating information in digital environments can be a complicated process comprised of multiple steps and ways of viewing and thinking about the information. Having almost constant and instant access to vast amounts of information has conditioned us to far too often simply accept the information that is presented as fact without question. Instead, we should retrain ourselves and our students to resist the temptation to believe everything we see. Rather, we must adopt a healthy dose of skepticism and learn to question everything. To better accomplish this I developed a new framework for the book Fighting Fake News! for helping students to become SUPER Critical Thinkers. I call it CAPES.
In this entry of Tech Tool Tuesday, we explore what is probably the ONE tool that I use most frequently and honestly would never want to live without: Google Drive. It has come a long way since it was introduced as Google Docs, and now it does just about everything. Looking for a way to create and share information? Drive does that! Looking for a way to collaborate with others? Yep, Drive does that too! Need a place to store files so that you can retrieve them from any device? You guessed it, Drive has got you covered. Let’s explore FIVE tips and tricks that not everyone seems to know about that I find indispensable.
Happy First Day of School!
Well, for many of you. Some of you have already started and still others have another week of summer left. I spent last week working with teachers in Davenport, Iowa and at the Metrolina Regional Scholars Academy in Charlotte, NC in preparation for the launch of the 2018-2019 school year. With each new school year there is a the promise of a "Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow". To kick off this school year, I hope that you will take a moment to set some goals for yourself and your students. Let's look at one of my favorite ways to go about doing this.
In Using The Schoolwide Enrichment Model with Technology, Angela Housand, Joe Renzulli, and I wrote about a way to introduce a lesson by heightening the anticipation of your students using an instructional strategy that you probably learned about at an early age while watching Sesame Street.
I tend to see the world through a lens that have been heavily influenced by Star Wars. As a kid, I remember feeling heartbroken and a little disgusted with Obi-Wan Kenobi as he talked with Luke Skywalker about telling the truth about his father from a certain point of view. Obi-Wan was someone that I had trusted and looked up to, but I was not so sure any more. It was an important life lesson to learn. Now that I am older I realized what Obi-Wan was saying and feel that of all of the wisdom that he shared this is perhaps the most important lesson of all. Learning to examine things from multiple perspectives is a critical skill that we must help our students to learn.