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Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Fake News Epidemic

Fake news has become an epidemic! It's tricked even the best news anchors and stations, such as CNN, Fox, and MSNBC. Teaching students to evaluate sources has become more difficult than ever. Use these great resources to help you and your students identify and spot fake news. 

Looking for a great fake news guide? Look no further than College of the Mainland's Library page titled, "What is Fake News?" COM Librarian Kathryn Park, who is an amazing asset and supporter of educators, has compiled information in an easy to use format that allows students to explore many different takes on fake news. Page tabs include:

  • What is Fake News?
  • Fake News is Not New
  • Fake News & Social Media
  • How to Spot Fake News
  • Fake News Examples
  • Where to Get Your News
Use the website to have students complete a scavenger hunt: 

                                          "What is Fake News?" Scavenger Hunt
1.    Use the tab titled "What is Fake News?" What is the percentage of Americans who had a great deal of confusion with fake news?
               Answer: _______________

2.    Use the tab "What is Fake News?" Read the article titled: “NPR: Can You Tell Fake News From Real? Study Finds Students Have 'Dismaying' Inability’” 
The main point of the article is: students spotted fake news easily and without any problems. 
Circle the correct answer:         True                     False

3.    Use the tab "What is Fake News?"
According to the colorful infograph located in the middle of the page, the definition of "Fake News" is:
Fill in the blanks:
Sites that ______________________ circulate _________________________ stories to _________________ traffic to their page. 

4.    Use the tab “Fake News is Not New”
Fake news stories can often be spotted by their headlines. Which of the titles from the page is NOT a fake news article?
       Radio Stations “Attack by Mars” Panics Thousands
       Broadcast Hysteria: Well’s War of the World and Art of Fake News
       Investigating Reporting in the Digital Era
       Tabloid Television: Popular Journalism and the ‘Other News’

5.    Use the tab "Fake News & Social Media".
Use the chart under "Facebook and Political News" to rank 1-4 the top four political news sites among millennials:
                      ______ Local TV
                      ______ CNN
                      ______ Google News
                      ______ Facebook

6.            Under Fake News & Social Media tab:
Nearly half of readers report that they see fake news stories on their social media at least once a day.
              Circle the correct answer:        True                False

7.  Under "How to Spot Fake News" tab:
Watch the video: "How to Spot Fake News" located in the middle of the page.
According to the video, which of the answers below is NOT one of the five ways to spot fake news?
       check the URL
       ask a friend
       look for unrealistic photos
      check the sources

8. Under the "Fake News Examples" tab, one example of fake news is a tabloid.
Circle the correct answer:        True                False

9. Under "Fake News Examples" tab, fill in the blanks:
The definition of "clickbait" is:  "content whose main purpose is to attract ________________ and encourage ________________ to click on a link to a particular web page (Oxford Living Dictionaries)." 

10. Under "Where to Get Your News" tab:
You are more likely to get reliable news from library databases or Pulitzer Prize Winning News Sources. 
Circle the correct answer:        True                False


Another great way to get students acquainted with and make them aware of fake news is to use: Circular Reporting: How False News Spreads.

Fake news is becoming more and more prominent across social media outlets and television news stations. Helping students understand how to evaluate news sources and why they believe fake news stories is crucial in today's society. 

Make spotting fake news a game in your classroom, and open up the lines of communication for discussing fake news articles and items. 

Happy Fake News Spotting!
Beth, Educator Helper

FREE Educator Helper TpT Item of the Week:

For the complete presentation, click here!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Why Flipping ELA Makes Sense

My English classes have been flipped for over two years, and my students love it! Participation and attendance are better than ever. Some of the advantages of my flipped classroom include:

1. Active participation in reading and writing assignments
2. In-class peer workshopping groups
3. One-on-one help from peers and teacher

My first was to add an adaptive learning software program to help students with grammar instruction outside of class time. I started with Connect by McGraw Hill. Then, when students arrived to class they compared their notes from out-of-class lectures.  

The next step was to make and add my own lectures using Educreations, a free program that works much like an interactive whiteboard that lets you easily add voiceover. I used my own PowerPoint presentation slides saved as jpegs then pulled these into the software program. I added voice and illustrations as I went along. Check out an Educreation example on The Three Kinds of Writing or Using I/Me

Finally, I added interactive, online polling tools, Kahoot and Poll Everywhere:

These tools let students interact by answering questions, polls, and surveys individually or in teams using their laptops, PCs, and smartphones. Some students ask to play every day, and it's possible to do so because you can do graphs, matching, pictures, polls, surveys, short answer, and more. You can collect and analyze data immediately to know when to reinforce areas of weakness. Students love them! Whether using competitive mode or doing surveys, individual participation is required and can be set to anonymous mode.

Another huge advantage is having time to coach and help students with peer workshoppings and rough drafts. My students write mostly academic research essays, and my class is a foundation English class with much-needed skills that can make or break their grades in other courses. We have time to colorcode, highlight, and go over citations, grammar issues, and formats (see the lecture example here for students who miss class or need to hear it more than once!) There is time to sit one-on-one for essay grading conferences, which students say is one of the most valuable parts of the class. Many students say none of their teachers ever had one-on-one grading conferences with them! And, there is time for project collaborations, such as our class blogspots and the college's required oral presentation Quality Enhancement Program (QEP). 

Flipping your English makes sense because lecturing is passive learning, and students learn through active learning and social interaction. Take the first step to flipping, and you'll see why it makes sense to flip your ELA class!

Happy Flipping!
Beth, Educator Helper

Ready for March? Freebies to get you going...

Click for more Mardi Gras Activities:

More March fun:

Click here to see item

Click here to see item

Sunday, February 12, 2017

More Valentine's FREEBIES and Fun Sweet Treats!

Ready for Valentine's Day? Here's part two of FREEBIES to make your Valentine's Day a sweet treat!

Elementary and Secondary Lesson Plan:

1. Watch the History Channel's History of Valentine's Day:

or try an animated version at: 

2. Individually/small/whole groups: Re-create a timeline of the history of Valentine's Day. Be creative and colorful as you summarize the dates and bried information about the history of the holiday. 

3. Using the timeline, write a poem that re-tells any portion of the history of Valentine's Day. 

4. Put the poems in order according to dates to re-create a timeline to display and show to others.

Emergent Learners: 
Valentine's Day Coloring Sheets to Color and Give:

Get more Valentine's Day activities at Educator Helper's TpT storefront!

Happy Valentine's Day!
Beth, Educator Helper

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Valentine's FREEBIES and Fun Sweet Treats

Here's a short, simple treat to make your Valentine's Day sweet! FREE lesson plans and activities for all age groups!

Secondary Valentine's Day Lesson Plan:

"Hear John Cooper Clarke recite "I Wanna Be Yours", the iconic poem which was recently adapted into a remarkable song by Arctic Monkeys" (copied from

Secondary Lesson Plan:
Individually/small/whole group, read the song's lyrics at Song Lyrics

Then, answer:

1. What is the mood and tone of the song?
Need help with mood vs. tone? Use:

2. What is the subject and theme of the song?

3. Analyze each stanza and find the main idea.

4. What figurative language is found within the stanza? 
Need help with figurative language? Use:

4. Divide into groups of two or individually, choose one stanza to illustrate. Use symbols and images to represent meanings. Be sure to include the lyrics of the stanza within the drawing. Be creative and colorful! Find groups who illustrated other stanzas. Finally, display the drawings in order for viewers to read the lyrics. 

Elementary Fun:

Help practice vocabulary and categorization with Valentine's Day Mad Libs:

Pre-K-1 practice with basic skills and coordination:

Pick up more fun, active learning Valentine's Day activities at Educator Helper TpT storefront!

Be sure to check next Sunday's blog for more Valentine's Day FREEBIES!