Fake News

Fake News

Teaching middle-year students about digital literacy is critical. This age group spends a lot of time online, and it is important we teach our students the responsibilities we have when using technology. Digital literacy can be taught throughout different subjects, such as English Language Arts, Health, Social Studies, Science, and PAA curriculum. 

Digital literacy and citizenship are cross-curricular topics that many subjects are tied to. Our students live in a digital world, and as the National Council of Teachers of English states, it is important to have them “participate effectively and critically in a networked world.” Another goal is to “promote culturally sustaining communication and recognizing the bias and privilege present in the interactions.” This goal can be taught in grade 8 health education, where prejudices and biases are covered. 

Here are some ideas to incorporate digital literacy into your lessons:

Top view at diverse group of teen school children using computers in classroom studying together at table
Image from Adobe Stock.

English Language Arts: 

  • In Grades 6 to 9 English Language Arts, there are a couple of themes where digital literacy & digital citizenship could be incorporated into identity and social responsibility. Students can learn social etiquette and use online communication during ELA. An example would be to analyze the comic You’re Not Going to Believe What I’m About to Tell You.



  • In health, you can teach about digital citizenship. There are rights and responsibilities when online, and health class is a good time to discuss safety online. In the Grade 6 curriculum, there are outcomes where students learn about healthy relationships, personal standards and identity. In Grade 7, outcomes include personal standards, interpersonal skills and morals. Outcomes in Grade 8 include prejudices and biases where news articles can be analyzed like It’s Easier To Call A Fact A Fact When It’s One You Like, Study Finds.


Social Studies:

  • Social Studies could be when students learn how to spot fake news in current events. This discussion can begin with the following: Can You Spot the Fake News Headline? Quiz. The grade 6 curriculum discusses the cultural changes affecting youth, the grade 7 curriculum has an outcome on technology and globalization, the grade 8 curriculum has students learning about consumer choices, and grade 9 looks at the influence of technology.



Science fiction image of a young African-American woman wearing virtual reality glasses. Future technology concept.
Image from Adobe Stock



  • In the Saskatchewan Curriculum, there are Information Processing 10, 20, and 30 classes, where a couple of the modules are on digital citizenship. These modules are suggested for middle-year PAA. These modules could be expanded upon to Create a whole unit based on digital literacy suitable for middle-year students. 


What are your thoughts on teaching middle-year students digital literacy, and how could you incorporate digital citizenship into cross-curricular lessons?

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