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April Fool's Day

is a great opportunity to begin a discussion with students on Fake /Real News!

Download this April Fool's Day FREEBIE to start the discussion with several "news" stories:

Click here for a free download of this blog posting:Fake News FREEBIE

Seems that the phrase FAKE NEWS is being used a lot these days but just what is fake news and how can student learn to determine fact from fiction?

FAKE news is defined as news that is intentionally shared which is made-up or mostly fictitious. The purpose of fake news is to get arouse people's emotions.Here area two example

A few years ago,(2015) several websites had a headline that stated," Al Gore Wants to Ban ALL Cars in ALL cities on the Planet." Ask yourself-Does this sound incredible? Yes! In actuality, Gore was suggesting that without cars, there would be much less carbon dioxide going into our atmosphere. The result would be a smaller effect on global warming. He didn't REALLY wish to BAN ALL cars in the entire world! This is an example of taking a partial statement and expanding on it to make itfake news.

Another news story(again about Al Gore) stated that Al Gore wants to Ban all Snowmobiles in the United States! You can imagine how this article angered many people who like to ride snowmobiles or own stores that sell them. The actual story was Al Gore wanted to see snowmobiles banned from our very first national park, Yellowstone National Park. He was concerned about the negative impact snowmobiles had on the wildlife and serenity of the park.

According to a recent survey by Common Sense Media(appeared in TIME MAGAZINE 3/27/2017) more than 45% of 10-18 young people in the United States said that they could NOT accurately determinefake news from real news. In fact, almost 1/3 also said that they clicked and passed along the news items before knowing that it wasn’t really true. This isn't just a problem in the United States. Other countries, including Great Britain, are concerned about the need for young people to develop "digital critical literacy".

Here are some tips to review with students to help to determine if what you are reading is REAL news or FAKE news:

  1. Is the URL an uncommon one such as URLs include .com, .gov, .edu and .info)
  2. Are there a number of spelling errors in the news story?
  3. Does the news story make you have a strong emotion, especially anger?
  4. Does the news story sound a bit unbelievable? Have you heard this story anywhere else? Check other news sites to see if they are reporting the story,too!
  5. Fact check with a link such as to see if they have reported anything about the news story being false or true. Another site to fact check stories are and
  6. Check out the "about us" section to see who the people are,who areassociated with the news story.

7.Before you send the "NEWS" story to someone else, make sure youcheck out the story!

When evaluating news stories, share this ACRONYM:CARS:

  1. Credibility
  2. Accuracy
  3. Reasonableness
  4. Support

Activities to Use with Students:

  1. Use this website created by Lyle Zapato to discuss FAKE news sites. Pacific Northwest tree octopus. The site shares information on a tree octopus that is on the endangered list. The unique creature, according to the site, could live in the water and on land(in trees). There are FAQs about the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus. There is a section on activities to help the endangered creature as well as sightings, links and more. THIS is really great!

B.Here's another news item that appeared in 2016 at Yackler Magazine.It stated, "Scientists say giant asteroid could hit the earth next week, causing mass devastation.” Approximately 356,000 people shared this story, which was untrue!

C. Share this clip with students(or share the content) There was a posting on Facebook that stated,"Sweden bans Christmas lights -to avoid angering Muslims!" This story went viral with about 43,000 people forwarding this "news" story. This FAKE news story was based, in part, on an actual news story which stated that because of technical problems, there would be no Christmas lights that year!

D. In 1957, this news story appeared on a news show in the country of Switzerland. The video clip showed a spaghetti harvest. People were pulling strands of spaghetti dangling down from trees. People actually called the news show asking how they could purchase a spaghetti tree! Ask students to explain why people may have believed this FAKE news story? Have students explain how FAKE news is harmful.

E.Have students write up a FAKE news story. Exchange with other students and write a paragraph explaining why they didn't think the story could be true.

Links for Teachers:


This link is a tutorial on how to check images to see their origins.

Note: Additionally, I have another resource you may find of interest to use for such a discussion on fake/real news:

Want to introduce your students to the history of April Fools' Day? This resource provides a reading for students as well as lots of interesting famous April Fools' pranks. Additionally, there are extension activities as well as a Test your April Fools' Day IQ(can you spot the True News Stories from the Fake ones?).There are also comprehension questions for the students to answer after reviewing the resource:

This resource would work for anytime of the year if you were teaching kids how to identify FAKE NEWS!