Opinion Editorials

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The age of misinfor-mation & Media Literacy

During this unit, students learned about the dangerous effects of misinformation in this day and age. The students explored the fascinating world of conspiracy theories. Beginning with the viral "Birds Aren't Real" conspiracy theory that began on the internet from a bored Gen Z teenager, the students learned to dissect the dissemination of false information and identify its characteristics. After learning the hallmarks of conspiracy theories and their consequences, students were then tasked to stop the spread of misinformation while being a voice of accuracy and reason. The learners were taught how to present their stances on societal issues backed with reputable evidence in opinion editorial formats (Op-Eds). The local social issues addressed were: climate change, mass incarceration, immigration, human trafficking, LGBTQ+ discrimination, homelessness, and police brutality. 

Students created their Op-Eds backed with evidence and reputable resources and then formed groups to create their own miniature 'Zines. The product included their Op-Eds, games, informational illustrations, Letters from the Editors, and their works cited. 

 

Standards:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.8.1
Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.8.1.A
Introduce claim(s), acknowledge and distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and organize the reasons and evidence logically.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.8.1.B
Support claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant evidence, using accurate, credible sources and demonstrating an understanding of the topic or text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.8.1.C
Use words, phrases, and clauses to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.8.1.D
Establish and maintain a formal style.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.8.1.E
Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.

Handouts

Class collaboration

In this lesson clip, I am revisiting the importance of using an outline when writing. Throughout my time in the classroom, I have stressed the importance of having the guidance of a graphic organizer to help keep writing in order. I asked students why they think outlines have been useful for them and had volunteers share with the class. We also touched on some of the handouts I gave to students which included lists of sentence starters and transitional words to help with writing flow and cohesion. 

Next, we began to work on filling out an outline as a class. The students had previously chosen to talk about the topic of learning life skills in the classroom (while the other class chose to talk about Kanye West as their subject). Using student volunteers, I exemplified filling out an outline for the opening paragraph of an Op-Ed. 

I believe that it is necessary to model writing for students. Creating an Op-Ed can be an intimidating process for a new writer but with the guidance of a live example and the skeleton outline, they can be successful in their writing. This lesson was part of my Cal TPA cycle II submission and when I was analyzing the rubric scores of the Op-Eds, I found that 73% of students earned a "meeting" or "exceeding" score. I plan on continuing to model for my students as I advance in my career. 

Annotated work

Final product

Student Testimonial 

C is an exceptional student who talks about one of the aspects of our media literacy project which included a unit on conspiracy theories.The conspiracy theory unit culminated in creating their own conspiracies to try and sway fellow students to follow them having used the elements that create conspiracies. The ultimate portion of our media literacy project was to create 'Zines.