A Low-Stakes, High-Impact Assessment for Source Evaluation

Allow me to tell you about a low-stakes, high-impact activity that develops news literacy in students while assessing their ability to think critically about online sources. I do this with my seventh graders every week at the beginning of our library class. The activity works great as a Do-Now or an Exit Ticket. It could also be adapted to classroom practice in almost any content area.

rachel carson
Rachel Carson conducts Marine Biology Research with Bob Hines — in the Atlantic (1952). By U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
Most school librarians use some type of evaluation mnemonic device to teach source evaluation. You’ve heard of them. You might RADAR, CRAAP, or even FART. I have always liked RADCAB, based on the wonderful work of Karen Christensson, but you can adapt this activity to your favorite evaluation acronym.

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You Need This Cat In Your Library

They All Saw a Cat

If you read to little ones, you already know about Brendan Wenzel’s Caldecott Honor Book, They All Saw a CatThe story starts simply enough:

“The cat walked through the world, with its whiskers, ears and paws . . .”

As the cat explores the world, it encounters a boy, a dog, a mouse, and several other creatures who each see the cat in a different way. The illustrations are bold and beautiful and clever. Children and adults will love this book. It’s in the same orbit as The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Where the Wild Things Are. But will seventh graders like it? How can you use the book to introduce them to media literacy?

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