3/31/2017 8:59:00 AM

It’s important to discuss media literacy and help your students learn to separate fact from fiction so they can be informed, empowered citizens. Lisa Nielsen and Common Sense Education suggest these four websites to get you started:


Opensecrets.org is all about following the money. The site, run by a nonpartisan and independent nonprofit called the Center for Responsive Politics, points out the connections between political contributions, lobbying data, and government policy. The site aims to empower citizens by providing clear, unbiased information. Topics include the 2016 presidential race, Dark Money, and political action committees. A great classroom resource for: social studies, literacy, math, statistics.

Poynter.org focuses on journalism, fairness, and transparency and publishes a weekly newsletter on fact-checking and accountability. Its e-learning platform, NewsU, is one of the world’s most innovative online journalism and media training programs. Everyone—from teachers of journalism to middle-school students—can learn how journalism is produced, how to determine a story’s credibility, and more, through over 400 free and low-cost courses, online seminars, webinars, podcasts, and video tutorials. A great classroom resource for: writing, journalism.

Factcheck.org is a nonpartisan, nonprofit consumer advocacy site for voters that aims to reduce the deception and confusion in US politics by monitoring the factual accuracy of major political players’ statements. A project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, the site offers articles and analysis as well as SciCheck—a fact-checking feature focusing on false and misleading scientific claims made by partisans to influence public policy. A great classroom resource for: social studies, science.

Snopes.com is the most well-known site for debunking the latest rumors, urban legends, myths, and misinformation. The site’s work has been described as painstaking, scholarly, and reliable. Snopes uses a clever rating system to gauge a story’s truthfulness. Teachers need to exercise professional judgement as some of the stories are unsuitable for children. A great classroom resource for: media literacy, social studies.

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