Middle grades students are very concerned about justice and fairness. Newseum is a great research resource to compare information and search for legitimate news. Middle grades scholars and teachers can create free accounts to access newspapers (primary sources!) and hundreds free teaching resources. NewsELA is also useful for teachers to find and assign news articles for current events discussion. Of course, Centennial scholars can also use research databases through the GALILEO system and MyBackpack - talk to your teacher or Ms. Burke for more information.
How can you be sure you're being a good Digital Citizen? Parents and teachers can visit Common Sense Media for tips about everything about safe apps to to books to new movies. Common Sense Media also offers a digital passport program to help guide students to walk the good path as an upstander against bullying.
Parents can join Safe Smart Social's Parent University to learn the latest about online safety. Learning about 30 dangerous apps commonly used by any teen with a phone is worth the price of membership! Consider this - any chat or friend app, especially those that allow anonymous postings, allow predators to target and bully youngsters. Many also include a location feature allowing them to "find" other users. Children under 13 should have high privacy settings locked on their phone, and only use social media with family. For ages 13 to 17, social media postings should be positive - volunteer, school or community service work - because school and college recruiters now make enrollment decisions based on social media profiles. Parents and teachers also can learn a lot from the American Library Association's Office of Intellectual Freedom about reputable sources.
Suspicious about a post? Trust your gut instinct. Is it an outlandish claim? Is the post in ALL CAPS with lots of exclamation points!? Does it start with a phrase like "everyone is shocked!" or "Can you believe it?" Can you identify the individual who wrote it, or does it just link to an organization? Finally, check the source - Google (I know, right?) the new item and see if you see the same or similar post debunked by Snopes.com or FactCheck.org.
Don't be a victim of harassment, or a participant in spreading "fake news" - check your sources, and keep your postings "light, bright, and polite"