Media Literacy: Lesson

Audience: Teachers in professional development meetings before school starts.

Lesson: Helping teachers understand “truthiness” and how to use some key questions to evaluate media.

Context: Working with a group of 30 teachers at a time with a session length of 1 hour.

Goals: Teachers will be able to effectively evaluate different media as they develop their lessons during the upcoming year.


Leader Will Teacher Will
Watch the Truthiness video by Stephen Colbert: Video Watch the video and be prepared to share initial thoughts.
Guide discussion based on initial reaction to the truthiness video Discussion
View the website: Explore the website.
Introduce the 5 Key Questions from CML:

1.     Who created this message?

2.     What creative techniques are used to attract my attention?

3.     How might different people understand this message differently from me?

4.     What lifestyles, values and points of view are represented in; or omitted from, this message?

5.     Why is this message being sent?

After introducing these questions, teachers will go to and leave their thoughts about how the website from the previous step answers these questions.
Teachers will have some time to explore websites that they anticipate using this year. They will use the CML key questions to guide them as they search. Teachers will open up a Google Doc and record some of the websites they are interested in using.   In the Google Doc they will evaluate those websites based on the CML key questions.
As teachers are searching and applying what they have learned about the 5 key questions – they can go to this website: to post any other things to consider.   This could be more along the lines of specific curriculum. Teachers will post final thoughts to consider as they evaluate websites. These things could be more related to curriculum or specific grade levels. Ideas to consider as they apply to the classroom etc…


Materials: Teachers participating will need a computer or connected device to explore some websites and participate in submitting responses to learning. The leader of the session will need an internet connected computer/tablet connected to the a projector.

Evaluation: Teachers will have a post assessment through the website:


Comedy Central Truthiness Video

Center for Media Literacy 5 Key Questions

Martin Luther King Jr. Website

ML Padlet

Evaluation Padlet Evaluation

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