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conversation starter:

what news have you experienced lately - and how?

This conversation starter invites students to ask one another about a piece of news they have engaged with recently, and how they received the information.     >

Class Survey: To get your students started thinking about how they and their peers receive and relate to the news, ask students to turn and talk to a partner about one piece of information or news they read/saw in the last few days on any topic. Ask students to recall the format (video, audio, print, infographic/images, etc.) of the news and where they read/saw it.


Then briefly survey the class by asking each student to briefly name their news source. You can begin a list on the board or on chart paper of students’ news sources. If there is time, you could determine the top 2-3 news sources for your class by asking students to raise their hands to show how many students get their news more frequently from Facebook vs. Twitter, for example. You can also ask students to share and then list out the various formats through which students view the news.

Infographic Analysis: Then ask students to closely read the following infographic/data display from Common Sense Media: News and America’s Kids.

Ask students to think about what they notice, what they agree with, and don’t agree with. Then ask students to write out their thoughts in response to all of the following reflective questions (or some depending on your time and focus):

  • Is the news important to you? Why or why not?

  • Do you agree with the respondents that said “following the news helps them feel prepared to make a difference in their communities”? Why or why not?

  • Do you believe that the news misrepresents young people, people of color and women? Why or why not?

  • Can you tell whether news is fake or not?

  • What do you think makes news trustworthy?

Discussion: Once students have reflected on the above questions, you could ask them to pair up or get into a small group and share their thoughts. Bring the class back together and ask for a few volunteers to share something they talked about with their partner. Identify themes that come out in students’ answers.

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