Dr Susan Sandretto from Otago University gave a stunning keynote address at the recent SLANZA Conference in Wellington on Planning for Critical Literacy. She is an engaging speaker and able to communicate well the need for us as teachers and librarians to create opportunities for teaching students about critical literacy and have them explore what it means to analyse text critically. I have been fortunate enough to hear Susan speak on two previous occasions and she has been pivotal in giving me the necessary skills to design these two lessons, which help students grasp this concept in a digital environment.
This is the poster I developed using information Susan gave in hand-out form at her workshop I attended about two years ago. I had several teaching colleagues also attend this workshop, and these posters were ultimately displayed in classrooms throughout the school. I even saw it on the wall of my friend’s home office when I was visited her recently – she also happens to a former teaching colleague!
Lesson 1: How to Evaluate a Website – Q.U.I.C.K
As part of developing an embedded programme towards achieving this aim, I designed this lesson to get Y8 students thinking about how to decide whether a website they are looking at is a good choice for their research needs.
I would typically teach this lesson after having already taught the class about keyword searching and selecting websites from their results.
The Quality Information Checklist is a great resource to engage students with how to evaluate websites and promote discussion in small groups about why it’s important to do this.
Lesson 2: Evaluating Websites
I have designed another lesson activity that I typically teach in either Year 9 or 10 where I remind them of the Q.U.I.C.K steps and get them to use as many as necessary to evaluate an assigned website. Here’s the lesson plan and a link to the Livebinder resource:
It really brings home the message to students that just because a website looks slick and has lots of bells and whistles, doesn’t make it appropriate, relevant, correct or even true.