David Byrne is a teacher’s teacher, and I was fortunate to hear his presentation at this year’s Texas Library Association conference in Austin. David regularly sends out a newsletter that is directed primarily at teachers, but I have found his advice and the websites he finds and recommends to be invaluable.

In today’s newsletter, he concerns himself with pointing us toward sites that help discern truth from fiction when it comes to the news or what passes for the news these days in the media and from political officials.

I am pasting part of his post here for easy reference.

Civic Online Reasoning

Civic Online Reasoning is a free resource from the Stanford History Education Group. Currently, Civic Online Reasoning offers twenty activity plans that you can download and or access as Google Docs when you register for a free account on the Stanford History Education Group’s website. The activities include templates for building lessons on evaluating social media claims, evaluating a website’s reliability, researching claims made on social media (and other places), and comparing evidence from multiple sites. This fall Civic Online Reasoning will have additional lesson plans available for free.


Factitious is a game for testing your skill at identifying fake and misleading news stories. The game was developed by the American University Game Lab and the American University’s School of Communication. To play Factitious simply go to the site and select quick start. You’ll then see an article appear on the screen. Read through the article, click the source listed at the bottom, and then select either the green check mark or red X to indicate whether or not you think the article is a real news story. After you make your selection you’ll get instant feedback and an explanation of how you can tell if the article was a real or fake news story.