This unit was created by Olivia StandingBear, a fifth grade teacher in Tulsa, OK, as part of the fall 2020 Pulitzer Center Teacher Fellowship program on Media, Misinformation, and the Pandemic. It is designed for facilitation across approximately five 5060 minute live, virtual class periods.

Unit Objectives

Students will be able to...

Day 1

  • Learn the definition of an underreported story. 
  • Ask and answer questions about news stories to seek help, get information, to clarify, or to confirm understanding.

Day 2

  • Report on a news story they read.
  • Analyze themes and tools that a journalist uses to tell a story.
  • Evaluate what questions journalists must ask when reporting news stories.
  • Create interview questions for a stranger about COVID-19.

Day 3

  • Conduct an interview with someone about their experiences with COVID-19
  • Actively listen to others' perspectives.
  • Speak clearly using appropriate discussion rules with awareness of verbal and nonverbal cues.
  • Ask questions during the interview that relate to what the subject is saying.
  • Write down crucial notes from the interview.
  • Reflect upon the interview.

Day 4

  • Evaluate what details they want to share from their interview with a public audience
  • Prepare a visual or audio presentation that communicates details from their interviews, and students' reflections on what they learned from conducting interviews
  • Engage in collaborative discussions with other students.

Day 5

  • Give formal and informal presentations in a group or individually, organizing information and determining appropriate content for audience.

Unit Overview:

Children have to be okay.  They have to feel safe before they can learn.  What does that look like during the pandemic?  What is unsafe about their home and online learning? How might their experiences connect to the experiences of other children from different parts of the world?

Through journaling about their experiences with COVID-19, evaluating underreported news stories about the pandemic, and conducting interviews with children around the world of similar ages about their experiences during the pandemic, students will be able to connect, process, deal, and heal. They will build upon their literacy skills by understanding underreported stories. They will make connections with their own communities and with their interview subjects' communities.  Students and their interview subjects will also benefit from sharing their stories.

Information and skills learned will focus on English language arts standards and objectives but the main goal will be for it to be a school-wide social-emotional project. 

Important:  Students must have a safe and free space to express themselves. Remember to: Highlight/pay attention to what the students are doing right, at least once per session. Show that you are paying attention and that you care. Think about: Misinformation based on geography, rumors and how they spread.

Performance Task

This unit concludes with two performance tasks:

  1. Students prepare and conduct interviews with students from classrooms in other parts of the world about their experiences with the COVID-19 pandemic.
  2. Students create presentations that communicate key details and reflections from the interviews they conducted with students from other countries/cities to make connections between communities and share underreported stories.

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Children and Youth

Children and Youth