Mini Media Literacy Library

For your convenience, we've assembled a library of our Media Moment Mini-Lessons. These mini-lessons combine civic content and news literacy skills. Designed for the high school classroom, each mini-lesson includes a content reading, a news literacy highlight, and a one-page news literacy activity. Use the readings together or separately to target multiple learning objectives throughout the year! Each lesson can also be found in the units below.

In our "Executive Branch" unit:

In our "Legislative Branch" unit:

In our "Judicial Branch" unit:

*For more news literacy lessons, see our full "News Literacy (HS)" unit.


Mini-lesson: Veto Power (HS)

This Media Moment Mini-lesson explores the presidential veto and pocket veto powers, their role as a negotiating tool, and the Congressional veto override process. Students also learn how to use fact-checking and triangulation to evaluate news claims and detect misinformation. The activity allows students to practice news literacy skills by triangulating a fact of their choice using three distinct online sources

Mini-lesson: Pardon Power (HS)

This Media Moment Mini-lesson teaches about presidential pardons, commutations, and the limitations on these powers. By looking at a popular meme appearing in June 2018 about former President Barack Obama’s pardons, students learn about fact-checking websites and how to conduct an independent web search to verify a claim. The activity walks students through the process of fact-checking a claim of choice. 

Mini-lesson: Presidential Appointments (HS)

Students learn about unilateral presidential appointments, nominations, and the Senate confirmation process in the Media Moment Mini-Lesson.  Through this lens, students investigate the role the media plays as a gatekeeper and agenda setter. In the closing activity, students evaluate news coverage of an appointee or executive department of choice over 3 business days to evaluate how coverage evolved and what details were emphasized.

Mini-lesson: Executive Orders (HS)

In this Media Moment Mini-lesson, students discover how presidents use executive orders to wield power and how the legislative and judicial branches support and challenge these measures. Additionally, students will take a look at what fair and balanced reporting on an executive order might look like and will practice evaluating perspectives presented in online news articles of choice.

Mini-lesson: Succession (HS)

In the opening activity, students are challenged to create a succession plan for their school principal. The class then reviews the official presidential line of succession and reads about its origins. Students learn how to detect satire by examining stories about Vice President Mike Pence’s supposed sights on the presidency. The closing activity of this Media Moment Mini-lesson offers the opportunity to practice these new skills by answering a series of questions about an article that students suspect to be satirical.

Mini-lesson: Congressional Committees (HS)

Discover the different types of congressional committees and their responsibilities. What's more, teach students about bias and balanced reporting. In the closing activity, students put their news literacy skills to work by evaluating an article of choice for the inclusion of varied and balanced perspectives.  

Mini-lesson: Filibusters (HS)

This Media Moment Mini-Lesson first teaches students about filibusters and how and why senators use them. Next, students take a look at how news coverage of a filibuster can be transformed through neutral, positive, or negative framing. In the closing news literacy activity, students are challenged to identify framing in news stories of their choice.

Mini-lesson: The Incumbent Advantage (HS)

Learn about the electoral advantage that favors incumbents and the benefits and drawbacks of reelecting members of Congress. Then, put students' news literacy skills to work as they learn what distinguishes an opinion piece, op-ed, or commentary from traditional news.

Mini-lesson: Gerrymandering (HS)

In this Media Moment Mini-lesson, students have the opportunity to try their hand at a simplified districting exercise and learn about the common gerrymandering practices of packing and cracking districts. Students then explore the media’s traditional roles as gatekeeper, agenda setter, and watchdog. By summarizing topline stories from a newspaper, news website, or television news broadcast, students evaluate if a news organization appears to be keeping watch or setting an agenda.

Mini-lesson: Midterm Elections (HS)

Students will learn about midterm elections, their role as a referendum on the presidency, and how a shift in party control impacts the legislative and executive branches. Page two of this Media Moment Mini-lesson covers horse race journalism, common during election season, and the limitations of this type of coverage. In the activity, students consider an article about a West Virginia Senate primary candidate and practice distinguishing substantive information about a candidate from horse race coverage.

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