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Lesson Plan

Hoax or No Hoax? Strategies for Online Comprehension and Evaluation

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Hoax or No Hoax? Strategies for Online Comprehension and Evaluation

Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Four 60-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Deborah Kozdras, Ph.D.

Deborah Kozdras, Ph.D.

Tampa, Florida

James L. Welsh

James L. Welsh

Tampa, Florida


International Literacy Association


Materials and Technology






  • Computers with Internet access

  • LCD projector (optional)

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1. Before teaching this lesson, your students should be familiar with satire and parody. You may teach some or all of the following lessons:

Additionally, if you feel your students need more practice with website literacy prior to completing this lesson, you may want to review some of the lessons in the Jo Cool or Jo Fool Teacher's Guide and see if they are appropriate.

2. This lesson focuses on helping students discern that a website is a hoax, with the goal of teaching them to evaluate information they find online. It uses four specific comprehension strategies intended for reading online that are outlined in the first article in the Theory to Practice section and can also be found in the Online Comprehension Strategies Diagram. These strategies will be repeated many times during a single website evaluation. You should familiarize yourself with them and should be prepared to share them with your students.

3. All four sessions of this lesson plan require a computer for every one or two students in your class; if necessary, reserve time in your school's computer lab. During Sessions 1 and 2, you will be modeling the comprehension strategies and will need one computer that is connected to a projector or has a large screen.

4. Familiarize yourself with the Media Awareness Network exercise titled Deconstructing Web Pages. Questions from this webpage are used in the Is This a Hoax? evaluation sheet.

5. Visit and familiarize yourself with Jo Cool or Joe Fool For Kids, the Compare & Contrast Map, and the following hoax websites:

For background information on hoax websites as well as links to some additional examples of hoax websites see Better Read That Again: Web Hoaxes and Misinformation and Teacher Tap: Evaluating Internet Resources. Note: Make sure that you check any hoax websites before allowing students to view them to make sure that the content falls within your school's Internet usage guidelines.

6. Bookmark all of the sites listed under Websites for Student Use in the Resources section on the computers you and your students will be using.

7. Make one copy of the Online Comprehension Strategies Diagram and three copies of the Is This a Hoax? evaluation sheet for each student in your class.

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