Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

SIFTing our Sources

So many things have been going well in my media literacy, computer programming and engineering middle school courses this semester I should be blogging about our classroom learning every day! In this post I’d like to briefly reflect and share about an InfoPics lesson we are doing today as part of our “Froot Loop Conspiracy Theories” unit, brainstorming and collaborating with a Canva whiteboard, using ChatGPT to help us generate ideas for our InfoPics, and sharing our creations to Padlet.

SIFT InfoPics (April 2024)” (CC BY 2.0) by Wesley Fryer

I have loved using Google’s Jamboard platform for class interactive, digital brainstorming, and have been mourning the announced sunset of Jamboard in October 2024. I’ve considered using FigJam (which Eric Curts touts as a great replacement) but as a service requiring 3rd party authentication approval from our IT Department, it would take some time and coordination for me to be able to use it with my students.

Enter This year I’ve used Canva in my web design as well as computer applications / media literacy classes, and it’s AMAZING what students have been able to create and do with images! Previously I taught my media literacy students how to use Google Drawing to create basic, custom size image collages, and while that’s still a valuable skill, Google Drawing is VERY limited in its graphic design potential compared to

Today I wanted to collaborate with my students in a digital space, reflecting on the JP Sears video, “13 Reasons Why the Moon Landing Fake,” which we’ve watched as part of our unit on the SIFT web literacy framework and how to avoid being deceived / drawn in by WILD conspiracy theories. I did a Google search for Canva whiteboard, and discovered that Canva has a robust and wonderful interactive Whiteboarding option!

Here is a short screen recording at the start of our collaboration this morning on a Canva Whiteboard, using this file as a template.

Canva Whiteboard Collaboration

I modified an existing whiteboard template in Canva to create a multi-column layout to contain our “sticky notes.” Initially I shared this file with students with READ ONLY settings, but after demonstrating how they can add sticky note ideas I allowed them to EDIT the document. It’s always a little wild when everyone in a class starts editing the same document, but Canva handled our collaboration well today and students were successful in avoiding “stepping on” each other or interfering with each other’s work.

I’m very pleased to add Canva whiteboarding to my digital teaching toolkit!

In the past when I’ve taught this unit on “Froot Loop Conspiracy Theories,” I’ve required my students to create SKETCHNOTES about each of the main three videos we watch in the lesson series. This time, I had students create a sketchnote about our first video, “Conspiracies and Crazy People” by @The Odd1sOut, but not for the second one by JP Sears.

Sketchnote on ”Conspiracies and Crazy People” (CC BY 2.0) by Wesley Fryer

I’m following a two lesson cycle for each of our videos, so last lesson I introduced SIFT and we watched the JP Sears “Moon Landing Hoax” video.

The day before, we watched and discussed the outstanding (but somewhat “creepy”) 4 minute video from 60 Minutes, “Meet a puppeteer with a gift for pulling strings.” I love how this sets students up with a metaphor for understanding how some people and organizations try to use information to MANIPULATE us and “hack our minds,” just like a puppeteer controls a string puppet or marionette.

Today before we analyzed the JP Sears “Moon Hoax” video, we watched and discussed the 3.5 minute video, “Sort Fact from Fiction Online with Lateral Reading” from the Civic Online Reasoning group at Stanford University.

I also used my nerf football so we could practice LITERAL “lateral passes,” and we watched part of the 4.5 minute video, Most INSANE Football Laterals (NFL & College).”

As we brainstormed our sticky notes to go into column 3, I put a prompt into ChatGPT to see what suggestions it could provide. This was my prompt, and this is the archive of our chat conversation.

I am trying to come up with a clever way to encourage people to check the sources for online information. Please complete this phrase in 20 different ways, making it sound poetic and clever: “check the source before you ….”

ChatGPT conversation by Wes Fryer, 2 April 2024

Many of the initial suggestions do NOT follow the spirit and intent of the SIFT web literacy framework, but they provided some excellent conversation starters with students and also inspired some of our InfoPic phrases.

CA 1-4: SIFT and JP Sears Video Ideas” (CC BY 2.0) by Wesley Fryer

What an energizing media literacy lesson today! I love teaching media literacy and middle school students in 2024!



One response to “SIFTing our Sources”

  1. Sharanalaya Avatar

    I have also using the Canva for our school related designing. It is easy to access and design user friendly.