One Story Lesson Plan: Examining Sources, Credibility and Verification for a Long-Form Story

January 20, 2015 at 5:08 pm


One Story: Examining Sources, Credibility and Verification for a Long-Form Story


Students will use an article in the series “Other Than Honorable” from the Colorado Gazette to examine the sources used — as well as those who refused comment. Then, students will then look at how the writer showed the credibility of the information through verification.


  • Students will examine the sources used (both people and documents).
  • Students will see how the writer noted when someone refused to go on the record.
  • Students will  the author showed how the information provided was credible through verification.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.9.B Apply grades 9-10 Reading standards to literary nonfiction (e.g., “Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is valid and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; identify false statements and fallacious reasoning”).
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.5 Analyze in detail how an author’s ideas or claims are developed and refined by particular sentences, paragraphs, or larger portions of a text (e.g., a section or chapter).
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.7 Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a question or solve a problem.


50 minutes

Materials / resources

Handout: Copy of one of the articles from the series “Other Than Honorable” (one per student)

Slideshow: Sources, Credibility and Verification

Three colors of highlighters and pens or pencils

Lesson step-by-step

1. Introduction — slideshow (3 minutes)

Show students the first four slides of the slideshow. (Stop at the “Today’s goal” slide.)

2. Reading (may skip if students have read the first segment) — 10 minutes if needed

Students should read the segment titled “Disposable.”

3. Preparation — 2 minutes

Distribute copies of the story. Show Slide 5 with the following instructions:

Ask students to create a color key. Have them write the following at the top of the story:

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Students will highlight Step 1 with one color, Step 2 with a second color and Step 3 with a third color. Students will refer to this key as they go through the activity.

4. Continue slideshow — 10 minutes

Go through slides 7-10 with the students. Give them time to work through each step.

5. Large group discussion — 5 minutes

Facilitate discussion concerning what the students found using the steps from the slideshow.

6. Pair work —10 minutes

Students should pair with a student next to them. Randomly assign the pairs the remaining segments as evenly as possible. If at least two pairs cannot combine for the next step, assign fewer segments.

Students should repeat the three steps just practiced in their pairs.

7. Small group discussion (10-15 minutes)

Students should find the other pairs who also worked on the same segment. Assign each small group to compare and discuss what they highlighted. Who was interviewed? What other information was used? Did someone refuse comment? How was the information verified? Walk around to answer questions as needed.

8. Large group discussion — 5 minutes

Each group should informally present two items discussed per step.

9. Assessment — 5 minutes

Ask students to put away all materials. They then should take the short quiz at the end of the slideshow to check for understanding.

If you’d like to grade the quiz in class, the answers are on the last slide.


For further extension, ask students to work through policy and procedure information.

Refusal to be interviewed:

How does the writer inform the reader that a potential source chose not to grant an interview? How would a policy state this? What would the policy say? How does it vary in refused versus unavailable for comment? How do these two differ?