Fake news article about school uniforms used as Connections exercise
A story circulating in the Blair community that announces that the administration is planning to implement a new uniform policy for Blazers is completely false. The story was used as a classroom debate topic for freshman Connections classes and contains no valid facts.
According to Silver Chips Managing Sports Editor and Ombudsman senior Dan Greene, who wrote the article, the story was written in response to lead Connections teacher Cindy Villavicencio's request for a fake news story about Blair's implementation of school uniforms. Villavicencio stated that Connections teachers used the story to teach freshmen about their rights and responsibilities and the importance of voting as part of the first unit in Connections classes. According to Villavicencio, many freshmen were indifferent about voting and the upcoming elections. "We're trying to change the apathy," she said.
Villavicencio stated that the teachers wanted a story that would hit home and illustrate to students the consequences of not caring about the elections. The freshmen were not told that the story was fake so that they would understand the consequences of not voting and having no input in such matters, and the story was printed in Silver Chips Online format to add to the plausibility of the story. "I told Dan I wanted it to look as authentic as possible," Villavicencio stated. The story was never published on Silver Chips Online, and Villavicencio stressed that the point of the exercise was not to "mislead [the students], it was to get them passionate about the issue."
Although not all freshmen believed the story, the students that did were more passionate in class than those who weren't, according to Villavicencio. "I had a kid say, 'We're going to rebel, we're going to strike,'" she described.
Teachers were planning to tell freshmen that the story was false at the end of the lesson. However, "if we said, 'Read this, but it's a joke,' then it wouldn't have connected with them," Villavicencio said. She emphasized that the purpose of the fake article "wasn't to lie to the kids at all. It was to…intrigue them, to motivate them, to make them come alive in the classroom."
Katherine Zhang. Katherine Zhang likes French baguettes, Pyotr Tchaikovsky, bookmarks, fresh boxes of rosin, Brad Meltzer novels, and of course, "JAG." In her free time, Katherine enjoys knitting, playing the violin, and reading - especially legal thrillers and books about people in faraway places and long-ago times. … More »