Thursday, December 28, 2017

Current Events in the Classroom

When I was in school, I remember having to find and summarize current events every week.  Things have changed a bit since then and our students have instant access to news at any given moment on social media.  The problem is that they believe almost everything that they read and don't always get all of the facts when it's just a post on social media.

Current events are important and still have a place in the classroom.  Reading and sharing current events help students stay globally connected,  builds vocabulary,  and encourages critical thinking and problem-solving.

If you are like me, I certainly don't feel comfortable asking students or even my own children to visit MSNBC, CNN, or FoxNews.  There are just too many inappropriate articles, bias, and specific details that are not okay for young readers.  That being said, there are several places that your students can find current event articles that are engaging and appropriate for them at any age.  Below are a few of my favorites and the reasons that I love them.

DogoNews  -

❤️️  Articles are relevant and include lots of images/videos
❤️️  Vocabulary - Students can click on unknown words to receive a definition
❤️️  Automatic Citation - Cite using MLA, APA, or Chicago with the click of a button
❤️️  Assignment Options - Comprehension and Critical Thinking questions for $2/students
❤️️  Post articles/assignments to Google Classroom with one-click
❤️️  Article can be read aloud by choosing the audio version
❤️️  Students can also post and share book reviews with an authentic audience on DogoNews

Newsela -

❤️️  Lexile level of article can be changed instantly with the click of a button
❤️️  Article can be translated into Spanish with one-click
❤️️  Activities include writing prompt and quiz with each article
❤️️  Teacher can assign articles to students
❤️️  Pro-version allows customization of writing prompts and access to individual progress
(prices not published on website but I believe it's about $18 per student)
❤️️  Power words give students an ability to explore new vocabulary

Time For Kids -

❤️️  Articles include lots of images and videos
❤️️  Lexile level of article can be changed instantly with the click of a button
❤️️  Article can be translated into Spanish with one-click
❤️️  Printable quiz available for each article
❤️️  Full access available for $3.20-$3.60 per student
❤️️  Vocabulary embedded throughout the articles as power words

Tween Tribune -

❤️️  Totally FREE!
❤️️  Lexile level of article can be changed instantly with the click of a button
❤️️  Easy-to-access lesson plan ideas
❤️️  Short quiz available with each article
❤️️  Assign to students with one-click
❤️️  Teacher dashboard for easy navigation and accessibility

What are some things that students can do other than simply taking the quiz after reading a current event article?

  • Find the problem in the article and design an innovative solution.
  • Locate where the event occurred on a map and learn more about that continent/country/area.
  • Make a prediction of what will happen as a result of this story being shared.
  • Find the math, ELAR, science, social studies in the story and explain the role that they each play.
  • Find a story with which you feel a personal connection and share why.
And if you need more ideas, check out 50 ways to Teach with Current Events.

All of these options have features that may or may not work in your classroom.  Check them out and find the one that is right for you and your students.  Exploring current events is a great option for students that have finished work early or have already mastered what is being taught.  It's also a great filler activity that is both meaningful and relevant.  Reading nonfiction articles, learning new vocabulary, and using critical thinking to solve real problems is never a waste of time.

What are some of your favorite current event resources?


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