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Current Events Done Right

Think back to your school experience. Your history teacher assigns current events. Go home, cut out a story from the newspaper, paste it onto some construction paper, and provide a summary. Easy. You go home, wait until the last minute, pull out the first story you see, and get the scissors and glue. The next day you pull out your current event and give a two minute presentation. With all of the technology available coupled with the swirling events of our time – you would think practice had changed, right? WRONG!

I still see students clipping stories and answering the “who, what, where, when, why” questions. Students used to approach me the same day their current events were due, asking me to print an article from CNN. While technology and education has changed, the typical current events project has not. With all projects, assignments, and instruction, we all need to focus on making learning meaningful to students. That being said, here’s our challenge: change up current events! Don’t do away with it. Just make it something worth everyone’s while. Here are our tips to making current events more meaningful:

  1. Take Away the Choice: I know…taboo. Choice is everything. But what if you took away the choice in the story? Pick an actual current event on which the students base their project. Give them choice of how they present the event. Do they discuss how the event illustrates perseverance? Perhaps they demonstrate how this event impacts the political climate in the United States. Give students a number of meaningful prompts to answer.
  2. Change the Mode of Delivery: Powerpoints or Google slides seem to continue to be the “techy” way to present. Challenge you students – ask them to present this through a Podcast, video, blog, or vlog. Be creative – let them decide how it will be presented. Only restriction – no poster board, construction paper, or powerpoints!
  3. Become Journalists: Have the students report on a current event. Give the students a current event. Don’t give them the article – act it out to them. Provide the details in real time. Host a press conference and have the students act as the journalists. Following the briefing, ask them to report on it as journalists!

Current events don’t have to be the “filler” that teachers use for Fridays. Make it something meaningful for students. Better yet, use it to inspire students to question the status quo. Give the students a reason to follow the news!  Try stepping out of the traditional approach and challenge yourself to try something new. Better, yet, plan it all out with Planbook Plus!

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