Getting Creative with Current Events
Keeping your students informed about the world around them is an important part of your job. Beyond your textbooks, however, you can find a wealth of resources in newspapers, magazines, and news programs. Teaching current events in your classroom can help your students understand what’s going on locally, nationally, and internationally while helping them become engaged citizens.
Before you really dive into teaching current events, be sure to spend some time discussing what makes a credible source and where to find information. These practices are especially important as students get older and are more adept at finding news online.
If you’re wondering how to make news fun, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered with these creative ways to teach current events, no matter what grade level you teach.
Send your students on a newspaper or magazine scavenger hunt. Working in teams, students can search for specific words from a list you provide or stick to a current events theme (find anything that mentions your state, for example).
Try using Roll and Retell to help your students decode a news story. Divide your class into groups and then have each group read a story before rolling a die to determine what question to answer about what they’ve read.
Use current events as a homework assignment. Find an article that’s of interest to your students (in a news magazine for kids, for example), and preview the article as a class. Then, send your students home with this current events graphic organizer to help them dissect the article. The next morning, choose a student to report on what he read before engaging in a class discussion on the topic. Make it extra fun by having your “news correspondent” wear a fedora or even a hat made out of newspaper while delivering the news.
Middle school students
Take a cue from this idea from TeachHUB as a current events teaching strategy: You’ll need a world map you can post on a bulletin board and daily newspapers for your class. Have your students read the front section of the newspaper and choose an article. Plot the location on the map where the story takes place and add to the map daily, stringing the plot points together.
Let your students take an active part in creating the news by cutting out pictures from newspapers and magazines and asking your class to make up captions for the photos. After they’ve written the caption, challenge them to write an article that could accompany the photo.
Use this idea for the one-question interview from the New York Times. Have students think of a question related to the article they’re reading. Then, using the one-question interview form, have students ask their question to their classmates. This exercise not only helps students understand how to analyze data but also gets them thinking about the role interviewing plays in generating a story.
High school students
The best way to engage teenagers is to focus on something they’re passionate about. Let your students pick an article from any section of the paper and turn it into a tweet. Ask them, “If you were limited to a Twitter post about this article, what would you share with your classmates?” This exercise will not only get them reading the news but will also help them pull out the most important facts from an article.
It’s hard to find a high schooler who doesn’t have strong opinions. Put those feelings to use by having your class write editorials. First, spend some time looking at editorials in the newspaper and discuss what makes a good editorial. Then, let them pick a topic that matters to them and try their hand at writing their own editorial.
Invite your students to listen to news podcasts (our favorites include Skimm This, The Globalist, and The Takeaway) and then challenge them to create their own. Using a program such as Audacity (for PCs) or Garageband (for Mac and mobile devices) have your students report on happenings around the school or in their community.