I am a news junkie. I soak up news, hard copy and virtual, scan news breaks, scour features and profiles that outline and probe the characters and issues that shape the local and national agenda, and seek information that reflects and illuminates the arguments that directly influence life throughout the United States and the world. The connections between current events and traditional school subjects like history, science and mathematics are abundant, and to me, abundantly fascinating. Many news organizations make their publications–hard copy and online–available to schools for classroom use, and what great opportunities for reading and writing in the content areas these provide!
I fondly recall “current events” days in my elementary school classes as a kid, when we were responsible for bringing in an article from the local newspaper or a news magazine to present and discuss with our teachers and classmates. We also read “My Weekly Reader” and “Scholastic News” in class, doing the exercises that came with these age-appropriate news digests. Along with lively family dinner table discussions about the events of the day, I believe these early experiences in school with the news of the day influenced my lifelong curiosity about what’s going on, and ramped up my comfort level with questioning and analyzing events around the world.
As the world gets exponentially more complex and news sources ever more abundant and accessible, are educators making enough use of the connections between current events and specific content? If you’re an educator who does make these connections in the classroom, let us hear from you about what you’re doing, how you do it (via hard copy publications? online? on your students’ smartphones?), and the impact it has had on your students. Let’s put together guidelines and tips for other educators about how to make great use in the classroom of the information coming at us from all sides.