Well, for my school district (in Tampa, FL) today was the first day back for students. So – anyone who had kiddos for the first time today…I hope it went great. If you’ve already had your first day back with the kidlets, I hope it went awesome, too. And if you’ve yet to have day 1, I hope it is just spectacular. So, here’s my first entry of the 14-15 school year. I thought I’d start out with something that might help you get your classes started at least a few times a week.
I’m not sure when I first became aware of CNN student news, but ever since I was introduced to it, I have loved it. It is primarily used in middle school social studies classrooms, although I think it could be used in English classes as well. There is one, 10-minute video each day with headlines and interactive features (polls, etc.). Some teachers have students take notes on each video and then give an assessment at the end of the week. This is a great way to do bell work and keep kids accountable. As an English teacher, I think it would be neat to have students write reflection, analysis, or persuasive pieces on the covered stories. Research skills could also be contextually taught if a teacher wanted to extend the topic beyond bell work.
There are archives of videos so if you’re looking for a particular topic you can search for it. They even have transcripts of the videos to utilize as written text. I think it would be a great way to explore bias in the news media and the use of rhetorical devices.
For each video, CNN provides a daily curriculum .pdf, key concepts of the show, a short (3-5 question) quiz for after the show (or during, if you wish), and discussion questions.
I think it would be cool to show a video on a Monday and assign an essay/written response on one of the stories. Tuesday and Wednesday students could be shown other sources focusing on the same story. They could edit (peer or individually) their writing on Thursday, and then create the final draft on Friday. This could be done as bell work, a mini-lesson, or a full-blown class period.
Some writing topics:
Do you agree or disagree with the stance [person] took on [topic]? Why or why not?
How did the CNN student news coverage of the story compare to ?
What rhetorical devices were present in the story? How effective were they?
Is [story] a worthwhile piece of reporting? Why or why not? Persuade someone to agree with your claim.
Using all the resources you have had access to, write a [#] paragraph paper on the story.
Write a summary of the story.
Create [#] interview questions for [person in story], then, answer them the way you think he/she would given all the research you have done on the topic.
By the way, tomorrow is a one-day back-to-school boost sale on TeachersPayTeachers. My entire store is 20% off plus the site-wide discount. I’ve got lots of great stuff for classroom management to start the year off right, along with math and ELA lessons/resources for middle and high school. Come check it out!