It is important for students to make connections between school lessons and real world applications. I make this connection in order for learning to be meaningful for students. The purpose of introducing my students to current events in this unit is to practice reading informational text, gain insight on the community around us, learn to summarize text, and gain oral presentation skills. The purpose of informational text is to inform the reader about the natural or social world. The structure of informational text allow readers to find information efficiently. I designed a Current Events template to encourage students to use informational text structures to locate information, cite sources, and summarize their findings using text supports. While completing this template, students
I use my Current Events Promehean Flip Chart to begin my introduction of Current Events. Students view a video/digital article from Timeforkids.com, entitled "Best Inventions of 2013." Technology is a key part of 21st Century education. Therefore, I encourage students to write about a documentary style video as opposed to a written article that we traditionally read for current events. Even though the digital format of this article is unique, its topic is still about current events. After viewing this video, I model an example by asking students for their input as I complete a Current Events Template on my Pormethean board. I give students guiding questions such as: "What type of information is explored in this article ?", "How did the author use text structure to enable the reader to locate information easier?", "Why did the author write this article ?", and "Why did you select this article ?". These questions encourage students to understand the author's purpose for writing this article, find key details to deepen their understanding of the text, and develop a purpose for reading.
We also complete a resource section so that others can locate the article if they choose. I also show students text sources such as newspapers, magazines, etc and show students where to locate information to references for the bibliography section of the Current Events form. I want students to realize that their writing needs validation from sources, whether traditional text or digital.
Time for Kids is one of my favorite websites because it is student friendly in many ways. First, it is categorized into many different sections, so students can select their topic of interest. Current events cover many topics: politics, entertainment, sports, etc. The digital components enliven the stories, whether it is an interactive component, or audio recordings, or audio visual videos. I choose lessons with digital components because student engagement increases.
After much practice together at current events writing as a class, it is time for students to practice writing independently. Students use the question prompts I asked before to give a purpose for their writing. The purpose of their writing is to explain and summarize ideas from informational text and derive a conclusion from their sources or experiences. Each student is given an article and a Current Event Template. The articles are taken from timeforkids.com. Students gather information from their articles and write a Current Event summary. I circulate the room and assist as needed.
Other resources for articles include: New York times for Kids, Newsday, PBS Online News Hour, C-SPAN Classroom, Washington Post-Kid's Post, National Geographic for Kids, Wall Street Journal-Classroom Edition,NASA Kids, BBC for kids-News Round.