A Painless Way to Add More Informational Text

Teenagers are self-absorbed. I get that. (Heck, most adults we know are also pretty focused on themselves, no?) Nevertheless, I’ve been troubled in the past few weeks with some of my students’ inability to give concrete examples as they try to support their opinions. While working through our current Greek mythology unit, for example, I require my freshmen to pull a theme out of each story and then research an example from our modern world to illustrate that theme. Some students are able to write about a relevant political event or recent natural disaster without needing any research at all; others, though, look at me with wide bovine eyes, uncertain where to even begin.

To open my students’ worlds a bit and give myself some time to work one-on-one with kids who need extra support, I built this current event assignment that forces students to dig into a news article of their choosing:

A stack of free copies of our local newspaper is delivered to campus each day, so I can grab an armful of those and have my students get to work. Other times, I’ll book the computer lab or use the laptop cart and have students read an online article as they complete the assignment grid. I’m also thinking this’ll become a handy make-up assignment when students are absent and miss an impossible-to-replicate group activity.

If you also could use a print-and-go worksheet to help your students learn more about the world, be sure to click here to grab a copy of this super-affordable resource.

Teach on, everyone!

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6 years ago

Thank you, Laura! I grabbed a copy of this to keep on hand. I will probably use this as you suggested, but I also might have students look for a current events article based on their interests. They will fill out your sheet, and maybe they’ll give a brief presentation on the articles that they found. After all, ELA standards include listening and speaking, too.

Laura Randazzo
6 years ago
Reply to  Michelle

I love the idea of bringing in the Speaking & Listening standards, too, Michelle! I can definitely see myself using this every week and choosing three or four kids per week to quickly share/explain their article. By the end of the nine weeks, every kid will have had the opportunity to present and I’ll avoid the dreaded Speech Fatigue. Thanks for getting the idea wheels rolling in my head! 🙂

6 years ago

Thank you, Laura! This is a concise way to engage them in current events, reminiscent of Kelly Gallagher’s Article of the Week assignment. I also love Michelle’s idea of asking them to present! This will be a great precursor to our social issues inquiry project. I may someday ask my honors classes to find articles of personal interest on their own time, but I have a feeling that some may be news “newbies” and I’d love to point them to some resources. Do you have any suggestions besides our local paper, NYT, etc…? Thank you again!

Laura Randazzo
6 years ago
Reply to  Ann

Absolutely, Ann! In addition to the obvious ones, I’d also add https://newsela.com/ and Izzit’s current events at https://www.izzit.org/events/index.php# to your resource list. Both are timely and offer teen-friendly topics, plus Izzit lists the reading grade-level with each article. Love that! Hope this helps. 🙂

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