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10 Fun Teaching Strategies for Current Events

Janelle Cox

Today’s generation of children seems to no longer be interested in the news or what’s going on in the world around them. They are so wrapped up with selfies and celebrities that they have become blinded by current events.

So it is our job as teachers to keep them in the loop about current events. One of the best ways to teach your students about current events is to use teaching strategies to create activities that utilize the newspaper.  Newspapers can be an effective classroom teaching tool because they can be adaptable to all grades levels.

Here are 10 fun teaching strategies that you can use to help raise students’ interest and awareness about current events.

1. Teaching Strategies: News-Mapping

This hands-on interactive activity is a great way to help peak students’ interest in current events. To begin, post a world map on the bulletin board in your classroom. Tell students that each day they will read the front page of the local newspaper and choose one article. Next, they will plot on the map the location where the story took place. Each day choose one student to post the chosen story of the day around the map, then string the story to the location on the map.

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2. Current Events Scavenger Hunt

This activity may be among one of your students’ favorites, because it is so much fun. Pair students together into teams of two. Give each team a list of things to find in the newspaper (nouns, sports terms, fractions, grammar-related terms, etc.). The team who completes the list the fastest wins.

3. Fact Sequence

Choose a current event from your local newspaper that has a clear sequence of events. Write down the facts in order onto separate strips of paper. Challenge students to read all of the strips of paper and figure out the order of the story so that it is in the correct sequence. To challenge students even further, have students get into teams of two, find a current event in the newspaper that has a clear sequence of events, then cut the events into strips of paper. Then, teams switch articles to see if they can put the strips back together in the correct, sequential order.

4. Is it Newsworthy?

Each morning editors from all around the globe have to determine if the articles they receive from their writers are, in fact, actually newsworthy. Challenge students to look at the front page of the newspaper and figure out why they think the editor thought it was newsworthy. Here are some reasons students may come up with.

  • It’s local and relevant.
  • It’s unusual and unexpected.
  • It has an impact that can affect the readers.
  • It can inflict an emotion.
  • The magnitude of the story is newsworthy.

5. Become an Editor

Challenge students to become an editor for the day. Have them browse the newspaper or the Internet for any current event that grabs their attention. Then, challenge them to rewrite the article the way that they think it should be written. Once they are finished, they can switch papers with a friend and look for any errors that may be in the article.

6. The 5 W’s

If you’ve ever read a newspaper article on a current event, you may have noticed that writers usually use the 5 W’s in their opening paragraph (who, what, when, where, why). Together as a class try and figure out what the 5 W’s of the most current event on the front page of the newspaper are. Invite students to come up and circle each of the 5 W’s. Then provide students with another current news article and have them see if they can find the 5 W’s on their own.

7. Opinion Page

Everyone has opinion, and sometimes people like to voice this opinion on what is called the “Opinion page” of the newspaper. For this activity have students read several opinion pages and talk about what they think about them. Ask students what does each article have in common? Then, have students write their own article on a how they feel about a current event, and have them submit it to your class opinion page. Once completed, have students take turns reading their articles to their peers to see what their reactions are.

8. It’s All in the Details

Read students an article from the newspaper and ask students to carefully listen for details as you read. They can take notes if needed. Then, hand out a sheet of detailed questions to see how many details they picked up on while you were reading. The higher the grade, the more details you ask them.

9. Graphing the News

Browse the newspaper to find facts that students would be able to easily graph. For example, the population of each surrounding community, the cost of gasoline, etc.). Provide students with the information that is needed and challenge them to create a graph depicting the information that was provided. This can be a line graph, a bar graph, or even a picture graph.

10. Captain This

Some newspapers is known for amazing, catchy captions. Cut out a dozen photographs from your local newspaper and challenge students to come up with a caption as well as an article just by looking at one of the pictures. Encourage students to use their imaginations and remind them to address the 5 W’s: The who, what, when, where, and why for their article. Before sending students off to get creative, read a few captivating newspaper captions and taglines. This will help students come up with something that will really catch the reader’s eye.

How do you teach current events in your classroom? Share your ideas with us in the comment section below. We would love to hear your thoughts.

Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.