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Current Events: 5 Ways to Use the Newspaper in Class

Janelle Cox

 

The best way to teach your students about current events is to create activities that utilize the newspaper.  Newspapers can be an effective classroom teaching tool because they can be adaptable to all curriculum and grades levels, they provide enough sections to interest all students, and they are a cost-effective way to educate students.

Here, we provide you with the inside scoop on the best ways to use a newspaper in your classroom. This collection of news-breaking activities will have your students want to subscribe for more.

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

This activity will have your students getting the scoop on the front page news.  Divide students into teams of two and challenge them to compare two similar news stories from two different newspapers. For younger students, you can read each news story together as a class, then have students team up to compare and contrast the story with a partner. Older students can read each article with their partner, then compare stories. Once students have completed this activity, come together as a class and call upon each group to write down one similarity and one difference.

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Teacher Tip: A Venn diagram works great with this activity.

Newspaper Scavenger Hunt

What’s more fun than an educational scavenger hunt? For this activity, students will feel like they are a supersleuth. To begin, make sure each student has a copy of their own newspaper, one pair of scissors, glue, and a scavenger hunt worksheet. Students must search the newspaper to find each requested item on their scavenger hunt worksheet. Once they find the item, they must cut it out and glue it next to the clue on their paper.

Scavenger hunt clues:

  • Find an advertisement for a job.
  • Find five things that are for sale.
  • Find the weather and temperature for a specific city.
  • Find a crime that occurred.
  • Find your horoscope.

News and Views

Find an article in the newspaper that is relevant to the age group of your students. Read the article aloud, or if your students are older, have them read it to themselves. Then, pose several questions about the article that require students to use their critical thinking skills. Have students take a position on the article, then have students defend their opinion in a brief paragraph.

Common critical thinking questions:

  • Who? What? When? Where? How?
  • How would solve? Can you explain?
  • What would happen if? What can you conclude?
  • What does it mean? What would you recommend?
  • What do you think that? How would you use?

Caption This!

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

Write a Winning Classified

Put your students’ writing skills to the test by challenging them to write a winning classified ad. Read aloud a few catchy classifieds as well as a few non-catchy ones. Then, discuss what makes one ad more appealing than the other. Talk about how you have to grab the reader’s attention and come up with a “catch phrase” that will make the reader want to act immediately. Have students think about what they would like to sell for their classified ad. Then have them search the classified section of the newspaper to study what they are attempting to sell. Then have each student write a brief ad about what they are trying to sell.

Make sure students follow these guidelines when writing their ad:

  • Grab the reader’s attention with a catchy tagline.
  • Make sure to be mysterious and use the fewest words possible.
  • Make the reader want your offer and be compelled to contact you.

Additional Critical Thinking Newspaper Activities

  • Have students write a critical review of their favorite comic strip.
  • Students must find an article about an accident and state what could have been done to prevent it.
  • Students must write a letter to the editor of the local newspaper stating their opinion on an article in the paper.
  • Students must study the obituaries, then write an obituary about a famous living person.
  • Have students browse the major headlines and come up with three questions if each headline was an answer.

Newspapers are much more current than textbooks, which make them an excellent tool for teaching current events. If you are going to use the newspaper in the classroom be sure to visit the New York Times to get a free replica edition subscription for your classroom.

How do you use the newspaper in your classroom? Share with us in the comment section below. We would love to hear your ideas.

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.

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