Current Events in Your Classroom

Teaching Ideas, Activities, and Strategies for Middle and High School Students

 

Teaching current events can be challenging: the news cycle moves quickly, stories are complex, and the issues can spark strong emotions. But engaging students with current events is a crucial part of their development as informed and humane citizens in a democracy.

Join us throughout the school year for:

  • Tips for making meaningful connections between current events and your curriculum
  • Strategies for navigating partisan politics in diverse classrooms
  • Teaching ideas for addressing breaking news and ongoing issues, from global migration to the health of democracy

Teaching Idea: The School Year in Review

Use our final teaching idea of the 2018-2019 school year to pause to reflect on five key-issues that were in the news this school year and the ways in which young people have taken action on them. Check back in August for new Teaching Ideas to start the 2019-2020 school year, or sign up below to receive our Teaching Ideas by email.

 

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Plan Ahead with Our Checklist

View our checklist of things to consider before you start teaching current events including, recommended news sources, teaching strategies, and media literacy tools.

View All Our Current Events Resources

We know lack of time is one of the biggest challenges educators face. We've created easy-to-implement teaching ideas that can be used for a portion of a class period. Each teaching idea also includes ways for your students to explore topics in greater depth in class or for homework.

View On-Demand Webinar on Teaching Current Events

In this webinar, we discuss tips for making meaningful connections between current events and your curriculum and strategies for navigating partisan politics in diverse classrooms.

Sign up to receive our latest current events teaching ideas in a short biweekly email.

Learn More About the Themes We're Exploring for the 2018-2019 School Year

Throughout the 2018-2019 school year, many teaching ideas draw connections between different elements of two broad themes, "Voting, Elections, and the Health of Democracy" and "Global Migration," and recent current events. Learn more below.

Voting, Elections, and Health of Democracy

We will share a series of teaching ideas that help students understand the challenges democracies are facing around the world. We'll also include articles and activities that explore the ways individuals and groups can raise their voices and take action to strengthen democracy, with a special emphasis on the importance of voting.

 

Recent teaching ideas on Voting, Elections, and Health of Democracy:

  • Making Room at the Table

    Teach students about Representative Shirley Chisholm’s groundbreaking career and connect her story to today’s 116th Congress—the most diverse federal legislative body in US history.

  • Where Do We Get Our News and Why Does It Matter?

    Help students examine their current events consumption, explore the role of social media in the spread of misinformation, and think about what healthy news habits they want to adopt.

  • The Day After the Midterms

    This teaching idea was created in anticipation of the 2018 midterm elections, before the election results were known. The discussion questions and strategies can be used to help your students unpack the results the day after the election and beyond.

  • A New Generation of Young Voters Emerges

    While young people have a huge stake in US elections, historically they don’t show up when it comes time to vote. These teaching ideas allow students to explore youth voter turnout trends and how young people are trying to change them.

  • Voting Rights and the Midterm Elections

    Use this teaching idea during election season to helps students explore the expansion and constriction of voting rights throughout US history.

  • The Kavanaugh Hearings

    Provide students with a chance to process, reflect, and deliberate with others about the US Senate hearings in the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court.

  • When Reporters Are Arrested

    Students reflect on the role of freedom of the press by exploring the recent story of two journalists arrested in Myanmar while investigating the killings of Rohingya civilians.

  • Understanding #TakeaKnee

    Help students examine the questions about "patriotism" that are at the heart of the national debate over professional athletes taking a knee during the national anthem in protest of racial injustice.

  • Assessing the Health of Democracy

    Provide students with an opportunity to explore their understanding of democracy and to make meaning of current events about democracies at risk in the world today.

Global Migration

Today, as in the past, global migration raises questions for both individuals and nations about identity and belonging. Join us throughout the school year as we examine many aspects of global migration that help to contextualize and humanize what your students are seeing in the world around them.

Recent teaching ideas on Global Migration:

  • Brave Girl Rising: A Refugee Story

    Created in partnership with Girl Rising, this teaching idea invites students to engage with the story of a young refugee and to consider the power of storytelling to spark empathy.

  • What is Our Obligation to Asylum Seekers?

    This teaching idea provides critical context for helping students understand international and US policy regarding asylum and its human consequences.

  • The Many Faces of Global Migration

    Use recent photographs to help students connect to the experiences of migrants and to better understand the scale of global migration.

  • Family Separation at the US Border

    Inform students about the Trump administration’s family separation policy and help them emotionally process the human side of this news story.

 

Explore Additional Resources

Teaching Idea
Democracy & Civic Engagement
Global Immigration
Justice & Human Rights
Race in US History

The School Year in Review: 2019

As summer vacation approaches, pause to reflect on five key-issues that were in the news this school year and the ways in which young people have taken action on them.

Teaching Idea
Democracy & Civic Engagement

How the World Votes: India’s Election and Access to Polling Places

Explore ideas around access to voting by learning about India’s general election and the country’s commitment to ensuring that all voters are close to a polling station.

Teaching Idea
Race in US History

The Persistence of Racial Segregation in American Schools

More than 60 years after Brown v. Board of Education, give students an overview of the problem of school segregation in the United States today and open a discussion about possible solutions.

Blog
Democracy & Civic Engagement

What Does it Mean to Stand Up for Democracy?

During April, Extinction Rebellion staged one of the biggest acts of peaceful civil disobedience that London has ever experienced.

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