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

Facing Today: Help Your Students Reflect on the New Zealand Mosque Shootings

The ideas in this blog post may be helpful as you consider how to discuss this news in your classroom.

 

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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.

Teaching Idea: Brave Girl Rising: A Refugee Story

In honor of International Women’s Day, celebrate the powerful story of Nasro, a young Somali-born refugee, with these teaching ideas centered on the new film Brave Girl Rising.

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.

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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.

A crowd of women standing in line at a polling station in the Weimar Republic in 1919, the first year women were allowed to vote.

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:

  • 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.

Refugees arrive on the Bangladesh side of the Naf River on October 1, 2017, after fleeing their village in Myanmar.

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:

 

Explore Additional Resources

Teaching Idea
Global Immigration

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.

Blog
Antisemitism & Religious Intolerance

Oscar-nominated Short Confronts American Antisemitism—Past and Present

Marshall Curry’s short film, A Night at the Garden, forces an American public to reckon with the horrific reality of its own antisemitism. Nominated for an Academy Award in the Documentary Short Subject category, the seven-minute, black and white film is comprised entirely of archival footage.

Teaching Idea
Justice & Human Rights

The Targeting of Uighur Muslims in China

Provide students with context for understanding China’s ongoing persecution of the Uighur Muslims and encourage them to consider the experiences of this religious minority group targeted with discriminatory policies and incarceration.

Teaching Idea
Race in US History

Blackface in the News

Use this teaching idea to introduce students to the story of Governor Northam, examine the history of blackface in the years before the Civil War, and consider how leaders and citizens should respond today.

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