Is it only Wednesday? There's so much happening this week!
The world keeps spinning! In our classroom especially there is a buzz about the upcoming election (especially the debates) and protests on protests on protests. One realm of protests our students have some background on in different capacities are the Black Lives Matter protests, largely the sports related ones. Another area of protest news that we have had energy around is water protectors against the DAPL (largely from us, because that protest has had a severe LACK of coverage).
All of this is to say, while we have been working hard in 5th grade to tackle routines and settle in for the school year-- the world continues on! Finding the time and space to be informed about these news stories and issues can seem daunting and frustrating.
Meet… the current event case studies block!
We created this block using only one hour of instructional time to give our students the time to get 'briefed' on multiple different news issues. We do what many people call a jigsaw.
How it works:
Students vote for issues they are excited and interested about.
They get assigned a work group in which they study a topic (Immigration to the US, Campaign 2016, BLM, Water Protection.. etc)
They are given a document with a list of resources. One resource is a 'Must read' and is an overview of their topic. We also provided some "Must watch" resources for some groups.
Once they have completed the mandatory reading, they had choices of reading anything from the second list of resources. We love to find places for choice!
Then they had time to talk with their group and take notes: What did they learn? What is going on around their issue? What are they still wondering about?
They prep to share for a collective 2 minutes (in an informal way). They need to be ready to brief the class so we can all be filled in on the topic.
They are excited about reading the news and the world around them
They practice research skills without feeling like it is tied to a big project (it has been a great spot to observe how our students approach research at the beginning of the year)
Independent time and group time give them multiple ways to process tough information and build on their ideas
They have some ownership to be in front of the classroom with the responsibility of filling the rest of us in on what they have learned
It is dynamic (and fun!)
It gives us a great starting point and a basic foundation about these issues for every single student
It sets us up as educators to be responsive and to continue to have conversations and bring in different news stories as the year progresses
We love current event case studies as a way to get the year started and as an accessible way to progress with integrating world events into our curriculum. We highly recommend it! How do you all get started talking about the news with your students? Colleagues?
Nina + Gabby