teaching current events to students

Teaching Current Events in the Classroom

While history, mathematics, and grammar tend to top the lists of our curriculum, I find there isn’t always time to teach students the importance of current events. Teaching current events in the classroom has been a top priority of mine for quite some time now. While topics like coronavirus and elections tend to top our social media news feeds, it’s important to not only bring attention to these events but also the million other current events happening around the world.

Why Should You Be Teaching Current Events?

I teach fifth grade. One thing I love about fifth graders is their curiosity about the world. They are consistently challenging, questioning, and observing. While sometimes they comment during inconvenient times, I love that they take time to question the world around them.  Students of all ages need to understand what is happening in society at an age-appropriate level. When their questions are answered, not only do they feel validated, but it lessens their anxiety about the unknown. It also piques their curiosity enough to research further.

How to Integrate Current Events Effectively

Our curriculums can become cumbersome for both teachers and students. For this reason, I always try to tie in current events somehow to make real-world connections. For example, last week our reading curriculum used a text about researching mars. I couldn’t wait to tie in a current event article I had created about the 2020 Space-X Launch.

2020 space-x launch current event article

Current event article for the 2020 Space-X Launch.

An endangered animals lesson brought us to this activity on saving the sea turtles!

Saving the sea turtles current event article

Saving the Sea Turtles current event article

Utilize Media

When teaching current events, I also find that utilizing media such as youtube (vetted of course) is extremely helpful. There are also a ton of great student-friendly videos and websites such as Dogo News, Brain Pop, or Scholastic. These websites are great for typing in exactly what you are looking for to supplement your curriculum!

Encourage Questioning

When teaching current events, we want students to ask questions. Sometimes, we stray away from difficult questions because it can make us uncomfortable. Sometimes, we don’t have the answers. Both of these are FINE. Not all topics are easy to talk about. We just need to be sure we are using age-appropriate material and vocabulary. Also, saying things like, “I actually do not know the answer to that let’s look it up together,” is something I do when I don’t have the answer. We are only human!

Have Fun!

Have fun exploring and having engaging conversations with your students about the world around them. Looking for current event articles and activities to get you started? Try these!

Healthy Eating Habits

2020 Space Launch

Endangered Animals

Looking for other ways to integrate vocabulary, reading strategies, and more into your lessons? Read these posts below for some tips!

Why You Need to Be Teaching the RACE Strategy

How to Integrate Vocabulary Instruction

Tips for Teaching Inferencing to Upper Elementary Students

Happy Teaching!

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