Current Events {thoughts on teaching}

I made a commitment at the beginning of the school year to do a daily current event with my students. Everyday we start class with a "journal entry" where they answer some thought provoking question. I then introduce our current event for the day. We typically watch a short video clip of something happening in the news right then.

When I committed to devote 5-7 minutes of class every day to a current event, I didn't realize what would unfold (although I definitely hoped).  We have had meaningful conversations about the 2012 presidential elections, the election of the new Catholic Pope, President Obama's visit to Israel and the West Bank, Malala's attack from the Taliban, the Sandy Hook School shooting, North Korea's threats, the Boston Marathon shooting, and so on.  The students have shared their opinions, their concerns about the world, their hopes that things will turn out.
I try to tie each current event in to a theme we are already discussing during that unit.  While I worried at first that this would be difficult, it has actually occurred organically. My classes of world history and geography are about people--the living, breathing interactions of people--and the events that make history profound and complex are still going on around us. These current events are history--living history.

And these students that I teach are a part of the history.  The world around them is happening and pretty soon they are going to realize that the decisions they make, their country makes, the world makes, are what will fill the pages of their children's textbooks.  They don't necessarily see that now, but they will.
And until then, they are finding more meaning in discovering what is happening just out of their bubble.  They surprise me with their insights, and even though they sometimes say they don't care about others in the world, they do.  I see it in their faces when they come to class and ask me "So whatever happened to that one girl we saw in the news...?" Or better yet when they say, "Did you hear what ended up happening in that story we watched!  I looked it up when I got home and..."

So things are clicking for my students and those 5-7 minutes of class have been some of the most powerful moments we have had.  My hope is that they remember and continue, that they become life long learners, contributers, seekers of knowledge, and engaged citizens.

Have faith in these kiddos--they see and care about things outside of them.  They have power within them. We just have to direct them and give them tools think and they will do great things.

**The photos in this post aren't directly tied to current events, but rather just a glimpse into my classroom and teaching life. The first and third photos are of my students hard at work on a research project.  The second photo is of my students participating in the BYU MUN Conference back in November.  The last photo is of my students with their letters to the United Nations, requesting aid for a major issue in an African country. 

1 comment:

  1. Timpview High School has been so blessed to have you on their staff. It has been a great experience for your students to have you as their teacher. You have helped them "see" that they are living in tomorrow's history. That, in turn, might help them to know that they can make a difference in what will happen today and tomorrow.