Using NewsHour Extra Feature Stories
Overview: NewsHour Extra features stories can help students identify and interpret key issues in current events. This activity anticipates one class period, but the follow-up essay might be assigned as homework, or in another period.
Warm Up: Use initiating questions to introduce the topic and find out how much your students know.
Main Activity: Have students read NewsHour Extra's feature story and answer the questions on the reading comprehension handout.
Discussion: Use discussion questions to encourage students to think about how the issues outlined in the story affect their lives and express and debate different opinions.
Follow-up: Students can write an 500-word editorial on the topic expressing their views and send it to NewsHour Extra [email@example.com] for possible publication.
Evaluation: Students are graded on their answers to reading comprehension questions and/or their editorial.
U.S. Soldier Pleads Guilty in Iraqi Abuse Case, Receives Maximum Sentence, 5/19/04
1. Do you think that the soldiers pictured with the Iraqi prisoners should be punished?
Reading Comprehension Questions: (click here for printout)
1. What was the outcome of the first court-martial in the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal?
2. When in U.S. history did a soldier face a court-martial?
3. What is a court-martial?
4. What kind of court-martial did Army Specialist Jeremy Sivits have? Explain possible consequences of this kind of trial.
5. What is a "plea bargain" and what role did it play in the Sivits case?
6. How are courts-martial and civilian cases different?
Discussion Activity (more research might be needed):
1. Research more about why military personnel are tried in military courts rather than civilian courts. How might the outcomes be different? Explain your answer.
2. Do you agree with Eugene Fidell's assessment of the importance of these courts-martial? Why or why not? Explain.
"I can't think of a more important set of courts-martial," Eugene Fidell, president of the National Institute of Military Justice, told The Washington Post. "[Given] the extraordinary volatile climate in which these cases are going to play out domestically and internationally, in political terms, in legal terms and in military justice terms, this is kind of a perfect storm."
Write a 300-500 word essay on either of these topics providing clear examples. Send your completed editorial to NewsHour Extra (firstname.lastname@example.org). Exceptional essays might be published on our Web site.