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Current Events Awareness / Media Literacy

Download FileRaising student awareness of global issues is increasingly important as the countries of the world become more interdependent. At the same time, consuming domestic news with a critical eye is vital to enhancing democracy and defeating narrow-mindedness. Students also need an understanding of the world’s economy, politics, social structures and environment in order to make the best decisions about how to live their own lives. More than ever, an appreciation for news and our civic institutions is a key step toward self-empowerment and advancement.

Learning Activity:

1.  To get students to understand the importance of current events and the global community they are all a part of, encourage students to go through the NOW online archive at, and pick two programs: one to which they have an existing connection or interest, and one based on a topic completely alien to them. Have students watch the two programs.

2.  When the class has finished viewing, engage them by asking:
  • How do you think the people involved feel about what is happening?
  • What if this was happening in your community—would it matter to you?  Why?
  • What concerns do you have about what you viewed?
  • What effect could the events in this program have on you directly or indirectly?
3.  Distribute the Current Events Affect Everyone activity sheet and review the directions.  Review the questions on the Current Events Affect Everyone handout.  Distribute copies of a selected transcript/article (use the Topic Search feature at to search for content by topic).  Direct students to follow along and highlight important information in the transcript/article as you read it aloud.  Students can use the highlighted information to help them answer the questions on the activity sheet.  When reading is completed, provide students with 10 minutes to complete the activity sheet. 

4.  Discuss the activity sheet.  Focus first on the graphic organizer and the various results predicted by students.  Conclude the exercise by discussing questions 1-7 and the importance of paying attention to current events.

Performance Task:

5.  To help students learn more about current events, have them work individually, in pairs, or in small groups to complete one of the Current Events Projects outlined on the similarly titled handout.  Read over the project guidelines.  Remind students to record their opinion poll findings and quotes carefully so that the information they provide from their surveys can be considered a reliable resource.  Provide 20-30 minutes of class time for students to formulate their ideas and begin work on the project.

6.   When the projects have been completed, allow each student/pair/group to present their work to at least two other students/pairs/groups.  When presentations are completed, have students post their projects in a prominent place in the school or community so others can see and learn from them.
  1. Possible follow-ups:  Students could….
    • Create a one-page proposal for addressing a current problem highlighting either a solution or a plan for increased exposure
    • Conceive a new non-profit or for-profit organization dedicated to solving a local or national problem. Students should consider the organization’s name, mission statement, and means of effecting change and funding itself. Examples of such institutions can be found at
    • Produce an audio or video podcast or radio program of editorials addressing the need for more attention or solutions to the issue.

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