Monday, February 20, 2012

Current Events and a Special Guest

We've been exploring current events more often lately. We're gearing up for another Gateway Exhibition project, the brilliantly titled "Current Events Project." I think it needs a better name.

Regardless, we've been watching a few episodes of CNN Student News, a daily internet broadcast of news designed for students. We've also read an article about a country named Uzbekistan, which recently "cancelled" Valentine's Day.

My goal is for students to learn more about the world in which they live, and to get them asking good questions. I want them to be thinkers and learners, not just readers and writers. Current events are a great way to help build these skills.

Today we'll be discussing a country that's in a state of unrest, to say the least, Syria. A reporter for the New York Times died there recently and it's got me wondering what the students think of journalists who risk their lives to cover stories. I bet they've never heard of Syria, so it should be an interesting discussion. I want to let you know in advance that we will be talking about the violent uprisings and the brutal government in Syria. Nothing graphic, though, so don't worry. But we will be discussing it. It's going to lead to discussions of violence in the African countries of Sudan and South Sudan as well. I just wanted to let you know.

Helping me out with this will be my friend Steve Goldberg. Steve lives in North Carolina and he's opening a middle school there in 2013. He's got some great ideas about teaching kids using current events and I've been learning a lot from him. Steve's going to be Skyping into our class tomorrow (Tuesday) to help us understand more about Syria and Sudan. It should be pretty awesome. I'll keep you posted.

Look for more details soon about our Current Events Project.

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