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Use the News
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From the Core
Page One Prime
Write the News Lesson
Video & Poll
Engage students with this week's news, events, and anniversaries.
March 10-14, 2014
1. The Barbie doll was introduced on March 9, 1959. She’s now 54 years old! Barbie was the first adult-looking mass-produced doll in America. And, in her 54 years, she has not been without controversy. Some thought the doll looked too adult and she has been criticized for having a body that is unrealistic. Some thought that girls would develop poor body images from having a doll that was so far from reality. And, last year a new Barbie controversy cropped up when a tattooed Barbie doll was introduced. Do your students think that Barbie causes a problem for girls and their self images? Can your students find some positive female role models in today’s newspaper? Have them write essays with their thoughts on Barbie and end with some positive role models they found in today's news.
Common Core Standard: read and comprehend informational text
2. March 12 is poet and novelist
’s birthday. Challenge students to write a poem using words they find in the headlines. If they'd like to play with "magnetic" poetry online, they can click
. To create an acrostic online they can
use this tool
Common Core Standard: describe how words supply rhythm and meaning to poems
3. On March 12, 1933, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt
talked to the nation for the first time on the radio
. He spoke about the banking crisis and explained the issues and the recovery plan. He urged listeners to have faith in the banks and to support his plans. Americans found the talk uplifting and comforting. Words can heal or hurt and in that case, they helped to heal. Have students find examples of words that are healing in today’s news. It may also be interesting to have students keep an eye on what President Obama says about the economy today and to compare that to what FDR said.
Common Core Standard: describe a connection to historical events
World Maths Day
is March 12.
1. World Maths Day is a day when students from around the world compete in an online environment in live games of mental arithmetic. Each game lasts for 60 seconds and students can play as many as 500 games, earning points for every correct answer. The students who answer the most questions show up in the Hall of Fame. This is an absolutely free event to take part in. In honor of the day invite students to write a rap about how math is relevant based on math concepts they find in the news.
Common Core Standard: justifying conclusions
2. People use technology to make their lives easier but it’s also costly. However, the prices on some electronic items have actually come down in the last few years. Have students find five electronics items advertised and then go online to find the price of a similar item three years ago.
Common Core Standard: using digital media for research
3. Have students look through the display ads for new cars for sale and to compute the percent that end in 9 and the percent that end in 5 or 0. Allow time for a discussion about why so many prices end in similar numbers.
Common Core Standard: using authentic data
1. On March 10, 1876, the telephone was invented. Have students look through the comic strips and assess the ways people communicate, based on what they see there. They can write an essay about how people communicate, based on their assessment.
2. On that same day, March 10, but in the year 1933, an earthquake hit Long Beach, California killing 113 people and causing more than $40 million in damage. Ask students to look in the news to find a story about a weather event and to summarize it and tell why it’s newsworthy.
Common Core Standard: using digital media for research
3. Noted German physicist
was born on March 14, 1879. He earned the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921. Is there a newsmaker today who is making great strides in science? Challenge students to find one and to write about the person they chose. As an interesting aside, there is a theory that Einstein may have had Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism. Historians indicate that he had several signs, including obsessive interests, difficulty with social relationships and problems communicating. It may be interesting to allow students to go online and to learn more about autism and Einstein. This could help them understand classmates who have similar issues.
Common Core Standard: integrate sources of information
1. March 13th is Good Samaritan Involvement Day. It’s March 13 because that is the day in 1964 when Kitty Genovese was killed by an attacker as witnesses watched but no one helped. When asked they said they didn’t want to “get involved.” (As an introduction to this lesson you may want to share this information: The term "Good Samaritan" is supposedly based on a story told by Jesus about an injured man who was in the road and two holy people passed by without helping. Then, a man from Samaria, not a place known for the goodness of its people, stopped to help the injured man. The term "Good Samaritan" is based on that parable.) Invite students to identify a "Good Samaritan" in the news and to write that person a letter of thanks. Allow time for a discussion about the type of person who helps others and why people make or do not make those choices.
. Invite your students to find a Good Samaritan in the news and to write that person a letter of thanks.
Common Core Standard: letter writing
2. For Women’s History Month, this week have students consider
. Born into slavery in New York (her name was then Isabella Baumfree), she ran away and later became a staunch advocate for equal rights for all races and for women. During the Civil War she worked with the abolitionist movement and became a popular speaker. She was the first African America woman to be associated with the women’s suffrage movement.
Arrange a Think-Pair-Share where students talk about the freedoms that we have. They can use the newspaper to help remind them of our freedoms. What would they miss the most if their freedom was taken away? As a class, list the ideas they developed and have them vote on the five most precious things.
Common Core Standard: synthesizing complex information
Fifty fascinating facts for women’s history month are
3. For Women’s History Month, this week have students select a newsworthy woman from today’s news whom they believe will make history. They can brainstorm the reasons why they think so and create a mind map of the reasons.
Here’s a great online tool
for brainstorming that creates terrific visual mind maps.
Common Core Standard: synthesize information from a variety of sources
Lessons written by Deborah Drezon Carroll. Carroll taught for ten years in Philadelphia, PA and is the author of two parenting books. She also coordinated the Newspaper in Education department of the Philadelphia Inquirer for 16 years.
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