Rethinking Current Events with Newsvine

If there is one thing students and teachers despise it’s clutter. One way teachers create clutter is asking students to print out a current event. Students print out weekly current events, read and summarize it, have it graded and then throw it out. I found more current events lying on my floor or in my trash than any other classroom document. Cringing already teachers? Fear not! I have a environmentally friendly solution that will surely net you Environmental Teacher of the Month.

The process will not only cleanup your classroom and tag you as the “Green” teacher, but you will enhance the discussion and debate in your classroom. Students will be interested in what they read because they are engaging and collaborating with their peers through a threaded discussion. I have found that students speak volumes via the web based forum as opposed to the prompt and answer method. Think of the amount of content students send and receive from each other on facebook daily! Imagine if you could take this enthusiasm and translate into the academic arena. Let’s get students discussing the economic stimulus like they debate the relationship of…of…(insert popular “it” couple here).

I found a way for Social Studies and Civics/Government teachers to replace the old printed paper current events with a practical web 2.0 solution! Here is a brief introduction to and how it can supplant paper current events.

Hopefully these eloquently narrated videos will help you set up your class newsvine group.
Positive Outcomes of this Lesson
  1. Students have an archive of current events to look back on throughout the semester.
  2. Teachers can design a rubric for the discussion forum and then quiz students on current events.
  3. Invite parents and administration to participate in the discussion. A great way of allowing parents to participate in the learning process.
  4. Creates a fourum to facilitate classroom discussion
  • Students can lead the class in discussion and answer questions gleaned from the discussion thread.
  • Create a debate session based off current event discussion.
  1. Become familiar with the newsvine site before you start using it in your classroom.
  2. Take time to instruct students on how to properly utilize this site and provide a handout on your class wiki or moodle for reference.
  3. Make sure you set your classroom group to private before going forward.
  4. Create a teacher made rubric that covers all of the content you want to assess on the site. Many times students get online and forget about spelling, grammar and providing acceptable academic content.
  5. Consult Administration, Technology director and parents before creating this forum.
  6. Invite all the members of #5 to join in and even participate in the online group discussion forum.
  7. Enjoy the idea of saving trees and limiting the use of paper (CLUTTER) in your classroom!

One Reply to “Rethinking Current Events with Newsvine”

  1. Thank you so much for sharing how you’re using Web2.0 tools in your classroom. My goal is to have my 5th graders working like this in our classroom. We’re having a great time experimenting! Your ideas are so clear and concise – brilliant (and I hope you don’t mind but I am so going to use them!!)

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