Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Current Events

The girls and I agree that this has been the best start to our new academic year ever.  Ever.  That is huge.  It is not however, accidental.   I spent the summer planning, preparing, reflecting, reading, creating, researching and scheduling what I hope to be a great year for us.  

I am hesitant to divulge everything I have planned because all of our activities phase in over the next few weeks and I don’t want to say what a great thing this is or how wonderful that is until I know for sure that it actually is.  It is one thing to make up a list of curriculum and classes, but quite another to put it into action.  

What looks great on paper or in a course description can differ dramatically in reality.  While I am excited for these classes to start, I have learned to hold my breath and patiently wait before making public declarations of wonderfulness.

This said, a few of the things we have begun are working wonderfully.  We begin each day with CNN Student News. 

This is what we do:

- The girls watch one segment at a time.
- After each segment we pause and record it in our journal.  This can be just a sentence or phrase like “crisis in Syria” or “high levels of radiation at nuclear plant in Japan”.

- We record the stories place of origin on our blank world political map.  We refer to an atlas when necessary.

- Each week the girls pick one story that was reported on and write a 5 paragraph essay.
- Occasionally we compare news stories reported on different media outlets to show bias in reporting.
- Occasionally I solicit opinions from family members on news stories to demonstrate how opinions, philosophical and political beliefs can affect interpretation of news.

- We subscribe to World Magazine (both adult and middle school editions).  I felt that if we were going to watch news and be fed biased reporting, we might as well temper that with our own philosophical and religious beliefs and present these news issues with a Christian lens.  
- The girls will have the choice to write their essay on a story in World Magazine.

All this information is stored in their journal.  


Mary Prather said...

I like this, Jess! We have been watching CNN Student News and then researching a few more issues more deeply -- I have to be a bit careful since Grant is just 8, but we do research some things.

I was happy to hear yesterday that at Anna's CC class both the Challenge A and Challenge 1 classes (7th and 9th grade) got together and had a current events debate about Syria. Anna had so many great things to say about it at dinner. They are MADE to debate and voice their opinions at this age!

I always love seeing your ideas!

Jessica said...

Thanks Mary. I wanted something that can grow with the girls as their understanding of the complex issues grow. Even I don't have enough information on the history/geo-political situation/ideological issues that surround Syria to debate confidently but I do know that my own learning is never ending and I love that my girls see their Mom learning and reading and researching right alongside them!

Diane said...

We love CNN Student News and watch it every morning. If I try to do something else on the agenda first before the episode I get squashed. So far we just watch and discuss but I do like what you are doing with this. As Grace progresses each year I want to use it as part of a Current Events credit and at that point she will need to start taking the events further in writing and such.

Karen said...

I love this Jess. SO MUCH> I am about to read it to Keilee. She watches CNN every day and jots down things also. She even wrote a paper on the crisis in Africa. But I love the idea of journaling. This starts TOMORROW!! :) I love the sharing of ideas.

Jessica said...

I am trying to see what it takes to build a high school level course so I am trying to treat this as if it were to see how in depth we get, and how many hours we spend on it. I am projecting it would be .5credit based on 120 hours unless I can find some interesting lectures/programs for us to attend.

Jessica said...

It is why I keep blogging.......I love Instagram for connecting, but blogging is where I learn about new things I want to try in our lessons.

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