Lesson Plan

Thinking critically about current events

Students will be exposed to various formats where they can view and discuss today's news.
Amy B.
Classroom teacher
South Park Elementary Center
South Park, PA
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My Grades 4

Students will be able to...

Read and understand nonfiction text.

Compare and contrast daily news from the written form to video.

Ask questions and discuss the news critcally.

English Language Arts
Social Studies
Grades 4 - 8
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

Students will watch the latest news from Channel One.  They will be asked to complete a 3-2-1 while watching the news.  3 Things they learned, 2 questions they have and 1 thing that "wowed" them.

2 Direct Instruction

Activity: Presenting

Share with students how to listen and read nonfiction text critically.  This can be done through discussion

Who is the story about?

What happened?

So what?

3 Guided Practice

Choose a current news story from the website Newsela.  If you can find one that matches one of the news stories on Channel One, that would be even better.  Show the news article on the SMART board and read the article together.  Guide the students to mark up the text with underlining, highlighting, questioning in the margins and over all thinking about the essential questions: Who is it about?  What happened? and most importantly, "So what" or why does it matter.

4 Independent practice

After completeing a two or three paragraphs as a class, pass out copies of the text to each student. Ask the students to finish reading and writing on the article themselves.  Students should have at least  three big questions after they are finished reading.  Encourage students to write their questions on sticky notes.  These questions will be used for the final activity: a socratic seminar. 

5 Collaboration and Wrap-up

Activity: Conversing — Socratic Seminar

(Students will need to be familiar with the process of participating in a Socratic Seminar from previous lessons.)

Students will use their questions to participate in a Socratic Seminar based on their news article that they read.  All questions will not be answered.  They should leave the seminar with more questions than they started with.  It should help them to think deeply and critically about an issue in the daily news.

The wrap-up would be to share final thoughts.  Why is this news issue important?  What was the answer to "so what?"