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Channel One News
Pros: Digestible, accessible, up-to-date news content helps kids gain perspective and get involved; a service project section could inspire volunteerism.
Cons: Expanded learning content around media literacy and interpreting nonfiction texts would be great; although mostly benign, some ads in the free version could distract.
Bottom Line: Daily news content aimed right at kids is sure to engage, though teachers may want to bring their own additions to round out the site's curriculum.
Beyond broadcasting these concise, Monday-to-Friday daily news shows in class, encourage students to use the site at home. In class, use the discussion prompts and quizzes to help your students analyze coverage. For a more immersive learning experience in media literacy you'll want to supplement the site's offerings with some of your own curriculum. As a nonfiction resource, the site can be a good way to help give kids access to some Common Core-related content, both video- and text-based. English teachers may want to expand on a number of the topics here with lessons that encourage a more in-depth look at interpreting a variety of nonfiction sources.
Elsewhere on the site, it would be valuable to sign up for the educator's newsletter, as it includes previews of upcoming content, assessment questions, show transcripts, and daily discussion prompts. Beyond the daily articles, the site has information on its reporters' backgrounds, which may be of interest to kids who are interested in a journalism career. Encourage any of your budding journalists to upload their own news stories or video shout-outs.
Editor's Note: Channel One News can still be accessed, but is no longer being updated.
More than 5 million elementary, middle, and high school students watch Channel One’s daily news shows in schools across the U.S. The adjoining website has content for both kids and teachers, including Common Core-aligned materials, and extensions for further learning. Produced daily, the news shows feature a diverse cadre of casually dressed twenty-something reporters, all of them adept at presenting short segments on a variety of world-news topics. The reports are conversational in tone, short and digestible, and pause frequently to explain potentially unfamiliar terms.
Anyone can access Channel One's daily, ad-supported show for free on the website. Additionally, teachers and schools can get a paid subscription to Channel One's adjoining learning content, which includes the daily show (ad-free), plus the related curriculum and activities. The 3rd-5th grade resources offer an adapted version of the daily content, wherein the video segment takes a deeper look at just one topic or story; the instructional resources are designed to help younger students access and discuss the site's content. For all students, there are a number of extensions on the site, including printed news stories and an interactive section with slideshows and quizzes related to current events. Teacher's resources include a blog, show transcripts, brief quizzes related to the daily programs, and a tool to help find Common Core-aligned content on the site.
Channel One News does a good job of getting kids engaged. The topics covered are sure to stimulate kids desire for constructive, thoughtful conversations around current events. However, while the site is great at sparking interest, kids won't necessarily walk away with a deep understanding of any one topic. The learning content includes a three-part instructional routine: kids are asked to interpret information (from both videos and articles), respond in writing, then take a brief assessment. While the news segments and learning content are updated every day, teachers may want the instruction here to go further in depth. Nevertheless, these daily exercises can be a great way to spark kids' interest in major world events in a way that seems both current and relevant. And with an impressive collection or archived segments, students can always come back as part of a deeper dive into a topic.
The site's interactive elements, like brief quizzes and polls, help break up the content and boost engagement. The music section's interviews and songs feel more promotional than newsy at times -- when included at the end of a newscast these could distract. While there are some ads and promotional spots in the free video segments, they're mostly advocacy based or centered around informational campaigns.