Review by Marianne Rogowski, Common Sense Education | Updated November 2017

CNN 10

Digestible and engaging news coverage for kids in 10 minutes

Subjects & skills
  • Social Studies

  • Critical Thinking
  • Communication & Collaboration
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
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Pros: This go-to site gives students a solid overview of current news and human-interest stories.

Cons: The daily news report is one long-winded broadcast linking a handful of stories, making it hard to focus on any one item in depth.

Bottom Line: These 10-minute daily video segments can be used as a springboard to deeper discussions around media literacy.

With its reliable news in 10-minute video segments, CNN 10 allows teachers to keep students abreast of current events without overwhelming them with extra information or commentary. CNN 10 can be used as a starting point for a variety of activities. For instance, post a discussion question of the day related to a news topic and ask students to talk in small groups about how the story affects them. Ask students to choose a story of interest and probe into it for more depth. Flip the classroom by having students watch selected videos at home, and facilitate related projects in class. Promote collaboration and creativity by having students create their own news broadcasts related to curricular goals. Finally, promote media literacy by having students compare CNN's coverage with other media coverage of the same stories.

CNN 10 offers limited supports for classroom use: broadcast transcripts and downloadable weekly quiz questions, all targeted to the topics. But students can go to the top of the screen to get to more adult articles and topics, so beware. Still, that shouldn't deter kids who want to use the site independently or parents who want to help their kids learn what's going on in the world; the materials are user-friendly enough for everyone.

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CNN 10 is a feature of the CNN website where middle and high school kids can get news in 10-minute video segments. On the CNN 10 home page, students will find the video of the day followed by the eight previous videos neatly arranged. The main feature is the daily news report by teen-friendly broadcaster Carl Azuz, posted Monday through Friday, in which the news of the day is paired with background information that's important for understanding the issues. Each story comes with a transcript, which can support reading for informational text and related classroom activities.

Also on CNN 10 is a Weekly News Quiz feature that contains 10 questions related to the current week's stories. Links to additional stories, which are updated regularly, appear in a side panel on the right side of the screen. These are stories culled from CNN's website covering topics that are likely to interest students as well as their parents and teachers. There's also an option to download the news segments as podcasts, an effective way to promote listening skills. Teachers will want to bookmark the page, because it's not easily found on CNN's main website.

With so much controversy surrounding media outlets, "fake news" claims, and broadcast journalism, one can argue that media literacy and awareness of current and world events is more important now than it's been in decades. CNN 10's daily news broadcast covers a lot of territory and could use some better transitions, but it provides a commentary-free broadcast where students can learn about current events and human-interest stories in a way that's less daunting than participating in the 24-7 news cycle. Each item has been pared into a digestible bite, supported by relevant vocabulary and history.

Creative teachers can pair a section of the broadcast with its transcript and facilitate collaborative discussions using open-ended, thought-provoking questions about the stories, and provide students with the current and historical context necessary to understand them. Whether or not kids would organize the material on their own is debatable, and only watching a broadcast without additional context may not enhance learning or entice kids to come back. But the information is all there for teachers to put together in a way that helps kids learn, and the additional stories in the side panel open a window onto the world and may spark student interest.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

In addition to world news, kids get human-interest stories, pertinent informational pieces, and an occasional 10-second trivia question. The videos may be an attractive feature to kids, but there's no interactivity.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

The daily 10-minute news report will give kids a leg up on current events, but not have them engage with any one topic in depth. The site can be a blueprint for teachers to create collaborative projects and promote media literacy.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

CNN 10 is clearly laid out, but you'll want to bookmark it -- the main site doesn't show you how to get to it. The FAQ section provides helpful information, and there's an option to email CNN.

Common Sense Reviewer
Marianne Rogowski Media specialist/librarian

Teacher Reviews

(See all 14 reviews) (14 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Missy F. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
J.C. Booth Middle School
Peachtree City, United States
We Love CNN 10!
I really enjoy using CNN 10 as a teaching tool in my class because it reinforces some of the topics we are covering in the 6th grade standards. One example is BREXIT. CNN 10 keeps my class updated on what is going on with this situation. I also enjoy that it is made for students rather than adults. It is "kid friendly" and leaves out the adult content. We also do it whole group because the students cannot access it on their one to one chromebooks.
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