Common Sense Review
Updated March 2013

CNN Student News

Digestible and engaging news coverage for kids
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Common Sense Rating 3
  • The opening page lays out the options for this corner of the CNN website.
  • The daily news report offers an overview of selected news and human interest stories of the day in video format.
  • This section contains a collection of stories with links to the complete story as it appeared on CNN's regular website.
  • The brief explainer feature gives kids important background information to help them understand stories in the news.
  • One section of Student News provides suggestions teachers and parents can use to extend learning and help kids discuss the issues.
Pros
This go-to site gives kids 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.
Bottom Line
Kids may require some guidance to help sort the comprehensive daily stories and keep them from straying to the adult site.
Graphite Staff
Common Sense Reviewer
Common Sense Rating 3
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 2

In addition to world news, kids get human-interest stories and pertinent informational pieces. The videos help attract kids who might otherwise skip the site, 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? 3

The daily 10-minute news report will give kids a leg up on what's going on out there. The site can be a blueprint for teachers to create projects and discuss current events.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 3

CNN Student News 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.

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How Can Teachers Use It?

CNN Student News is a dedicated corner of the CNN website where middle and high school kids can get reliable news. They can also go to the top of the screen to get to more adult articles and topics, so beware. The site is geared toward classroom use; for example, the Resources section includes transcripts of each broadcast, discussion suggestions, and downloadable maps, all targeted to the topics. 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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What's It Like?

On the CNN Student News homepage, kids will find neatly arranged and easy-to-follow sections for students, parents, and teachers. The main feature is the daily news report with 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.

Additional stories, which are updated regularly, live in a section called Schools of Thought. It's labeled a blog, but these are stories culled from CNN's website covering education-related topics that are likely to interest kids as well as their parents and teachers.

 

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Is It Good For Learning?

The daily news broadcast covers a lot of territory and could use some transitions, but kids can hit pause if they need to slow down. Each item has been pared into a digestible bite and is augmented with relevant vocabulary and history. You'll have a complete lesson if you pair a section of the broadcast with its transcript, a peek at one of the extensions, and some discussion questions.

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.

The features in the Schools of Thought section are culled to appeal to kids. Students might visit, for example, a college campus or a high-tech shop class, opening a window onto the world that can spark interest. With such a wide variety of topics, it shouldn't take much prodding for each student to find something of interest.

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See how teachers are using CNN Student News

Lesson Plans