Effectively Teaching Current Events in 5 Minutes or Less

By Kirsten Hammond

Sometimes current events pop up during the school year that are both expected and unexpected. It could be the talk of the town and hard to ignore when your students may be buzzing about it in the classroom.

So, why not take some time to talk about these current events?

Easier said than done – it’s already hard to fit in social studies!

But… what if I told you that you could talk about current events in 5 minutes (and maybe even less than 5 minutes)?

Whether you’re a social studies teacher or exploring any topic, this short activity, aptly named “Current Events in Five,” offers a simple way to keep your students engaged and informed.

In this article, you’ll not only understand the steps involved, but also feel inspired to implement this technique in your classroom. Let’s dive in!

Step 1: Choose a Kid-Friendly Source

To kick off this quick journey, the first essential step is to choose a kid-friendly source. Opt for platforms designed for younger audiences, such as News ELA, Nearpod, or Epic.

The key is to select a source that presents information in an accessible manner so that students (and the teacher) can easily understand and engage with the content.

Step 2: Find a Relevant Current Events Article

Once you’ve selected a platform, the next step is to find a current event article. It could be a current event relevant to the time of year or something that is happening in real time.

Shoot for articles that not only provide information, but also include multimedia elements. Photos, slideshows, audio, and videos are key! They can enhance the learning experience and capture students’ attention.

students at desks

Step 3: Project the Article on the Screen

Say goodbye to the traditional method of making paper copies! Instead, project the selected article on your screen for the entire class to follow along.

This not only saves time but also creates a shared reading experience. Platforms like myON News, with their current event sections, offer a range of short segments that can be easily projected for whole-class engagement.

kids talking with teacher

Step 4: Pick Four Discussion Points

As you dive into the article, the next step is to identify four key points for discussion. You can pick out these key points in advance or find them as you are reading the article with your students.

These points could revolve around the actual event, key details, and encourage students to make inferences or predictions. This step adds an element of critical thinking to the activity, fostering deeper understanding and analysis of the current event.

Student sharing about  current events

Step 5: Five Students Share

The final step brings the activity full circle as students actively participate by sharing their insights! Pick 5 students: 3 can share a fact they’ve learned, 2 can share what they want to learn more about, and 1 can share a question they still have.

This structured sharing session ensures participation and helps with the overall understanding of the current event.

To sum it up, the five steps for this quick and effective current events activity are:

  1. Use a kid-friendly source.
  2. Find a relevant article.
  3. Project it on your screen for whole-class reading.
  4. Pick four discussion points.
  5. Have five students share three facts, two things they want to learn more about, and one question they still have.

The process is simple and can easily be done once a month, once a week, or even once a day!

This activity is a powerful tool for infusing your classroom with timely and relevant information. It not only keeps students informed about the world around them, but it can also cultivate essential skills such as critical thinking, research, and effective communication.

Give it a try and watch as your students become more aware, engaged, and curious about the world through the lens of current events.

kirsten hammond

Kirsten is a former 3rd and 5th grade teacher who loves helping upper elementary teachers by creating resources and sharing ideas that are engaging, research-based, and TEKS-aligned. She is a work-from-home mama of 3 rambunctious little ones and loves running, true crime, and lots of coffee.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *