In the last two years, we've begun to use Do Now as our main current events resource and prompt. It's a been a great resource to get multimedia and multi-opinion perspectives and analysis on different ongoing issues. For example in the last couple of years, my students have examined illegal immigration, ethics in journalism, the drought, minimum wage, vaccinations, the Charlie Hebdo attacks, and the Syrian refugee crisis among other issues.
The attitude we try to take in my classroom is that we need to get to the bottom of the issues and we need to analyze with how or why questions to do that. However, we often need background and context before we can get to the analysis.
Teaching current events has become so much easier with the greater proliferation of internet access in the classroom. I teach at Minarets High School in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada between Yosemite and Fresno and our students are 1:1 with laptops. However, even without every student having a computer, the internet has allowed me to bring the world into my classroom. One of the best examples was the Arab Spring. I was teaching at a continuation school in Mariposa County and we had a great time learning about the different issues that were coming to play in downtown Cairo, which could not have been farther from rural California and, none of my students had a laptop. We printed articles from the internet and watched video reports on the big screen and were able to analyze what was going on in real time.
Another great example, which will illustrate how we currently use current events and Do Now, was the recent attacks in Paris. The attacks occurred on a Friday afternoon for us on the West Coast which meant I had the weekend to gather resources for my students to understand what had happened. I created a Google Doc on the Paris Attacks with links to resources and guiding analytical questions regarding the attacks. I modeled the resources on those KQED uses on their Do Now's and I added my usual guiding analytical questions.
I put the link on the class blog and we watched the videos together and answered the questions as a group with all the students putting their answers in their own words: