Some of my friends can happily go for days without turning on a television set, but I have to admit, I’m not one of those people. I’m an information and news junkie — I want to know what is going on in the world around me. For me a news story is just a starting point. It can bring an issue to my attention and then it’s up to me to dig further, gather more information and try to make sense of all that I’ve seen and heard. Now that our children are getting older we’ve decided to give them an opportunity to incorporate news and current events into their daily lessons so this year we start our homeschool days with CNN Student News.
What is CNN Student News?
Each school day morning (Monday – Friday) the journalists and educators at CNN create a 10-minute news program geared toward middle and high school aged students. This daily program is taped before the school day begins (around 4am) and is available for free use by homes and classrooms around the globe.
The 10-minute program usually includes a couple of current event new stories (recently this has included topics such as the G-20 Summit, Syria, wildfires, etc.), stories focused on a teen audience (such as texting and driving, the minimum wage rate and Career Connections), a daily Shout Out to schoools around the country and (my kids’ favorite part) they always end with a “punny” wrap-up.
The program includes background and context for the topics being discussed by incorporating video clips, interviews, maps and more.
Check out the CNN Student News Website
Not only does the CNN Student News website include each daily broadcast, it also includes additional materials for parents and teachers. Here you will find:
- Link to the 10-minute Student News broadcast as well as links to access the podcast via RSS or iTunes
- Transcript of the show – it is recommended that you either read the transcript or view the program video prior to sharing it with your students so you are prepared for discussions and questions
- Extra Credit Resources – This includes links to additional news stories and “Fast Facts” pages to help student explore the show topics in greater detail.
We have found CNN Student News to be a great way to start our daily lessons. I see it as a way to get my kids’ brains engaged and thinking, and I’ve been surprised with how well we have been able to relate many of the stories to topics we are already covering. There was recently a story about the accuracy of the Farmers Almanac – a fitting story since we are currently studying Benjamin Franklin. My guys are currently taking an online course about career research and planning. Last week one of the Career Connections segments talked all about what it takes to become a Park Ranger – a job we had actually discussed as part of their online class! And, we regularly use the maps to talk about some of the current events mentioned in the show and compare that information to our geography and world history lessons.
This is a great resources that is working well for our family, but I encourage each family to make their own decisions about how and what to share with their children about news and current events.