image Using current news stories in class, makes learning more meaningful

Why do I think teachers should use current daily news stories in the classroom?
Using current news stories across the curriculum makes learning more meaningful for students. Students need to feel that what is being taught in class is relevant to them, that their learning has applications in the real world and they need to see these connections. They won’t necessary form these connections themselves, they need to be guided by teaches to form these connections.

What are some of the challenges of using current daily news stories?
I believe that it can be challenging for teachers to use current daily news stories in their class, as news articles are often negative, they can be confronting, are quite often not age appropriate and basically, they are written for an adult target audience.

So, how might these challenges be overcome?
Well today I was introduced to a new online resource by the Herald Sun called Kids News. It is a free, ready to go resource for teachers who’d like to use current daily news stories in their classrooms. What I like about the news articles on Kids News, is that they are written using child appropriate language and have been filtered/censored to remove any inappropriate content or imagery. Furthermore, the site does not link to any outside news sources or sites!

So how does Kids News work?
Two articles are added to Kids News each school day and the articles are divided into three categories: (1) News, (2) Light and Bright (quirky, funny, interesting stories about people, animals and things and (3) Sport. Each article has a consistent layout, making navigation easy for students. Videos have been included where possible, and each article even has an audio file which is located at the bottom of each article, so that students can listen to the text as they read. At the bottom of each article, you will also find a glossary, a quick quiz which you could use as a reading comprehension task and suggested classroom activities.

But wait, it gets even between. A traffic light system has been used, with each article being assigned a colour to indicate reading level of the text.

“Green – Simple to medium vocab, story content easily understood, accessible to all readers (especially with audio option)
Orange – medium level of vocabulary, story content a little more complex but still able to be read and understood at middle to senior primary level (audio option and glossary to assist)
Red – contains complex vocabulary and content that is of a higher level, suited to more able readers, requires teacher scaffolding for less capable readers” (source).

My recommendation:
Check it out. The site looks fantastic.

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