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In the third segment of our webinar series with Facing History and Ourselves, we further explore ways in which educators can pair high-quality teaching resources from both organizations, this time through the lens of teaching the Holocaust. While there are many topics for which Facing History and Listenwise resources pair well, this one serves as an especially illustrative example.

If you want to see our previous webinar recordings and access related resources, you can find them here:

Here is the webinar recording with links below for the resources mentioned within it:

 

Facing History and Ourselves offers many great resources to guide students through a study of the Holocaust with attention to the emotional journey it entails. You can find their blog recap here and links for resources they mentioned during the webinar below:

 

In the webinar, we share Listenwise audio stories that complement these Facing History resources, particularly their Holocaust and Human Behavior program as well as their guide for Teaching Night.

Here are some stories we mention during the webinar:

 

In addition to the topic of the Holocaust discussed in the webinar, there are many other topics for which Listenwise and Facing History resources pair well. Here are a few other sample pairings:

Anti-Semitism

Refugees

To Kill a Mockingbird

 

As you think about other topics you teach related to history, literature, and current events, particularly involving issues of ethics and human behavior, remember to check out Facing History and Ourselves and search Listenwise to find high-quality audio stories and related instructional resources to support your teaching.

 

We know a lot about storytelling. And we like helping others tell their stories. That’s why EdSurge asked Listenwise to be part of a special Hour of Story project during their Fall Fusion conference. The result is a moving new 4-part podcast series called Teachable Moments. Check it out here.

 

These teacher stories are inspiring and motivating. I was surprised by how quickly the storytellers became emotional when talking about a particular student, even if the events they described happened more than a decade ago. These powerful emotions don’t fade.

 

The stories were all collected at the 2-day Fusion conference in San Francisco California. EdSurge CEO Betsy Cochran lead a session before the whole conference called the Hour of Story. She handed out an Hour of Story Interview Questions and Notes worksheet and she modeled how to talk to an educator about an experience they learned from. The 4 central questions were:

  • Tell us about a specific time when you experienced great joy or overcame a struggle in your work.
  • What surprised you about that experience?
  • What would be one word that sums up what you experienced?
  • What did you learn or take away from this experience?

 

After asking these questions to a teacher called up to the main stage, she asked everyone in attendance to pair up at the table with another person and tell a story. The worksheet had additional prompts and a place for notes. I spoke with Rudy Ezcuy, a former middle school teacher who started an edtech company called Teach ‘N Kids Learn. He told me how he had a passion to make a difference. And he reflected on how as a trained engineer and then teacher he moved from a traditional job to re-engineering education as he called it with a company that focuses on professional development.

 

After listening to his story for 3 minutes, I had to turn around and retell his story back to him using my notes on the worksheet. It was an amazing exercise. I learned that with a few guiding prompts anyone can tell a great story.

 

As part of our participation in the workshop, Listenwise helped record these stories. I asked teachers at Fusion to come to the EdSurge Podcast Studio and retell their stories. The result is the 4-part series we launch with this tomorrow called Teachable Moments. I co-host the podcast with Sydney Johnson an assistant editor at EdSurge.

 

In the podcast you’ll hear directly from educators who share important and sometimes challenging moments in their careers, and ultimately, what brings them joy in teaching.

 

The first episode is called “Seeing Students Differently” because in each case teachers were surprised by an unexpected result.

 

I hope you’ll be surprised and inspired by the power of these teacher stories.

In 2016, George J. Ryan Middle School in Queens, New York joined the Listenwise community. We recently highlighted a snippet of our conversation with the George J. Ryan Middle School assistant principal in our Educator Experience Spotlight. Check that out here.

We would like to expand on the George J. Ryan Middle School story by highlighting some more of the great things we heard when we talked to assistant principal Ajith Satya. Listen to what he says about the value of Listenwise and other quality curriculum materials.

 

Ajith talks about how Listenwise was implemented at his school, and he makes the point that the teachers at George J. Ryan Middle School try to hit  “all the different modalities in a lesson.” Listenwise stories have helped teachers at his school address the listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills they want to develop in their students.

Next, we hear Ajith talking about a feature that we hear educators mention all the time. In the Listenwise platform, teachers and students are able to listen to the audio with interactive transcripts, making it even easier to follow along with the story. He mentions how this is especially helpful for English language learners.

 

Students who have trouble following an audio story or who want to cite a quote can look at the interactive transcript and know exactly what was said. The transcript also has a few special features that provide students with additional support. For example, they can look up words that they don’t know using the TextHelp Toolbar or click on a word in the transcript to take them directly to that spot in the audio. Teachers can also choose to disable the transcript if they prefer to have students practice listening without the additional support.

Next Ajith mentions curriculum mapping, which is one of the additional services that Listenwise provides for customers. With information about the topics and texts taught in specific classes,  we can map Listenwise content to the curriculum to help teachers find stories that align with what they are teaching. If you want more information about these implementation support services, please email sales@listenwise, and our team will be able to help you.

 

Ajith mentions that the other thing students love about the Listenwise Current Events is that they are relevant, which helps students make connections between their lives and what is happening in the world beyond the classroom.

Ajith also talks about how George J. Ryan Middle School is committed to integrating a variety of technologies in their school and how Listenwise fits into that plan. He returns again to this idea of using Listenwise to engage students in practicing a variety of skills in new and interesting ways.

 

As Ajith explains, there is value in integrating different technologies into the classroom and school. Providing students with different ways of engaging with their studies and building their skills is really important. Listenwise provides opportunities to teach listening, and other literacy skills, in new and engaging ways.

We would like to thank Ajith and George J. Ryan Middle School for talking to us about how they use Listenwise and for being valued customers. We would also like to say thank you to all the educators doing the important work of helping students learn.  

Guest post by Listenwise Advocate Laura Krenicki, a 6th grade world cultures/geography teacher at William J. Johnston Middle School in Colchester, CT

Part I of our series on App Smashing with Listenwise.

 

Last year, Linda Sue Park’s A Long Walk to Water was the Global Read Aloud middle grades book selection. We had used this book in the past, but we were thrilled to read the book with global partners using Flipgrid, a video discussion app, to share our thinking. Early in the school year, we introduced the Question Formulation Technique with students so they could develop their own questions as we read the book. Themes began to emerge from their inquiry – leadership, family/relationships, war/refugees, and, of course, water.

 

This year, we used the same format and invited global partners, but we added resources from Listenwise to help students gain more insight into some of the themes. For example, while students were considering parts of the book on Flipgrid with global partners, we listened to the Listenwise story “What is it like to be a refugee?” which discussed a traveling exhibit by Doctors Without Borders where visitors could simulate the experience of being a refugee.

 

In the audio story, a visitor to the exhibit felt that the experience was “too real.” We asked students, “What can you infer from this quote? ‘It feels too real now. I don’t want to – I don’t know. Part of me doesn’t even want to sit in here ’cause it’s too real. Like, I don’t want to go. I want to go home, not here, you know.’” Students needed some practice in speaking/listening skills, including making inferences, and the Listenwise story allowed them to listen for tone and intent.  They then recorded their thinking on Flipgrid, stating which five things they would take with them if they suddenly had to flee their homes. Students from around the world had access to this Flipgrid topic (and the Listenwise story), so they could share their thinking, too.

 

Since the book is about the Sudanese Civil War and the plight of the “Lost Boys” of southern Sudan, students also listened to the audio story “Lost Boys of Sudan.” They watched a documentary, God Grew Tired of Us, which followed some of the “Lost Boys” as they made new lives for themselves in the USA. They also viewed related videos, including  a Ted Talk by Salva Dut, the main character in A Long Walk to Water, and interviews with Linda Sue Park, the author. The Listenwise story moved the narrative even further – to a more current time-frame – so students could see how events continue to evolve in Sub-Saharan Africa. Again, they were asked “What can you infer from Daniel [interviewed in the Listenwise story] about the future of South Sudan?”

 

We took students to the local Holocaust Museum to learn more about how genocide can force people to become refugees. There, they met with survivors or family members who described how life can change quickly when a group is targeted. Real-life examples helped students to recognize that refugees face challenges not only in faraway places – some may be our neighbors. Students wanted to know how they could help make life in a new place for refugees more welcoming and accepting. The Listenwise story about Helping Refugees Adapt to U.S. Culture was another relevant resource to support student inquiry.

 

These resources informed the students’ inquiry and helped them determine their positions on the question: “Is A Long Walk to Water a book about water?” They expressed their positions through videos, using Adobe Spark Video, Google Slides (with Screencastify), iMovie, or whiteboard animations to post on Flipgrid. The project also set the stage for further exploration of the international Sustainable Development Goals, on which we base the rest of the school year’s curriculum projects.

 

We have found Listenwise stories to be excellent introductions to units and topics for inquiry. For example, when preparing for the New Zealand Read Aloud (#NZReadAloud) book, An Unexpected Hero by L. P. Hansen, students learned about a conscientious objector, Muhammad Ali. Again, we used Flipgrid as a vehicle for global collaboration and discussion, and the story prepared students to reflect on why someone they knew might be considered a conscientious objector. In addition, some students will be reading Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan, which addresses the issue of child marriage in India. One student noted, “I liked the story about child brides because I am the same age as the girls in the story and I can’t imagine being married at this age.”

 

Connecting Listenwise stories to themes of novels or to the Sustainable Development Goals helps students tackle difficult subjects by introducing them through engaging, relevant, accessible stories. For example, a student was researching the SDG #14, Life Below Water, and listened to Ocean Plastic Cleanup Hits a Snag which was based on a student’s efforts to clean up the trash patch in the Pacific Ocean.  This story connects to Ocean Warming is Forcing Coral Reefs to Adapt, which is another aspect of the Global Goal. Listenwise has been a helpful resource for supporting students’ inquiries and connecting them with the world outside the classroom.

 

NPR Student Podcast Challenge  – Deadline March 15th

NPR is running a student podcast contest, and the March 15th deadline is coming up. If you are interested in getting in on the student podcasting fun, then fear not – you still have time to get involved. Check out our previous blog post with more details on the contest and find helpful podcasting resources. Keep reading for some ideas for creating  your own podcasting projects in the classroom.

 

 

Use The Power of the Brainstorm

One way to help students quickly focus in on topics for their own podcasts is to invite the class (or smaller groups) to brainstorm topics about which they already have background knowledge. You could focus the brainstorm on topics they have been learning about in class, or or you could invite them to consider podcasting about their interests outside of school. You might suggest that they  explore classroom resources for ideas, including the full collection of Listenwise stories.

 

 

 

Use the Interview Technique

Once your students have chosen their topics, the next challenge may be encouraging them to feel comfortable on the recording device that they are using. It is likely that your students will have varied levels of comfort with recording their own voices. One way to help them face this challenge is to get them talking to each other. Some of the most popular podcasts in the world are conversations, and there is a reason for this.  Conversational podcasts often sound the most natural and authentic. Inviting your students to interview each other or interviewing them yourself gives them an opportunity to become more comfortable recording their own voices. Ask them to prepare a set of questions to guide the conversation and encourage them to probe responses for elaboration (e.g., Can you tell me more about that?)

 

Listen to Models of Good Youth Reporting

As discussed in our first blog post about this contest, there are many good podcast stories by students to use as models. Apart from the fact that they offer examples of engaging, relevant topics, these stories also provide great examples of  youth reporter voices. Listening to these podcasts as a class or in small groups and then talking about what made the commentaries work can help students notice good journalistic storytelling practices. After listening to and discussing these stories, you can send your students off to record their full projects if you feel that they are ready. If you feel that they need more practice, you might use one of the stories as a model. Ask students to record short 1-2 minute commentaries similar to the stories that they liked, using the same techniques they noticed in the youth reporter stories.

 

Create a Practice Project

Practicing by recording a lower-stakes audio project can help to make your students more comfortable and confident in recording their own voices. For example, the Promposals story is a great youth commentary on prom proposals at the reporter’s school. Natalie Bettendorf, the youth reporter, breaks down the prom proposal craze and how the proposals become more and more ridiculous using real world examples. Those examples help deliver her point in an interesting and engaging way. Ask students to look for qualities like this that they can incorporate into their own projects. Click the images below to check out some quality examples of youth reporting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In case you missed it, you can find out first blog post with contest details and additional youth stories here.

 

There is much discussion in schools currently about the benefits of personalizing learning, though there are varying interpretations of what that means. Most, however, agree that moving away from a one-size-fits-all model of instruction is desirable, and that cultivating student agency is an important lever for facilitating learning.

We believe in the educational value of fostering student agency and personalizing learning experiences for optimal student engagement and success, and we have designed Listenwise with those beliefs in mind. The videos below highlight ways in which Listenwise can be used to promote student-centered, student-directed, competency-focused instruction that is relevant and connected to students’ experiences and to the world outside of school.

Relevant & Connected 

Our library of stories include a wide variety of informative audio stories selected for their potential to engage students in learning about real-world topics while building essential literacy skills. Daily current events and lessons can help to connect curriculum topics in English language arts, social studies, and science to students’ own questions and experiences. Discussion questions can help connect students with each other, offering them opportunities to share their ideas and perspectives. View this video to learn more about how Listenwise can help teachers make the curriculum relevant to individual students and their lives beyond school.

Student-Centered

Listenwise can help teachers engage students in developing key literacy skills while exploring topics that interest them. The customizable assignments and optional student-facing support tools allow teachers to provide differentiated scaffolding depending on individual or group learning needs. Listenwise can help teachers engage students in building listening comprehension skills at their level by matching assignments to their interests and learning profiles. View this video to learn more about how Listenwise can help teachers tailor instruction to meet individual students where they are and develop their skills and knowledge accordingly.

Student-Directed

Whether exploring the story collection on their own or completing assigned tasks, students can direct their own learning experiences on the Listenwise platform. With Listenwise assignments and quizzes, students can proceed at their own pace, listening to stories as many times as needed while answering questions. They can monitor their own progress in building listening comprehension skills, informed by feedback on specific strengths and opportunities for improvement. Teachers can invite students to select stories based on their own interests or explore the podcast collection for curated, vetted resources to support their research. View this video to learn more about how Listenwise can help teachers enable student voice and choice.

Competency-Focused

Students can demonstrate their learning through the Listenwise platform or in other assessment contexts. Listenwise assignments and quizzes invite students to demonstrate competency in key listening comprehension skills. Teachers can provide individualized feedback on student responses and invite students to revise and resubmit them. Teachers can view student performance data individually and collectively and focus instruction where there is demonstrated need. They can also build Listenwise materials into larger projects in which students demonstrate 21st century skills. View this video to learn more about how Listenwise can help teachers focus on students’ proficiency in key listening comprehension skills and other important literacy competencies.

Please share any questions or ideas you might have about how to use Listenwise to personalize learning in the comments. Thanks!

by guest blogger: Carolina Buitrago, Ed.D.

 

Social emotional learning (SEL) has unquestionably gained a place in the busy spectrum of educators’ priorities. There is abundant research on the benefits of purposeful SEL work in classrooms and schools for the academic success and general wellbeing of students. However, SEL is a broad domain of development, and educators  may wonder how to integrate it into their day-to-day teaching. Outside of SEL-focused curricula, how might teachers decide where to focus and how? What strategies might promote the development of particular competencies?

 

The Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) offers useful guidance to help educators be systematic in their efforts to support social and emotional learning. CASEL’s definition of SEL highlights its universal relevance:

“Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.” (CASEL)

 

CASEL has organized contributions from various disciplines and research studies on social and emotional development into a framework that defines five core SEL competencies. These competencies are self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. All of these competencies can and should be developed across classes, schools, families and communities.

 

The Listenwise collection includes many stories that align with CASEL’s five core SEL competencies. These stories can be used to structure classroom discussions with a particular competency in mind, while also teaching listening, speaking, and other literacy skills. Below is a curated list of stories related to each competency, though many of the stories apply to more than one.

 

Self-awareness involves identifying emotions, developing an accurate self-perception, recognizing one’s strengths, being self-confident and self-efficacious, and having a sense of optimism and a “growth mindset.” Audio stories can spark conversations about how animals can help us display emotions, how emotions affect what we eat, or how positive messages and supports might help with very negative emotions. Issues of identity can be discussed through addressing how immigration status, physical appearance, or others’ perceptions of us may shape our self-perceptions.

 

Self-management combines impulse control, effective stress management, self-discipline and self-motivation, goal setting and organizational skills. Audio stories can help students reflect on typical causes of teen stress  and on how the body responds to stress. Stories of people whose strength and grit helped them overcome adversity, including poverty, hurricanes, homelessness, illnesses and fires, can illustrate what can be accomplished through perseverance and self-motivation.

 

Social awareness means being able to take someone else’s perspective, experiencing empathy for others, appreciating diversity, and respecting others, including those from diverse backgrounds and cultures. Students can listen to stories about how books such as Harry Potter and Anna Karenina or virtual reality can inspire empathy. They can learn from stories about acts of kindness that can make a big difference in the lives of others, such as supporting someone who lost a parent or a home or helping after a hurricane. Stories can help students reflect on the value of diversity and expand their social awareness by learning about people engaged in volunteerism, activism, and social justice efforts.

 

Relationship skills include the ability to communicate clearly, engage socially, build satisfying and healthy relationships, and effectively work in teams. Students can learn from a group of college students who worked as a team to develop an innovative invention, or listen to how the work that ants do together can teach lessons about collaboration. To learn about effective communication with others, students can consider the nature of apologies and which kinds best reflect our intent to make amends. They can also reflect on what builds strong friendships as they listen to how a 6-year-old boy did something for his friend that made a big impact.

 

Responsible decision-making includes being able to identify problems; analyze, reflect on, and evaluate situations; and develop a larger sense of ethics and social norms. Audio stories can help students learn about how some choices may have lifelong consequences or how to make consistent choices to ensure their success. They can also analyze and evaluate school policies or consider how to responsibly use technology at their disposal.

 

Listening to the voices of real people in stories like these and discussing how they relate to students’ lives can help to facilitate SEL while building listening skills. We encourage you to continue exploring Listenwise’s story collection using CASEL’s five core SEL competencies as your compass. You may also be interested in a webinar co-hosted by Listenwise and Facing History and Ourselves about teaching current events with an SEL lens.

 

We welcome your comments about how you use Listenwise to support students’ social and emotional learning.

 

Happy listening!

Img source: https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/collections/teaching-content/presidents-day-classroom/

 

This blog was edited on February 7, 2019.

We celebrate President’s Day in February to honor George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, two important U.S. Presidents who were born in February, making it a great month to examine the presidency from many different angles. Look below for some resources to support learning about and discussing U.S. Presidents in your classroom.

 

Listenwise President’s Day Audio

Ask students to discuss how George Washington set the standard for the role of president after listening to George Washington: His Finest Act. Discuss his role in the birth of the nation with an American Revolution museum tour and the story about Origins of July 4th. Listen to a story about Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, and revisit the night Lincoln was assassinated.

 

For a more modern perspective on the presidency, check out these six stories about 20th and 21st century presidents:.

 

 

Compare and contrasts the legacies of two very different presidents through discussing President Buchanan and Dred Scott and The Legacy of LBJ and Civil Rights. Listen to The Truman Doctrine to hear about Truman’s foreign policy, and listen to FDR’s New Deal Speech for a story about FDR’s most famous program.

 

Listenwise Audio on U.S. Government and Civics

These stories also address the U.S. presidency and associated issues and topics, such as elections, executive powers, and checks and balances:

Other Resources for President’s Day

We the People: The Citizen & the Constitution

Use these lessons to engage students in learning about these presidents and how they shaped history.

 

Presidents’ Day: A Life Lesson for Students

This lesson has students think about what they would do if they were President of the U.S. and guides thinking and discussion of issues they care about and would fight to promote.

 

Lincoln’s Crossroads

This interactive animated game prompts students to decide on issues and get advice and then see how their choices aligned to Lincoln’s actions.

 

Branches of Power Game

This game from iCivics allows students to make choices about laws and control all three branches of government.

 

Did you know that NPR is running their first-ever student podcasting contest?!

What do you have to do to participate? Have students produce a podcast that is 3-12 minutes long.

Contest entry closes on March 31, 2019. You can get all the eligibility details and the submission form and guidelines here.  

Whether you are planning to submit a podcast for the challenge or have just been thinking about getting started with podcasting in your classroom, there are many easy ways to get started. Anyone with access to a mobile phone or computer can create a podcast seamlessly. This means that the necessary tools are in the hands of students. Podcasts can be a vehicle for students to explore their passions and find their voices, and the creative process fosters ownership of learning, develops higher order skills, and deepens understanding.

If you are looking for a comprehensive toolkit to help you with the technical side of classroom podcasting (and sample student podcast examples), download our free Teacher’s Guide to Podcasting in the Classroom. This is a great place to start planning your project. The guide incorporates these blog posts:

Another comprehensive resource is this webinar, “Creating Podcasts in Class,” where our CEO (who is a former broadcast journalist) walks through the process of podcasting in class with a teacher, Mike Godsey, who shares insights from the classroom. This recording offers great tips for before, during, and after podcast recording, as well as authentic examples and reflections from a teacher who podcasts with his students.

Lastly, as you and your students are thinking about potential topics on which to focus original podcasts, you can invite them to listen to some of these great student journalist podcasts to spark ideas: Teen Girls and Positive Social Media Messages,  Promposals,  and Growing Up A Single Mom.

You can find additional student podcasts in our list of Youth Radio stories. Any of these story formats could work for this podcast contest.

Here is a simple student podcast example in an interview format:

Happy podcasting! For more, check out our other blog with further resources for the NPR Student Podcast Challenge.

Many teachers would like to teach current events but do not feel that they have time to incorporate them into an already jam-packed curriculum. There are many ways, however, to optimize instructional time by integrating learning about current events with other learning goals, such as developing Common Core skills related to listening and speaking, as well as reading and writing. Listenwise stories can also help to address Common Core key shifts, critical thinking, and SEL skills.  

In a previous blog post, we discussed the importance of setting up a safe space for discussions about current events and shared supports for ensuring that students are comfortable speaking up and expressing differing opinions. In this blog post, we share practical routines for incorporating current events into your teaching once a week (or more frequently) in ways that advance other learning goals as well.

 

1) Do Now/Bell-Ringer

Open class once a week with a current event. Ask students to listen to the story and then answer the listening comprehension questions independently or hold a brief class discussion using the questions as a guide.

  • Ask students to listen to the audio story Martin Luther King, Jr. Inspires Service and write answers to these two questions:
    • What is meant by describing Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as “a day on, not a day off”?
    • According to the story, how did the garden service project benefit the volunteers?

Then, to help students connect Martin Luther King’s legacy to their own lives, ask them to discuss this question:

    • Why do you think Congress designated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a day of service?

 

2) Exit Ticket

Close class once a week by playing a current event story and asking students to respond to a couple of listening comprehension questions or a discussion theme question as an exit ticket to submit before leaving class. This can provide a helpful way to informally gauge students’ listening comprehension skills and understanding of events and civic issues that are important in the world outside of school.

  • Ask students to listen to the audio story Human Impact of Government Shutdown and respond to the following question as an exit ticket:
    • If you could talk to the woman interviewed for this story, what would you say to her?

This can also be a good way support development of empathy and other SEL skills.

 

3)  Think/Pair/Share

Use current events to engage students in small and large group discussions where they can practice and develop speaking and listening skills outlined in the Common Core. Think/Pair/Share is a simple, yet powerful routine for engaging students in conversation that deepens their thinking.

  • Ask students to listen to the audio story The Real Costs of War and then to Think/Pair/Share in response to the following question:
    • Why does the researcher say that the current U.S. counterrorism strategy may be “a failure of imagination”?

 

4) Student Choice: 5Ws

Invite students to choose one current event from the week to listen to and summarize using the 5 W’s of journalism (who, what, where, when, and why). This activity can help students with identifying the main idea and summarizing, which are critical comprehension skills that are relevant to all subjects and modes of accessing information (e.g., reading, listening, viewing) and also to planning informational writing. Inviting students to choose a story of interest can help to personalize learning.

  • Ask students to choose any of the week’s current events and identify the following:
    • Who was involved?
    • What happened?
    • Where did it happen?
    • When did it happen?
    • Why did it happen?

 

5) Debate Fridays

Use Listenwise’s Friday debate stories to invite students to discuss issues that are being debated in the public sphere. This can help students develop their capacity to think critically, reason logically, and support claims with evidence–all important Common Core skills. A previous blog post offers some tips on how to facilitate engaging and thought-provoking debates inspired by Listenwise stories. Facing History and Ourselves provides additional ideas for how to exercise students’ argumentation skills.

 

Current events address topics related to science, social studies, and the humanities and can help students understand the relevance of what they are learning. As Listenwise teacher advocate Jim Bentley says:

A current event–whatever the topic–is an opportunity to read, think, listen, discuss. It’s a content portal depending on the topic. If it’s a science story about recent climate change conferences or a political story about border walls impeding trade, it’s a chance to connect content or skills in standards to something current.

This is just a sampling of activities you might use to build understanding of current events while affording students opportunities to practice critical literacy skills. If you have others, please share them in the comments.