Bring Current Events into Your Classroom with CNN Student News

January 17, 2015

For relevant, accurate, and appropriate current events to share with your students, try watching CNN Student News. With new content daily, the ten minute segments are an easy way to incorporate nonfiction into your classroom and engage your students with real world issues.
The Internet is a wonderful resource, but as teachers there are too many websites to explore and not enough time. When we present content to students, we want to make sure it is relevant, accurate, and appropriate. 

For current events and news, there is no better website than CNN Student News. CNN Student News is a free ten minute video posted each day that school is in session. They take off on the weekend, holidays, and during the summer.

The show begins with front page headlines kind of news. Yesterday it was the Boko Haram and terrorists in Belgium. 

About three minutes into the show, is the "roll call," a shout out to schools watching the show. 

For the next two and a half minutes (from about 3:30-6) an issue or topic is covered in depth. Yesterday's topic was a letter written by a Titanic survivor being auctioned off. 

The next in depth topic/issue is introduced by "ID Me,"
For relevant, accurate, and appropriate current events to share with your students, try watching CNN Student News. With new content daily, the ten minute segments are an easy way to incorporate nonfiction into your classroom and engage your students with real world issues.
which gives students clues about a person, place, invention, etc. before revealing its identity. Yesterday's "ID Me" led into a segment about two men who free-climbed El Capitan, part of Yosemite (from about 6:20 - 8). 

At the end of the show is usually a funny video, often something with animals. This one was a dog who rides the bus by himself. See him sitting by the window?

CNN offers an advisory about previewing the content. I teach ninth graders and show this in my homeroom and never have I been concerned about the content. Unfortunately our national and global news so often includes violence, so I might not show it below fifth grade, but even lower grades could use parts after teacher pre-screening. 

Each show is roughly broken into the same segments with the time (minutes/seconds) shown at the bottom so it would be very easy to start and stop to just watch a segment about a specific topic.

If you don't want to watch it everyday, you can sign up to get a daily email letting you know the topics covered. Then you will know when what they are featuring may directly connect to what you are teaching. I personally love watching it everyday with my students because it keeps me up on current events and provides good topics of conversations.

You can also download the video podcasts. This is great if for some reason your district blocks their website (CNN though? really?) or if there is a topic covered in the video that you want to show at a later date.

Another great feature is the transcript. Need a current nonfiction text for class? Ta-da! Here it is. Click here to see a sample.

On Friday, in addition to the transcript is a weekly newsquiz. This could be used as an actual quiz, but would also be a great extra credit assignment. Perhaps you might want to assign these videos for students to watch at home and the quiz is the homework they turn in. Lots of possibilities.

I hope you start watching with your students. I would love to hear about how you make CNN Student News a part of your classroom.

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11 comments

  1. I will pass this on to the middle school teachers at my school! What a great resource!
    Friendly Froggies

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    1. Thanks Susan! That is what this blog hop is all about. Getting information out to teachers that will make their lives better or easier.

      Brynn Allison
      The Literary Maven

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  2. I love this! I wish there was a CNN kids version for us primary teachers. Maybe I can beg them to start one :)

    Mrs. Plemons' Kindergarten

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    1. I sure there is a place on the site to leave feedback like that. But I also think there are appropriate segments you could use for lower grades like the video about the dog riding the bus from yesterday's video.

      Brynn Allison
      The Literary Maven

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  3. What a fun way to incorporate current events. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. You are most welcome Natalie! Hope it is something you can use in your classroom.

      Brynn Allison
      The Literary Maven

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  4. I can definitely see this being used in upper elementary but as you said, I can watch it beforehand to see if it would be okay. Sometimes a topic in our Reading story or Social Living lesson relates to real-life experiences and this resource would make a great connection. Thanks for sharing and thanks for joining the blog hop this month :-)

    Jasmine
    Buzzing With Mrs. McClain

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    1. Jasmine,
      Thank you for the chance to participate! I know I am always looking for good video to connect to our readings in my English classroom. For example, the part about the Titanic would go perfectly with a reading we do in 10th grade.

      Brynn Allison
      The Literary Maven

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  5. Love this! Makes me reminisce of the days my school did Channel One news with Lisa Ling!

    A LoveLi Class

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  6. Just though of this idea. You could use CNN Student news as a model for a news broadcast. Students could select topics for research and break into small groups, each responsible for a segment. Within each group, different individuals could be responsible for graphics/visuals, research, presenting information, filming, editing, etc. I know my students would LOVE watching themselves.

    Brynn Allison
    The Literary Maven

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  7. Thanks for pointing this resource out. I'm always looking for ways to bring current events into my classes!

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