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Why Current Events?
By: Social Studies Teacher Erin Moore
Students are constantly asking, why do we write current events? We study history in social studies, why write about what is going on now? These are questions that one student answered in class the other day. “We study the past so we don’t repeat it, and we read about what is going on now so we know what is happening and how it affects us now and in the future.” A simple statement, but one that makes you think.
According to Edward F. DeRoche, author of The Newspaper: A Reference for Teachers and Librarians, children must learn how to use nonfiction materials to expand their knowledge base, solve problems and make decisions in order to become lifelong learners. Current events are a great tool to get kids interested in nonfiction. Reading about what is happening in the world pushes students to attempt to solve problems or generate ideas as to why something is happening. It is important to encourage children to voice their thoughts on world events so they know their voice has value.
When teaching about global, national, state, and local happenings, students need to be exposed and involved so they become active learners rather than passive learners. Exposing students to different types of writing also helps to develop language and critical thinking skills. Incorporating science and medicine into a social studies class is unexpected for many students and helps spark debates among the students, which in turn helps develop their oral skills.
DeRoche sites research that that indicates students who read about current events at a young age, continue reading about them as adults. Children might not be intrinsically interested in current events, but by encouraging them to read outside of their curriculum, it can expose them to new subjects and topics. When sharing this with sixth graders, one exclaimed, “We have to know what is going on because the older we get the more we see how things affect us!”
Creating a society of informed and interested students creates a society of critical thinkers. To allow the students to become the teachers and have the opportunity to broaden the knowledge of their classmates is a role many find exciting.
Families are also welcome to have discussions at home regarding events that are happening in the world. Encouraging students to further explore topics that interest them and allowing open discussion about these topics, helps to create well-rounded and informed citizens. Isn’t that what social studies is all about?
Rossman School, nestled on a 20-acre campus in Creve Coeur, is an independent preparatory school for students in Junior Kindergarten (four years old) through Grade 6. The school’s mission is to provide a strong, well-balanced education in a nurturing school community committed to excellence. Dedicated to developing personal, nurturing relationships with each child, Rossman’s experienced educators provide a solid foundation in academics, athletics and arts while emphasizing strong character development and leadership skills. Request a free Rossman School brochure here.