Posted by Christy Williams on October 1st, 2015
Teaching skills necessary for High School Equivalency (HSE) testing does not have to be confined to textbook and study materials alone. Students can become engaged with learning while simultaneously increasing their awareness of what is happening in the world around them.
This dual outcome can be accomplished through the use of current events as teaching material. Here are a few suggestions on how to incorporate current events into high school equivalency prep to teach various reading skills.
Compare & Contrast
Compare and contrast is a skill that can be well taught using current events. One way to utilize current events is by taking articles from different sources covering the same event. Allow students to note the similarities for comparison and the same for contrasting differences. Have students complete a Venn Diagram noting their findings. Comparing and contrasting current events to historical events is also a way to enhance compare and contrast skills.
Distinguish Fact from Opinion/Identify Author bias
Current events are presented through a variety of media outlets including news, radio and print. Blogs and social media have also emerged as prominent sources for current event documentation. Allow students to review various outlets and distinguish which articles are presented as fact verses those which are not.The students can assist you in filling out a T-Chart on the facts and opinions they find.
This activity could also be tied to identifying author biases that are noticed during reading. Personal blogs and social media are more likely to be recognized as sources which demonstrate author bias. Students may even find that some trusted news sources can be susceptible to author bias. Editorial sections of news are another prime resource for fact, opinion and author bias study.
Identify Theme & Supporting Ideas
Headlines and opening paragraphs of news stories can be used as leads to help students identify themes and supporting ideas. Begin by asking students to make predictions on a theme based on the headlines of a story. Follow by reading the story to determine if there are any ideas supporting the chosen theme. If the headline does not align with the identified theme, help students determine what the correct theme is. Students can use a graphic organizer to display results.
Inferring is the ability to identify what’s not being said. Editorial cartoons are a great venue to practice making inferences. As students view various cartoons, ask what conclusions they can draw from the pictures and any words that may be included. The same activity can be done using just the images that accompany an article. Ask students if any inferences can be made based on the content of the pictures.
Learn New Vocabulary/Make Meaning from Context Clues
Newspapers, magazine articles and newscasts are filled with language. Each outlet is an ideal place to introduce students to a variety of new vocabulary. Prepare clips of news coverage and let the students listen for words they may not be familiar with. Identify whether the rest of the presenter’s delivery helps them to better understand the words.
Similar vocabulary building exercises can be done with printed versions of articles. Students should identify the words they are unfamiliar with throughout their reading. Create a word wall, or list, of the new vocabulary obtained through current event sources.