Now that I am teaching Social Studies (or Social Science as CPS calls it), I feel that it is only appropriate for a middle schooler to be able to summarize and analyze a current event. So, I developed a worksheet that students have to complete on a weekly basis. I think this one activity will develop students reading, writing, and research skills.
I listed the point system that will be used to grade students on the form, so that, students could monitor their progress. Basically, they can earn one point for each task they complete successfully. For example, when students summarize an article, they can earn five points, because addressing “who, what, when, where, and why” in their summary. I use a three-point scale for Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar – 3 points for Excellent, 2 points Satisfactory, and 1 point for Needs Improvement. I simply write the number of points earned for each section and write the total points earned, which will yield a percentage for students’ grades.
I had to narrow my students’ focus for the types of articles they have to examine. Initially, I allowed them to analyze any kind of article. Many of them wanted to concentrate on crime. So, I had to shift their focus to events worth discussing during class. Since I teach seventh grade, I have to teach the U.S. Constitution. Therefore, all articles have to deal with politics or the government at any level. (Can you hear the moaning and complaining in my classroom? … lol)
Currents Events are due every Friday. I have it listed on the weekly homework sheet when I disseminate it every Monday and I also provide a blank form at that time. Initially, students waited until Thursday to complete the Current Events form. I had to explain to them that they can work on their analysis throughout the week. After a couple of weeks, they saw that it was something they should start at the beginning of the week.
You can get a free copy of my Current Events worksheet from my Teachers Pay Teachers store.