Implementation of the Common Core State Standards brings with it a greater emphasis on informational text. In turn, teachers are left with the imposing responsibility of providing increased opportunities for students to engage with authentic nonfiction. Current event assignments are a great way to bridge the gap. Students are able to demonstrate their knowledge of a nonfiction text with a written response to a relevant news article. Listed below are five different options for aligning your current event templates to meet the Common Core State Standards.
The Common Core State Standards require students to provide a summary of the text that is distinct from personal judgements and opinions. In order to do this effectively, the current event template should be set up to guide students through the process. Students should begin the summary writing process by locating the 5Ws in the text (who, what, when, where, and why). After recording the 5Ws, students are prepared to turn that information into a succinct summary. Current event assignments are a great alternative for reinforcing summary writing skills, especially when it comes to informational text.
According to the Common Core State Standards, students need to be able to explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text. In order to do so, students need to be able to clearly delineate between facts and opinions. It is important for students to be able to trace specific claims in the text, and distinguish between claims that are supported by reasons and evidence from claims that are not. Paring down the current event template for students to solely focus on facts and opinions stated in the article provides students with ample opportunity to develop the skills necessary for the integration of ideas presented in the article.
Hopefully, the five ideas listed above provide you with a clear jumping off point when it comes to aligning your current event assignments to the Common Core State Standards. Current event article templates do not have take on a one size fits all approach. Varying the reading comprehension skills with different types of templates is a great way to build foundational literacy across academic content areas. Additionally, requiring students to evaluate current events not only provides students with a relevant way to engage with the text while meeting the standards for reading nonfiction, it also builds and strengthens reading comprehension skills.
Click on the image or link below to download ready-to-go current event templates aligned to the Common Core State Standards. Five different templates are included (Main Idea and Details, Summarizing, Vocabulary in Context, Fact vs. Opinion, and Text Connections). Along with a the printable PDF version of the templates, digital versions are also provided as an option for those of you that have access to technology in your classroom.