The Choices Blog

History and Current Issues for the Classroom

Month: October 2015

Outsports.com: News Engagement Series #4

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Tor Bakhopper (CC by 2.0)

October 6 is National News Engagement Day, a day when “everyone is encouraged to read, watch, like, tweet, post, text, email, listen to, or comment on news.”

News and the media is a vital part of social studies education today, which is why The Choices Program does our best to get current affairs content available for teachers to use in their classrooms. Our Current Issues Series deals with some of the most important challenges facing the world today, encouraging students to consider the decisions made by policy makers and citizens in facing a changing future. We also produce Teaching With The News lessons to address situations as we see them come into the focus of the media.

For the week of National News Engagement Day, some of the Choices staff will be sharing the news-related resources they use to inform and inspire their work.

 

Lindsay Turchan, International Education Intern, Choices Writing Team

My recommendation for a news-related resource:

Outsports.com

What it is:

Outsports is an online news and opinion site that reports on LGBT issues in sports. It features articles, podcasts, photographs, editorials, blog posts, videos, and more. With great content for anyone interested in sports and LGBT issues, teachers might be particularly intrigued by the many pieces that consider the relationship between sports and history, human rights, and politics.

Why I like it and think you might find it interesting:

  1. Few media outlets address LGBT experiences in sports. The very existence of Outsports alerts readers to this glaring historical silence and calls attention to the structures that make this so. In this way, Outsports helps cultivate in its readers some of the skills necessary for critical media consumption.
  2. If you love sports news but you are also a “thinker,” then Outsports is for you. It’s more than just the score of Sunday’s game. Instead, the site’s stories connect sports to broader issues with political, economic, and social importance. In a highly readable way, Outsports articles could serve as a springboard for stimulating classroom conversations rooted in history or current events about the complex relationship between sports and society.
  3. Outsports regularly features works from readers, demonstrating that engaging with the news need not be left to the professionals. The dynamic “Fanpost” section features reader-written (and editor-approved) pieces. It can read as anything from an advice column (an NCAA basketball player solicits advice on coming out in this article) to a forum for debate (this history-based piece discusses opera in order to challenge understandings of what makes something a sport). There are weekly columns, such as openly gay high school student and football aficionado Jeremy Brener’s NFL reports, that also serve as reminders that everyone has valuable perspectives to offer when it comes to engaging with the news.

 

Note: Outsports uses satire in some opinion pieces. If students are unfamiliar with satire, it may be helpful to discuss this concept. Also, be sure to preview articles before sharing them with students as some discuss sensitive issues and/or use language that may not be appropriate for all classrooms.

Bonus:

For a taste of how Outsports discusses human rights and LGBT experiences in sports, you may be interested in the following articles:  

Coaches Sue University Over Homophobia, Discrimination

Principal Bans Gay Football Player Artwork From Exhibit  

Gay Slurs at the Gold Cup Match?  

 

Choices Program resources:

Outsports may interest teachers using Competing Visions of Human Rights: Questions for U.S. Policy, especially those who wish to engage students in conversations about freedom of speech and expression as well as LGBT rights.

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The resources on Outsports might also be of interest to teachers looking to build upon discussions of the historical roots and importance of sports raised in History, Revolution and Reform: New Directions for Cuba and Brazil: From Colony to Democracy (revised edition upcoming). 
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Seed Magazine: News Engagement Series #3

October 6 is National News Engagement Day, a day when “everyone is encouraged to read, watch, like, tweet, post, text, email, listen to, or comment on news.”

News and the media is a vital part of social studies education today, which is why the Choices Program does our best to make current affairs content available for teachers to use in their classrooms. Our Current Issues Series deals with some of the most important challenges facing the world today, encouraging students to consider the decisions made by policy makers and citizens in facing a changing future. We also produce Teaching with the News lessons to address situations as we see them come into the focus of the media.

For the week of National News Engagement Day, some of the Choices staff shares the news-related resources they use to inform and inspire their work.

This post follows #1 and #2 in the National News Engagement series.


 

MacKenzie Abernethy, Program Associate, Choices Writing Team

 

My recommendation for a news-related resource: Seed Magazine

What it is:   Seed is an online science magazine published by Seed Media Group that connects science, culture, and current events. Search the expansive archives by categories including globally impacting issues on the World page (or under subtopics such as Politics, Development, and the Environment.) Readers may also explore specific topics on the hashtag sidebar, like Education.

 

Why I like it and think you might find it interesting:

  1. Seed promotes a cross-disciplinary approach to current challenges. CEO of Seed Scientific and creator of Seed, Adam Bly (Canadian) considers science a “creative human enterprise.” His leadership drives Seed to connect readers across disciplines of the arts, politics, etc., by spotlighting contributions of other fields and showing the widespread applications of science.

“It’s about applying neuroscience to economics, math to global health, virology to manufacturing, and genetics to law… It’s about experimenting all the way to understanding. It’s about changing your mind with new evidence – and getting as close to truth as humanly possible. Getting 7 billion people to think scientifically has never been a small mission. And it has never been more important.” – Seed Media Group

  1. Seed offers free tools for the classroom. Alongside thought provoking, discussion generating articles, the magazine offers downloadable “cribsheets” that help teachers explain scientific topics such as climate change and solar power.
  1. Seed empowers readers. The magazine often encourages action and provides the tools to contribute to the conversation on environmental policy. For example, this article asks readers to email government and business officials about biodiversity, climate change and water access. Seed Media Group says that it takes scientific thinking to parliaments, courtrooms, hospitals, construction sites, boardrooms around the world – to catalyze scientific thinking at scale.

 

Choices Program resource:cover225x225

Climate Change and Questions of Justice

First Edition. January 2015

 

 

Recommended with the National Science Teachers Association’s “highest praise. . . This latest curriculum offering from Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies is one of the best introductions to teaching about climate change that is currently available on the market.


Bonus:  Share Neil Degrasse Tyson’s lifelong love for astrophysics with students via this interactive tour of his personal space.

Russia: News Engagement Series #2

October 6 is National News Engagement Day, a day when “everyone is encouraged to read, watch, like, tweet, post, text, email, listen to, or comment on news.”

News and the media is a vital part of social studies education today, which is why The Choices Program does our best to get current affairs content available for teachers to use in their classrooms. Our Current Issues Series deals with some of the most important challenges facing the world today, encouraging students to consider the decisions made by policy makers and citizens in facing a changing future. We also produce Teaching With The News lessons to address situations as we see them come into the focus of the media.

For the week of National News Engagement Day, some of the Choices staff are sharing the news-related resources they use to inform and inspire their work.


 

Andy Blackadar, Director of Curriculum Development

My recommendation for a news-related resource:

Johnson’s Russia List

What it is:

Johnson’s Russia List or JRL is a daily email of English language news sources on Russia. The website provides a table of contents of the daily email and selected articles, but the email provides the full text of between 10 and 50 articles daily on all aspects of Russia: including foreign and domestic policy, daily life, politics, public opinion, and culture. (Information about obtaining an email subscription is available from David Johnson <David Johnson through davidjohnson[AT]starpower.net>.

Johnson has been putting the list together since 1996 and is based  at the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at George Washington University. During the recent crisis in Ukraine, the list has attracted criticism for including Russian news sources as well as others sympathetic to the Russian point of view. Johnson includes those sources (as he has since starting this service) to provide a voice to opinions often not found in the U.S. news media. I think that the scope of the list would be very daunting for the great majority of high school students and requires the ability to separate the wheat from the chaff. On the other hand, teachers could find great content there and choose a small selection to present to students.

Why I like it and think you might find it interesting:

  1. If you follow Russia, it would take hours to discover all of the resources the David Johnson puts in his emails. The daily email comes with a table of contents or forty or so articles. It’s easy to scan and decide what you are interested in reading.
  2. In addition to many different takes on the hottest political issues of the day, there are frequently interesting articles on Russian culture, history, and society. There’s a handy dropdown menu that allows you to search the massive archives by category.
  3. Russian sources often have a very different take on events in Ukraine or Syria, for example. These disparate viewpoints are extremely interesting and important to consider when thinking about some these pressing foreign policy problems.

RussiaCoverChoices Program Resource

Russia’s Transformation: Challenges for U.S. Policy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

South Africa: News Engagement Series #1

October 6 is National News Engagement Day, a day when “everyone is encouraged to read, watch, like, tweet, post, text, email, listen to, or comment on news.”

News and the media is a vital part of social studies education today, which is why The Choices Program does our best to get current affairs content available for teachers to use in their classrooms. Our Current Issues Series deals with some of the most important challenges facing the world today, encouraging students to consider the decisions made by policy makers and citizens in facing a changing future. We also produce Teaching With The News lessons to address situations as we see them come into the focus of the media.

For the week of National News Engagement Day, some of the Choices staff will be sharing the news-related resources they use to inform and inspire their work.

Danielle Johnstone, Program Associate, Writing Team

My recommendation for a news-related resource:
The Mail & Guardian Online


What it is:
The Mail & Guardian is a South African newspaper. The website reports on National (South African), African and World news. M&G also runs various blogs and a center for investigative journalism.


Why I like it and think you might find it interesting:

  1. M&G should definitely be bookmarked if you are teaching about South Africa. The journalists reporting on national issues often make strong historical connections, particularly to the apartheid era and the challenges it has caused for contemporary South Africa.
  2. I like to visit the M&G world news section to be aware of how news outlets outside of the United States are covering U.S. and international issues. Often M&G will be covering issues or situations that have been ignored by the U.S. media. Sometimes they cover issues that have dominated U.S. and European news with a different (perhaps more nuanced) perspective. M&G’s coverage of African issues, in particular, tends to be remarkably different to what you will see on the BBC or New York Times.
  3. The M&G Thought Leader blog by Mandela-Rhodes scholars is a gem. The contributing writers are young South Africans who are/were recipients of the Mandela-Rhodes Scholarship, and they express their opinions about things happening in South Africa and beyond. Not only are the posts engaging and well-written, they also show how young people in South Africa are grappling with many of the same issues facing their counterparts in the U.S. and beyond—race, violence, injustice, an intimidating economy. Reading the blog is an excellent way to challenge stereotypes; it encourages readers to recognize that young people in the developing world are not just victims but are also educated, thoughtful, and facing complex questions about their world and their futures.

Bonus:
For a sample of M&G’s arts and culture reporting, check out this article on musician and composer  “Mac” McKenzie and his innovative impact on South African music.


Choices Program resource:
Freedom in Our Lifetime: South Africa’s Struggle

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