Welcome to Class News Meeting, a place for elementary school teachers to learn about journalism so they can discuss the news with their students.
What is a class news meeting? Essentially, just a time set aside to talk about what’s going on in the world, usually based on articles read in a newspaper. These discussions are not uncommon in high school. But they’re less common in elementary school, even though this is the time students are becoming more aware of the world and their role in it.
I am a former national news reporter turned teacher. I started holding daily news meetings with my fourth-, fifth- and sixth-students a few years ago, and it transformed my classroom. Simply discussing the news every day — hearing and talking about what was going on in the world — helped my students feel less isolated, more aware and more willing to engage.
I’d love for all students in about fourth grade and above to have a place to have these discussions. But that’s not easy. How do you talk to kids about events that even adults sometimes can’t understand? How much information is too much? Should there be limits on what elementary school students are told and can discuss?
These are important questions for teachers to ask before they start having these conversations. I’d like to provide a forum for that.
Even more importantly, I recognize that I came into my own class news meetings with a clear advantage over most teachers: my journalism experience and first-hand understanding of how reporters do their jobs. And so I’d like to share information about how newspapers work, the role of the media in our society, who reporters are and what they really do. I’ll help you figure out ways to teach the same things to your students.
On the blog, I’ll share details of my own daily news meetings, starting with advice about how to begin. And to really help you get started, each day of the school year I’ll let you know what stories I plan to discuss, then fill you in on how it went, what worked and what didn’t. You can share details of your own news meetings, offer ideas, or ask questions.
I’m hoping we can become a community that grows together and supports each other as we have these important, but difficult, conversations with our students, helping them understand and impact the world around them.
(If you’d like to support this work with a sponsorship, you can make a monthly pledge of $5 or more at my Patreon page.)