Social Studies Lessons

A good question to ask when reading news stories in “Why is it news?” Explain to students that each day, newspaper editors around the world make decisions about which stories they will publish. Stories make it into newspapers for many different reasons. Invite students to look at the stories that have made the front page during the last few days and to talk about why each of those stories made headlines. Among the reasons students might come up with are these:

* Timeliness -- News that is happening right now, news of interest to readers right now.

* Relevance -- The story happened nearby or is about a concern of local interest.

* Magnitude -- The story is great in size or number; for example, a tornado that destroys a couple houses might not make the news but a story about a tornado that devastates a community would be very newsworthy.

* Unexpectedness -- Something unusual, or something that occurs without warning.

* Impact -- News that will affect a large number of readers.

* Reference to someone famous or important -- News about a prominent person or personality.

* Oddity -- A unique or unusual situation.

* Conflict -- A major struggle in the news.

* Reference to something negative -- Bad news often "sells" better than good news.

* Continuity -- A follow-up or continuation to a story that has been in the news or is familiar.

* Emotions -- Emotions (such as fear, jealousy, love, or hate) increase interest in a story.

*Progress -- News of new hope, new achievement, new improvements.

Common Core Standard: analyzing in detail


This is Geography Awareness Week. Begin by providing students with the definition of geography. Geography is the study of places and the relationships between people and their environments. The theme this year is "Igniting the Spirit of Exploration." Write the theme on the board and invite students to brainstorm what it means to explore. Invite them to peruse the news to find examples of exploration including people who explore and also the exploration of ideas or places. Students should write essays about why exploration matters and cite examples.