Design Lessons to Include Current Events
This morning a teacher in New York texted me excited about finding a website that uses real data to allow people to track the fire spreading each day. This week I was working with a college student using the math program ALEKS. One of the many frustrations I had with the program was the lack of “who cares.” The problems had fake contexts that students would not relate to. It’s hard for learning to be sticky when you don’t care about it.
The Fall of Newspapers
How do our students know what is going on in the world? I personally do not subscribe to the newspaper anymore (it never came on time and other delivery issues along with the increase in cost and reduction in newspaper size ultimately caused me to discontinue.) So how do my own children know what is in the news? I have Google Now on my phone and it suggests news articles to me, that I read, and bring up in conversation. Although, the bias of the filtered news feed does bother me. I digress, not important to my point. California is on fire right now! It is BAD! For students not living in the middle of this disaster (ie: students in New York) how will they know this is happening, understand the scope of the problem, and build empathy for what is occurring?
Textbooks Do Not Update
When something is in the news textbooks (physical, digital, or canned online curriculum) do not update for what is happening in the world. This is one of many reasons a highly qualified teacher is essential! Modifying the lesson in the textbook to incorporate real things happening in the world builds context for students, makes them better citizens, helps them to be better informed about the world around them, and hopefully helps them build empathy for others.
Increase the DOK
DOK 1 is memorize answers, steps, and procedures. DOK 4 is when students can apply what they’ve learned to a new situation. No matter the subject area, how can we utilize this fire tracker website to teach our learning objectives this week?
Contribute your brainstorms for how you can have students use this data.