What's the News?
  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Define philanthropy as the giving and sharing of time, talent, or treasure intended for the common good.

Students are introduced to the concept of current events. Current events are placed on a timeline and become a part of their daily routine. This builds a sense of time, chronological order and news events over the course of the school year. Students also become familiar with the purpose of news and the contents of a newspaper in particular looking for articles based on Acts of Philanthropy. Parents are encouraged to share news stories with their children.

PrintTwo Forty-Five Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • define news and current events.
  • illustrate the concept of past, present and future.
  • recognize that "news" is a service that helps people understand the world and prepare for the day.
  • place events on a timeline.
  • create and maintain a current events journal to be used throughout the year.
  • observe and create illustrations for events throughout the year.
  • Fake microphone (a tube with a ball on top is sufficient)
  • Large, white paper and crayons
  • Samples of newspapers/newsletters: classroom, school and community news
  • Read aloud copy of The Furry News: How to Make a Newspaper (see Bibliographical References)
  • Internet access
  • Student copies of (Handout One: Current Events Journal)
  • Letter to families (Handout Two: Current Events Articles)
  • Blank timeline for the classroom wall (large enough for illustrated events to be visible from a distance)
Home Connection: 

Interactive Parent / Student Homework:Send a letter home asking families to look for kid-friendly current events articles. Encourage families to look particularly for articles about people helping others. See Handout Two: Current Events Articles.

  • Leedy, Loreen. The Furry News: How to Make a Newspaper. Holiday House, 1993. ISBN: 0823410269
  • Gibbons, Gail. Deadline! From News to Newspaper. HaperCollins, 1987. ISBN: 0690046022
  • Time Magazine for Children www.timeforkids.com (for second grade and up)
  1. Day One:Anticipatory Set:Use a fake microphone to make a brief news report of current events in the classroom, school, community and world. Include some events from the recent past, the present and the future (forecasts). Use the rhythm, vocabulary and enunciation of a reporter.

  2. Explain that you were giving a news report of current events. Define the term current events as things presently happening in the community or world. Define news as significant new information shared with others. This news can be about past, present or future events.

  3. Ask the students to recall some of the features of your news report. Write down their observations and guide the discussion with the following questions:

    1. How was the information I gave you helpful?
    2. Which of the events I described were from the past, which were in the present, and which were in the future? What do those terms mean?
    3. What vocabulary made it sound like a news report and not just typical classroom talk?
    4. Where might you hear (or read) a news report?
    5. How do we get our classroom and school news?
  4. Discuss the importance of knowing about what is going on in your community (and world). Lead the students to recognize that "news" is a service that helps people understand the world and prepare for the day (or future).

  5. Tell the students that they are going to make a simple news report including an event from the past, an event from the present and an event in the future. These events may be personal or from the classroom, community or world. Pass out paper to students and tell them to fold it into three panels. In the first panel, tell them to illustrate (and label) a significant event from the past. In the second panel they illustrate an event from the present. The third panel is for a future event. (e.g. My aunt flew to Greece last week. The road to school is torn up for construction. Tomorrow the school talent show tryouts will be held.)

  6. Give students time to practice with a partner before they describe their illustrated news report to the whole class. Encourage them to use the vocabulary of a news report. Refer to their observations of your news report.

  7. Day Two:

  8. Visit the Time for Kids Website with the students. Point out the organization of the information: current news is reported in general categories (world, sports, entertainment, etc.) Read an article together and ask the students to verbally recall the important facts (who, what, where, when and why).

  9. Distribute examples of newspapers and newsletters and ask the students to observe the parts of the paper, the organization and the design. Call attention to the purpose of the different parts: to entertain, inform, persuade and communicate about events. Students may volunteer to read the comics and short articles aloud and identify the purpose.

  10. Discuss what information is provided in a newsletter or newspaper and review why that information is important to its readers. What would the world be like without news?

  11. Read aloud Furry News: How to Make a Newspaper by Loreen Leedy. This may inspire the students to make their own classroom newsletter (see Extension). It also will help students understand the parts of the paper.

  12. Day Three:

  13. Read aloud an article from the local newspaper telling about a current event that is meaningful to the students (look for one related to an act of philanthropy). In response, the students summarize the important facts: who, what, where, when and why. You may do this on a piece of chart paper as a whole class or have students record these facts in their current events journal. See Handout One: Current Events Journal. They should also illustrate the main idea from the article.

  14. Draw—or ask one student to draw—a simple illustration of the article (main idea). Place the illustration on a large timeline that will be used throughout the year. The dates of the timeline can go back several months and should go forward to the end of the school year (and beyond). Explain the timeline and show the students where the present day is. Talk about why you placed the article where you did on the timeline.

  15. Tell the students that they will continue to fill up the timeline with illustrations and labels of other events throughout the year. Tell them they may bring in interesting articles of current events at any time. See School/Home Connection for information about getting articles for current events. Make the current events articles (and journal and timeline) part of your weekly routine.


Observe student participation in discussions. Student journals should include a picture of the main idea of the article and list the five Ws. Rubric for student news reports (Day One) has six possible points: Report includes illustrations that clearly show what the event is. The illustrations include labels. There is an illustration of an event from the past. There is an illustration of an event in the present. There is an illustration of an event in the future. The events are significant to others.