Discussions about Current Events: What Can Young People Do?
Every day there are opportunities to discuss our role in civil society and decide whether and how to get involved in current events. At Learning to Give, we want to help students learn and practice taking action for the common good—yes, this too is philanthropy. This page provides tools and tips related to current events. Look here to involve your students' voice and action to make a difference.
From holidays to elections to triumphs to tragedies, there is always something going on that can spark conversations about what we can do as informed, responsible and generous students.
Find tips and resources about addressing challenging issues in the classroom. Follow these guidelines to establish a safe environment, promote respectful dialogue, back up arguments with facts, and talk about news and current events with students: Difficult Conversations
Help your students evaluate the roles of media, bias, “facts”, and critical thinking related to current events and controversial topics: Media Literacy Tips
Today's Current Event: School Shootings and Gun Regulations
With Summer right around the corner it is important to give students something to think about, and maybe even advocate or take action with, as they round out one school year and prepare for another.
We are all connected in a global community and the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) call us as global citizens to action to make a better future for everyone. In order to be successful in reaching these goals, all citizens need to be aware of what the issues are and ways to take action.
Before exposing your students to all 17 new Sustainable Development goals, facilitate a discussion about how Peace – the 16thglobal goal relates to the issue of gun violence and school shootings.
- Peace is defined as what is necessary in order to foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies which are free from fear and violence.
- According to the SDGs, there can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable development.
Teacher Training Corner: This SDG focused mini-course is FREE. It will introduce you to the 17 SDGs and help you explore ways to bring the goals to life in the classroom. *Participants earn certificates that may be applied toward professional CPE credits.
To get students thinking "big" and "beyond themselves" introduce them to exploring this topic using the Blue Sky Envisioning Activity. Ask the questions, “What is good/what do you like about our global community?" and "What needs to be improved?"
Additional Philanthropy Conversations and Skills
Advocacy is a a form of social action and philanthropy (taking action for the common good)
- Defining Violence: Lesson Plan
- Making Our Voices Heard: Lesson Plan
- Citizen Participation: Lesson Plan
- Resolving Conflict with Respect: Lesson Plan
- Characteristics of Advocates: Handout
- Survey about Advocacy Style: Handout
Social Action Ideas
- Host a World Café Conversation (“engaging people in conversations that matter”) for your school/community. Here are some free World Café resources.
- Be an advocate for your POV: Share carefully researched facts and possible solutions with your network and local government.
- Use and teach listening skills to find common ground as you have difficult conversations about issues with strong differences of opinion. We are more alike than different.
- Bring community awareness to your students' work by using this step-by-step media and timeline guide.
- CDC Data and Statistics on Violence: Data Sheet
- Data and background pieces about children and gun violence from The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence
- Mapped locations and descriptions of school shootings in America since 2013 from Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund
- Guns and the Second Amendment is one of many controversial topics covered at ProCon a site for "promoting critical thinking, education, and informed citizenship by presenting controversial issues in a straightforward, nonpartisan, and primarily pro-con format." Check out Teacher’s Corner section.
- Recent polling on gun control from Quinnipiac and the Pew Research Center
In the News
- Resources for Teaching and Talking About the Florida School Shooting from the New York Times—includes article links, video clips and prompt questions for your students (NYT, 2018)
- Charlottesville Violence Highlights Struggle Between Civil Rights and Safety (NPR story, 2017)
- Limiting Access to Guns for Mentally Ill Is Complicated (NYT, 2018)
- In Michigan: Will the Florida massacre revive stalled safety legislation and where the candidates for governor stand on the proposal (BridgeMI, 2018)
- Can the Parkland Survivors Inspire a New Focus on Civics Education? (Education Week, 2018)