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.
Today's Current Event: School Shootings and Gun Regulations
- Learning to Give lesson plan: Defining Violence
- 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
- Learning to Give lesson plan Resolving Conflict with Respect
Philanthropy Conversations and Skills
Advocacy is a a form of social action and philanthropy (taking action for the common good)
- Making Our Voices Heard: Lesson Plan
- Citizen Participation: Lesson Plan
- Sustainable Development Goals and Youth Action: a Learning to Give mini-course for teachers
- Characteristics of Advocates: Handout
- Survey about Advocacy Style: Handout
- Tips for talking about current events: Blog
Media Literacy Tips
“How do you get your voice heard in a noisy world?” Take this opportunity to raise the following questions with your students:
- Why does the media pick certain stories and not others?
- Do different types of media cover issues differently? How?
- Is it important for the media to cover “both sides” of a story? Should/does the media ever advocate for a position?
- What are examples of issues and stories to which the media has brought attention that were then acted upon by advocates of social change?
- How can the media help make a difference and affect change?
- How can youth students influence media coverage?
- What is the role of social media? How can you constructively and effectively use social media? Which types of social media are the most effective with younger audiences?
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.
- And bring community awareness to your students' work by using this step-by-step media and timeline guide.
In the News
- Charlottesville Violence Highlights Struggle Between Civil Rights and Safety (NPR story, 2017)
- Limiting Access to Guns for Mentally Ill Is Complicated (NYT, 2018)
- 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)
- 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)