By Lisa Sutterer
Geography, World History and Early High School Teacher
Littleton High School
“Why is starting class so difficult each day?” I recently reflected after a tough week. My 9th and 11th grade students alike kept forgetting to make the pencil and binder they recently shoved into their backpack reappear on their desk. I got tired of droning, “Hey guys…it’s time to start class…you need to take out…” You get the picture.
Considering this, I noticed that each of my classes started out with a different task each day. I didn’t have a consistent, classic “Bell Ringer” to generate routine and transition to learning. Enter CNN10 Student News (https://www.cnn.com/cnn10). Many middle school teachers are aware of the strength of this “straight down the middle” current events news source, and show it religiously. Historically, I had my 9th grade World history classes watch it occasionally, but never would I show it to my 11th grade IB European history classes My rationale: 1) It will take too much class time, and we have lots of content to cover, and 2) It might feel “too juvenile” for upperclassmen. This year, I decided to gamble against both of those doubts. I decided to take the plunge and commit to showing CNN10 at the beginning of class EVERY DAY, WITH EVERY CLASS.
I created a note catcher that has students record both FACTS and REFLECTIONS. At the end of ten minutes, I can choose to have them turn and talk about their reflections or move on. When they arrive at class, they instantly get out their note catcher and record the headlines. I press play, they take notes, I get attendance done, pass out papers, and all is well with the world. This routine has served as a wonderful regulator…a chance for both teacher and students to transition into the day’s agenda with content that is relevant and trustworthy. And my juniors are just as engaged in the content as my freshman!
CLICK THIS LINK if interested in purchasing a CNN10 note catcher.