Tag Archives: document analysis

Informed Citizenship: Analyzing Bias in Current Events

The following is a guest post from Basehor-Linwood Middle School teacher Joe Zlatnik.  Joe teaches 8th grade social studies at BLMS.

news1The concept of citizenship can be found throughout various social studies curricula. KSDE social studies standards are designed to “prepare students to be informed, thoughtful, engaged citizens…” and the National Council for the Social Studies C3 curriculum seeks to offer opportunities “for students to develop as thoughtful, engaged citizens.”

However, the steps to becoming a citizen are not clearly outlined. It is as if you become a citizen as a byproduct of going through these prescribed curriculums. I argue that one will not simply become an engaged citizen by completing a curriculum, but that students also need to have a way to decipher the ever-changing world we live in.

Being an engaged citizen today is, perhaps, more difficult now than it has ever been. The CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite has given way to Fox News and MSNBC. We now live in a world with a 24-hour news cycle, multiple cable news channels, and a bias that is inherent in almost all the information that we receive.

As reporting has been replaced by editorializing, we find ourselves struggling to formulate our own opinions due to being overwhelmed by talking heads from across the political spectrum telling us what we should think. Developing a sense of citizenship amongst students, while daunting, is now more important than ever.

Continue reading Informed Citizenship: Analyzing Bias in Current Events

Chicken Foot

A great activity I like to use with my students is called “Chicken Foot”.

  1. They love the name.
  2. It’s a good way to teach students to pick out the main points of a text, primary source document, picture, etc.

I learned this strategy at a Pre-AP Summer Institute I went to in 2010 in Norman, Oklahoma. After viewing the document, students write the main idea on the “leg”, then they pick three points or elements of the text that the students feel are super important and that everyone needs to know about the document. They write the three main points on the “toes” (if that’s what they are!). Continue reading Chicken Foot