The Current Events extensions make direct connections to today’s news. The Current Events section of this Web site provides lesson strategies designed to help students compare the past with the present and allow the past to inform decisions made for the future. Regular updates ensure that students will always have genuine Current Events connections. Each topic includes links to relevant news articles and a lesson strategy for addressing the issue in the classroom. The lessons can be used in conjunction with The Idea of America curriculum or on their own. If a teacher uses The Idea of America, he or she can access the Current Events extension through the link provided in the case study. Teachers can also search for Current Events lessons by keyword or browse the chronological list of case studies.
The Virtual Republic is a place for students to discuss and debate with other students from across the country. When students finish a Current Events lesson, they write a “We believe . . .” statement, which is a declaration of where they stand on the issue addressed by the lesson. Students can use the Virtual Republic to comment and vote on “We believe . . .” statements for other classes. Once students receive support for their statement, they are encouraged to take action in their own communities. The Virtual Republic can be used in conjunction with The Idea of America or on its own. However, it should be used to follow up on one of the Current Events lessons or other teacher-directed current events discussion in the classroom. The Virtual Republic can be used many ways. Teachers can divide their class into multiple groups or one single group and they can schedule the debate to last for a week, a month, or a whole semester. It’s up to them!
The Teachers' Forum is a section of this Web site for teachers. Each teacher can create a profile and use the forum to connect with other teachers, share ideas, or find a class to debate in the Virtual Republic.