As teachers, we often wonder how we can make our students more discernible citizens while adhering to a syllabus. Citizenry in our current moment is of the utmost importance and, as ENG112 instructors, we have a tool that can help us stay with the goals of our syllabus while helping our students become more discerning.
I’m talking about that Annotated Bibliography unit with a slight re-branding.
Reformatting Annotated Bibliography For News Summary:
This assignment came as a way to make my students read more. They started the semester joking about fake news and I used their humor as a way to pose the question: What is fake news?
None had an answer.
I told my students that, for extra credit, they should read one news article a day and talk about it with me. I had no idea how to track their progress, but I knew reading and about the news would make them more discerning with the right assignment. I remembered our Annotated Bibliography unit plan and reformatted that idea as a trackable assignment to help my students with this project.
Here were my terms:
- News link appears at the top (Dated).
- 20-25 words stating the links credibility and how they came to that conclusion.
- 20-25 words summarizing the article (NPR News summary was my example).
- A brief sentence or two saying what this article taught them.
This was the easiest way to make an assignment as far as format was concerned. Once these terms were laid out, my students went at it with a surprising vigor. On semester’s end, I was given an average of sixteen news summary pages, each entry more succinct than the last.
News Round Up And How To Make It Better:
The students who actively participated in this project made tremendous strides in their classroom participation and how they analyzed texts assigned. I noticed, too, the research paper and annotated bibliography lessons (from where the project format came) were easier to go over.
As far as critique and implementing this as a full on project, checking progress and unpacking where the information was coming from as well as how they were interacting with the material would be paramount to further success. For an extra credit assignment, I am happy with the work my students have done and the strides made toward being more discerning citizens.