February 2014

New Tool for Teachers to Prove Ethics is Newsworthy

Santa Clara, Calif., Feb. 5, 2014-- Remember the days when you cut an article you didn’t understand very well out of the daily newspaper and brought it to share during “Current Events” at school? Those days are over.

Newsworthy, a free daily e-newspaper produced by the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University, provides students and teachers with a daily compendium of news stories culled from different publications.

More important, Newsworthy helps students understand current events by providing a daily lesson plan for middle or secondary school teachers that “highlights the ethical issues behind the headlines,” says Steve Johnson, director of character education at the Ethics Center. Within a single week, students may delve into ethical issues around international diplomacy, local government, or new technology, to name a few.

Newsworthy responds to changes in the language arts brought about by the new national core curriculum. Under the new core, English teachers will have to add informational texts to the literature they have been teaching. Newsworthy offers a step-by-step guide to teaching news articles while meeting the core standards.

The program also fills a gap identified by principals when Ethics Center staff visited schools that use the Center’s popular Character-Based Literacy (CBL) Curriculum. Tom Kostic, CBL field program coordinator, explains: “A lot of principals want to do something about character education, and they also want to do something useful with the time kids spend in homeroom or advisory period. Right now, everybody just sits there.”

Newsworthy allows homeroom teachers to make better use of that time by engaging young people in a discussion about current events and the ethical issues they raise.

Each daily plan deals with:

  • Outcomes
  • Words and Ideas
  • Story Comprehension
  • Analysis
  • Writing

Teachers can use Newsworthy with any relevant course, start at any time, and fit the material as they choose into their curriculum. For instance, a social studies instructor may center a whole period around the daily topic, or an English teacher can devote a portion of one class to the issue, while a teacher’s aide can make this the focus of study hour in between classes.

The material uses the techniques of the CBL Curriculum and is already in use by CBL subscribers. Anyone can subscribe to Newsworthy free of charge. The development of Newsworthy was supported by a grant from the Markkula Family Foundation.

Media Contact: Marika E. Krause mekrause@scu.edu 408-554-5126

markkula,character based literacy,CBL