American Issues Mr. bretzmann

Hi. It's Jason Bretzmann again from your student's American Issues class. Just wanted to give you a quick update. Students did a great job collecting evidence, and using their evidence to make the argument that there are events happening in the world that we should know about. Of course, in order to make that argument, they had to learn about the events that were happening in the world! And we asked students to consider what kind of news they were reading. While there is nothing wrong with local news, or stories that some would consider "not newsworthy" (e.g. "New York's Coolest Hotels"), we asked students to focus on the reporting on events that are "PIN worthy." We mean the stories are focused on Political/governmental decision-making, Impact on many people, and have a National/international focus. Please see the image below.

Students created a variety of products to show their evidence, and explain their arguments that there are events happening that we should know about. I'm still looking at their great work! I hope you'll ask your student to share with you what they created, and discuss why they chose the evidence they did.

Students explain to each other why more than one source of news is a good idea, and support their claim with evidence.

Students then got to choose which stories were the most important as we began the week by voting in our "dotstorming" activity. We also annotated several news articles, and tried to read for words that indicated the tone the author was using in the article. We noticed that some authors and media outlets include a lot of words that convey a positive or negative tone. And to add even more excitement. students got a FedEx assignment. With a few minutes left in class, a FedEx envelope showed up with an assignment that students had a few minutes to work on in class, and then they had to "deliver over night!" The next day they were ready to answer the question, "Should U.S. citizens get their news from a variety of sources, or is one enough?" Upon arriving to class, students were assigned an area, and then they got multiple opportunities to state their answer, share their evidence, and explain why their evidence supported their answer. Great conversations everywhere in the classroom. It was phenomenal to hear all students share what they know, and make great arguments backed up by their evidence. Students who rarely talk in the big group environment found their voice, and made articulate and compelling arguments. Impressive. I couldn't have been happier with the way they all stepped up and "delivered."

We have now started to investigate the things that energize us, and the things we care about in the world ("Passion Project"), and we are also starting to explore the concept of political ideology. But more about those topics next time.

Thanks for taking the time to look at this brief newsletter. I look forward to the weeks ahead. Please email me at with any questions. Take care. Jason

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