Three great news websites for kids

BTN:  Behind the News

This has a wealth of video news.  Yes it is Australian but does an excellent job of covering globa newsl events as well.





Time for Kids

science news for kidsWithin the mainstream news, Time is well-known as one of the most reliable media sources in the world. Time magazine has covered famous events and people throughout the decades.

At the Time for Kids website, kids will find the same level of current news reporting, but with a slant toward what kids are most interested in. With more news stories than most other sites, Time for Kids is the place for students that are truly interested in keeping up with current events



On this site from the BBC, kids can read the news and even hear some of the stories. The entire site is devoted to kids and even includes a section on what to do if the news is upsetting. It includes sections on the UK, world, sprots, music, TV/Film, Animals, Sci/Tech, Weather, Pictures and a fun find out section where you can learn more about subjects in the news.

Start your own classroom news channel with Newsmaker

First off as I don't usually promote paid software unless it is really worth spending money let me say that Newsmaker is not free. 

What is it?  Newsmaker is a new program I purchased for our school in 2010 as we have been exploring setting up our own classroom radio and television stations and it is really a brilliant software package that we are using on an almost daily basis of late to achieve this goal.

Newsmaker compiles the process of scripting, teleprompting and recording your literacy session into a full blown video news story all within the one program with ease. 

If you are using a laptop or desktop with a webcam and microphone then you are good to go straight away.  You can either import text or write it within the program and then Newsmaker will set up a Teleprompter for you to read as it records you doing this.

My only complaint is that Newsmaker soes not offer built in chroma - keying for Green Screen users or the ability to add titles or credits. 

You can do all of this yourself of course with other video editing packages after you have finished with newsmaker but it could be achieved all within the one program.

How can I use this in the classroom?  Newsmaker could be used in nearly any form of literacy and if you are stuck for ideas elsewhere there are lesson plans located on the newsmaker site itself.

All in all Newsmaker has been a real winner with students and staff and you can download a 30 day trial here.  Pricing will vary depending on location but it was definitely a cheaper option in comparison to some other educational packages out there.

How Earthquakes Happen - Great Lesson idea from the BBC

What is it?  Following last weeks disastrous events in Haiti, Earthquakes may have been a topic of discussion in your classroom either in terms of humanitarian relief or actually enquiring about the physical causes and effects of Earthquakes.

The BBC has a brilliant brief animated sideshow that explains the causes and effects of Earthquakes which makes a very complex issue seem very simple.  It is also available in a printable PDF format if you so desire to use as handouts. 

How can I use this in my classroom?  Here is a great link to a BBC News Article on the Haiti Earthquakes explaining the turn of events along with a video clip.  (please note that the clip may not be appropriate for all students due to it's graphic nature - use at your own discretion.) Ask you students what they know about Earthquakes and why they occur?

Brainstorm class ideas on the board and then share the BBC Earthquake Explanation animation.

Discuss how some countries on fault lines will always be subject to Earthquakes in the future and how they can also cause Tsunami's and spread danger far wider than just the centre of the quake.  Ask students what can be done in these areas to minimise the effects of Earthquakes?

Students can then record their knowledge of Earthquakes either in whatever format you desire.  Write a survival story based on their knowledge learnt or research some famous Earthquakes from the Past.

Finally it would be great if you could brainstorm a class or school fundraiser that could help the victims of the Earthquake in Haiti.

Look forward to hearning of any great lesson ideas you have realted to the Earthquakes.