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CURRENT EVENTS & MASS MEDIA

In this course we will take a historical and contemporary look at issues in international politics, the global economy, and popular culture.This course provides students an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the issues that frequent newspapers, television news, and other popular media and fuel the controversies that both divide our population here in the United States and around the globe. 

Course Objectives:

  • become more aware of the major issues of the day and become more informed citizens
  • be able to conduct research on current event topics using reliable websites and other sources 
  • form, support and express views and opinions on the major issues
  • learn to tolerate and coexist with people possessing viewpoints and beliefs that differ from their own
  • become more aware of media bias and become more media-literate
The abundance of information in our world today can be overwhelming, especially when we do not realize that some sources are more dependable than others. It is easy to be misled when we do not take time to explore issues with care.

Key Questions:
What information can we trust?

How do we know what is right or wrong?
Are we able to see truth in many viewpoints, while realizing that not all opinions are equal?


DATECLASS CALENDAR / INFORMATION
Wednesday
September 5
TOPIC: Introduction to CURRENT EVENTS & MASS MEDIA

CLASS PRESENTATION: A Sampling of Websites

- ProCon.org
- Global Issues
-
Huffington Post vs. Drudge Report
- AND
The Onion (which people believe more often than you might expect) 
Thursday
September 6
FRIDAY CLASS SCHEDULE
TOPIC: What is MEDIA LITERACY?

CLASS PRESENTATION:
1.
The Illusion of Choice
2.
MEDIA LITERACY

DAILY ASSIGNMENT:
Current Events ANALYSIS
Friday
September 7
TOPIC: Current Events ANALYSIS

CLASS PRESENTATION: MEDIA LITERACY

DAILY ASSIGNMENT: Current Events ANALYSIS

Proposed Topic - Recent Documentary: Frontline, OUR MAN IN TEHERAN
- Check out website
- Email me (by end of study hall on Sunday evening) your vote - Yes OR No
Monday
September 10
TOPIC: News - Knowledge - Perspective ... How Accurate Is Our Perception?

CLASS PRESENTATION: Frontline, OUR MAN IN TEHERAN - Part 1

ASSIGNMENT: Keep a list of topics (interesting? confusing? inspirational? disturbing?) from the documentary that we can discuss when done.
Tuesday
September 11
NO CLASS
Wednesday September 12TOPIC: News - Knowledge - Perspective ... How Accurate Is Our Perception?

CLASS PRESENTATION: Frontline, OUR MAN IN TEHERAN - Part 1

ASSIGNMENT: Keep a list of topics (interesting? confusing? inspirational? disturbing?) from the documentary that we can discuss when done.

MOVIE TRIP??? - Currents Events + World Cultures classes to see Crazy Rich Asians (leave 5:50/return 9:00)  
Thursday
September 13
**TOPIC: News - Knowledge - Perspective ... How Accurate Is Our Perception?

CLASS PRESENTATION: Frontline, OUR MAN IN TEHERAN - Part 2

ASSIGNMENT: Keep a list of topics (interesting? confusing? inspirational? disturbing?) from the documentary that we can discuss when done. 
Friday
September 14
TOPIC: News - Knowledge - Perspective ... How Accurate Is Our Perception?

CLASS PRESENTATION: Frontline, OUR MAN IN TEHERAN - Part 2 
Monday
September 17
TOPIC: News - Knowledge - Perspective ... How Accurate Is Our Perception?

CLASS ACTIVITY: De-briefing - Crazy Rich Asians & OUR MAN IN TEHERAN

DAILY ASSIGNMENT: Current Events ANALYSIS

NEXT TOPIC? Vote for: CONTENT (specific event in the news - give 2-3 choices) OR PROCESS (how the media works AND works on us)
Tuesday
September 18
NO CLASS
Wednesday September 19TOPIC: What is MEDIA LITERACY?

CLASS PRESENTATION:
1. Crash Course in Media Literacy #1 - Introduction to Media Literacy
2. 
MEDIA LITERACY

ASSIGNMENT - Check out these YouTube clips (internet permitting):
1.
History of Media Literacy, Part 1 - Crash Course in Media Literacy #2
2. History of Media Literacy, Part 2 - Crash Course in Media Literacy #3  
Thursday
September 20
**TOPIC: What Shapes your PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE?

CLASS ACTIVITY:
1. Who Would You Kill? - Test your moral intuitions
2. Follow-up to the Trolley Problem - Should You Kill the Backpacker?
3. Would You Eat Your Cat?
4. Staying Alive

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: Submit a brief reaction to each game/experiment  
Friday
September 21
TOPIC: What Shapes your PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE?

CLASS ACTIVITY:
1.
Integrity and Work Ethics Test (20 minutes)
2. The Moral Sense Test: Disgust/Social/Morality/Judge/Psycho/Judge
3. LONG Integrity and Work Ethics Test  (60 minutes)

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: Submit a brief reaction to each game/experiment  
Monday
September 24
TOPIC: #MeToo Movement

CLASS PRESENTATION:
1. The Long Battle Against Sexual Harassment
2. Video Clip - Why Hasn't Sexual Harassment Disappeared?
3.
Video Clip - #MeToo: Women Share Stories of Sexual Harassment

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: DUE AT START OF CLASS ON WEDNESDAY
1. READ - #MeToo Floods Social Media With Stories of Harassment and Assault
2. Your Opinion - What Is Your Reaction to the #MeToo Movement?
Tuesday
September 25
NO CLASS
Wednesday September 26TOPIC: The Kavanaugh Nomination

CLASS PRESENTATION:
1. Anyone Who Claims to Know What Happens Next Is Lying (from Esquire magazine website!)
2. When the Muzzle Comes Off
Thursday
September 27
**TOPIC: The Kavanaugh Hearings
Friday
September 28
TOPIC: The Kavanaugh Hearings 
Monday
October 1
TOPIC: The Butterfly Effect of the Kavanaugh Nomination-Hearings-Investigation

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT - READ:
1.
Blasey Ford, White Male Privilege and the Reckoning to Come
2. How We Know Kavanaugh Is Lying OR I have a podcast with a 35-40 minute interview with the author, if you would like to listen to that.
Tuesday
October 2
NO CLASS
Wednesday
October 3
TOPIC: WHERE ARE WE WITH EVERYTHING GOING ON?!?
Thursday
October 4
**TOPIC: How the "MEDIA" Work

CLASS PRESENTATION: The Fourth Estate, Episode 4 - Matters of Fact
Friday
October 5
TOPIC: Media Shaping Perspectives

Plan A (internet permitting) - iCivics: NewsFeed Defenders
 

Plan B - If the World were 100 PEOPLE ...
Monday
October 8
TOPIC: Current Events ANALYSIS

CLASS PRESENTATION:
1. Kavanaugh Sworn In As Supreme Court Justice
2. 
JUSTICE KAVANAUGH [Last Week tonight with John Oliver]

MAYBE A FUTURE TOPIC? The Authoritarians Are on Parade, All Over the World (The Unthinkable Is Becoming Normal)

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: Connecting the PRESENT and the FUTURE ProjectDUE AT START OF CLASS ON MONDAY 
Tuesday
October 9
NO CLASS
Wednesday
October 10
TESTING: PSATs in MORNING

Community Service in AFTERNOON
Thursday
October 11
ARIZONA STATE FAIR 
Friday
October 12
Mr. Leyden
TOPIC: Current Events ANALYSIS

Plan A - Work on Connecting the PRESENT and the FUTURE ProjectDUE AT START OF CLASS ON MONDAY
Plan B - Discuss This Week's Headlines with Mr. Leyden

Plan C (internet permitting) - iCivics: NewsFeed Defenders   
Monday
October 15
TOPIC: Current Events ANALYSIS - Catching Up on the last week of political, environmental, economic, social, cultural developments
Tuesday
October 16
NO CLASS
Wednesday
October 17
TOPIC: Current Events ANALYSIS

CLASS PRESENTATION:
1. President Trump - The "60 Minutes" Interview
2. SAUDI ARABIA [Last Week tonight with John Oliver]

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: What Did You Consider the Important/Interesting/Frightening Moments in the Trump Interview?

Some Other Perspectives:
1. 5 key moments from Donald Trump's rambling 60 Minutes interview
2. 11 noteworthy moments from Trump's 60 minutes interview
3. Trump on 60 Minutes: A master class in deception and denial
4. '60 Minutes' Was Outmatched by Trump
Thursday
October 18
SPECIAL for MEMBERS of the ENVIRONMENTAL CLUB
**TOPIC: Environmental Impact of Fashion

CLASS PRESENTATION: Stacey Dooley Investigates - Fashion's Dirty Secrets

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: LIST - 1) What did you find most surprising? AND 2) What do you think EVERYONE should know from this documentary?

Reaction / Reviews:
1. Exposing Fashion's Dirty Secrets
2. Destroying Unsold Clothes Is Fashion's Dirty Secret. And We're Complicit.
Friday
October 19
TOPIC: Current Events ANALYSIS

CLASS ACTIVITY: Discussion of possible "non-Headline" Topics
Monday
October 22
TOPIC: BELIEVER or SKEPTIC? WHY????

CLASS PRESENTATION: The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories

READINGS:
1. Why Do People Believe in Conspiracy Theories?
2. The Enduring Appeal of Conspiracy Theories
3. Conspiracy theories: Here's what drives people to them, no matter how wacky

Tuesday
October 23
NO CLASS
Wednesday
October 24
TOPIC: BELIEVER or SKEPTIC? WHY????

CLASS PRESENTATION: Secrets And Lies - The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories
Thursday
October 25
TOPIC: BELIEVER or SKEPTIC? WHY????

CLASS ACTIVITY: Work on your topic
Friday
October 26
END OF FIRST QUARTER

TOPIC: BELIEVER or SKEPTIC? WHY????

CLASS ACTIVITY: Share your findings
Monday
October 29
TOPIC: Current Events ANALYSIS + BELIEVER or SKEPTIC? WHY????

CLASS ACTIVITY: Share your findings
Tuesday
October 30
NO CLASS
Wednesday October 31TOPIC: Current Events ANALYSIS + BELIEVER or SKEPTIC? WHY????

CLASS ACTIVITY: DEEP Dive on Scientology 
Thursday
November 1
**TOPIC: Current Events ANALYSIS + BELIEVER or SKEPTIC? WHY????

CLASS PRESENTATION - Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief
Friday
November 2
TOPIC: Current Events ANALYSIS - FOCUS on U.S. MID-TERM ELECTIONS
Monday
November 5
TOPIC: Current Events ANALYSIS - FOCUS on U.S. MID-TERM ELECTIONS

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT:
1. READ Hate Is on the Ballot Next Week
2. Podcast - TWEAK THE VOTE (get file from me)
 
Tuesday
November 6
NO CLASS
Wednesday November 7TOPIC: Current Events ANALYSIS - U.S. ELECTION RESULTS

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT - Some background reading for our next topic:
1. Hate Unbound (Robert Reich)
2. Russia's Biggest Problem Will Soon Be Ours (Matt Taibbi)
3. There's Money in Fascism (Drew Magary)
Thursday
November 8
**TOPIC: Extremism / Racism / Fascism - Part 1: United States

CLASS PRESENTATION: White Right: Meeting the Enemy
Friday
November 9
TOPIC: Extremism / Racism / Fascism - Part 2: Germany 

CLASS PRESENTATION: Panorama: Germany's New Nazis
Monday
November 12
TOPIC: Extremism / Racism / Fascism - Part 3: United Kingdom 

CLASS PRESENTATION: Panorama: Hate on the Street

CLASS ACTIVITY: What conclusions can we draw after exploring this issue?
Tuesday
November 13
NO CLASS
Wednesday November 14TOPIC: Current Events ANALYSIS

Follow-up: U.S. Hate Crime Statistics, 2017 (released by FBI on 11/13/2018)

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT - To prepare for next topic, READ:
1. FRONTLINE Presents "The Facebook Dilemma"  
2. Critic's Notebook: 'Frontline' Doc 'The Facebook Dilemma" May Scare You Off Social Media 
 
Thursday
November 15
**TOPIC: SOCIAL MEDIA - Facebook

CLASS PRESENTATION: Frontline, THE FACEBOOK DILEMMA  
Friday
November 16
TOPIC: SOCIAL MEDIA - Facebook

CLASS PRESENTATION: Finish Frontline, THE FACEBOOK DILEMMA

NOTES: Frontline, THE FACEBOOK DILEMMA Transcript

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT - READ Delay, Deny and Deflect: How Facebook's Leaders Fought Through Crisis [New York Times Investigation]
Monday
November 19
TOPIC: SOCIAL MEDIA - Facebook

ASSIGNMENT / ASSESSMENT: WebQuest Facebook - A Blessing or a Curse? - DUE AT START OF CLASS ON MONDAY
Tuesday
November 20
NO CLASS
Wednesday November 21TOPIC: 
THANKSGIVING BREAK
Monday
November 26
TOPIC: 
Tuesday
November 27
NO CLASS
Wednesday November 28TOPIC: 
Thursday
November 29
**TOPIC: 
Friday
November 30
TOPIC: 
Monday
December 3
TOPIC: 
Tuesday
December 4
NO CLASS
Wednesday
December 5
TOPIC:   
Thursday
December 6
**TOPIC: 
Friday
December 7
TOPIC:
Monday
December 10
TOPIC: 
Tuesday
December 11
NO CLASS
Wednesday
December 12
TOPIC: 
Thursday
December 13
**TOPIC: 
Friday
December 14
TOPIC: 
WINTER VACATION
Tuesday
January 8
NO CLASS
Wednesday
January 9
TOPIC:
Thursday
January 10
**TOPIC:
Friday
January 11
TOPIC:
Monday
January 14
TOPIC:
Tuesday
January 15
TOPIC:
Wednesday
January 16
TOPIC:
Thursday
January 17
**TOPIC: 
Friday
January 18
TOPIC: 
Monday
January 21
TOPIC: 
Tuesday
January 22
NO CLASS
Wednesday
January 23
TOPIC: 
Thursday
January 24
**TOPIC: 
Friday
January 25
TOPIC: 
Monday
January 28
TOPIC: 
Tuesday
January 29
SEMESTER EXAMINATIONS
Wednesday
January 30
SEMESTER EXAMINATIONS
Thursday
January 31
SEMESTER EXAMINATIONS 
Friday
February 1
POST-EXAM BREAK: NO CLASSES