Monday, January 25, 2010

Students writing the State of the Union Address?

No, not for real, but what a cool idea for an assignment, eh?

MANY thanks to Vanessa (from for sharing this idea with me via email. She said that she heard that a radio talk show host is asking folks to submit their own version of a State of the Union Address and he'll read some of them on the air. (Brian Lehrer Show, WNYC)

Now, I'm not suggesting that they submit their assignments to the radio station, as I find the typical talk show host to be more of a hate monger than a journalist. I don't know Mr Lehrer, so he may be different. Regardless, I think that this could be a great assignment.

I'd divide the class into teams of two or three and have them research the events of the past year in terms of the President's involvement. What can he take credit for and what would be a surprise if it were to be included? I'd have them make a timeline, and collect news articles (online) and video clips (, maybe?). I think this would be a GREAT time to introduce them to the idea of a wikified paper. Ten minutes per report, tops.

The assignment would be written from the perspective of the President. The students would have to decide what to discuss and how to approach it. Their presentation could NOT include bullets in a powerpoint. And, they could compare their speeches to the actual speech to see what topics he included and how they were presented. (spun?)

Many thanks, again, to Vanessa for thinking of me to share this idea. If you do this assignment with your students, I'd LOVE to hear about it.

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