Students are assigned a news journal to be maintained weekly to assist in the students drawing the connection between present events and their historical counterparts.
Students will read newspapers or magazines, watch a telelvision newsshow, or access a news site on-line. The students will then summarize the news items they read or watched and relate it to a topic previously studied in history. For example, the confirmation of Judge Alito can be used to strengthen knowledge of the branches of government or Marbury v. Madison, or the role of the Senate in the confirmation hearings thus checks and balances.
The activity is not meant to be cumbersome but it brings the necessary relevance to History that some students require to connect.
The news journals also are a great place for you as a teacher to write notes to students and form a one-on-one relationship that is not always possible while teaching 30 students. I have found this to be a great added bonus!