Several years ago, I got the idea that my History students should keep current with events so that we could discuss contemporary issues in History. I also liked the fact that many students were curious about why certain things were the way they were today (Arab-Israeli conflict, for instance), and so they wondered how they got to be that way. As a result of this interest, I instituted a required currents events journal that my students had to write in several times a month. I went out and purchased those hard covered, black and white marbled notebooks for my students to use as journals. At that time, I had over 150 students.
My Friday afternoons were busy enough already, but every Friday, I had to take several trips to my car with my arms full of 20-30 of these notebooks at a time. After several weeks, I was tired of this system, but did not know what to do about it. Those books were such a pain to haul back and forth; I began to dread Mondays for the need to return the notebooks to my students. Yet, the assignment had become such a valuable exercise. My students were keeping current on news events around the world, and they were excited about it. They could pick any story that interested them, and write as much or as little as possible. The only requirement was that they had to write. I had to come up with a better system.
I took the next summer devising a plan that was both ingenius and green. I decided the journal would go electronic. I created the e-journal that summer and have never looked back. Since that time, my current events journal has grown into a central meeting site for parents, students, colleagues and other educators. In addition to the current events that my students must submit, there are also polls, announcements, homework, blogs, pictures (with explanations) of field trips or other important historical sites, museums or monuments. Comments or suggestions are greatly appreciate. Enjoy!