In junior high, I had awesome, life-changing teachers. One teacher in particular was my social studies teacher. Under his watchful eye I memorized the beginning of the Constitution, and learned to doodle in my margins to help me pay attention. (It was required. He would check our notes to make sure we had doodles in the margins. I kid you not.) But the thing I remember the most about 7th and 8th grade social studies was current events quizzes. Every Friday we would have a five question quiz about the major events of the week. If you read the paper or watched the national news, you would ace it. Even if you didn’t, you would probably get one or two questions right.
And in the 13 years since junior high, I’ve gotten out of the habit! I don’t watch the news. I’ve received the Sunday paper for the past year in the hopes that I would read it, and I generally don’t. Over the past week, I’ve decided I’m going to spend a few minutes a day reading news. It started at msnbc.com or cnn.com, but then I stumbled on www.thedailybeast.com. They have a “Cheat Sheet” that has links to stories from various news sources, and a one-paragraph summary of each article. So you can quickly learn the basics about a variety of current events, and if you’re interested and have time, you can click on the story and learn more. Genius!