In this current events assignments, students either read a recently published news article or watch a TED Talk. They then summarize, annotate it briefly, and identify unknown vocabulary. The last piece has them do a short 3 minute presentation on their news article.
It worked well because students can work in pairs and they get introduced to current events. Doing so can ease student anxiety and keep them updated with ever increasing technologies and new discoveries in a given subject.
This assignment is easily adapted to suit ANY subject, biology, history, math, etc.