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I came up with this idea after receiving feedback from my sophomore class that they wanted more group discussions. Every Friday two students are assigned to find a news article that relates to government, politics, laws, etc. and present it to the class while leading a discussion. Students receive a participation grade for adding comments of substance to the discussion and learn about what is happening in their world today! This has been wildly successful with my four sophomore classes and is a nice way to end the week - with a round table and friendly discussion. I have found that most classes will talk the entire 45 minute period and I frequently have to stop them to move the discussion along.
The file includes the assignment, my grading criteria, and a 'permission slip' that students sign saying the understand the assignment is weighted as a quiz and they cannot make it up.