Daily News Story

PBS NewsHour Extra helps teachers and students identify the who, what, when, where and why-it-matters of major national and international news stories. In partnership with PBS LearningMedia, we are proud to bring you the Daily News Story which takes the best of the PBS NewsHour news program and pairs it with discussion questions, lesson plans and stories developed specifically for students.

Our lesson plans and resources help achieve Common Core State Standards goals and cover core academic subject areas ranging from civics and government to world affairs and education.

Engage your students today with This Week's News.

  • Talk with Your Students about Aretha Franklin: They All Know the Queen of Soul | PBS NewsHour

    Read the summary below, first. Then watch the video and answer the discussion questions in our support materials. 

    Teaching tip: To help students follow along, have them read the story's transcript. To learn more about Aretha Franklin's life, read this story and check back for updates in the coming days.


    On August 16, 2018, legendary singer Aretha Franklin, the ‘Queen of Soul,’ died of cancer at her home in Detroit, Michigan, at the age of 76. Over the course of a seven-decade music career, Franklin won 18 Grammy awards and had 17 top hits with songs like Respect, (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman and Say a Little Prayer. Franklin fought for civil rights throughout her life and was given an award by Martin Luther King in 1968. She sang at King’s funeral just two months later. In 1987, she became the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In November 2015, NewsHour’s Gwen Ifill (who passed away in November 2016) interviewed Franklin after an event at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. Franklin had just been awarded the “Portrait of a Nation” prize. 

    August 16, 2018 video and resource materials from PBS NewsHour.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Monitoring the Midterms: Political Parties' Role in U.S. Elections | PBS NewsHour

    The 2018 midterm elections will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 6th. Historically, midterm elections act as a referendum on the president. How popular he is often determines how much of a drag or a boost he’s going to mean for his party. Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report and Susan Page of USA Today discuss the potential political fallout for Republicans in the midterm elections and whether or not the Democrats have a chance of taking the House or the Senate.  Note: Start video at 2m:44s and play until end if pressed for time.

    August 7, 2018 video and resource materials from PBS Newshour.

    Grades: 6-12
  • How Monticello’s Exhibit on Sally Hemings Deepens Our Understanding of U.S. History | PBS NewsHour

    Read the summary below, first. Then watch the video and answer the discussion questions found in support materials below. Follow along using the transcript.


    Visitors have long come to Monticello (mon-teh-CHELL-oh, like the instrument) to see and admire Thomas Jefferson’s mansion, but a new silhouette and exhibition bring a largely hidden life into the open. No portrait exists of Sally Hemings, an enslaved woman who had a decades-long relationship with Jefferson and bore him six children, but the public can now learn more about her story.

    August 6, 2018 video and resource materials from PBS NewsHour.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Monitoring the Midterms: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Other Primary Result Indicators | PBS NewsHour

    Midterm elections will take place on Nov. 6, 2018. The Republican Party currently controls both houses of Congress. In the U.S. Senate, there are 35 seats that need to be filled. Democrats hold 26 of those seats and will need to gain 2 seats to take control of the Senate. All 435 seats in the House of Representatives are up for election; one of the parties must win 218 seats to gain control.

    Before candidates from different parties face off at the polls this fall, they must first prove they are their own party’s favorite in the primaries, which take place in the months leading up to November. One story from June’s Democratic primaries that grabbed international headlines was that of 28-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s upset over 10-term incumbent Joe Crowley. Ocasio-Cortez could become the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. June’s primaries also went well for candidates supported by President Donald Trump. 

    July 14, 2018 video and resource materials from PBS NewsHour.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Yemen Study Guide: How to Explain Images of War to Your Students | PBS NewsHour

    The video contains graphic images of the civil war in Yemen. Please preview the video before showing it to your students. The segment provides a breakdown of the Yemeni Civil War and where it stands now. See the support material background essay for a brief summary of the key actors involved in the conflict, including the following: the Yemeni government, Houthis, Saudi Arabia, Iran, United Nations and United States. Also included in the support materials below are questions about the conflict's history and media literacy more generally to guide classroom discussion. 

    You may wish to stop the video after the field segment at 9m:08s. However, we highly recommend you watch the 2-minute interview between NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff and Jane Ferguson. See the reference map for geographic context.

    July 5, 2018 video and resource materials from PBS NewsHour.

    Grades: 6-12
  • New Challenges in Aftermath of Family Separation | PBS NewsHour

    For students who want to read along, the transcript can be found here. Total video time: 5m:07s. For the sake of time, you may wish to stop the video at 2m:49s.

    After much criticism, on July 5, 2018 Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar said that his department is prepared to reunite migrant children under age 5 with their parents. The week prior, Democratic attorneys general in 17 states and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration, arguing that its family separation policy violated the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fifth Amendment. The attorneys general asked the federal government to provide more immediate information and access to those detained under the policy on an expedited schedule. The motion included more than 900 pages of personal testimonies from parents, children and other family members who were directly impacted by the Trump policy.

    President Donald Trump signed an executive order reversing his family separation policy at the border after public backlash. Two weeks later, HHS confirmed that the separations have stopped. Trump remains dedicated to his zero-tolerance policy. He tweeted on July 5, “Tell the people ‘OUT,’ and they must leave, just as they would if they were standing on your front lawn.”

    July 6, 2018 video and resource materials from PBS NewsHour.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Continuing Fight for Equality | PBS NewsHour

    “I ask no favor for my sex. All I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks,” states Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in a new documentary about her life. The documentary 'RBG' follows 85-year old Ginsburg’s roots, education, family life, and career, along with her continuing fight for sexual, socio-economic, and racial equality. Ginsburg says at one point she felt like a kindergarten teacher when it came to instructing other judges about the meaning of sexual discrimination. She would ask them to reflect on how they’d like their daughters and granddaughters treated.

    As you listen to Ginsberg describe her relationship with her late husband, discuss the following: Who is someone in your life who you believe will always remain in your heart and mind even though they may have passed away? How did they help you become the person you are today? See the support materials below to continue in-classroom discussion.

    June 3, 2018 videos and resource materials from PBS NewsHour.

    Grades: 6-12
  • How Separating Children from Parents Became U.S. Government Policy | PBS NewsHour

    Read this NewsHour story to learn more about the Trump Administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy.

    On June 18, 2018, theTrump Administration responded to protests and criticism over its “zero tolerance” policy on immigration that has resulted in separation of children from parents at the southern U.S. border. Nearly 2,000 children have been taken from their mothers or fathers since Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the policy, which directs Homeland Security personnel to charge adults with illegal entry and place them in jail, away from their children. Children are required to be turned over from shelters within three days to be housed by another government agency, the Department of Health and Human Services.

    See support materials below for additional background information and classroom discussion questions.

    June 18, 2018 video and resource materials from PBS NewsHour.

    Grades: 6-12