Teachers: How many times does this happen? You pass out copies of an engaging news story, assign your students to read it for homework, and then lead a spirited 10-minute discussion of the article at the beginning of class the next day.

If your answer is "Not often enough," you are not alone. Teachers have a lot to cover, and current events is almost always squeezed out of the picture. A teacher can spend as much time teaching students how to read the article as introducing the actual event it's describing.

Our VocabGrabber tool makes it easy to do both at the same time — create news-based vocabulary lists in a few clicks that break down not only a story, but the writing used to describe it. You'd be surprised how ten vocabulary words, taught in the context of a current events news story in which they appear, can give students a basic understanding of the event, while introducing academic vocabulary they can use to unlock other texts they read.

It's easy to make your own current events list from any article you'd like to discuss with students. Just follow these 5 simple steps.

1. Find a news story you want your students to see. 

Try it by choosing any of the three articles below to get started (click through for the text):

"Nations Approve Landmark Climate Accord in Paris" (New York Times)
"U.N. Funding Shortfalls and Cuts in Refugee Aid Fuel Exodus to Europe" (New York Times)
"The Federal Reserve Will Likely Raise Interest Rates. This Is What Happens Next." (Washington Post)

2. Select and copy the text from the article.

3. Paste the text into our VocabGrabber

4. Click "Next Step" and presto! The top ten most relevant words are automatically selected.

Use the recommended words or choose your own. Be sure to give your list a name and add a description. (Quick tip: you can include a link to the article in the description section so your students have everything in one place.) 

5. You're done! Now you can assign the list to your students.

By using the "Assign These Words" button, you can quickly turn the list into an assignment for your classes to practice. (You can always go back and edit your list at any time, adding notes or words.)

And you can always use our ready-made examples by checking out the News category in our Featured Lists. For the above articles, check out our vocab lists on the Paris climate accord, the Syrian refugee crisis, and rising interest rates.

Try playing around with how to work this vocab-driven current events mini-lesson into your students' week. Give students 10 minutes at the beginning of a period to practice learning the list on Vocabulary.com, then ask them to read the article. As they get more comfortable with the activity, assign both word learning and article reading for homework and ask them to write a short response about what they've read.

Once students are familiar with the words, understanding the basic facts in the news story should come more fluidly, and the academic vocabulary they're learning will help them unlock future reading assignments. Meanwhile, you'll be making the dream of opening class with a 10-minute current events conversation a reality!