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CNN Presents Classroom: Inside Hezbollah

(CNN Student News) -- Please note that this week's CNN Presents Classroom Edition could be pre-empted due to breaking news coverage of the crisis in the Middle East.


Set your VCR to record the CNN Presents Classroom Edition: Inside Hezbollah when it airs commercial-free on Monday, August 14, 2006, from 4:00 -- 5:00 a.m. ET on CNN. (A short feature begins at 4:00 a.m. and precedes the program.)

Program Overview

Anderson Cooper narrates CNN Presents Classroom Edition: Inside Hezbollah, which takes an extensive look at the militant Shiite group Hezbollah and its part in the current crisis in the Middle East. Inside Hezbollah traces the group's history and examines its tactics of violence. Through interviews with military analysts, Middle East and terrorism experts, and representatives from Israel and Hezbollah, Inside Hezbollah explores what makes this conflict different from previous conflicts in the region.

Warning to educators: Please preview this program as it contains images that might be inappropriate for some students.

Grade Level: 11 -- 12, College

Subject Areas: Current Issues, World History, United States History, Political Science, Journalism


The CNN Presents Classroom Edition: Inside Hezbollah and its corresponding activity challenge students to:

  • Identify and describe the history of Hezbollah and its role in the current crisis in the Middle East;
  • Propose programs that would provide context to the current Middle East crisis;
  • Track the coverage of the Middle East crisis across a variety of news media;
  • Assess the challenges of reporting the Middle East crisis.
  • Curriculum Connections

    U.S. History Standards

    Era 10: Contemporary United States (1968 to the present)

    STANDARD 1: Recent developments in foreign policy and domestic politics. Standard 1C: The student understands major foreign policy initiatives.

    Examine the U.S. role in political struggles in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

    World History Standards

    Era 9: The 20th Century Since 1945: Promises and Paradoxes

    STANDARD 2: The search for community, stability and peace in an interdependent world. Standard 2D: The student understands major sources of tension and conflict in the contemporary world and efforts that have been made to address them.

  • Analyze why terrorist movements have proliferated and the extent of their impact on politics and society in various countries.
  • Assess the progress that has been made since the 1970s in resolving conflict between Israel and neighboring states.
  • STANDARD 3: Major global trends since World War II. Standard 3A: The student understands major global trends since World War II.

    Assess the degree to which both human rights and democratic ideals and practices have been advanced in the world during the 20th century.

    The National Standards for History (<> ) are published by the National Center for History in the Schools (<> ).

    Suggested Activity

    Before watching CNN Presents Classroom Edition: Inside Hezbollah, have students share what they know about the current crisis in the Middle East between Israel and Hezbollah. Then, discuss what information the students want to know about the current crisis. Record the students' questions.

    As students watch Inside Hezbollah, have them note information that may be used to address their questions about this conflict. After viewing the program, have students share what they have learned about Hezbollah, its tactics, its leaders and its impact -- not only on Israel, but also on the U.S. and the entire Middle East. Ask:

  • What information was presented in the program?
  • Who was interviewed for the program?
  • What questions or issues did the reporters explore?
  • What remaining questions do you have about the current battle between Israel and Hezbollah?
  • Record the students' responses and organize their remaining questions into categories, such as Background, Players, Impact and Response.

    Then, organize students into small groups. Inform students that the groups represent television news production teams that have been charged with writing and producing the next CNN Presents program on the Middle East crisis. Refer students to their lists of questions about the current Middle East crisis, and have groups select one or more of the questions to pursue in their program. Have groups develop program proposals in the form of outlines or one-page summaries. Pose the following questions to help students develop their program proposals:

  • What question(s) will you investigate? What story or stories will you tell? What angle(s) will you take?
  • Who do you think is the target audience for your program? What do you hope this audience will learn from your program?
  • What information, facts or data will you need to research to tell your story?
  • From what perspective(s) will you tell your story? What types of interviews will you conduct? What questions will you ask?
  • How will you maintain balance in your program?
  • How do you plan to tell your story or stories? What images, graphics or pictures will you show?
  • What challenges, if any, do you think that you might face in producing your story?
  • Challenge student groups to write and present outlines or summaries of their programs. After the groups have shared their program proposals, discuss the challenges that the news media has in reporting the current Middle East crisis and presenting it to American and international audiences.

    To extend the activity, encourage students to track the coverage of the Middle East crisis across a variety of media outlets and formats to investigate if and how the student-proposed stories are presented.


    Hezbollah, guerilla, terrorist, Beirut, Middle East, Israel, Lebanon, Shiite, Sunni, Syria, Iran, Haifa, Katyusha rockets, Islamic Jihadists, Hassan Nasrallah, Osama bin Laden, Zionist, Hamas, Ehud Olmert

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