Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Like Things Together

tidying things up, Suzanne

"Like things together" is a bit of organizing advice from my mother.  Now neither of us would win any awards for our organizational skills, but I know someone who does: Newsela.  I know some of you are familiar with this resource, and I'd love to hear about how you use it.

Newsela is an online resource for non-fiction texts.  They have thousands of high-interest, current articles all neat and tidy in designated categories.  You have to sign-up for a free account to access the entire article and have access to resources.  You can create classes or link to Google Classroom to assign articles and quizzes digitally.  

More to love:

  • Texts in Spanish-- what an awesome resource for bilingual classrooms or for students with limited English proficiency.  
  • Famous speeches-- this could be great to use in conjunction with Gretchen Bernabei's new book, Text Structures from the Masters.  It is a collection of famous speeches where students uncover the structure of the text and use that same structure for the basis of their own writing.
Are you ready for the best part? Hold on to your hats, friends!  I absolutely heart-eyed emoji LOVE the text sets.  Here is a collection of articles organized by topic.  Holla!  This is a beautiful thing, especially when research and synthesis season rolls around.  For more ideas and tips on how to organize this type of writing, click here.  They also include text sets for literature.  I have a love/hate relationship with novel studies and literature circles.  I feel that they lend themselves to living in plot land.  To do them well is a tremendous amount of work.  That's why these text sets are a game changer.  Here are multiple texts that you can infuse into your novel study to create connections and up the rigor.  You can even change the Lexile level to best meet the needs of all learners.  

Each article comes with a writing prompt (they are hit or miss) and a brief 4-question quiz.  I have been really impressed with the quality of the questions from the quiz.  Here is a sample question:














How do you use Newsela in your classroom?

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