NewsELA (not just for ELA)

When I transitioned into the science classroom from ELA several years ago, I was very surprised how many science teachers didn’t know about NewsELA. It was a resource that I used at least weekly with my ELA classes. Naturally that did not change when I became a science teacher. I started pulling articles relevant to our topic of study, and found that students were very engaged with the current-ness of the articles.

How to find articles and What to do with them?

  1. Go to newsela.com
  2. Type in your topic (in my example below I looked for fossils)
  3. Find an article that may work for your group.
  4. Print it with the additional resources OR save the url to share with your students (there is also a pro version where you can create classes and assign articles)

Here is an example of the search and what comes up after you search:

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What I really like about newsELA is the ability to differentiate. You can give the same article but change the reading level. One thing that I do is ask for my students reading level when they take their reading level assessment (STAR or MAP) from my English department. That way I can pinpoint what level students need for their articles.

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Another cool thing is that, if you use BrainPop, NewsELA is now linked to Brain Pop!! Yay! That means it automatically pulls in targeted articles based on the topic of the brain pop.

So, if you have not explored NewsELA I highly recommend that you do so. You can pull in some close reading strategies and really engage students with real-world content! Let me know if you use NewsELA or try it out in the comments below!

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Using Post-its for Reading

Okay at first I thought that my students would groan and complain when I introduced using post-its to take notes while reading. However, I was pleasantly surprised. The students actually got excited about using the post-its. One of my students actually asked if she could use more post-its than I required. Holy Cow!

Due to my students interest I have integrated post-its in several ways.

1. When I first introduced post-its we talked about making text connections and six questions students could ask when thinking about what to add to their post its. I then gave students a short story and six post-its to complete based on the questions we discussed (1 post-it for each question).

2. After a few days of using post-its in class we discussed how to extend our post-it note responses. I created a handout and had them choose three post-its to extend. Basically students used their post-it as a jumping off point for a paragraph.

3. After students had practiced extending their responses. Students took one of their extensions and used it to create an essay. I also had students use three post-its to create a summary or analysis of the story.

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4. For 1-3 we used short-stories. We are currently doing a novel study. For our novel students are required to write six post-its per chapter and then choose one to use as a journal topic.

I have truly been amazed to see my students work. Many of my apprehensive writers have became excited about writing using this strategy. I think a lot of it has to do with choice and giving them the opportunity to take ownership of their reading and writing.

 

If this sounds like something you would like to implement, you might want to check out my product on Teachers Pay Teachers:

Post-it Note Reading and Writing Workshop Resource Pack