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Newsela in the Read 180 Classroom

Newsela has proven to be an invaluable resource for my Read 180 classroom.  This year I was able to get Title 1 money to  pay for a Pro Subscription.  If you really want to be able to monitor student progress, this is the only way to go.  Students see me for one single period and two block periods each week.  They are required to read two Newsela articles each week and pass the quiz on each.    
SO many interesting articles available-tailored to each student's reading level!
This semester I changed a few things and am finding much more success!  First, I created a log where students must write down each article they read, the lexile of the article, and the score they received on the test.  I find that it is helpful for them to "see" their progress.  Also, if they take a quiz and don't pass, they are reminded to take another one by the end of the week.  In addition, at least one day a week, I allow students to partner up with another student with a similar lexile.  They read the article independently and then meet afterwards to take the quiz together.  What?  Take a quiz TOGETHER?  Isn't that cheating?
Taking a Quiz Together

These students read the article aloud together and then took the quiz
 Well, it depends on  your purpose  for giving the quiz.  For me, I have found that allowing students to work together had forced them to look at each answer more carefully and to talk it out until they both agree on an answer.  I do NOT want these quizzes to be punitive.  I want them to be motivational!  It is amazing how student are willing to discuss the possibility of two answers, look back at the text together, come to an agreement about an answer, and most of the time, get it right!  I have seen quiz averages increase DRAMATICALLY the past few weeks.
They're really improving!
 In addition, I walk around the room with my ipad open to Newsela. If they get stuck, I help them figure out the right answer.  No, I don't tell them the answer!  I ask them questions.  I have them use the process of elimination. I have them reread the text!  

When students pass a quiz, I have a bell for them to ring.  They love this!  I also award Class Dojo points.  They get two points for  a 100% and one point for a passing score.  My students are very motivated by my current system and often ask, "Can I read another one?"  Not only are they becoming better readers, they are learning about the world around them and  gaining more background knowledge, which in turn, helps make  them better readers!

I will write more about how I use  Newsela in my classroom in another post!

Some interesting articles students read this week:

To curb teen smoking, mayor wants to boost tobacco-buying age to 21

Friends making you yawn? That's a good thing, study says


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