Skip to main content

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

Popular posts from this blog

Bottle Flipping

Last week someone posted article on Facebook about the newest trend with middle schoolers-bottle flipping.  If you haven't heard of it, you probably don't teach middle school or have a child in middle school! Consider  yourself lucky! If you know about it, then you also know it's annoying as heck.  Kids (usually boys), toss a partially filled water bottle into the air so that it flips in midair.  The goal is to have the bottle land upright.  This year I have had to ask several students to put their water bottles away because they wanted to flip them.  I know,  I'm mean!  

After reading the Facebook article I thought, "Hey!  I bet I can incorporate this into a lesson somehow."  Using my Oreo lesson as a model, that's just what I did.  First, I found two different articles about bottle flipping.  I went through both looking for key vocabulary words.  I then typed out the sentences with the words and created an activity where students had to guess the definit…

Oreos in China and Read 180

A few years ago I read an article about what happened when Kraft introduced the Oreo to the Chinese in 1996.  It was not a success.  The Chinese thought the filling was too sweet-the cookie too bitter.  Kraft almost pulled the beloved cookie off the shelves. Instead, they began a quest to find out how to make the Oreo appeal to the Chinese. Enter the green tea Oreo, the mango Oreo, and an Oreo in the shape of a straw (not sure that still qualifies as an Oreo).  The revamped Oreos were a huge success! I found the article fascinating and decided to design a lesson around  it to share with my students.

First I showed them a news clip from CNN about the topic. Then, I taught them a few vocabulary words that appear in the article using Kate Kinsella's method.  Next, we read the article together and marked the text. I did a think aloud as I read aloud to them.  After that, students created a T-Chart listing the ten most important words in the text, as well as five main ideas from the tex…

Making Comments on Student Writing Meaningful

As any English teacher knows, we spend countless hours grading and commenting on student work.  What I realized after a few years of teaching was that many students did not read my comments at all; they just looked at their grade. Some didn't even look at the rubric!   However, many students valued my feedback and relished every comment.  I felt as though I was wasting my time on more than half of the essays.   As evident from the next essay the students wrote, the majority of the students did not heed the advice I gave in the previous essay.  I came up with a solution!  Using Google Forms, I created a detailed survey for my students to fill out about the comments they received on their writing.  I will include pictures of various questions and answers.  Better yet, I told them that all responses would be read and a graded  for the thoughtfulness.  I had a sub that day, so I created a link to the form in my daily blog post for my class!  SO easy!  Students were forced to go back t…