The Newsela Guide to NCSS: Part 2

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The NCSS workshops and sessions this year promise to be truly inspiring. These resources will empower you to bring ideas and suggestions from the workshops into your classroom.

Dive into Docs – These primary sources and famous speeches will help you craft the perfect DBQ or historical inquiry unit.

Historical Thinking Skills – Primary sources and history essays are accompanied by write prompts for social studies designed to support critical analysis of perspective, authorship, significance, and argumentation.  

Students Debate/Students Legislate – Use these articles to structure meaty debate, mock legislative proposals, or mobilize direct action in your classroom.

Election 2016: Provide extensions with Historical Parallels, How Elections Work, Speeches, Trump’s Presidency and more.

Civically Engage Students: Use these articles about students making a difference to inspire your own students to stand up for what they believe in. Or, use these articles to illustrate different forms of government.

Economics Matter: These engaging articles on trade and economics illustrate the power of the economy on everyday life.

Holidays in History: Use primary sources, historical news, and engaging articles to teach the holidays. We had you covered for Halloween and Thanksgiving. Check back soon for the December holidays!

Ancient Civilizations & Archeology: Bring ancient societies to life with exciting articles about uncovering ancient mysteries, and the science and technology of archeology.

Bring non-dominant narratives into the spotlight in your classroom:

Join Newsela for a session in Exhibit Hall Classroom A:

Friday

10:00-11:00am

Tackling Tough Topics

Presenters: Erin Green and Emily Lepkowski

A Newsela Certified Educator will walk you through strategies to tackle real world tough topics via Newsela articles. By having these discussions in the classroom, students will learn to advocate for both themselves and their classmates.  

11:15-12:15pm

Bridging Connections: Past and Present

Presenters: Erin Green and Nicole Boyle

A Newsela Educator Specialist, in partnership with a Newsela Certified Educator, will share activities that allow students to engage with a primary source and connect it to contemporary events. By pairing texts, students will be able to compare and contrast ideas, empowering them to discuss their world.

1:00-2:00pm

Newsela PRO in the Classroom

Presenters: Kelly Marzocchi and Andy Sullivan

A Newsela Educator Specialist, in partnership with a Newsela Certified Educator, will demonstrate how Newsela PRO makes it easy for you to see each student’s areas of mastery and growth allowing you to easily individualize instruction for every student that you teach.

Saturday

10:30-11:30am

Reading across the Curriculum

Presenters: Lisa Butler and Emily Lepkowski

A Newsela Educator Specialist, in partnership with a Newsela Certified Educator, will share close reading strategies that can be used with students at any reading level. These strategies help students interact with the text to aid them in both classroom discussions and mastering reading skills.

1:30-2:30pm

Bridging Connections: Primary Sources and Current Events

Presenters: Lisa Butler and Nicole Boyle

A Newsela Educator Specialist, in partnership with a Newsela Certified Educator, will share ways in which students can engage in cross-textual analysis using Newsela Library articles and current events in Newsela’s collection.

2:40-3:40pm

Continuing the Conversation: Election 2016

Presenters: Patrick Harris and Andy Sullivan

A Newsela Educator Specialist, in partnership with a Newsela Certified Educator, will share strategies for exploring the results of November’s Presidential Election. Students will monitor developments in the changing political landscape and make connections to global events.

The Newsela Guide to NCSS: Part 1

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Excited for the stellar line-up for NCSS 2016 speakers? So are we. We’ve gathered some of our favorite Text Sets that relate to the speakers’ backgrounds so you can easily bring what you learned at NCSS back to your classroom. Stay tuned tomorrow for Part 2, where we’ll feature more extensions For NCSS workshops and sessions.

Friday, December 2

Kris Perry

8:45 – 9:45

Bring it to your classroom:

Laurie Halse Anderson

10:00 – 11:00

Bring it to your classroom:

Audrey Osler

11:00 – 12:00

Bring it to your classroom:

Kenneth C. Davis

11:15 – 12:15

Bring it to your classroom:

Jeffrey Rosen

1:00 – 2:00

Bring it to your classroom:

Representative John Lewis

2:15 – 3:30

Bring it to your classroom:

Mary Beth Tinker

3:45 – 4:45

Bring it to your classroom:

Saturday, December 3

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

9:15 – 10:15

Bring it to your classroom:

David L. Hudson

9:15 – 10:15

Bring it to your classroom:

Gene Policinski

9:15 – 10:15

Bring it to your classroom:

Krissah Thompson

10:30 – 11:30

Bring it to your classroom:

Warren Zanes

10:30 – 11:30

Bring it to your classroom:

Bryan Stevenson

11:45 – 12:45

Bring it to your classroom:

John King

1:00 – 1:30

Bring it to your classroom:

Terrence Roberts

1:30 – 2:30

Bring it to your classroom:

Daniel Feller

2:40 – 3:40

Bring it to your classroom:

Sunday, December 4

Ralph Nader

8:00 – 9:00

Bring it to your classroom:

Ruth Marcus

10:15 – 11:15

Bring it to your classroom:

Ray Suarez

10:15 – 11:15

Bring it to your classroom:

Michael Gerson

10:15 – 11:15

Bring it to your classroom:

Celebrate Native American Heritage Month with Newsela

In recognition of Native American Heritage Month, we’ve compiled a number of articles focused on American Indian, Native Alaskan and Native Hawaiian communities, history, and culture. Native Americans live in all 50 states, speak several hundred languages, and represent around 1 percent of the total U.S. population today.

From environmental justice and energy policy to debates about economic development, and from the reservations of North Dakota to the centers of our largest cities, Native Americans are at the forefront of many contemporary issues. At Newsela, we encourage students and teachers to discuss and engage with these issues, and we’re excited to celebrate the cultural, linguistic, and geographic diversity of these communities and their contributions to our society.

Above: The regions displayed in the map correspond to the way historians tend to classify American Indian tribes and their locations prior to colonization. Though these borders are not exact, they represent how geography is deeply connected to indigenous cultures. We’ve also included Native Hawaiian and Native Alaskan communities. Although they do not self-identify as American Indians, we want to include all communities with indigenous roots in the present-day U.S.

#OurVoiceOurChoice Contest Winners

Educators from all over the country showed us how they bring civics to their classrooms with Newsela’s #OurVoiceOurChoice photo contest. Our staff had a tough time choosing winners among entries that showed such creativity and enthusiasm, but after polling the company, these submissions came out on top:

Danielle, New York

Audra, California

Lynn, Tennessee

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Thanks to everyone who entered!

View Students Vote 2016 Results

Back to Newsela

Students Vote 2016 National Results

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For the past two weeks, students across the country – and around the world – had an unprecedented opportunity to make their voices heard with Newsela’s Students Vote 2016. The polls have closed and the ballots have been tallied, and we’re ready to reveal the results.

Hillary Clinton won decisively, with 57% of students for Clinton vs. 32% for Donald Trump. Clinton won most swing states, but Trump maintained his hold on Ohio. Among our student voters, Clinton took some Republican strongholds such as Texas, Georgia, and even South Carolina. And while younger students overwhelmingly chose Clinton, it was a much closer race for high school students.

Here are a few highlights from Students Vote 2016:

  • Over 1 million students read at least 1 election-related article this year. This one was viewed the most.
  • Nearly 400,000 students cast their ballots on Newsela. The cities with the most votes were Chicago, IL; Portland, OR; and San Jose, CA.
  • Over 16,000 schools in all 50 states participated in Students Vote 2016.

If your class voted, you can view how they voted here, and compare their votes to the national results.

See full results on how the next generation voted below.

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Results: National and International

Results: State by State

Do You Know Which News Media to Trust? The American Press Institute Teams up With Newsela to Promote News Literacy

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Unreliable. Inaccurate. Biased.

During election season, many people will give these descriptions to news media they disagree with.

Similarly, these flaws are easy to overlook in the sources you like or tend to agree with. What’s worse, however, is not thinking about these issues at all. Whether in election news or any other topic, it’s important to be aware of how the news is produced and how you perceive it.

At the American Press Institute (API), we put energy into helping news readers of any age understand and evaluate the news they encounter. In our work with youth and media, we generally recommend six basic questions that can be asked about the news you encounter:

1. Type: What kind of content is this — news, opinion, advertising or something else?
2. Source: Who and what are the sources cited, and why should I believe them?
3. Evidence: What’s the evidence and how was it vetted?
4. Interpretation: Is the main point of the piece backed up by the evidence?
5. Completeness: What’s missing?

6. Knowledge: Is there an issue here that I want to learn more about, and where can I do that?

We are excited to partner with Newsela to offer a way for teachers to begin some of these thoughtful media literacy discussions with their students. Newsela has created an election Text Set that focuses squarely on media literacy. Every article in the set uses some of API’s six questions as Annotations to encourage critical thinking — and teachers can use some, or all, of the six questions to guide classroom discussion.

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In this example, asking about the sourcing can help students think critically about who is conveying the information. It likewise can lead to meaningful classroom conversation on how a source came to his or her conclusions, and what motivations he or she might have that could influence what they say.

Teachers can also access other media literacy tips by viewing Newsela’s media literacy toolkit. We’ll be holding a joint-webinar with Newsela on Tuesday, October 25, at 6 pm EDT, two weeks before the presidential election, to show teachers how to introduce these concepts in the classroom.

In the meantime, these same questions are further explained in an API resource, “Six questions that will tell you what media to trust” — which may be a good printout for your students. The questions are derived from the book “Blur: How To Know What’s True in the Age of Information Overload” by API Executive Director Tom Rosenstiel and Bill Kovach.

We can’t think of a better time to emphasize media literacy than election season. These resources ensure that any student, no matter his or her reading level, is equipped with the necessary tools to analyze the media and its messages. And once students are better able to evaluate media based on reliability and accuracy, they’ll be able to apply these skills beyond the classroom for years to come.


Katie Kutsko is the American Press Institute’s primary coordinator of youth news literacy programs. She can be reached at katie.kutsko@pressinstitute.org.

Hello, new school year. Goodbye, textbooks.

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To our valued educators,

I’ve never begun a school year this optimistic. Here’s why.

The Age of the Textbook—a medium that eats up budgets, weighs down backpacks and leaves students bored and lost—is coming to an end. As schools nationwide say goodbye, millions of educators are going online to find The Next Way of delivering information.

Almost a million of you, along with eight million students, have turned to Newsela for content that in many ways is the opposite of static, dry textbooks: news. Thousands of articles, at five levels, and loads of tools to help your students engage with the written word and help you understand their progress.

But it’s not enough.

This fall, we are launching The Library. We’re taking the nonfiction that teachers already use the most, and we’re putting them online the Newsela way: primary source documents, biographies, speeches, historical news, and other seminal texts. All at five levels, all with quizzes, annotations, and open-ended questions. You can find all of these great works paired with news, because the Constitution, the Gettysburg Address, and the biography of Rosa Parks take on new meaning when they’re connected to current issues that hit home.

What’s also disappearing with the era of the textbook? Teachers not knowing whether their kids understand what they’re reading, or if they read it at all. Dave Crumbine, a friend and master ELA teacher at KIPP Academy in Houston, told me one of his greatest challenges in teaching is this: “Kids start reading, they don’t understand what they’re reading, but they keep on going anyway.” So many kids—even when comprehension isn’t there—just keep plugging along, either denying or not knowing that something’s the matter. And it happens in silence, slipping by teachers without a trace.

That’s another problem that Newsela set out to solve. And along with hundreds of thousands of committed educators like you, we’re making progress.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in your PRO Binder. It tells you what your students read, whether they understood it and how they’re doing over time so you can adjust your instruction. Welcome to daily formative assessments that you can use immediately to ensure that no student falls through the cracks. And keep an eye out for a raft of new PRO Binder tools we’ll be releasing later this year to make your daily formative assessments even more powerful.

Better, but still not enough.

A laptop for every student and teacher. That’s the goal. Schools of all stripes—wealthy and Title I, primary and secondary—are adopting technology not to replace what teachers do, but to help them do it better. Still, too many districts aren’t keeping pace, and their students are falling behind. If your district or school leaders haven’t shared plans for going 1-to-1, I urge you to ask them why. Let them know that you’ve seen the future, you know what you need, and it’s not another textbook.

We’re on the brink of something amazing happening in American education. I can feel it. I look forward to continuing on the journey with you.

Your colleague,

Matthew Gross

Newsela Founder and CEO

Advisory: Nice Terror Attack Coverage

To our valued educators,

Please be advised that we will be covering last week’s attack in Nice in today’s edition of Newsela, with possible follow-up stories as more information becomes available. Although it is summer and you may not have a classroom full of students tomorrow morning, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. The story will not appear in Newsela Elementary.
    Click here to find out more about setting up Newsela Elementary classes, or have your students navigate directly to e.newsela.com.
  2. If your students do not use Newsela Elementary but you would still prefer the article to be hidden, you can use the Hide function in the top-right corner of the article.
  3. Be ready to talk to your students about the news. While you may not hear your students talking about it, it’s still likely they’ve been exposed to the news already, especially if they’re in middle or high school. We’ve put together some resources to help you talk to students about difficult breaking news topics, including this blog post.

Last Thursday’s attack is the latest in a seemingly endless series of tragic events over the last few months, and was France’s second major attack in less than a year. This time, innocent people were gathering to celebrate Bastille Day with their fellow French citizens and visitors from around the world. What was meant to be a night of festivity quickly turned into chaos when the suspect drove a truck through a crowd, killing more than 80 people. The whole world mourns with these victims and their families.

Due to the nature of this event, the article we publish may be too upsetting for some students and some classes. As I mentioned after Orlando and after the previous attacks in France, Newsela levels articles on these tragic events so that, should you choose to discuss these events in class, your students have access to the information they need in a language they understand.

Only you know what is appropriate for your students and classes. We continue to be in awe of the wonderful work our teachers do to create future leaders who are informed, thoughtful and kind. There are days when the news can seem painfully dark, but when we at Newsela look at our students, we’re reminded that the future is bright. Thank you.

Your colleague,

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Matt Gross

Advisory: Orlando Mass Shooting Coverage

To our valued educators,

Please be advised that we are covering the mass shooting in Orlando in today’s edition of Newsela, with possible follow-up stories as more information becomes available. As you decide if and how to address this tragedy in your classes, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. The story will not appear in Newsela Elementary.
    Click here to find out more about setting up Newsela Elementary classes, or have your students navigate directly to e.newsela.com.
  2. If your students are not using Newsela Elementary but you would still prefer the article to be hidden, you can use the Hide function in the top-right corner of the article.
  3. Be ready to talk to your students about the news. While you may not hear your students talking about it, it’s still likely they’ve been exposed to the news already, especially if they’re in middle or high school. We’ve put together some resources to help you talk to students about breaking news, including this blog post.

The attack is the worst mass shooting in American history, and it painfully echoes last November’s terrorist attacks in Paris. Both took place in cities that attract visitors from all over the world. Both involved victims who were spending a night on the town enjoying some music and entertainment. Such violence could not have been further from their minds.

Below are a few words I shared with teachers as we prepared to run the story on the Paris attacks last fall. I hope you find them helpful as you return to your classrooms and families tomorrow.

When a tragedy like this strikes, I struggle to find the best way to explain it to my three school-age children. In the coming days and weeks, I know they will be exposed to a flood of information and opinions as the story unfolds. It’s important to me that my kids have all the facts they need, appropriate to each of their ages and temperaments.

Only you can decide which kinds of information and discussions make sense for your classes. We cover tragedies like this to ensure that you and your students have the information they need in a language they understand, should you choose to take on these challenging issues in the classroom.

I’m grateful for your readership and stand by your side as you help your students process these horrible events. Perhaps we can inspire the next generation to be informed, thoughtful leaders who will work toward a more peaceful and just world for all.

Your colleague,


Matthew Gross

7 Strategies to Keep Readers Motivated This Summer

Teachers and parents alike know all about the loss of reading skills and habits that typically occurs over the summer vacation. We have all seen the research, read the blogs, or witnessed it firsthand with our children and students. The key to preventing it is to make sure our readers practice during the summer months. But how do we keep our kids motivated when the schedules are looser, the pool is calling, and the sunshine beckons them outside? Here are seven strategies to keep our readers motivated and reading all summer long.

Set a summer reading goal before summer vacation begins

Teachers can help students make and reach their summer reading goals by helping them set realistic goals. Help students build a summer reading list. Guide students in finding a new book or series, even a blog or comic to get hooked on, to read over the summer. When students select their reading material and read for enjoyment, the outcome is more positive and fulfilling for the student. Summer is the perfect time to catch up on the reading they didn’t have time for during the school year. Get families involved by sending home book recommendations, suggestions for encouraging reading at home as a family, and various reading programs that are available. Encourage parents to create incentives that will motivate their children to read every day

Check out your local library and bookstore

Your local library and bookstores have summer reading programs available free of charge. These programs vary based on the age of your student but almost always include some type of incentive to keep kids reading. In addition to the incentives, many libraries and bookstores offer drop-in programs related to reading. You may find book clubs, reading times, crafts, as well as online adventures. Check out your local library branch or community bookstore to see what they offer. Take advantage of the incentives and accountability they provide.

Keep it light and let them pick

Students may have an assigned book for the summer but otherwise, let them select the book titles. Student choice when reading is key to engagement. If they select their own books (within their appropriate reading range) students are much more likely to want to read. In addition to choice, all reading counts! Summer reading can be “lighter” content; this is the time it is OK to read that Captain Underpants book. The comics online or in the newspaper, magazine articles, recipes, sports commentary, even the back of the cereal box in the morning … it all counts as reading!

Join Camp Newsela

Newsela is offering a unique summer reading club free to all students. Educators at Newsela will be hosting seven different reading clubs that students can join. The clubs are based on high interest topics and will allow kids to read two assigned articles per week. As they read, students will complete the quiz that accompanies the article. There is a little competition involved to keep the kids motivated. The club that has the highest percentage of students who both completed at least 80% of the assigned articles as well as achieved a score of at least 2 out of 4 on the quizzes will have a special opportunity to give back to the educational community. The winning club will be offered the chance to vote on a DonorsChoose.org project for the Newsela team to help fund.

Make it a social media adventure

Kids love selfies and social media. Harness that power and make your summer reading an adventure that you chronicle as a family. Take reading selfies and photos in all the fun spots you read this summer. Choose a form of social media to share them and create a family summer reading hashtag. Make it a goal to take a picture of reading daily. By the end of the summer, you will have an awesome collection of family photos highlighting all of the reading you did together. If you aren’t comfortable with social media, students can collect the photos and make a slideshow using a presentation app they know from school.

Host an online book club

Students are connected to technology every day and love to share their ideas. Why not keep it going in the summer by setting up an online book club? Use sites such as Padlet and Edmodo for students to share what books they are reading over the summer. Students can share their thoughts as they journey through a book, as well as make recommendations to other students. Teachers can keep it simple by creating an open forum where students can share about their individual books or get a little more involved by setting up groups with the same book. Online book clubs can help maintain momentum and provide positive accountability for summer reading. Want to make it even easier to stay connected? Have students share what they are reading by creating a class summer reading hashtag. Students can tweet out what they are reading with a reading selfie.   

Have a summer book swap

What’s a great way for students to try out a new book? Have a book swap before summer begins to get new books into your students’ hands. Whether your class holds a book swap or a school or grade-level book swap is organized, students will begin summer eager to read something new. This is also a good opportunity to get books in the hands of students who may not have many books at home. Be ready with books to give away in case all of your students are not able to bring in books to swap.

Trying any (or all) of these tips to keep your students reading, and engaged, this summer? Let us know: Tweet us at @newsela.

This guest post was written by Victoria Ruane and Christina Barilka, educators in Edison Township schools.