Meet the 2018 Newsela Educator of the Year
For Teacher Appreciation Week, we hosted a Teachers’ Lounge webinar and asked you for your nominations for Educator of the Year. After receiving so many incredible submissions for our Educator of the Year, we are happy to announce our 2018 winner: Amanda Krueger! Read on to learn more about Amanda and her classroom.
Teacher: Amanda Krueger
School: Menomonie Middle School in Menomonie, Wisconsin
Content area and grades you teach: I teach 7th and 8th grade Social Studies.
What’s your favorite teaching memory from this past year? It is hard for me to pick one favorite teaching memory! I am so lucky to be able to work at the middle level; it is such a unique time in the lives of my kids. This year I have been so impressed by the compassion and empathy my students have for others. Throughout the year my 7th and 8th grade classes developed projects based on a problem they identified. My 8th grade students focused on strategies to help with different aspects of the Syrian Refugee Crisis. I would like to be able to continue to expand these learning opportunities for my students so that they can meet people locally and internationally involved with what matters to them. Being able to watch my students take on projects and ask big questions about the world has been uplifting for me.
Take us through a favorite lesson you've taught using Newsela. I use Newsela weekly in my class so that students can practice reading primary and secondary sources about meaningful and relevant topics. I always try to creatively tie in the Newsela articles to learning experiences or projects that allow students to dig deeper into the topic. Throughout the year we have read about natural disasters and navigated challenging discussions. One such topic was related to teaching about religion in schools. After students participated in a world religions forum at our school, students read an article that debated the pros and cons of teaching religion in public schools. I asked students to submit a Write response in a blog post format reflecting on the forum and then using evidence from their personal experience and the article to take a position on teaching about world religions. Another lesson that I am proud of won the first “Post of the Week” Newsela prize. After reading The Lorax and watching the film, students read an article about the role of corporations. Using that knowledge, students then re-imagined the story of the Lorax as if the corporation had been more responsible or if the government or protesters were more involved in the process. It was a great way for students to be creative while applying what they were learning about political science and environmental protections. Overall, I try to be consistent and creative with my use of Newsela. I also believe that all teachers are reading teachers, so it has been a great tool to explore and use in my classes!
We were blown away by the response to Newsela’s Teacher Appreciation Campaign. Here are some other phenomenal educators who are using Newsela in innovative and noteworthy ways - their hard work and expertise are truly inspirational.
Luis Oliveira is an High School ELL Educator and Technology Coach from Middletown High School in Rhode Island and a Newsela rockstar through and through. His passion for Newsela is contagious:
“I have worked tirelessly to get my district to buy into the PRO version of Newsela. I made sure my assistant superintendent saw the benefits of Newsela for ELL students and all struggling readers. I have worked throughout the year to show Newsela to colleagues both in the district and outside the district presenting at EdCamp Boston, joint technology day with Bristol/Warren School District and RIFLA. I have been a constant presence on Twitter providing examples of how educators can use Newsela with their students. I also presented on the Flipgrid Webinar series on Newsela.”
Tammy Luiz, Special Educator and Reading Intervention Teacher from Scott Valley Jr. High School in Fort Jones, California, uses Newsela as a way to take her daily teaching to the next level:
“Tammy uses Newsela to enhance/extend her daily teaching. She uses the varied lexile reading regularly to help all students access the content at their own instructional level. Newsela data is used in the preparation and creation of annual IEP goals.”
Adam Trebel, who teaches Career and Tech Education at Marinette High School in Marinette Wisconsin, is not what many see as a “typical” Newsela Educator, but his innovative use of Newsela did not go unnoticed:
“My content area doesn't always lend itself to time for integrating literacy or current event because we have many skills that need to be mastered, however I use Newsela as a way for students to make those connections to the content from a different perspective. I want students to love reading inside and outside of the classroom and because reading can be such a frustration for many students because their lack of skill in it. I use Newsela and the relevant content to get my students involved and hopefully sparking a love for reading.”
To all of the amazing educators on Newsela, thank you for all that you do for your students. We appreciate you and your passion for unlocking the written word for everyone.