A few weeks ago, we asked you to help celebrate our app launch by sharing your classroom stories and tagging #iNewsela. Your submissions had us by turns entertained, inspired, and awed. Here are some of our favorites.
Take Me There Thursdays
“Quitman, Georgia. Our hometown. Less than 4,000 citizens, three traffic lights, and miles upon miles of farmland and peach orchards. Newsela helps us bring the great, big world into our small classroom. The different articles are truly engaging and allow me to help the students become more worldly. Our classroom participates in “Take Me There Thursdays,” an initiative to bring the world into our classrooms. Many of our students have never left the boundaries of our county, much less our state or country, but with Newsela, they can go to Mexico, China, Africa, and even outer space! Our students have narrow thinking because they have narrow experiences, but Newsela changes that! Students use literacy strategies like annolighting, paragraph frames, text connections, and more to understand their world and fellow humans.
I will never forget a recent Newsela lesson about Syrian refugees. Based on a before-reading poll, nearly all of my students believed that no refugees should be allowed to come to the US, but after reading a text set comprised of a Newsela article, an excerpt by Anne Frank, and a few Humans of New York posts, nearly all of them had changed their minds! That lesson exemplified the reason I teach—to make students think, feel, and do more than they can imagine!
My classes are composed of students with a wide range of reading abilities, and Newsela allows me to easily provide engaging instruction with the click of a button. The lexile ranges, the paired text sets, the assessment and writing prompts, and the Spanish articles make Newsela an awesome instructional tool! Our teachers even read Newsela and share their favorite articles because the material is so interesting! “I read it on Newsela,” is a popular catchphrase heard in professional learning and collaborative planning. In a world full of click-bait and sponsored content, it is so refreshing to find real news, presented in exciting and accessible ways. The Newsela team is a pack of storytellers with teachers’ hearts, and the written word lives and thrives through this website and app. We would love to come to NY to see where the magic happens, and we know we will continue to use Newsela on a weekly basis to bring the world to our small-town students!” Beth L., Georgia
“We used an article about President Obama and gun control. The article was titled “President details his plan for better gun control”. After we read the article, we made an inner and outer circle. Then we had a debate on whether or not it was a good idea for the president to make new laws on gun control. We used the Socratic seminar method. The students were very passionate about their feelings toward gun control.” Joan R., Georgia
Helping Syrian Refugees
“My 50 fifth-graders read the Newsela article titled ‘Many escape war in Syria, and life seems ghostly for those who stay.’ Because we are studying early 1900s immigration into America, we compared and contrasted immigrants leaving their war-torn countries in the 1900s versus the Syrian refugees today. Then, my students came up with a list of ideas of how we as a class can help the current Syrian refugees. The slideshow behind us is the list my students came up with. They are going to vote on which way they would like to help and set up a classroom fundraiser for Syrian refugees in America.” Miranda H., Texas
Claim of the Day
“In Room 104, our fourth-grade detectives celebrate @newsela by investigating the “CLAIM OF THE DAY!” Each day when students come into my classroom, a short excerpt from a @newsela article is highlighted and projected on the screen! I prefer to choose a higher leveled lexile text to challenge students to wake up their brains for this whole class portion. Through “CLAIM OF THE DAY!” students examine and analyze the short informational text by asking three questions and hosting conversations with their table groups — After reading this text/claim … what surprises me? What does the author think I already know? (to activate prior knowledge and assess vocabulary gaps!) What confirms, challenges, or changes what I think?* My “CLAIM OF THE DAY!” strategy, inspired by Notice & Note: Reading Non-Fiction, helps students become critical thinkers as they examine a quote or passage and ask themselves driving questions about evidence, credentials, and authors’ perspective. These short excerpts from @newsela build excitement and stir curiosity as students get a snapshot of the article they will explore later that day. We aim to do this at least three times a week. I appreciate that @newsela presents each text in differentiated lexile levels. I can easily assign articles and keep records! Each student has equitable access to the reading material and can contribute to the learning experience! There are writing and quiz options for each assigned reading. I can monitor progress through the classroom tools. @newsela helps me maximize my planning time because I can quickly find articles that are interesting, engaging, and relevant. I can even hide articles that may not be appropriate for my demographic. Before @newsela, I spent hours searching multiple websites for quality, up-to-date texts for my students. Now I have multiple articles that I can trust, organized by topic! These tools are awesome! All students can and DO participate! We love @newsela! Every teacher should give it a go!
In this picture: “THE CLAIM OF THE DAY!” comes from “Are sea pens or SeaWorld tanks better for captive killer whales?” After reading the full article a student responded, “I like the idea of sea pens, but it’s sad to think that the captive orcas will always be dependent on humans for food and care. They probably will never be able to survive in the wild because they don’t have hunting skills.” This was not explicit in the text, but the student was able to form her thoughts with evidence from the text! There was agreement and disagreement among her peers. Exciting!
This type of learning increases student motivation and sparks them to explore informational texts and do their own research beyond the school hours. It promotes a genuine love of learning!” Paige H., California
Connections to Geography
“Our sixth-graders at Del Mar Pines School are loving NewsELA! We recently utilized the program to tie in cross-curricular while studying Ancient India. The recent article on flooding, monsoons and the Indus Valley allowed the students to understand how geography and climate impacts the development of a culture. Students made an Alphabet Book for Ancient India while reading up on current affairs of India today; what a great connection!” Abbey E., California
Connections to Social Studies
“Does winning the lottery help poor people? The fourth-grade students at Indianapolis Academy of Excellence were quick to say that the lottery didn’t help poor people if the poor people didn’t win. After reading the NewsELA article, “Opinion: Powerball cannot solve poverty but it gives money to states,” many students changed their mindset. The article, written at various Lexile levels, armed each student with the confidence to participate in an energetic class debate about the lottery’s effect on society.
This article helped fourth-graders integrate math, current events, reading, and citing evidence into their public speaking! The class performed math equations about dividing lottery winnings, based on the recent $1.4 billion lottery prize. With a firm understanding of the magnitude of the dollars involved, the students learned that the lottery was a business that not only sold tickets, but donated money. It was exciting to see the students quote details from the article to defend their position about the lottery. By the end, most agreed that the lottery does help people, including the poor … even if those people don’t buy tickets!” Tina D., Indiana
“1-Read collection of #BLM @Newsela articles 2-Were inspired … wanted to know more! 3-designed infographics” Emily S., Texas
Fundraiser for Syrian Refugees
“Using Newsela as our primary source, our eighth-grade students explored Syrian culture and their civil war. They then used this information to create a media campaign, in order to bring awareness in our school, on the hardships that Syrian refugees are facing. Our project concluded with a fundraiser in which students were able to collect $1,043.46. This money provided four Syrian refugee families with blankets, water, food, toiletries, and warm clothing for the harsh winter months ahead.” Viri H., California
“Presentation day!!! This group of girls chose to present information from about how students learn discipline during academics!!! They had so much fun having their own newscast in front of the class!! Their ideas were well organized and they were able to show what they know all while having fun! I’ve tried many resources to get students into current events but nothing has compared to @newsela ! Thank you for the opportunity to make real life relatable to students! Such an awesome experience and I cannot wait to hear the rest of my students’ broadcasts! Soooooooo proud!” Shawny S., Illinois
“The most recent way we used #newsela in our ninth-grade history class was with an MLK day project. We annotated an MLK article from Newsela, created our own “I Have a Dream” speeches, then created a collage of the civil rights movement. #inewsela I love that I can change the reading level, and especially love the writing questions.” Ash F., Alabama
Thanks to everyone who submitted their classroom photos. You inspire us to keep unlocking the written word for everyone, every day.