Thanks to a post by Larry Ferlazzo, I spent some time this morning checking out a new website, currently in beta, called Newsela. It looks very promising!
Newsela posts current news articles, rewritten at 4 lexile levels, to address the reading needs of mixed ability classrooms. A teacher can register her class and assign an article for them to read on line. Students choose which Lexile level to read (starting at about 4th grade through senior high school) and then answer four questions at the end of the reading. The questions are also leveled, which will make it possible for struggling readers to participate. However, most teachers will want to develop their own, more thought provoking questions for class discussion.
If my intention was to design this as an online only activity, I would probably pair Newsela with my own questions on Polleverywhere, Socrative, TodaysMeet, Edmodo or another discussion forum.
Newsela is free at the moment - so register while you can. It might stay that way for early testers
Recently I was invited to write for Expert Beacon - a site dedicated to sharing expert advice on a wide range of topics. Here is my first article on the Do's and Don'ts of successful inclusive practices.
Athletic teams and charitable groups have used wrist bands for several years as a way to promote their organizations and goals. Frequently, students can be seen with several different colored bands dangling around their wrists. Here's an idea for tapping into this interest to promote your learning goals, especially with rote information such as spelling words and math facts. (Great for primary grade students!)
Obtain two different colors of Velcro ( the non-adhesive type.) From one color, cut strips approximately 7 inches in length. On the other color, use a permanent marker to write numbers and operational signs (or letters for spelling.) The written material will attach to the wrist band strips, so be sure to use the opposite Velcro structures so that they will stick together. Fnally, cut a one inch piece to serve as a clasp or connecting device to hold the band together.
At the start of the day direct your students to create a band that shows one of the math facts that they have not yet mastered (or to spell their name, or phone number, or missed spelling word.) As they wear the learning bands throughout the day they will see a frequent reminder of the key fact they need to learn!
Anne M. Beninghof
Anne's mission is to improve instruction through collaboration and the sharing of creative, practical ideas for educators.