I want my students to read more. But they all have different interests, and I can teach them skills through any content. What are some sites with solid stories and a variety of fresh content?
- Well, Newsela (also an app that students can get from the Chrome Web Store!) is great – you, as the teacher, create an account. They create an account and join your class. Then you can assign them articles to read, or they can choose their own. If an article is too difficult for them, they can adjust the reading level on the right-hand side of the page – they will still get the same content as another person who reads the same article. You can decide what to do next – look for references to research? Look for references to past historical events? Look for transitions? Every class could use some more current reading, probably. 🙂
- Izzit requires you to create a free account, but they offer a ton of constantly updated content – plus! – pre-reading questions and (if you set it up) quizzes for the articles. Again, there are many ways any teacher can use current events articles in class – and the more kids read, even if it’s in small doses throughout the day, the better.
How are you sharing with your department members?
- I know that the English department has been using a diigo site for years to collect and share bookmarks. This mass of bookmarks are easily searchable because we tag them. So if I’m looking for a website about grammar that I remember that Hadley posted some time back, I don’t have to look over the hundreds of bookmarks we have amassed – I just search our tags with the word “grammar” – and all of the grammar sites show up. It’s much better than sharing links through email, which get buried and forgotten about.
- I am in love with my Pinterest boards. I’ve had my teaching board the longest, and while it’s slightly chaotic, it’s not just English-teacher focused, it has general teaching links too. I like reading it still, even though I’m not technically teaching right now. Patty has a good teaching board as well. My EdTech board is newer, but I add to it more frequently now, for obvious reasons, and Jen has a PD board that you should follow. There is more and more information on Pinterest for secondary educators – it used to kind of be an elementary educator’s dream come true. But it’s evolving! Once you start following a few people, you will get recommendations for more, and pretty soon you’ll be seeing chevron-patterned binders in your sleep.
- As teachers, we need to model life-long learning for our students. Twitter is a great place to start (see my get-started guide). Pinterest is fun and educational while being visually appealing. It’s never been so easy to learn from fellow educators around the world. We owe it to our students to keep fresh, to find out what’s going on out there that will serve them best, and to share it with one another! Tell me how you’re sharing with your department so I can pass it on!