The Jigsaw strategy allows all readers to become experts on a text or Newsela Text Set and then teach and learn from others in cooperative groups. First, a student becomes an expert on one text. Then, the student joins a second group where each member is an expert on a different text. Students learn from one another and use their shared knowledge to gain a deeper understanding of content. This strategy can be used to help students build background knowledge, dive deeper into the curriculum efficiently, and/or to discover a variety of contexts or perspectives on a topic. The jigsaw strategy engages all students and allows each member to play a valuable role in the group's learning experience.
Identifying the central idea and its supporting details is an essential skill for all learners across the content areas. In this strategy, students are introduced to tools that they can use in order to identify central ideas and supporting details, practice these skills over time while reading Newsela texts, reflect on strategies they have used, and set goals for how they will increase their success throughout the unit. The teacher conferences with each student throughout this process to monitor their progress and support students to set measurable goals. Students will reflect on their progress daily and will make a plan for how they will continue to improve on their next response. At the end of the unit, students reflect on what they've realized about themselves as learners and how they can use this knowledge to increase their overall academic success. Because this strategy is student-centered and student-driven, learners are invested in their growth and more likely to implement what they've learned throughout their studies.
Completing a research project can be overwhelming for students and daunting for teachers, too! This strategy provides step-by-step guidance as students research either a teacher-selected or student-driven topic using Newsela.com. These steps empower students to guide themselves through the research process and allow teachers the freedom to conference with students during the research process to support their success.
Theme is a common message or lesson in a text and can be similar across multiple texts. Teachers of all grade levels and content areas can assist students in determining a common theme to more deeply understand what they read. In this strategy, teachers will begin by providing explicit instruction on theme and connecting this information to students' background knowledge. Teachers then select two texts (fiction or nonfiction) for students to read. Students will identify the conflict, response, and lesson of each text. Then, they will compare these details to develop a common theme. When students analyze two texts and determine a common theme, they will more deeply comprehend what they have read. This process helps students to more actively engage with content and determine overarching concepts across the curriculum.
The Question-Answer Relationship (QAR) strategy can be used by students in all content areas to develop a deeper understanding of the content they are reading. Not only will students become much more effective at answering questions by using QAR, they will also develop their critical thinking skills and move beyond simply memorizing information. In this strategy students learn the different types of QAR questions, identify the types of questions being asked, locate the information in the text needed to answer these questions, and use what they've learned to formulate their own questions.
Recognizing our own bias and the bias of others is essential in developing critical thinking and reading skills. In this strategy, students will investigate one side of a pro/con article on Newsela and then present their findings to the class. Students will discover that both sides present accurate, yet diverse, information and will learn to ask questions about audience and authorship, messages and meanings, and representations and reality to more effectively analyze the information they receive.
Grabbing a reader's attention is essential for effective writing. To learn how to write an exciting beginning or "hook," students participate in a writer's workshop where they are introduced to five different hook strategies and then analyze mentor texts. Studying mentor texts is a wonderful way for students to experience great writing and learn various strategies for developing their own writer's voice. Students study how each author grabbed the reader's attention and then apply what they've learned to develop hooks using three different strategies that they've learned. Students then share these hooks with a partner and receive feedback to help determine which hook they will use in their writing piece.
Students often struggle to find success in answering assessment questions. This quiz reflection strategy allows students to take ownership of their learning. It requires them to look closely at incorrect answers to figure out what went wrong. Then, students brainstorm actionable steps they can take to find greater success on future assessments. Throughout the unit, teachers should model for students how to brainstorm actionable steps and conference with students to help guide and support growth. When used over time, this activity can help students significantly improve their overall reading comprehension and success on reading activities across the content areas.
In this strategy, teachers and students study a mentor text together to determine its features and organization. Next, students work independently to identify these features in a second mentor text. Students then work collaboratively to synthesize their thoughts in a graphic organizer. At the end of the strategy, students reflect on how they will use what they've learned to inform their own writing.
Identifying the cause and effect in a text is often a challenging skill for students. In this strategy, students are introduced to the concept of cause and effect and then observe the teacher modeling how to identify the cause and effect in a text. Then students work independently to determine the cause and effect relationships throughout a Newsela article and use this information to complete a graphic organizer. Students can then demonstrate their understanding of cause and effect by synthesizing the information they learned into a written response.
When students get to discover the who, what, where, when, why, and how of a particular event or topic, they gain a much deeper understanding of the content. This strategy allows students to investigate a topic independently focusing on the 5Ws and a How of the article they are reading. As they read, students can search and annotate key information related to the 5Ws and How. They they can chart this information on a graphic organizer. Students can then use what they've learned to complete a short summary.
In order to prepare for a student-led discussion such as a debate, students should read about both sides of an issue. There are several Newsela Text Sets that provide two sides to debatable issues that students could explore. As students read these texts or Text Sets, they can annotate both sides of the debatable topic and organize their text-based evidence. Then students can work in collaborative groups to synthesize the information and evidence they have gathered in order to prepare for the debate. Students can then use what they have learned to participate in a structured debate in small groups.
A timeline is a tool that students can use to track key events or details as they relate to a historical topic or event. In this strategy, students read multiple articles related to a certain event or social movement and highlight key events or dates as they read. Then, students determine which ten events were most significant and plot them on a timeline. Afterwards, students determine how this event or movement has influenced the US and/or the world.
In this strategy that is specifically for science texts, students and teachers follow a five-step process for engaging with science texts and topics. Teachers begin by engaging students with the topic by watching a relevant video or viewing images about a topic. Then, students research the topic using a Newsela article or Text Set. After reading, students explain what they've learned and then explore the topic by engaging in an experiment. Finally, they evaluate their results and extend the activity by determining how this topic is relevant to their community and/or the world.