Newsela is an effective classroom literacy tool for students and teachers, and just like with any tool, routines and procedures increase its productivity. This strategy outlines some best practices for creating routines using Newsela in the classroom. It highlights the importance of consistency and clarity when developing routines, rooted in consistent use of the tool and a structured set of norms. As when introducing any new tech tool into a classroom, initial routine-setting and continuous refinement of those routines for how to use the technology support student success.
No matter the genre, readers gravitate toward their interests when reading. Working with students to create Class Text Sets with Newsela allows secondary students to choose what they learn about while still focusing on the learning targets of the subject area and course. The element of choice that having students create class Text Sets introduces increases student engagement in the topic and can excite students to read more. Having students take ownership of their learning is a goal of most educators, and this strategy encourages and supports that goal.
Having students explore and research issues surrounding their community supports them to engage in their community and potentially make impactful changes. Student engagement and questioning skills increase when they relate to the subject and realize that many of the things they face on a day-to-day basis are the same for many people around the world. In this strategy, students read Newsela articles to learn more about their communities in order to identify a problem, and then develop research-based projects to explore and present solutions to those problems.
Students are large consumers of various types of media. This experience when leveraged in the classroom can be a great way for students to demonstrate their understanding of a topic and teach others. In this strategy, students read a text or a Text Set on Newsela, synthesize and summarize their reading, and then develop a way to teach the topic that they learned about in the reading to their peers. This strategy can play out in various ways (from having students create a multimedia commercial to teaching a lesson to peers using slides) and can be customized to suit the needs of specific classrooms.