Using Multimedia to Teach a Newsela Article Topic with Elementary Students

Students read a Newsela article, then share what they've learned using a multimedia medium of their choice
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Annotating Newsela Texts to Prepare for Multimedia Presentations
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About This Strategy

In this strategy, students read an article on Newsela and determine the main idea of the article. The students then create multimedia products of their choice such as presentations, cartoons, or videos to teach the main idea of their article to others. This strategy provides students with several opportunities for choice in the text(s) they read and in the way they present the main idea of the text to the class. Teachers can modify this strategy so that students identify other elements of the text that they want to teach to their peers such as key learnings, interesting insights, etc., and share their learnings with their peers, either to the whole class, to a small group of peers, or via a digital gallery walk format.

Before Reading Implementation Steps

Teacher Preparation and Planning:

  1. Newsela article selection:

    • Option 1: Create parameters for having students select a Newsela article using a Brainstorming Map. Consider the following when selecting Newsela texts: topic, subject area, relevance to the current content taught, etc. See the example of a Brainstorming Map in the resource section below.

    • Option 2: Create one Newsela Text Set for students to select articles from. The Text Set should include articles on a variety of topics relevant to the content taught and/or of high student interest.

  2. Create a Multimedia Choice Menu for students.

    • See the example Multimedia Choice Menu in the resource section below.

    • Select the multimedia tools needed to complete the task successfully (for example: Padlet, Flipgrid, SWAY, Powerpoint, SeeSaw, etc.).

    • Set up access to a variety of media for all students (it may require setting up classroom accounts, assigning login information, etc.).

  3. Expectations & Timeline

    • Create a rubric delineating various factors needed to be taken into consideration when completing the task (the choice of the article, the format of the presentation, the content of the presentation, the mode of delivery, speaking/writing skills, audience engagement). See the example rubric in the resource section below.

    • Determine the amount of time given to students to complete the task.

    • Communicate with students the accepted models of cooperative learning during the activity (individual/pairs/small groups). See the example: Cooperative Learning Chart for cooperative learning norms in the resource section below.

    • Provide students with note-taking and planning tools to enable them to successfully transfer their article knowledge using a multimedia forum. See the Note Taking and Planning template in the resource section below.

Student Preparation:

  1. Explain the purpose of the task to students and how it relates to the daily objective or learning target.

  2. Model for students how to access articles on Newsela (including using features like Annotations). If students are selecting their own articles to read, have them create a brainstorm map (example in resource section below) in order to identify what terms to search for in Newsela.

  3. Review the task, timeline, expectations, and evaluative tools (see rubric and choice menu in resource section below).

  4. Informally survey students by having them give a thumbs up or thumbs down on their familiarity with the media listed in the Multimedia choice menu (in resource section below) and then adjust the choice menu accordingly, if needed.

During Reading Implementation Steps

  1. Have students explore the articles within the assigned Newsela Text Set or any article of their choice within the teacher-provided parameters.

  2. Have students read their selected Newsela articles (individually or in groups).

  3. Have students make Annotations in Newsela while reading the article of their choice (see resource section below to learn more about how to make Annotations in Newsela) and/or take notes using the templates in the resource section below in order to identify the main idea of the text they are reading.

After Reading Implementation Steps

  1. Review the Multimedia Project Rubric (in resource section below) and discuss the expectations listed in the rubric.  

  2. Train students (or assign student mentors) on how to effectively use the media they are not not familiar with.

  3. Have students work individually or with a partner and create their presentation about the Newsela text they read using a multimedia tool of their choice. Students must include an interactive audience element which could include a reflection question posed. See the examples of students' projects in the resource section below.

  4. Have students informally review their peers' creations during a Digital Gallery Walk and respond to the questions posed. To learn more about Gallery Walks, consult the Newsela Gallery Walk strategy in the BetterLesson Lab. As students engage in the Gallery Walk, they can add any new information learned to their notes which they will share with the rest of the class after the Digital Gallery Walk is over.

Recommended Newsela Texts or Text Sets

Text Set Title: Dinosaurs

  • Grade Level: 3-5
  • Content Area: Science

Text Set Title: Natural Resources

  • Grade Level: 3-6
  • Content Area: Science

Branches of Government

  • Grade Level: 4-5
  • Content Area: Social Studies