Notice, Wonder, Connect Using Newsela for Secondary Students

Students engage in active reading as they track what they notice, what they wonder, and how they connect to the text they are reading
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Notice Wonder Connect Explanation
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About This Strategy

Through this strategy, students pay attention to what they notice, what they wonder about, and how they connect to an article as they read. Doing so makes students active readers who can comprehend so much more about what they read. After engaging in this strategy, students are prepared for a discussion about the text, a written response to the text, or other extension activities.

Before Reading Implementation Steps

Teacher Preparation and Planning:

  1. Choose two Newsela articles or a Text Set that are related to the current unit of study. One article will be used for the teacher to model the Notice, Wonder, Connect process, and another article will be used for student practice.

  2. Newsela PRO users may want to modify the Write Prompt as follows: Choose one thing that you notice or wonder about or one of the connections that you made while reading. Reflect on this take-away, and explain how noticing it impacted your understanding of the text.

Student Preparation:

  1. Model reading the selected article with the class, and stop periodically (about once per paragraph) to do a think-aloud. The teacher may fill in the graphic organizer, or he/she may highlight or annotate the article in Newsela each time there is something to notice, wonder about, or connect with. A sample graphic organizer is linked in the resource section below. Sample Annotations for the article "U.K. Attempts to Make Most of an Opportunity That Goes to Waste" are also linked below.

  2. After completing the article and Annotations, model how to reflect on the reading. Reflect on some of the individual Annotations and how they impacted understanding and/or reflect on the article as a whole.

During Reading Implementation Steps

  1. Assign the same Newsela articles or Text Set to each student for independent practice. When creating the assignment, decide whether to provide it at the Newsela Recommended reading level for each student or to adjust the reading level to a particular grade for all students.

  2. Have students read the Newsela article and log what they notice, wonder, and connect with either on a graphic organizer or by using Newsela Annotations to highlight important information as follows. A sample graphic organizer and a modified organizer that contains sentence frames suitable for EL students are both included in the resource section below. If students are annotating the text in Newsela, consider using the following annotations:

    • Highlight any information that you notice from the article in YELLOW. This may be information that seems important, is surprising, or stands out. Then, in the annotations, type "Notice!" followed by an explanation of why that information might be worth noting.

    • Highlight any information that you wonder about in GREEN. In the annotations, type "Wonder!" followed by an explanation of what you were wondering about as you read it.

    • Highlight any information from the article that you connect with in BLUE. This might be something that you have heard/learned/read about before, a section that you can relate to, or something that reminds you of something else. In the annotations, type "Connect*" followed by an explanation of the connection that you had.

  3. Newsela PRO teacher users may respond to student annotations to help their students think more deeply about what they noticed.

After Reading Implementation Steps

  1. Have students engage in a Pair-Share with a peer who read the same article. They may notice places where they both noticed/wondered about/connected with the same things and other places where they did not; this is to be expected as everyone brings different background knowledge and experiences to the text. By sharing with a peer, they may hear a different perspective on the text.

  2. Have students respond in writing to demonstrate their comprehension of the text.

    • Newsela PRO users may have students complete the Write Prompt: Choose one thing that you notice or wonder about or one of the connections that you made while reading. Reflect on this take-away, and explain how noticing it impacted your understanding of the text.

    • Non-PRO users may have students write journal reflections to address the prompt, or they could use a handout like the one that is linked in the Resources below.

Recommended Newsela Texts or Text Sets

Social Justice: Opening Your Eyes to Injustice around the World

  • Essential Question: When should an individual take a stand against social injustices?
  • Grade Level: 6-12
  • Content Area: Social Studies, ELA

Are We Too Dependent on Cell Phones?

  • Essential Question: Are cell phones controlling the way that people live and communicate?
  • Grade Level: 6-12
  • Content Area: Science, Technology, ELA

The "Formula" of Sports

  • Essential Question: Why must math exist in sports?
  • Grade Level: 6-12
  • Content Area: Math, ELA

Extension Activities: Concentric Circle Discussion and Gallery Walks

This strategy need not be a stand-alone strategy. The thinking involved in the Notice, Wonder, Connect Strategy may lead to other discussion, written responses, or group activities. Such activities could include the following:

  • Students share their thinking after reading the text using the Concentric Circles strategy. In the Concentric Circles strategy, students arrange themselves in two circles. Each student in the inner circle has a partner opposite him/her in the outer circle. These students discuss a topic suggested by the teacher. In this case, they could each share something that they noticed from the text. After a short period of time, one of the circles rotates so that each student has a new partner. Students then discuss another topic; in this case, they could share one of their connections. Repeat this several times so that students are able to share their thoughts about the text with a variety of partners. Details about the Concentric Circles strategy (as well as other discussion options such as Fishbowl Discussions, Socratic Seminars, Conver-Stations, Snowball Discussions, and more) are linked in the resource section below.
  • Students could share what they notice, wonder about, and connect with on chart paper. Hang three pieces of chart paper in the room, and label one "Notice," another "Wonder," and the third one "Connect." As they read, students could write on sticky notes the things that they notice, wonder about, and connect with and then place these sticky notes onto the appropriate chart paper. Students could then view them in a Gallery Walk to see all of the different thoughts that their classmates had.

EL Modification

Using Newsela allows students to read articles at their own reading levels without missing out on key content. Reading articles at a just right level as well as the modifications below support EL students in building their language acquisition skills.

 

Modifications:

  • Students may read the article with a peer or with a small, teacher-led group. Students may also listen to the article using a tool such as Google Read&Write (see resource section below).

  • The teacher may provide EL students with a graphic organizer with sentence frames to support them in their written responses. A sample graphic organizer is provided in the resources below.

Teacher Tips

Sarah Bayer
Newsela Master Teacher
  • While recommended Text Sets are included in the Recommended Newsela Texts or Text Set sections of this strategy, this strategy is appropriate for any Newsela article. When introducing this strategy, you may want to choose an article strictly for its engagement factor. For example, my 6th grade students always enjoy the articles about cow dung or snakes in toilets that are linked in the resources below. While they might not relate to my content, I know that my students will be interested and that they will have plenty to notice, wonder about, and connect with as they read.

  • Encourage students to use this strategy on a regular basis when reading informational texts not only in your class but in their other classes as well as a way to help students engage more actively with the text.