Notice, Wonder, Connect using Newsela with Elementary Students

Use Write Prompts and Annotations to record "noticings, wonderings, and connections" while reading a nonfiction Newsela article
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Notice, Wonder, Connect Student Explanation

About This Strategy

In this strategy, students ask questions about and draw connections to a nonfiction text to complement their understanding of an assigned topic or a topic of their choice. Students use the Newsela Annotations feature and the Write Prompt to record what they notice and wonder about a nonfiction article as well as the connections made during the process of reading a text at multiple reading levels.

Before Reading Implementation Steps

Teacher Preparation and Planning: 

  1. Create or select a Newsela Text Set from which students can select nonfiction articles. The Text Set should include articles supporting your current content area standards to further support students' understanding of the topics.

  2. Make a determination regarding the grouping of students for this strategy: independent, pairs, or triads.

  3. Locate and make copies of (or enable digital access to) the "Notice, Wonder, Connect" analysis template to be used by students during reading. Refer to the example in the resource section below. 

Student Preparation: 

  1. Explain to students that they will be closely reading selected Newsela articles, annotating them, and responding using the Write Prompt format in order to analyze them.

  2. Model for students how to access articles and/or Text Sets on Newsela including using features like Annotations and Write Prompt activity. To learn more about using Newsela Annotations, as well as accessing and modifying Write Prompt, consult the resource section below.

  3. Using teacher discretion, form groups of two or three students and remind students of  their responsibilities within each group to read a certain number of Newsela texts at varied reading levels in order to complete the Notice, Wonder, Connect graphic organizer. Refer to the Cooperative Learning Chart in the resource section below if needed. If students prefer working independently, make this option available as well.

  4. Provide students with the "Notice, Wonder, Connect" analysis template to be used during reading and preview the template with students.

During Reading Implementation Steps

  1. Assign the Newsela article or Text Set to students and enable them access to view the article at several different reading levels

  2. Have students explore nonfiction articles within the assigned Text Sets on Newsela to identify the ones that peak their interest, or assign specific articles within the Text Set to students/groups. 

  3. Have students read and annotate the Newsela articles of their choice (individually or in groups). Newsela PRO users can consider creating a color-coded system of writing annotations to help students respond to each nonfiction article. An example of a color coded annotation system for both Non-PRO/PRO Newsela Users is: 

    • Yellow highlight: What interesting facts do you NOTICE in the article that add to your understanding of the main topic/help you answer the essential question?

    • Red highlight: What are some facts presented in the article that make you WONDER? Why?

    • Blue highlight: CONNECT the content learned with the overall topic/other articles from the same text set/essential question.

    • Green highlight: Identify facts that you would like to explore more.

After Reading Implementation Steps

  1. Have students complete the edited Write Prompt reflecting "Notice, Wonder, Connect" guiding questions after they read the assigned/selected nonfiction articles. Encourage students to consult the "Notice, Wonder, Connect" Analysis Template that they used while reading to transfer the content to the Write Prompt. Refer to the example of the completed Write Prompt in the resource section below.

  2. Have students share their "Notice, Wonder, Connect" findings with another student or group within the same Newsela Text Set. Students should use their Annotations, Write Prompt, and the optional "Notice, Wonder, Connect" Analysis Template as resources. 

  3. Students on the receiving end will demonstrate what they learned from peers by completing a 3-2-1 Exit Ticket (in resource section below).

Recommended Newsela Text or Text Sets


Earth Sciences: Earth & The Solar System

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Earth Sciences: Natural Resources

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Life Sciences: Adaptations

  • Essential Question: How do animal adaptations contribute to their survival?
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Physical Sciences: Forces and Motion 

  • Essential Question: How can you explain interactions between objects?
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The Civil Rights Movement

  • Essential Question: How did landmark events contribute to the Civil Rights movement?
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Branches of Government 

  • Essential Question: How does the structure of the three branches of government ensures their checks and balances?
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Native American Populations

  • Essential Question: How did the expansion of the US affect Native Americans, their cultures and traditions?
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The Women's Rights Movement 

  • Essential Question: How did US suffrage movement contribute to women's emancipation?
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Greek Mythology

  • Essential Question: What is the relevance of myths in the world in which we live? 
  • By what standards is an individual judged as heroic?
  • Why are myths integral to cultures worldwide?
  • Grade Level: 4-8
  • Content Area: Social Studies, ELA