Monthly Archives: September 2013

Current Events For All Readers

Many of us have faced a similar problem.  Either we ourselves, or someone in our care needs to do work involving Current Events.  Quite often, the person might have difficulty understanding the article at the given reading level.  Sometimes the person is an advanced reader and finds the given article too easy.  Now there is a solution for both – Newsela.

Newsela is an organization that provides articles at reading levels from fourth grade to college ready.  Viewers can read the original article or choose the reading level that is just right for them.  Newsela edits the article to fit that particular reading level.  In addition to world events, science, law  and financial matters, readers can find articles relevant to children and young adult interests in today’s world.  All of the articles are obtained from well-known, news worthy organizations.   If the reading level is changed, the “meat” of the article is kept, while the vocabulary of the reading is altered to fit the requested level.

You do not need to register; however, if you do not, you are limited to five articles a day.  Registration provides you with unlimited access and it is free.  You can create class groupings and assign your students a code for them to use so they can register safely.

You also have the ability to create online quizzes on the material for the students to take.  The quizzes are aligned with the Common Core standards and will help you to determine what reading level and understanding level your student is currently functioning at.

If you are using Newsela for assignments, I would still double check that the material you want to be covered is available in all of the reading levels your group requires.

So whether you are looking for a news source in your personal life, for your child or your student, Newsela is an excellent resource to try.

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Filed under Common Core, ELA, lesson planning, research, Social Studies, Standards

Back On Site with a New Tool for Your Delight

I know it’s been awhile since my last posting.  Unfortunately there was a family illness that I needed to attend too and then I had to catch up on regular life.  Now I’m back – bigger and better than before :).

For my first posting this scholastic year, I thought it would be nice to share a feature that can be used for the classroom, your personal and your professional life.   Today, I will be discussing how you can create your own blog on a site that is not blocked by most servers.  It can even be viewed in NYC DOE schools.  It is Blogger.com.

This option is offered by Google in their suite of tools.  It is free; just sign into your Google account.  If you don’t have one, just go to Google and click on the “sign up” tab in the upper right hand corner.  This also gives you access to a free e-mail account. Once you have your Google account and have an active e-mail address (it does not have to be Google’s), you can set up your blog.  You can even set up multiple blogs.  You can create one for your students, one for your personal life, one for your travel posts, etc.  You get to decide who views each blog.

“Is blogging still relevant?” you ask.   Yes it is.  While there is plethora of different types of social media available, there are many benefits to having a blog that can benefit you and your students.  Blogging allows you freedom in how you present your material and how long your post is.  Many of the social media sites control how the information is presented and limits you on the number of words you can use.   On a blog, you can get into the meat of your topic and provide many more details for discussion.  In addition, while social media sites are blocked in most schools – they are also frowned upon for you to use to connect with students outside of the classroom.  If you are using your blog for educational purposes, most principals will give permission for your students to respond to your postings.

Once you create your blog account you can set up your profile.  You may wish to provide a picture of yourself or perhaps one someone else made that you feel represents your character (following copyright law of course). Choose backgrounds that you like and feel are beneficial.  Then you can post topics, pictures, videos, etc.  The blog will not be posted for viewing until you say it is ready.  This will enable you to start a project and come back to it later if another issue pops up.

“If Blogger.com is so wonderful, why are you on Word Press?” you ask.  The simple fact is that I found WordPress before I knew about Google’s offering.  They both are free and offer similar features.  I’ve been very happy on WordPress, so I don’t feel it is necessary for me to start fresh.  Both are great sites.  Why not try each one and see which fits your needs the best?

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Filed under lesson planning, social media