Years later, I still look back fondly on Friday afternoons in my seventh grade U.S History class. Not only was it the last class of the day, it was what our teacher called “Current-Events Friday.” This meant that each student was responsible for selecting three articles from the newspaper, summarizing them and then sharing one article with the class. This event was certainly a nice break from the usual routine, but also we learned a lot about what was going on in the world. “Current-Events Friday” also forced us to get comfortable with the art of summarizing and speaking in front of the class.
Newsela puts the common core into current events
If you’re looking for a new way to approach current events in the classroom and you want to be sure that you’re sticking to the Common Core, stop by Newsela and sign up for a free educator account.
Once you add your students to the roster, you can directly assign news pieces. Here’s the cool part: There are four unique versions of each article and they all vary in difficulty. Should a student find that the reading level is too easy or difficult, a different version of the same news piece is only a click away.
As an example, below you’ll find four different versions of the opening paragraph in the article, “Marking U.S. Army means ready to eat, and not ready to throw away.”
1220L: “A ready-to-eat Army meal can survive a 1,200-foot parachute drop and stay fresh for up to three years — only to go straight into the trash can if it doesn’t appeal to a soldier’s taste.”
1050L: “A ready-to-eat Army meal can survive a 1,200-foot parachute drop and stay fresh for up to three years. But if a soldier doesn't like the taste, it's going to go straight into the trash.”
910L: “A ready-to-eat Army meal can survive a 1,200-foot parachute drop and stay fresh for up to three years. But if it doesn't taste good to a soldier, it's going straight to the trash.”
810L: “A ready-to-eat Army meal can stay fresh for up to three years. It can survive a 1,200-foot parachute drop. But if a soldier doesn't like the taste, it's going get dropped straight into the trash.”
Another convenient feature of Newsela is that each article has a reading comprehension quiz; the results will show up in your digital “binder,” which you can then download to your computer as an Excel file.