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TestTube: A New Digital Current Events Station

Posted by Marygrove MAT on Sep 16, 2014 12:36:32 PM

news for kidsWe’re always looking for ways to make news and current events stories exciting and digestible for students, so we were pleased to come across a cool new website called TestTube.

On TestTube, you’ll find a hefty collection of articles, videos, and programs that answer convoluted questions like Does the U.S. Jobs Report Even Matter?, Could ISIS Terrorists Attack the US?, and What the Heck is 3D Printing? in an engaging and accessible way.

A word of caution for teachers: While most of the content on TestTube is student-friendly, you may want to screen the videos first before presenting them to your students.



The Reading Playbook, a teachers guide to success

Tags: news sites for students, news for kids, current events for students

10 Engaging Activities for Students Who Finish Work Early

Posted by Ryan O'Rourke on Mar 21, 2014 6:36:00 AM

studentsAs a student, I was rarely the first to complete my tests or in-class exercises, but when I was, I held onto my work until it was collected. Why? Because I didn’t want to be “rewarded” with more work; I didn’t want to select a time-killing ditto from the teacher’s filing cabinet.

If I didn’t want to work on dittos while the rest of the students completed their work, I know that my students don’t either.

I consider all 10 of the activities below to be creative, engaging and meaningful. Here’s the rule I used when compiling this list: If I wouldn’t enjoy working on the activity myself, it didn’t make the cut.   

10 Engaging Activities for Students Who Finish Work Early

1Newspaper Blackout blackout art
All you need is a newspaper article (or any form of print media) and a Sharpie. Say something about yourself by blacking out all of the words you don’t intend to use in your sentence.

2Write a Six-Word Story
Flash fiction has been around for a while, but it was perhaps Ernest Hemingway that dazzled us with the flash-fiction concept in the 1920s when his friends bet him that he couldn’t write a complete story in six words. Whether or not it’s true, the story goes that his colleagues each dumped 10 bucks into a pot. If Hemingway’s story wooed them, he’d pocket the money. Once the money was pooled, he grabbed a napkin off the table and nonchalantly dashed off six words:

For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.

Then he slid the napkin across the table and collected what was due to him.

Using Hemingway as an inspiration, write a story in six words.

3Read Whatever You Want
Let’s keep this simple: Grab any book, comic book, magazine or newspaper you like from the classroom library. Start reading!

Start with an article related to a personal interest. In that article, find a link to another article that teaches you something you didn’t know. Read that new article and write a summary of what you found interesting or what you learned.


Read a review about a movie, book, music or game that you like. Summarize the author’s opinion and write your response. Quote parts of the original review in your response.

6*Another Middle School
Look up a website of a middle school that you don’t already know about. Browse the pages of their website until you have learned some things about the school. Summarize what you find. Here are some questions you might answer:  What appears to be the best thing about that school? What suggestions do you have for their website that would help you learn more or make it easier to use? What do you dislike about the school based on what you see on the site?

7*World News

Use Google news to find a current world news event that interests you. Summarize the article and write your thoughts about it. Be sure to quote parts of the news article you read.

8*Found Poem - Read this article about how to write a found poem:  

After reading it, find any webpage that you want and create a found poem from it. Write your poem and list the URL for the webpage that you used. Write a sentence or two explaining why you picked the words and phrases that you did for your poem. 

9*Suggestion for Class
- Find a website, game or online program that you wish a teacher would use in class. Write the URL of the resource and explain why you think a teacher should use it and how they could use it.

10*Make a Timeline - Use this online tool to make a timeline with at least 6 events from start to end.  It can be about your life (from birth or maybe just a single season of life) or it can be about some famous person or event(s)

Get a screen capture and paste it into Word.  If it’s too long to fit on the screen, copy it in parts.

*These activities all come from blogger and technology-coordinator, Mike Petty. For more ideas, be sure to stop by his blog, Classroom Games and Technology.


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Tags: writing strategies, Writing, writing skills, student engagement, current events for students

5 of the Best News Sites for K-12 Students

Posted by Marygrove MAT on Sep 25, 2013 4:08:00 PM

news sites for k-12 studentsYears 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 also 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. If you're looking for news sites for students, look no further.

5 of the Best News Sites for K-12 Students

news sites for k-12 studentsEvery day, the folks over at Tween Tribune  scour the Internet for engaging news stories suitable for K-12 students. If you sign up for a free account, you can assign Tween Tribute quizzes related to the content your students are reading. An added bonus: the results of the quizzes will be sent directly to your email account.

news sites for k-12 studentsDogo News curates a wide variety of content. Not only will you find news, you’ll also find an impressive collection of links to student-friendly websites, interactive maps, avatar generators, book and film reviews, and other resources for teachers.

news sites for k-12 studentsHere There Everywhere is, hands-down, one of my favorite Paul McCartney songs, but it’s also an awesome news site for elementary-and-older students.


news sites for k-12 studentsNational Geographic Kids is so much more than a news site. Indeed, you’ll find a fine selection of news articles, but there’s also a hefty collection of educational games, videos, creature features, photos, and geographic presentations.

news sites for k-12 studentsChannel One is a Peabody and Telly award-winning news program that broadcasts to nearly 5 million young people across the country. Their daily broadcasts and supplementary educational materials are aligned to Common Core State Standards, which makes it that much easier to bring current events into the classroom.

If you subscribe to their free newsletter, you’ll receive:

  • An outline of the topics featured in Channel One’s news programming
  • Daily discussion prompts
  • Assessment questions
  • Age-appropriate vocabulary words
  • A complete transcript of the show
Book Talk Review 2 - Trackers by Patrick Carman

Tags: news sites for students, reading strategies, reading motivation, reading instruction, current events for students, K-12 students

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