How I Use It
I use the Current Event Curriculets in my science classes. I assign them as homework to support in-class instruction. The annotations allow students to reference a recording, video or photograph of the topic being discussed. Besides adding interest, these tools deepen student understanding of the article. Students can highlight sections of the text and have vocabulary words defined, which is especially useful for English Language Learners and for students whose reading level might be lower than the level the article is written. The questions interspersed throughout the text, check for understanding and students get immediate feedback.
Students have to enroll themselves. I had them do this as a whole class activity, but students coming later in the year, have to do it on their own. I would prefer adding students myself as a whole class.
I think it is an excellent teaching tool, especially since I can modify the questions/annotations/quizzes that are in each article. It ensures students are meeting the ELA CC standards:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language evokes a sense of time and place; how it sets a formal or informal tone).
Teaching to these standards is often difficult in science, but this site integrates them very well.
I would like to see more articles on the site. Currently the selection for science is extremely limited. Teachers can post their own articles, annotate them, create check for understanding questions and quizzes, but it would be useful if the site provided more finished Curriculets. Many novels at varied reading levels are on the site, which would make it useful for English teachers if one of the novels were part of their curriculum.