Teacher Review for KQED Learn

An Excellent Tool for Building Students' Writing Skills while having a Real-World Impact

Rory S.
Other
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My Subjects English Language Arts
My Rating
Learning Scores
Engagement
Pedagogy
Support
My Students Liked It Yes
My Students Learned Yes
I Would Recommend It Yes
Setup Time More than 15 minutes
Great for Creation
Homework
Individual
Practice
Whole class
Great with Advanced learners
General
How I Use It
This tool allows for a classroom specific news page to be generated with new stories available every week. As a class, the students then select by vote which stories they want to discuss, and Friday classes every other week are spent as a Socratic seminar discussing the articles and the students' opinions. This allows the students to really examine current events and interact with them in a constructive manner with their classmates, it can allow them to more deeply develop their opinions on controversial issues from mere feelings to well-considered positions. Furthermore, because it deepens their working knowledge of these issues it gives them the ability to improve their debate skills and back their positions with evidence which is a supremely useful tool for them to develop for their academic writing.
My Take
This tool provides an excellent way for students to build the skills necessary to excel at academic writing while also having a positive real-world impact not just for them but for the wider community and even Society as a whole. It is an excellent way to engage in topical discussions and encourages students to respond to what they read, though it is limited in its electronic reach and in order to be fully taken advantage of, requires integration into class time.