Teacher Review For Newsela

Good tool for differentiation

Meghan M.
Classroom teacher
James Rutter Middle School
Sacramento, CA
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My Grades 7, 8
My Subjects English Language Arts, English Language Learning
My Rating 4
Learning Scores
Engagement 3
Pedagogy 4
Support 5
My Students Liked It Yes
My Students Learned Yes
I Would Recommend It Yes
Setup Time 5-15 minutes
Great for Homework
Knowledge gain
Student-driven work
Teacher-led lessons
Whole class
Great with Advanced learners
Low literacy
Special needs
How I Use It
Differentiation: teacher or students can choose lexile that matches the needs of a group or of individuals Vocabulary: students can compare original text to text of lower lexile to gain clues that help them learn new words Deconstructing complex sentence structure in expository text Looking at structures of news articles (problem/solution, cause/effect, claims and support, etc).
My Take
Overall, I think this is a great tool for differentiation. I teach intervention-level English and ELD, and I teach them how to find the lexile that works for them. Then I have them do a first read at the reading level that challenges them without being over their heads, and we discuss the main ideas in the article. I can then do a class second-read with the original text projected and I can work through key ideas while students look at the text of their reading level on their screen. It would be nice if there were some expanded functions that were particular to using articles in the classroom. Quizzes are great when they are available, but they are one of the few "student-centered" functions that put the ELA in NewsELA. It would benefit from the addition of some functions that we as teachers already do when we teach news articles - preidentification of challenging vocabulary (with perhaps a click-out or a mouse-over definition), or an annotation feature.