Teacher Review For ThinkCERCA

Excellent resource for nonfiction, high-interest texts

Hattie M.
Classroom teacher
Novi High School
Novi, MI
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My Grades 9, 10, 11, 12
My Subjects English Language Arts
My Rating 5
Learning Scores
Engagement 4
Pedagogy 4
Support 5
My Students Liked It Yes
My Students Learned Yes
I Would Recommend It Yes
Setup Time More than 15 minutes
Great for Further application
Knowledge gain
Small group
Student-driven work
Great with Advanced learners
Low literacy
Special needs
How I Use It
For me, this product is most useful as a homework or extra practice tool. I can provide direct instruction and modeling in class for reading and annotating. Then, I can send them off with this independently to practice the skills we worked on in class. In my ELA 10 class, I have a wide range of reading abilities and finding level-appropriate reading selections can be very difficult. It's not always easy to pull multiple non-fiction articles at different levels. This allows me to find level-appropriate selections quickly and easily and then assign them to the students that need them. I especially like that I can do this without singling kids out. If I have a reader at a sixth grade level, I can give him a less complicated text online and his classmates have no idea that his homework was different from theirs. This helps students work where they are rather than fall further behind their peers simply because they don't want others to know they're not reading at grade level. On the flip side, I also have students who are AP or IB bound in my ELA 10 class. Those students need to be pushed with more challenging texts; this tool makes that easy for me to do. Since this is interactive and I can get reports of the students' answers to MC questions, it is incredibly useful for homework/as a formative assessment of how they're progressing with reading non fiction texts. As students achieve proficiency with the grade level appropriate readings, I can move them up to higher level readings and continue to challenge them.
My Take
I love this tool for individualizing instruction. The free version that I have used is great--especially since it is free!-- but I would love my district to purchase the full version so that I'd have access to more reading selections and the ability to search for specific topics. Also, I believe the paid version provides more writing opportunities beyond just multiple choice assessment. I think that would really add to how I could use this with my students but I'm not sure I can convince my district to spring for $40/student. One thing I'd love to see is a little more division of the articles by subject. They're all lumped together by grade level; it would be nice to be able to search by topic, too.