Saturday, January 25, 2014

Freebie: Current events, Informational Text, Note Taking, and Speaking skills! Motivation Linky!

It is a coooolllld Saturday here in Connecticut, as we wait for more snow. I agree with my friends though, if it is going to be this cold, it mind as well snow. I am excited to link up with the sweetest and most stylish teacher I know, Joanne, over at Head Over Heels for Teaching. As soon as I thought of this idea, I knew today would be the perfect way to blog about it

**I am not advertising for the company, I just wanted to share my excited find with my teacher friends!**

I was inspired last weekend by a new app I came across on the educational freebie page. It is called News-O-Matic. It is absolutely perfect for the classroom and I am still shocked it was free. It is a daily newsfeed for kids. It highlights multiple genres per day from sports to politics. It breaks down news stories into kid friendly language and interesting topics. The stories are obviously true extremely interesting. The app is full of games, contests, ways to write to the publisher, and even past articles.

**Edited to announce: There is a subscription fee for your students to be able to use ALL of the features. It is $14.99. So far we have been using the free version, but I think I might upgrade**

This week I was excited to pilot my new idea. If you have been reading my blog posts lately, you know how hard my class has been working on their writing skills. For us, school starts at 8:20, but students can come into the room at 7:50. Until then, they sit in the Cafe and read quietly. Instead of giving morning work this week, I gave some students iPads and this work sheet. (You can click on the image to download it for free!)
 I let students work by themselves, in partners, or in groups to read the current events on the app. They were then responsible to fill out the worksheet together and be ready to report to the class at our morning meeting. This turned out AMAZING for so many reasons!

  • A few students started with iPads, but once others arrived they quickly unpacked and went to join a friend or group. 
  • EVERYONE was engaged and actively reading informational text. 
  • There were interesting articles for everyone from sports to politics. 
  • Kids were actually discussing and coming to a consensus in groups as to what to write down on the paper before sharing it with the class. 
  • At share time, if two groups presented the same article, the groups piggybacked off of other group's thoughts ON THEIR OWN. (A major milestone!)
  • The questions that the students came up with on the sheet were amazing! Many of them sent them in to "Russ" on the "Write to Russ" section. 
As you can clearly tell the students were motivated, eager to learn, and enjoyed reading the news.

Who would have thought that the shy little boy that struggles with reading and writing would ask to work alone and present his thoughts to the class on "Working for Peace in Syria??" Turns out he is really interested in promoting peace and what the United States can do to help! I was blown away with his enthusiasm and background knowledge on the topic. 

When the groups presented to the class we reflected the app on the SmartBoard and everyone learned together. Seriously, it was amazing experience and the kids are already asking if we can continue this new idea next week! 

Try this out! I guarantee you and your students will learn from this app.  This quick activity hits so many standards for CCSS and CCR that I do not feel guilty giving up 10-15 minutes a day for this new learning.

Happy Saturday! I am off the grocery store!


  1. I am totally trying this! This is a fabulous idea!!! Thank you so much for sharing. What is the max you allow on one iPad? Does everyone fill out the sheet during morning work or just the group?
    Come Visit Me at Readbox!!!

  2. Awesome idea and app! I love it! Unfortunately, we only have one set of iPads at our school, so each grade level gets them for one week. But...guess what app I'll be using the week I get it???? I can't wait! Thanks for sharing a super motivator Theresa!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  3. I was picked as the go between by both the families since I was one's kin and the other's companion. Yet, nothing would help. The marriage was hopeless. Most importantly, the whole event left we all stunned. What we had thought to be an association in paradise, ended up being a shocking association, an association that was never intended to be. floral wall


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