In case you haven’t seen my tweets, my co-teacher and I have been contributing weekly writing prompts to The NYTimes Learning Network blog this year. As we said on the blog earlier in the school year,
By reading the newspaper daily and writing in response to the paper’s content, our students greatly improved both their critical thinking and writing ability. Using The Times to teach history and literacy this past year forever changed our approach to education.
We are now able to meet all Common Core State Standards for writing and reading informational text, while preserving the literature curriculum already studied in English class. As a result of our daily inclusion of The Times, our redesigned classroom is now filled with topical writing, lively debate and students making connections between what they are learning in their classrooms with what is happening throughout the world around them.
And the best part? Our kids LOVE reading the paper. They really enjoy it and beg to read more. Our former students, now sophomores, stop by during lunch and at the end of the day to pick up papers to bring home. The engagement is above and beyond anything we could have imagined.
It’s been AWESOME so far. Seriously. We have to be flexible, because we choose the articles each morning when we get to school. Then, those articles sometimes lead to us throwing out our plans for the rest of the week as new projects and ideas rise organically from the work with the newspaper. Just last week we read a fabulous science article, Finding Zen in a Patch of Nature, and it led to an amazing project that we will be working on over the next few weeks. That project included a Skype chat with the subject of the article, Dr. David Haskell. He spent about 25 minutes with each of our classes on Friday and it was wonderful. You will learn more about our project in the coming weeks, as we will be chronicling it on the Learning Network blog.
You can see all of the prompts to date at this link.
- David Haskell Finds Biology Zen in a Patch of Nature – NYTimes.com (spiritintheworld.org)
- Introducing……Full STEaM Ahead! (thereadingzone.wordpress.com)