Integrate NEWSELA into Keys to Literacy
NEWSELA is an online resource of articles that allows you to set different lexiles for students, depending on their reading level. As a special education teacher, this allows me to assign articles to specific students that need a modified level, while still maintaining the same content as their peers. General education teachers can also modify to a higher or lower level as needed based on the student and the complexity of the article. NEWSELA comes with pre-created multiple choice questions, an open response question, and an option to adapt the question to your specifications. It is also easy to use some of our Keys to Literacy strategies to complement the features of NEWSELA.
For example, here is one example of a lesson plan for a social studies class. In small groups, you can assign students to different lexile lessons. Then, they are assigned articles specific to their reading level. They can use an article on physical features of South America to fill out a map, which would include a key to interpret symbols. Once they have completed this, they can use this information to write a summary of the article. They can also use it to do two column notes, top down webs, Bloom’s and/or write a summary.
Example of lesson below:
- Students are grouped by lexile groups and read the article together on physical features in South America.
- Students are searching for the following information:
- Name of feature
- Location of feature using context clues.
- EX: “It extends from the Isthmus of Panama in the north to the archipelago of Tierra del Fuego in the south.”
- Then they add that physical feature to their blank map of South America using the map key provided. (/\ for mountains)
- Next, as a class, students list all physical features and categorize them into land and water forms.
- From there, students fill in their Top Down Webs.
- In the future...
- Summary writing template.
- Bloom’s Question Generator
- What next?
- As an extension of this activity, students could come up with questions (under the guidance of the teacher and Bloom’s Taxonomy) regarding this topic. They could use sentence starters to help frame their questions. For example, how do mountains affect the population settlement of an area? Why are cities along coastlines more populated? Why are some jobs more prevalent in certain areas with particular physical features (for example, agriculture in plains or river valleys)?
- Another extension could be using the information gathered to come up with the main ideas of this unit. For example, physical features affect South America’s climate, job sectors, population and economic activity. Using the information gathered from the top down web, the questioning activity, and the summary, students would connect the idea of physical features to the overall development and status of the countries in South America.