1. Getting to Know Your Students

Overview

This lesson is a Getting to Know You exercise with a twist. Assign fun articles to your students and ask them to tell you about their own experiences that may be similar or different than what they are reading about. Students start using Newsela in a fun, interactive lesson that breaks the ice both personally and academically. This is an easy way to show your students how they can have a one-on-one conversation with you about any point in any article throughout the year. 

The Lesson

This Getting to Know You game provides the perfect opportunity to start introducing your students to each other, to your style of teaching, and to Newsela, all at one time.

  1. Search Newsela for an article that you believe may trigger some passion from your students. For example, articles about animals, new technology,  recent ground-breaking scientific discoveries, and sports are often popular with students of all ages.
  2. Assign this article to your students. Depending on the size and diversity of your class, you may want to consider assigning more than one article.
  3. Use Newsela Pro’s annotation feature to highlight a portion of the article and pose a question to your students. The question should lead them into sharing about themselves.
    Examples
      • Have you ever experienced…?
      • How does this make you feel…?
      • What is your opinion on…?
      • Where connection can you make to this article…?
  4. Instruct your students to read the article and use annotations to respond to your questions. You may want to inform students that only you can see their responses.
  5. Once your students have read the article and responded to your questions, use Newsela to write back to them. This will allow you to create a one-on-one, personal connection with each of your students. It also shows your students how they can communicate directly with you through Newsela, setting a precedent for the rest of the year.

NOTES

  • One fun variations is to turn the tables on the teacher. Allow students to choose the articles and pose questions to the teacher. This variations allows you to get to know the person behind each of your students. This will also give you a sneak peek at the type of articles your students find most interesting and what you may expect to see during their independent reading on Newsela.
  • Another variation is the guided tour. Read the article aloud with your class and demonstrate how to use the annotations feature by responding as yourself, so everyone can see your responses. Once your students have had a chance to fill in their own answers, ask if any students want to share their responses with the class. This allows students to get to know you and their classmates, while opening up a class-wide dialog about the subject of the article.
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