Quick Strategies for using Newsela in your Social Studies class

Research and Record with Annotations

Assign an article on a topic you are currently studying in class. Have students research the author, vocabulary, and names or organizations within the article.

 Tip: Have students use Annotations to record their findings. Use a different color for each topic.

Compare and Contrast

Use Newsela articles to compare and contrast events from the past to current events. For example: Compare and contrast the Syrian refugees to the Jewish refugees. Articles such as Today's refugees and Jewish girl from long ago share immigration problems are a great starting point. 

 Tip: Add a customized Write prompt: In which ways did the experiences of refugees referenced in the article compare to the refugees in Syria? How are the events leading to the escape of both groups of people similar and different?

Debate and Discuss 

Small Group

Divide students into small groups to read an article. Have groups debate and discuss the article. For example, have students read "Smartphone generation" believes life will be harder than it is for parents and discuss their opinions. After their discussion, student write out three ideas for how they think their life will be harder for their parents and three ideas for how it might be easier. Find additional articles by using Newsela Search for Reading Standards 6 and 8.

Whole Class

Use Newsela opinion or pro/con articles to facilitate a debate in your class. Divide students into two groups and assign each group a side to debate. Students should use facts from the article to support their answers and be encouraged to research beyond Newsela. For example, have students read PRO/CON: Should fast-food workers be paid more? One group will debate fast-food workers should be paid more and one group will debate fast-food workers shouldn't be paid more.

History in Reverse

Use Newsela to introduce new units. Find an article relevant to the unit then move backwards through history. This strategy teachers history in reverse. For example, read Mystery of ancient Egypt solved? Tomb of queen may be hidden near King Tut to introduce a unit on Ancient Egypt and how history is still alive today.

Unit Wrap Up

At the end of each unit, discuss how the events of the unit are relevant today. Use Newsela to highlight current events that are related to the past. For example, wrap up your Civil Rights unit by discussing how the confederate flag used today? Point students towards articles such as Confederate flag history through art.

Investigate Modern Day Heroes

Modern Day Heroes: Investigate character traits of a historical figure of the past such as past president and use Newsela to find a modern day hero that exhibits those same character traits. Create a T-Chart to compare character traits. For example, compare Martin Luther King Jr. to Principal Todd Irving.

Interview the Author

Assign an article on a topic you are currently studying in class. Have students write interview questions to the author, historical figure, or subject of the article. Have students exchange questions with a partner then write answers the students think the author or subject will give. Students should use facts from the article to support their answers. For example, have students write interview questions for the president asking about his speech.


Have students respond to reading a Newsela article using the DEAL Model for Critical Reflection (Describe, Examine, and Articulate Learning). 

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