This site has been wonderful for us for several reasons. Making conversation in ESL class is not just for fun, it is necessary for practicing our skills. The students’ new knowledge of current events gives us all more to say, and helps to make our talks much more effective. In addition to this, the students are gaining continual practice reading non-fiction texts. Many of the selections target a specific Common Core standard (with the specific standard indicated). Students read the article and take the accompanying four-question quiz. And who knew the quizzes would be their favorite part?
Xiao Chun Li, grade 12, explained, “I like to take the quiz to see if I have improved.”
This program is completely free. Teachers are asked to register and then create ‘classes’ for students to register into. Later on, teachers can assign articles to specific classes (at specific reading levels); check the progress of a class or individual students. In addition, the site (http://newsela.com) will not overload teacher inboxes. However, the site will send an email when there are three great new articles out at once. After several months, the site will also send teachers a progress report/overview of the students.
As this is now the most requested assignment, we will continue to work with http://newsela.com in the ESL room. Our challenge now will be to use the site to help us grow. We will set a goal for the next reading level. We will identify and build our test-taking skills. We will learn to speak about places, things and ideas that we discover. And finally, we will do all these things in our students’ second language -- English.
By Rebecca Kyser, Itinerant ESL Teacher