Using News-Basics for Differentiation
Here are a few ways you can use News-Basics.com to help deliver differentiated instruction in your classroom. If you have other ideas for differentiation using News-Basics, please share them by sending an email to email@example.com.
You can assign the following activities to different groups, based on their ages and abilities:
Factual Knowledge: Have your students read a News-Basics article. Then…
• Have them take the related News-Basics quiz, filling in the answers to the questions as they review the text. They can fill in the quiz individually or in groups.
• Ask them to write 5 important facts from the article.
• Assign them to list 3-5 vocabulary words they didn’t know before they read the article, and have them look up the words and write the definitions.
Comprehension: After your students read a News-Basics article…
• Ask them to summarize what they learned from the article, in their own words. The length of the summary can vary depending on their level.
• Ask them to read two opinion pieces that take opposing positions, then explain the two different sides of the argument.
Applying what they’ve learned:
• Tell your students to look up a recent news story on the topic they read about, either online or in a newspaper. Have them summarize the news in a paragraph, and then comment on how it fits into the larger story.
• After your students have read a few op-eds on News-Basics, assign them to write their own opinion pieces. Here are links to web pages that offer tips on writing op-eds: 1) A simple op-ed structure (much like a 5-paragraph essay), from The Op-Ed Project 2) Concise, useful guidelines, written by a public relations man 3) A thorough, helpful guide to writing op-eds, from Duke University
• Assign students to choose an aspect of the issue and research it. For example, students might choose to research and write about whether or not the Minerals Management Service’s lax oversight of offshore drilling played a part in the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico; the links provided will get them started.
• Devise your own Why questions, and challenge students to think for themselves about why the events covered in the News-Basics article unfolded as they did.
• Ask the students to analyze and compare two opinion pieces: do the authors make their cases convincingly? Why, or why not?
• After the students read conflicting opinion pieces, ask them to write an essay explaining which point of view they agree with and why. This can be a brief, informal essay, or a formal 5-paragraph essay. (You can find a lesson plan for teaching students how to write a 5-paragraph essay here.) Examples: For the War in Iraq, “Should the U.S. have invaded Iraq in 2003 or not?” For Stem Cells: “Is research on embryonic stem cells morally acceptable?”
Books on Differentiated Instruction