June 18, 2012
The Learning Network - New York Times
The Learning Network blog is a great site put together by the New York Times. Each day they have a lesson plan, student opinion question, news quiz, CMT style question of the day, word of the day and more. One of the more popular sections of the site is their student opinion comments where any student over the age of 13 (younger than 25) can leave a comment on a news related article. This is a great way to incorporate reading and writing in your classroom each and every day. Recently, they unveiled over 160 of their student opinion questions from the 2011-2012 school year. The NYT reports that teachers use these questions "to help students practice writing persuasively, as inspiration for lessons, as jumping-off points for class discussions and debates — or just to encourage engagement with current events and with students from classrooms around the world". These questions and related news articles are a great way to address the CCSS for reading informational texts (non-fiction) and writing arguments. If you are worried about your students being online, the Times does not allow last names and each comment is moderated by a person before it is posted.
With the school year wrapping up, teachers are looking forward to next year. I remember I was always looking to incorporate something new the next year to challenge my students and keep class engaging. The Learning Network blog and the student opinion questions would be a great class activity to include next year.