Extra! Extra!

Thursday, December 11, 2014
bringing you all the news, Lori

This is a bit of a cheater post because I'm simply bragging on another website. But y'all. It's so good. 

Let me preface this by saying that I'm typically that teacher sitting in the back of a technology professional development thinking, "Oh yeah? How do you suggest I make THAT work in ELA?" Once again, we are the misfits of the content areas. Math and science know how to behave. Not us. (I'm not going to talk about social studies...they don't behave either).

SAMR model for technology integration in education
When you integrate technology well, it should transform your lesson. If it's a substitution for something like a worksheet, then what is really the benefit? The problem with ELA is that most everything out there for us is substitution at best. 

Meet Newsela. It has everything English teachers love. It houses current expository articles about relevant topics. But wait...there's more. You can click to highlight and annotate to interact with the text. 

That's not all. When you register with your free teacher account, your students can take quizzes, and Newsela will track their progress. 

This is the best part. You can ADJUST THE LEXILE LEVEL. Seriously. You click a button and it instantly changes. Look at this...as you scroll through my screen shots, notice that the lexile increases. Even the titles are adjusted. There is so much you can do with this!

Lexile Level: 750

Lexile Level: 850

Lexile Level: 1040

Lexile Level: 1120
This is technology that can help transform a lesson. It can be used for differentiation, or it can even be used for a very cool lesson on word choice, idioms, tone, author's purpose. Newsela is definitely a new Curly Classroom favorite! How do you see its potential to transform your instruction? 


  1. I was one of their original clients, but had to leave them behind when they started charging a fee for each student in order for me to track their progress. Have you found a way around the fee? They have great articles, and I was using it regularly, but I just could not afford the fee. My favorite is still TweenTribune and it allows me to combine the reading and the writing in one place.

    1. Aww...that's a bummer, and I didn't realize that. It's still awesome to be able to use the different lexiles though. I think it's so cool to watch how the titles change and that in and of itself could be a great lesson. Thanks for giving me a heads up!

  2. Agreed! Newsela is not free, and sadly, they are beyond our tiny department budget.

  3. I love Newsela! You can register for free access to their articles and adjust between a handful of levels. Now that we have ipads, I simply upload it to the Subtext app or Notability app. But before the ipads, I would copy it into a word document and make physical copies.