Newspaper Connection

In this activity, inspired by Burke’s The English Teacher’s Companion (1998), students will bring in articles (newspaper, magazine, blog posts) that relate to issues or ideas in the unit of study. Students will work in groups to compare and contrast their articles. The purpose of this activity is to push students to examine content in greater detail. When students compare and contrast information they are able to draw conclusions and identify distinctions that will help them develop a deeper understanding and stronger retention of the information. This activity is appropriate for all content areas.
CONTENT AREA
LEARNING MODALITY
LEARNING CYCLE STAGE

Preparation

Have students bring in an article. They should read and summarize their article prior to this activity. Create student work groups based on the article summaries. Purposeful group assignments are ideal here because they ensure that students do not have the same articles and the teacher can group articles together that are strong examples for compare-and-contrast. Create two summary samples from articles to use in a model of compare-and-contrast.

 

 

 

Activity Steps

1

Distribute text and graphic organizer to all students.

You can initially model this activity, as you would with any new or complex task. Think aloud about a text as you read, and complete a chart for or with the students. Consider generating or providing a list of the types of reactions that a person may have to information or statements in a text, perhaps in the form of sentence stems.

2

In small groups or individually, students read the text. As they read, they complete the first column with ideas and statements in the text that are notable to them.

You will likely need to model this process to students. Read aloud from a text, highlighting or starring notable lines and making exclamations such as, “Well THAT’S really surprising!” or “I’m not sure I agree with that,” or “That is perfectly said!” Consider providing students with a list of the types of lines in a text that might somehow be notable to a reader. (The book Notice and Note by Beers and Probst might be helpful here.)

3

As they read, students complete the second column with their own ideas or reactions to the content in the first column.

Model this process to the students, referring to each of the lines you highlighted, and providing a range of different reactions to the lines, including connections, emotional reactions, disagreement, agreement, and appreciation. Consider providing students with a menu of the types of reactions a person may have, perhaps in the form of sentence stems.

4

As they read or after they read, students complete the third column with a synthesized conclusion drawn from the first two columns together.

Many students will need additional practice with this element of the activity, since it requires them to be able to synthesize information, to evaluate it, and to draw conclusions. They may need additional focused practice in these component skills, and will also need to observe teacher modeling.

Adaptation for [xx… or additional info] delete the green row if not relevant.

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