Newsela, A Digital Newspaper For Kids

26 May 2015
Newsela is a free website that is a digital newspaper for students.  Kids can read up to date articles on science, art, pop culture, current events, and sports.  The articles are of high interest and thought provoking.  They're filled with informational text, text features, and images with every story.  It's an age appropriate newspaper filled with real world connections.  It is perfect.  It is completely free.

Newsela does a multiple things extremely well, the first being leveled readers.  Most articles have exile levels that students (or teachers can choose between.  Below is an example using everyone's favorite villain/hero, Tom Brady.

I like seeing how the opening paragraph increases in complexity.  BUT I really love seeing each opening paragraph morphs into an US Weekly story.  Just really good stuff.

This site offers many other bells and whistles such as quizzes, annotating text, and easily creating differentiated material.  There's quite a lot to it and many other teachers rave about it.  I'd highly suggest checking it out and then spend a little time and figure out how you can incorporate this into your classroom.

Their tagline is spot on: Read Closely. Think Critically.  Be Worldly.

Check it out.

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Where in the World with GeoGuessr

06 May 2015
Geoguessr is web-based game that pulls in images from Google Maps and players must guess where in the entire world this image is from.  It's a simple premise, but a lot of fun.  My fifth graders showed this to me and said they battle against their brothers and sisters for the top scores.

It is really simple:
  1. Go to GeoGuessr.com
  2. You don't even have to log in, just click play.
  3. See an image from one of Google's camera cars.  You can move it around too, but I like to consider that cheating.
  4. Use the visuals in the photo to predict the location.
  5. Click on the map with your guess.
  6. Then see how well you did, or in my case, how poorly you did.
Here's how I scored on the image at the top.  Not bad, only 1.5K miles away.

That's it!  The game is that simple.  You normally have five turns in a game and it can move quickly, which is perfect for all students.

I've taken to love this game for kids and adults because you've got to use your prior knowledge about geography, road types, landscape, and more.  

At the bottom of the site where it says "more maps" scroll down to find even more challenges such as a single country, landmarks, cities, and more.

This is a great little game for individuals or whole class and everyone can participate.
Check it out, play, have fun, learn.  Just don't lose to your students.



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