Big News

This New Offering Is EPIC

Kristin Lewis

Last spring, a teacher wrote to me asking for more diverse types of culminating activities to go with our articles—ideas that go beyond the kinds of writing expected of students on standardized tests. She was looking for ideas that would allow for more creativity while still fostering deep text analysis and critical thinking.

My immediate reaction to her request? YES! YES! YES! 

Our team spent much of July thinking and exploring and researching. The result? A new offering in our teacher's guide that I couldn't be more excited about. It's called Differentiate and Customize. You'll find great ideas for all your learners plus a few gems to use if you want to go deeper.

Differentiate and Customize appears in each lesson plan and features four different culminating activities for you and your students.


Check out some of the new Differentiate and Customize ideas in the September Teacher's Guide:


Narrative nonfiction: "From War to America"



Play: Hercules the Mighty



Paired Texts: "The Amazing History of Dogs"


What should we work on next? Tell us in the comments below!


And the Winner of Scope's Write-a-Story Contest Is . . .



Drumroll please!


When we launched our first Write-a-Story fiction contest asking students to create a story around a first line written by author Lisa Yee, we didn't know what to expect. But Lisa and all of us here at Scope have been positively overwhelmed by the incredible talent and creativity of your students. After receiving nearly 2,000 entries, we are thrilled to announce that the winner of Scope's first Write-a-Story Contest is:


Hannah S. from Brown Summit Middle School in Browns Summit, North Carolina!




Here is what Lisa said about Hannah's story:

Hannah's story has a terrific second line, plus lots of mystery and intrigue, and a heartwarming ending.

You can read Hannah's wonderful story "Almost Happy Ending" here.


Congratulations to Hannah! And congratulations to all the finalists! Make sure to look out for details in the fall about next year's Write-a-Story Contest. 


“Babyfoot” by Brady G., Freeport, ME
"Delicious Memories" by Katharine M., Niskayuna, NY
“The Coach from Vermierte” by Sophie N., Irvine, CA
"An Amazing Recovery" by Stephanie N., Westlake, OH
"The Cow on Worcester Hill" by William D.M., Ramona, CA
"Voice From Its Cage” by Gabrielle R., Lansdale, PA
"Wolves Don’t Belong" by Gracie D., Hollis, NH
"Supernatural, Extraterrestrial" by Emily H., Enid, OK

Honorable Mentions
Mia C. E., Shaker Heights, OH
Riley K.., Gray, TN
Nicole N., Las Vegas, NV
Jady C., Brooklyn, NY
Jaden G., Ocean Springs, MS
Hunter S., Arapahoe, NE
Zachary Z., Gray, TN
Brynna K., Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
Pranav K., Columbus, IN
Will H., Columbus, IN
Megan M., Point Pleasant, NJ
Alice X., Westfield, NJ
Ian J., Hackettstown, NJ
Alana T., New York, NY
McKenzie M., Renton, WA
Bethany M., Gallatin, TN


NEW! Scaffolded Debate/Scavenger Hunt

Scope's debate/scavenger hunts are a great way to practice analyzing arguments. Now we've created a lower-level version for students who need more scaffolding.

On-level scavenger hunt: Students must find the central idea, two pieces of supporting evidence, the counterargument, and the rebuttal.



Lower-level scavenger hunt: Students must find the central idea and two pieces of supporting evidence. Once students feel confident with these two skills, have them complete the on-level version. 


Go to Scope Online to find both levels of the debate/scavenger hunt and many other resources including Scope's guide to argument writing, an argument-essay checklist, a vocabulary activity, and more!


The Dust Bowl Short Story You Need Now

A free short story!
We've got a special treat for you: a free short story to pair with our March narrative nonfiction feature, "Black Sunday."

This original work of short fiction was written just for Scope by Rebecca Behrens, one of our author faves. It's the story of a family on the Southern Plains that lived through Black Sunday—the most devastating dust storm in American history. 

Download the story here for free! You will also find a set of close-reading and critical-thinking questions to help your students make connections between the story and the nonfiction article in your printed issue.

More materials about the Dust Bowl
Be sure to also check out this post with five additional resources about the Dust Bowl. And at Scope Online, don't miss a dazzling Time Machine video about life in the 1930s.

A Delightful Vocab Activity—Not To Be Missed!


We can't wait for your students to try this delightful vocabulary activity! Students practice using new words they have learned by applying them to the titles and summaries of imaginary books.

Check out the vocab activity for the article "Black Sunday" (March issue of Scope), then scroll down to for ideas on using the activity in your classroom.



Here's how to use this vocabulary activity:

1. Review the vocabulary words and definitions
2. Have students complete the book title activity either on their own or as a group.
3. Have students come up with their own book title activity, using the Scope activity as a model. Encourage them to be creative!
4. Partner students up to complete each other's activities.


DEADLINE ALERT! Enter Your Students by March 10

The entries are pouring in for Scope's very first Write-a-Story contest, in which your students write a short story using a first line by Lisa Yee. If your students haven't entered yet, they still have time—but not much. The deadline is March 10th.


Say hello to Viv, our intrepid Contest Coordinator!


Remember, if your student wins, he or she will get $100 and YOU will get a free year's subscription to Scope plus a class set of Lisa Yee's novel Warp Speed. For more info, including rules and how to enter, visit the Write-a-Story website.


Wishing your students happy writing!

Mini-PD Video: Using Scope’s Narrative Nonfiction

Drumroll please! Check out our latest 60-second teacher workshop—all about how to use Scope's narrative nonfiction articles in your classroom. Think of it as mini-PD!

And don't miss our teacher workshop video on paired texts.

Enjoy and share with your colleagues!


Watch the 60-Second Teacher Workshop Video: Narrative Nonfiction


New Video! Paired Texts in Your Classroom

There are so many wonderful aspects of Scope. We don't want you to miss any of them! So we've decided to create a series of videos highlighting how you can use the many features of Scope. Our first 60-Second Teacher Workshop video is all about our paired texts. Check it out below! 


Watch the 60-Second Teacher Workshop Video: Paired Texts

The Scope Text Set: A Fantastic Teaching Resource


If you love Scope, you’ll love the Scope Text Set. We’ve carefully curated 12 texts, including some of our favorite Scope features, and bundled them together to create one dazzling multi-genre resource around the theme of courage and resilience. Each text has been chosen to both challenge and inspire your students. When used with the suite of support materials that we’ve created, including lesson plans, quizzes, close-reading questions, and more, the Scope Text set is designed to help students think critically, read closely, and improve both their explanatory and narrative writing skills.    

Interested in trying the Scope Text Set in your classroom? Enter our contest here and you could win a set for your class today!


A Great New Fiction Contest for Your Students!

Hi teachers!

We are so excited about our new fiction contest. Superstar writer Lisa Yee, author of Millicent Min and Warp Speed, wrote three first lines to stories that do not exist. Your students choose their favorite line and use it as a jumping-off point to write their own short work of fiction. We encourage you to get started with your class now, so that your students have plenty of time to revise as you explore the elements of fiction, including plot, character, setting, and to revise.

The deadline for submissions is March 10, 2017. (The winner will be announced in May 2017.)

To help you, we've put together a wonderful set of resources:

Also, check out this delightful video in which Lisa reveals what she’s looking for in a short story and offers some awesome writing tips.



The winning student will receive $100. We’re also offering YOU a prize. If one of your students wins, you will get a free one-year subscription to Scope for your class and a class set of Lisa's wonderful novel Warp Speed. For more, visit the contest page.

We hope that all your students will be inspired by Lisa’s first lines! We can’t wait to read what they come up with.

How do you plan to use this contest with your students? Tell us about it in the comments below.


Sari Wilson is Scope's Fiction Editor