Editor's Note

Lauren Tarshis

Hi teachers,


As I work on my Scope articles and I Survived books, I'm always wishing that I could bring your students along with me on my research journeys. And finally my dream is coming true.

I am writing to you to invite you and your students to join me on a virtual field trip to the Museum of the American Revolution, an amazing new museum in Philadelphia.

The virtual field trip, called "Beyond the Battlefield," is a 30-minute video extravaganza in which I take students (and teachers!) behind the scenes of the museum.

They will delve into the background of the Revolution and War of Independence. They will see historical treasures. They will meet historians and hear stories of young people—like them—who were a part of America's fight for freedom.

Our goal is to bring this exciting and frightening time in history to life for your students, to supplement your curriculum, and to open new doors of curiosity.

The video pairs perfectly with my upcoming March Scope article “Blood, Smoke, and Freedom” (coming to your classroom in a few weeks!) It’s also a great companion to my book, I Survived the American Revolution, 1776.

The virtual field trip will be available for streaming starting on Wednesday, February 7, 2018.

Click here to register and you’ll receive a downloadable virtual field trip classroom kit and helpful reminders via email.

I can’t wait to hear what you think. For more resources for teaching the American Revolution, don't miss this fantastic post by Scope advisor and Scholastic Top Teaching blogger Mary Blow!

Huzzah! (That’s how they said “hooray!” in colonial times.)



Kristin Lewis

Ashley Zielewicz


Dear teachers,


Over the past few months, many of you on Twitter have shared the ingenious, creative, and all-around cool ways that you have been using Scope in your classrooms. I couldn't keep these excellent ideas to myself, so I'm sharing a few of my favorites here. Enjoy!


Follow me on Twitter: @KELewis


Using Nonfiction to Write Poetry

Margaret Simon's class used the Scope nonfiction feature The Shattered Sky about the devastating explosion in Halifax Harbor in 1917 to create found poems. Margaret explains how she did the activity and posts some lovely examples of her students' poems on her blog.


Making Homemade Escape Tools

After reading the Scope play "Escape From Alcatraz," the resourceful students in Ashley Zielewicz's class used everyday classroom objects to create their own tools for digging their way out of the notorious prison.



Previewing an Issue of Scope

After she realized that many of her students did not know how to preview a text, Teresa Gross created a cool strategy for previewing an issue of Scope. Read how she did it on her blog.


Staging a Play

Want to bring a Scope play to life in your classroom? Try creating separate areas for each location like this class did for their reading of The Fight for What's Right.


Anna Starecheski


One of my favorite parts of my job is managing student writing contests. We get so many fantastic entries, and it's truly a joy to read them! We love to recognize our winners and their hard work, and thus the Student Writer Spotlight was born. For each issue of the magazine, Scope's Contest Coordinator McKenzie Schwark and I choose one winner to celebrate here on the Scope Ideabook. We hope that this will both encourage your students to enter future contests and provide you with some great examples of successful entries.


Without further ado, meet our Spotlight winner: Lucia T!

Lucia submitted a great entry to Scope's Tucker contest for the September 2017 fiction story "Into the Storm." Students were asked to answer the following question: What does Tucker have in common with Richard Etheridge? Lucia answered in a very well-organized and beautifully written essay. Great job, Lucia! Click on the image below to read it.



Have your students enter next month's contest and one of them could be our next Spotlight Winner! To discover current Scope contests and great prizes, click here. And go here for a list of helpful contest tips.


Kristin Lewis
Jennifer Stahl


Hi teachers!

It's such a joy to scroll through Twitter and see photos of you and your students in action. From colorful sticky-note museums and creative posters to dramatic classroom performances of plays, your creativity and passion is inspiring! Here are some of my recent favorites.

Keep sharing!

Follow me on Twitter: @KELewis


A Critical-Thinking Poster Museum

Jennifer Stahl gets her students up and moving to create a "Poster Museum." Students use sticky notes to reply to critical-thinking questions about Scope's nonfiction article "From War to America." Check out Jennifer's step-by-step lesson plan here



Posters to Inspire Courage

Here at Scope, we're making this the year of courage. So we love that Scope teacher-advisor Tony Wilson had his students create courage-themed posters to hang around the school. Check out other courage poster ideas for your classroom here.



Exploring Character with a Scope Play

Elizabeth Raff's class explores character by getting into character while reading Scope's play Hercules the Mighty.



Video-Discussion Questions

Teresa Gross has her students answer questions before and after watching Scope's behind the scenes video for "From War to America."

video discussion questions


A Writing Strategy for Constructed Response

Jennifer Stahl uses this writing strategy with her students to practice answering constructed response questions about Scope's food waste story "This Apple Could Have Been Saved."

Don’t dye a baby chicken blue, don’t lie down on a sidewalk in Reno, and PLEASE don’t try to sell a love potion in Pennsylvania. Why? Because it's all illegal!

In truth, while such laws are still on the books, they aren't enforced because they violate the U.S. Constitution—as explained in the Scope article "The Weirdest Laws in America." This article is a great way to kick off a discussion about the Constitution in celebration of Constitution Day (September 17). Bonus? The article is also a great editing activity! It's full of grammar mistakes for your students to find and fix.

Here are some additional resources for your Constitution Day discussion:

Kristin Lewis

Hi teachers,


Every year, the Scope team chooses a word of the year. The idea is that this word will guide our story selection, our conversations, and perhaps even our lives.

This year, the word is courage. Courage takes many forms, and you will find a number of stories that can be explored through the lens of courage in each issue of Scope.

To inspire myself and my team, I put together a courage quote board. You might enjoy creating something similar for your classroom using the quotes below or others that you find yourself. To use the quotes in a bell ringer or do-now, have each student choose one quote and write one to three sentences explaining why he or she agrees or disagrees with it.


Click on each image to download and print, then display them in your classroom.










I find these quotes remind me to be brave, that it’s OK to be a little bit afraid, and that each of us has the potential for greatness. I hope they inspire you and your students too. Please share what inspires you to be courageous in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!




Kristin Lewis



Hi teachers!

I have been thinking a lot about courage lately—courage to introduce myself to a newcomer at work (I can be shy), courage to express an unpopular opinion (we all have them), courage to try something new (like the trapeze—a personal goal of mine). I have also been thinking about your students and how courage can be a powerful tool to get through the sometimes challenging years of middle school.

So I have decided that this will be the Year of Courage. Summoning courage can be a tough thing, but my hope is that the stories in Scope will help your students understand that courage comes in many forms.

Here are a few of my favorite stories of courage from our upcoming September issue:

Here’s to a year of living courageously!


Kristin Lewis



The fall may seem like miles away, but here at Scope, we're already busy cooking up all sorts of stories for you and your students. Here are just four of the many stories we're so excited about sharing with you next year. Check back in each week for another “Tuesday Teaser” of Scope stories in 2017-2018.


#1 Paired Texts: "Smile!"


In this paired texts package, we explore the fascinating (and slightly gross) story of dentistry—past and present. Fun fact: In ancient times, people believed cavities were caused by worms. Ew!



#2 Debate: "Should You Ditch Your Smartphone?"


A growing number of kids and adults are choosing to use flip phones instead of smartphones. This debate is sure to spark lively discussion in your classroom.



#3 Narrative Nonfiction: "We Escaped a War Zone"

Associated Press

This powerful nonfiction article tells the incredible story of two brothers who escaped war-torn Syria to build a new life in America.


#4 History Play: Army of Two


Your students will learn the amazing true story of two girls in Scituate, Massachusetts (shown above), who tricked the British Navy and saved their town during the War of 1812.


Kristin Lewis

Cassandra Persia

Hi teachers!


Do you want to know what one of the highlights of my day is? Checking Twitter to see all the fantastic and creative ways that you and your students are using Scope. The photos and videos that you share make me smile from ear to ear as few things do. Your Tweets are so joyful and inspiring that I had to share a few of them here. 


Keep sharing!




Vocab Improv

Before reading our story about fake news "Are These Stories True? (Nope)," this 6th-grade class acted out the vocabulary in the article. So fun! Check it out here.



A Live-Action Play (With Sound Effects)!

The same class of budding actors really did nail the Scope version of Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart—ravens and all!



Scope-Inspired Slime

These students created their very own slime after reading our article "How Slime Took Over the World."



Reviewing a Play in Tweets

This class live-tweeted their reviews of our play The Fire-Breather based on the myth of Jason and the Argonauts. #medeatotherescue!



A Maze Comes to Life

Teresa Gross's students built their own mythical maze based on the Scope play Into the Maze of Doom. She also wrote a wonderful blog post about the activity.



Exploring a Shared Theme

Teresa's students also explored the meaning of courage in these colorful posters after reading two Scope texts that share this theme: This Is What Courage Looks Like and "Swimming for Her Life."



In Research Mode

I love seeing students totally absorbed in their work. This class is doing research on the Hindenburg and the Titanic after reading Scope's article "The Flaming Sky."




We know your students can't get enough practice with inference. That's why we include an inference activity which every issue of Scope as part of the Core Skills Workout—a collection of eight skill-based activities designed to help students "bulk up" in the skills they need most to become strong, analytical readers.


You'll love this inference activity

In the May 2017 issue of Scope, don't miss the making inferences activity that goes along with the exciting play The Doomed Quest




Check out our inference handout

And don't miss the reference handout for more inference practice. You can find it and dozens of other fabulous handouts and use-it-anytime activities on everything from identifying mood to using text evidence in the Activity Library at Scope Online.

These activities are great test-readiness tools and provide a simple way to refresh key skills any time of year.

Click the image to download.


TIP! After students complete the activity on the handout, have them work in groups to create their own questions, modeled on the questions in the activity. Then have students trade with their classmates.