Editor's Note

Kristin Lewis

Courtesy of Jodi Boschert


My Twitter feed is bursting with amazing ideas from teachers who are using Scope in creative ways. Here is just a small sampling of the recent “seen on Twitter” posts from Scope teachers across the country. I hope you'll be an inspired as I am! And please share how you use Scope in YOUR classroom. Use the hashtag #ScholasticScope and connect with me on Twitter @_KELewis.


Visualizing Vocabulary

I love how ELA teacher Teresa Gross has her students create visual representations of the vocabulary used in the Scope nonfiction feature "Blood, Smoke, and Freedom." Check out how they visualized "audacious!"



Stinky Experiments

After reading Scope's paired texts "Stinky Pits" and "The Science of Smell," students in Shawn Bally's 8th-grade class conducted their own smell tests.




Creative Presentations

Ashley Zielewicz's students went through all the issues of Scope from the past year and put together creative presentations in the form of newscasts, poems, interviews, and more.



Classroom Trip to the Moon

I love how Jodi Boschert's class got so into reading the Scope play A Walk on the Moon. Those chairs are the perfect command module! 


Kristin Lewis

When I go on school visits and do Google Hangouts with students, one of the questions I'm always asked is, "Where do you get your story ideas?" The answer? Everywhere. I am always on the lookout for great stories to tell in Scope. I find ideas in books, newspapers, magazines, TV shows, podcasts, and museums, and from friends, teachers, and—of course, middle-schoolers! After all, middle-schoolers are our readers.

As I start planning what will go into the pages of Scope next year, I thought it would be great to invite students to pitch us their very best ideas for Scope nonfiction articles. For those of you who are still in school, this is a creative and meaningful activity that I think your students will really get into. To help them organize their pitches, we created this handy form. Gather the completed forms and send them to ScopeIdeabook@Scholastic.com or fax it to us (212) 343-4475 or mail it us at: 

Attn: Adee Braun
557 Broadway
New York, NY 10012


Please note that we cannot accept forms submitted directly from students.

Please share with your students the following list of things we look for in a great Scope article. A story doesn't have to have ALL of these elements but it should have more than one.


A great Scope article is a story that . . . 

1. . . . captivates your imagination.
We love stories that make you want to learn more about a topic. For example, "Escape from Alcatraz" is an action-packed story that leaves readers pondering over how the prisoners escaped from the most famous prison in America. It's fascinating, suspenseful, and thrilling!

2. . . . brings to life a little-known event that sheds light on an important part of history.
We love stories that tell a surprising side of a larger story that readers might already know about. That's why we love "The Shattered Sky," for example, which is about a little-known accident that happened during World War I.

3. . . . helps you understand something important going on right now.
We often cover important, complex events that are happening right now. One of our most important recent articles was about the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

4. . . . is relevant to YOUR life.
We can't get enough of stories that are about an aspect of what it's like to be a middle school kid. For example, we love this debate about whether texting and walking should be banned, because it's a topic that most kids will have strong opinions on.

5. . . . makes you think.
"They Failed. (And So Can You.)," is one of our favorite stories of the year because it challenges readers to think differently about their own mistakes and missteps.

6. . . . inspires you to take action.
Some of the best Scope stories inspire young people to make a difference. After reading this article about the rescue of a baby elephant, one 6th grade class in North Carolina actually adopted an elephant in Kenya.

7. . . . introduces you to someone with grit, resilience, or other important human qualities.
Sharing a story about an amazing person who overcame great odds is something that we never get tired of doing. When we heard about Yusra Mardini, a refugee who escaped war-torn Syria and went on to compete in the Olympics, we knew it was the perfect story for Scope.



The May 2018 issue of Scope features A Walk on the Moon, a heartwarming play about a young girl’s experience of the 1969 moon landing. We’ve paired the play with a primary document: a letter about the moon landing written by a serviceman in Vietnam.

A Great Pre-Reading Comprehension Strategy
Before reading the texts with your class, be sure to watch the video "Time Machine: The 1960s." From its portrayals of 1960s fashion and music to its information about the decade's new ideas, courageous leaders, and conflicts at home and abroad, this video is hands down one of my favorites of the year. It serves as an incredible pre-reading comprehension tool, immersing your students in the sights and sounds of 1960s America and providing historical context for understanding the play and letter. And the video discussion questions are a great way to help students synthesize information from the video and the play.

Before I came to work at Scope, I taught 7th grade in North Carolina. And after I watched the final cut of the video with the Scope team, the voice of a dear student, William, immediately popped into my head. He would be overflowing with fascination and curiosity after viewing some of the incredible people, places, and events of this turbulent decade. I can just hear him speaking fast and furiously: “Ms. Salisbury, we should each pick something different from the video and then conduct a research project on our topic and then share them with each other!!!”

I know your students are going to be excited too!

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!