Editor's Tip


We are obsessed with Kahoot and we think you will be too. It's a rare tool that engages all students, is great for multiple learning styles, creates opportunities for collaboration and interaction, and makes assessment a breeze. It's also super fun. Bonus!

Kahoot quizzes are extremely versatile and can be used as fun practice with practically any Scope text. Kahoot is perfect for those last few minutes if you finish class early or for the final weeks of the school year.

In this post, I'm going to show you how a Scope grammar activity can easily be turned into a Kahoot quiz.


What Is Kahoot?

For the uninitiated, Kahoot is a game-based learning platform in which a teacher's device becomes the playstation and student devices become the controllers. You create a quiz, project it for your class to see, and have students enter the answers on their devices. You can use player vs. player mode with 1:1 devices (for students to play one-on-one) or team vs. team mode on shared devices (for groups to play against one another). You can even use a screenshare platform like Skype, Google Hangouts, or Screencastify to play Kahoot with classrooms in one of the other 180 countries using Kahoot around the world. You can create your own Kahoot in the form of a quiz, survey, or discussion starter. Or you can use or adapt ready-made Kahoots from a growing public library of almost 12,000,000.

Create your free account here. (Students do not need their own accounts to play.) While you can play pre-existing Kahoots (such as my quiz) without an account, having your own account will allow you to save quiz scores and track your students' progress, and it will allow you to create your own Kahoots in the future.

I created my Kahoot quiz using questions from the activity sheet "Commonly Confused Words: Less vs. Fewer," which supports the Scope story “Grammar Steps Into a Glacier.”



Here's how you can use my Scope Kahoot quiz in your classroom.


What You'll Need:

Teacher device (phone, tablet, desktop, or laptop)
Student devices (shared or 1:1–laptops, desktops, tablets, or phones)
Internet connection
The Scope article “Grammar Steps Into a Glacier”
My Kahoot quiz


10-15 minutes of class time


Distinguishing between commonly-confused words



1. Read the article.

Read Scope's grammar article “Grammar Steps Into a Glacier” with your class and review the grammar rules for "less" and "fewer."



2. Choose how you want to play.

Open my Kahoot quiz on your teacher device and project it on a screen for the class to see. Make sure your speakers are on. (Yes, there's music!) Here you can decide if you want your students to play one-on-one or in teams.



3. Have students enter the pin.

A pin number will appear on your screen. Have students go to https://kahoot.it on their devices (they can also download the Kahoot app, but using a browser is just as easy) and enter the pin.



4. Have students enter their nicknames.

Students will then be prompted to enter nicknames (these can be fun and creative) on their devices. These names will show up as a list of "players" on your projected screen.



5. Play!

Once everyone has chosen a nickname, press START and enjoy!



Here's what the first question on my quiz looks like on your screen (left) and students' screens (right):



Each student will have 20 seconds to answer each question. (When you make your own quizzes, you can choose a time limit between 5 and 120 seconds.)



At the end of each question, you will see how many players answered the question correctly and incorrectly. (It was just me playing the quiz pictured here, so there's only one player answer. I got it right! Wahoo!)



At the end of the quiz you will see a scoreboard with the top five players. If you've created an account, the scores and the quiz will be saved there.

Building your own Kahoot is easy. Here's a step-by-step guide. Kahoots are a simple and fun way to practice and assess any number of skills with your class. But be warned, your students will get hooked! (And you will probably too.)

Happy grammar gaming!


Lauren Salisbury is Scope's Senior Education Editor and a former classroom teacher.

Rebecca Leon

As spring approaches and we all look forward to the first green buds on trees and crocuses poking up from the ground, we know that something else is headed your way too: testing season. We often hear that a big hurdle students face is simply knowing the language of tests—the "instructional language" or "academic talk" that includes words like explain, describe, and conclude.

So I've dug in and identified five words (and some of their "friends") that appear all over state tests in grades 6-8. Of course, these are not the only instructional words your students will need to know, but here are the biggies:

It shows up everywhere. Support a claim, an idea, a response, an inference, a conclusion . . . the list goes on.

Make sure your students know this: When you see the word support, find examples in the text to prove that an answer is correct or true.



Sure, your students will be familiar with the word suggest in everyday speech, but are they ready to answer test questions that include it?

Make sure your students know this: When a question asks what something suggests, the answer is not stated directly in the text. You'll have to figure out—that is, infer—the answer by looking at clues in the text.



Develop is another all-star word of state tests. What gets developed? It's often an idea, but it could be a plot, an author's purpose, a theme, or something else.

Make sure your students know this: Develop means to build bit by bit. If a question asks how an idea develops, look for details throughout a text that add up to a big idea.



Students may be familiar with the word contribute from class discussions, but they may not be familiar with the word in the context of a test.

Make sure your students know this: Contribute means to add to. When you see the word contribute, think about how a piece of information adds to your answer.



Your students likely have a handle on questions that ask what a detail or an action or a passage shows. But will they be ready if a question asks what something demonstrates, illustrates, indicates, displays, highlights, or reveals?

Make sure your students know this: Lots of different words mean show. Don't panic if you see one; remember it's just a fancy word for show. Emphasize is related to show, but it means to give special importance to something.


I wish you and your students a calm and successful testing season! And I'd love to hear if you have other must-know test words! Leave a comment below.


Thomas Jefferson was obsessed with woolly mammoths, Ulysses S. Grant had a need for speed. George Washington had a soft spot for stray dogs. Read these and other fascinating factoids about U.S. Presidents while practicing the use of "passed" and "past" in Scope's February 2018 grammar. You'll never look at past presidents the same way again!

Looking for a fun and engaging reading activity for your reluctant readers? Scope teacher advisor and Scholastic Top Teacher Blogger Mary Blow has just the thing! She has designed a set of activities for students to do before, during, and after reading Lauren Tarshis's riveting new book in the I Survived Series, I Survived the American Revolution, 1776. In this post, Mary explains how she uses the activity in her classroom, incorporating video, a Scope play, and the nonfiction feature in the March issue of Scope.


Go on a Virtual Field Trip with Your Students!

Don't forget to sign up to view a special webcast of Lauren Tarshis' virtual field trip to the Museum of the American Revolution on February 7!

As we celebrate Black History Month in February, the Scope team wanted to share with you and your students some of our favorite quotes of courage and inspiration—not just for this month, but for the entire year.

You can dowload and print these quotes and post them around your classroom.









San Francisco International Airport

We are serious animal lovers here at Scope, so it is no surprise that writing February’s Lazy Editor brought us much joy (and ooooing and awwwwwing).

In this article, students learn about LiLou the pig, an adorably costumed therapy animal who eases travelers’ anxiety at San Francisco International Airport. After reading, students analyze mentor sentences and edit one paragraph of the article using rules they created for punctuating lists. We recommend you end the class with the following warm-and-fuzzy exit ticket.


Therapy animals exit ticket:
1. Watch these two stress-be-gone videos.

Adorable miniature therapy horses bring comfort and joy to kids and adults alike.


Playful golden retrievers help stressed-out travelers at the Mumbai international airport.


2. Using information from the article and both videos, explain in one paragraph how therapy animals can benefit humans. Include at least one list of three items and one list of two items and punctuate them properly.

For students needing additional practice punctuating lists, check out these activities:

February’s nonfiction feature “Escape From Slavery” tells the story of the remarkable Harriet Tubman. Her story and that of the Underground Railroad are the subject of many fantastic works of fiction and nonfiction—perfect for literature circles. We’ve compiled some of our favorite books across genres and Lexiles so you can mix and match according to your students' needs and interests.

To get things started, here are some essential questions that connect these books with the article “Escape From Slavery.”


Guiding Questions

  • What is it like to live without freedom?
  • Why is it important to learn about slavery?
  • How do people fight oppression?
  • What is the legacy of the Underground Railroad?


Check your library for these amazing books:

Trouble Don’t Last by Shelley Pearsall
(novel, 720L)

Samuel searches for freedom and his mother on a journey from Kentucky to Canada that is full of action, heartbreak, and hope.



Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis
(novel, 980L)

Elijah is the first child born into freedom in Buxton, Canada, a settlement of runaway slaves just over the border from Detroit, Michigan. Elijah journeys back to America to help a friend trying to buy his family out of captivity in the South.



Unbound: A Novel in Verse by Ann E. Burg
(novel in verse, 900L)

This novel in verse illuminates the stories of runaway slaves who sought sanctuary in the Great Dismal Swamp, located between North Carolina and Virginia. Native Americans took refuge in this swamp for thousands of years, and today, it is a federal wildlife refuge. Poetry lovers will thank you.



Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass an American Slave, Written by Himself  by Frederick Douglass
(autobiography, 1040L)

This classic is a Common Core Text Exemplar for grades 6-8, and it's also a great source for excerpts for close reading. 



Harriet Tubman: Conductor on the Underground Railroad by Ann Petry
(informational text, 1000L)

This is another great Common Core Text Exemplar for grades 6-8. It will allow your students to dig deeper into the life of Harriet Tubman.



True North by Kathryn Lasky
(novel, 780L)

An abolitionist's granddaughter and an escaped slave traveling on the Underground Railroad are the protagonists in this adventure novel. Revolutionaries Robert Gould Shaw, Abigail Adams, and Ralph Waldo Emerson make appearances too. 



The Underground Abductor by Nathan Hale
(graphic novel, GN370L)

The story of freedom fighter Araminta Ross (better known as Harriet Tubman) is told in this graphic novel. Perfect for reluctant readers.



Ashes by Laurie Halse Anderson
(novel, 820L)

This is the third book of the Seeds of America trilogy, which is no doubt already a student favorite. Ashes follows Isabel to the South in the midst of the Revolutionary War where she searches for her enslaved sister.




You may have noticed some new kids on the Scope activity block. My absolute favorite? The Theme Anticipation Guide! We did a deep dive into literary elements over the summer—assessing our support materials, researching best practices, and of course getting advice from amazing Scope teachers. The Theme Anticipation Guide is just one of a handful of new activities we’ve created out of those efforts.

Our new literary elements offerings include higher-level thinking tasks that encourage students to make meaningful connections to their life experiences and across texts. We hope activities like this guide will help students analyze and appreciate literature through the lens of literary elements.


The Theme Anticipation Guide will Get Students Ready for Reading

The Theme Anticipation Guide is to reading what stretching is to running. It’s a warm-up that readies your students’ minds to recognize and connect to the themes they will encounter in the reading. We designed the guide not as a worksheet, but as a pre-reading comprehension strategy and valuable discussion starter. Look for the Theme Anticipation Guide that will appear with every Scope fiction and play feature, and occasionally with the nonfiction feature as well.


What's in the Guide?

Each guide consists of 10 or fewer statements related to universal themes or dilemmas that students deliberate before reading the text, and then revisit and reflect upon after reading the text. You could use all the statements or just a select few. You could project the page or hand it out as a “do now” activity at the start of class.

Here's how we recommend using the Guide:

What you’ll need:

Key skills:
critical thinking, speaking and listening, theme

one class period


1. Fill out the checklist.

Give each student a copy of the Theme Anticipation Guide and have them write down whether they agree or disagree with each statement. Or project the statements and have students record their responses in their reading journals.


2. Share the responses.

Poll the class about each statement by a raise of hands or any other method you prefer. Invite students to assert and justify their opinions (middle schoolers like to do that, right?) Remember that the statements are purposefully debatable. The point is not to have right or wrong answers, but to invite students into the conversation the author is seeking to have with them.


3. Read the play.

Read Scope’s play Hercules the Mighty as a class.


4. Revisit the Guide.

Have students reread the statements in their Theme Anticipation Guides and reflect on the following questions in writing or a class discussion:

  • Did your experience with the text influence your opinions about each statement, perhaps by confirming your beliefs, challenging them, or causing them to shift completely?
  • How do the statements apply to Hercules the Mighty? For example, is Hercules’s identity affected by other people or by what happens to him? If so, how?


Let us know what you think of the Theme Anticipation Guide in the comments below!




Lauren Salisbury is Scopes Senior Education Editor.



Personalized letters about Scope for you to share with your students' families!

We realize how vital the home-to-school connection is for student success, and our goal is to make it easier for you to build that bridge. So we've created a letter that introduces parents and guardians to Scope and provide simple tips for sharing the joy of reading with their children.



Here's What You'll Find With Each Issue of Scope:

  • An introductory letter, which gives an overview of Scope and offers tips for exploring any issue of the magazine at home
  • An issue-specific letter with ideas for talking about articles in the current issue
  • An optional page to send home with the classroom password for the Student View of Scope Online, if you wish to do so
  • A choice of PDF or Word documents
  • Letters in both English and Spanish

We will publish new letters at Scope Online with every issue of the magazine. Simply select the pages you wish to distribute, then either send them home with students, post them on your class website, email them to parents, or hand them out on back-to-school night.

The Word documents allow you to personalize the letters, or to copy and paste them into a text, or use any other method to communicate with parents or guardians. You can also copy them into a translation program if you need them in a language other than English or Spanish.


Let me know what you think of these letters by posting your comments below!



Lauren Salisbury is Scope's Senior Education Editor



In the May 2017 paired text feature of Scope, "Are These Stories True? (Nope.)", your students read all about the history of fake news. In the article and accompanying video, they also got lots of tips on how to spot fake stories and unreliable sources. Now you can give your students this self-guided activity to practice the media literacy skills presented in the article and the video. It's great for small group work! 


Here’s how we recommend you use the fact-checking activity in your classroom: 


  • This Fact-Checking activity asks students to find and fix incorrect and misleading information in an article about junk food. Have students complete it after they read the article and watch the video.
  • Students can work in groups or on their own.
  • When students finish, bring the class back together to share what students have discovered.


fact-checking activity


For more media literacy resources, check out this post.