Editor's Tip

Your Must-Have Inference Activity

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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 April issue of Scope, don't miss the making inferences activity that goes along with the beautiful fiction story "President Cleveland, Where Are You?"

Click the image to download.

 

 

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.

This Is the Text-Evidence Activity You Need

We often hear from teachers that finding and using text evidence is one of the most challenging skills for students to master. That's why we are so excited about our teacher-tested Core Skill Activity: Using Text Evidence. (And we hope that you will be too!) 

 

In this activity, students will practice:

  • finding text evidence
  • explaining WHY particular evidence supports an idea (and why other evidence does not)
  • quoting, paraphrasing, and citing
  • integrating text evidence into writing with transitions and commentary
  • weaving it all together by writing a paragraph

 

Differentiation

This activity is available in two levels for easy differentiation.

In the lower-level text evidence activity, students practice FINDING text evidence:

 

In the higher-level activity, students practice FINDING and USING text evidence:

 

Helpful handouts

Be sure to check out our two handouts: How to Use Text Evidence and Quoting and Paraphrasing. These are great tools for test-readiness and for reinforcing this important skill any time of year.

 

The activity and the handouts come with each issue of the magazine. For example, in the March 2017 issue, they are featured with the Paired Texts at Scope Online.

 

Try out this activity with your students and tell us how it went in the comments below!

7 Questions Every Student Should Ask

 

By
Anna Starecheski

Cohenworks

Here at Scope, one of our favorite things about nonfiction is how it can open doors to further learning for students. A window into the writing and research process for nonfiction can be just as engaging as the topic of a nonfiction story itself. And thinking about an author's research process and the quality of his or her sources can also help deconstruct what quality nonfiction looks like.

The following activity provides a wonderful way to prepare students for doing research projects of their own.

Skills:
critical literacy, critical thinking, close reading

 

To give students a deeper grasp of the research process, have them consider these simple questions after reading any nonfiction Scope text (like this one):

 

  1. How do you think the author got the information presented in the article?
  2. Can you find quotes from experts in the article? If so, mark them.
  3. Are those experts reliable? What might their biases be?
  4. What are three facts the author gives you?
  5. Do you think the author's information is reliable? Why or why not?
  6. Do any of the images show primary sources?
  7. How would you have researched this story?

 

You can also download and print the activity sheet below.

 

 

Have questions to add to our list? Tell us in the comments below!

A Fascinating Paired Text for Black History Month

To celebrate Black History Month, we wanted to tell the story of Garrett Morgan—a brilliant entrepreneur and inventor. Among his many inventions was a safety hood that changed the way firefighters fought fires. As an African-American man living during the first half of the 20th century, Morgan faced prejudice, and his accomplishments went largely unrecognized. We were riveted and moved by Morgan's story, and we think your students will be too. We've paired the article about Morgan with an informational text about the qualities of a successful entrepreneur. After reading both texts and completing the lesson plan with your class, have students complete the extension activity below.

 

Extension Activity

Divide students into groups to research other inventors—from the past and the present. Each group should then pick one inventor and create a presentation about him or her to share with the class. Presentations can be in the form of a poster, video, or Powerpoint presentation and should include information about the inventor’s life, what the inventor created, and why his or her invention is important.

 

The Perfect Text for Friday the 13th (Yikes!)

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You're in luck! In honor of the unluckiest day of the year—Friday the 13th—we have a fascinating informational text all about why superstitions remain part of our culture. In the February issue of Scope, we paired the article with our play about the discovery of King Tut's tomb and the curse supposedly attached to the famous pharaoh. But the informational text also works on its own. 

 

 

 

 

Dig Deeper

After your students read the article, challenge them to go more deeply into the topic by researching a superstition of their own choosing, such as Friday the 13th, black cats, opening an umbrella indoors, or walking under a ladder. Ask them to look into how that particular superstition developed. (Note that the origins of specific superstitions are often murky.) Also have students consider why the superstition may have developed. Was it out of fear? Perhaps it was a safety measure? Many superstitions are quite old; why might they have lasted this long?

A Must-Try Tech Tool for Your Classroom: Kahoot!

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You may already be a Kahoot devotee. If so, you know that it's a rare tool that motivates and engages even the most reluctant students, is great for multiple learning styles, creates opportunities for collaboration and interaction, makes assessment a breeze, and is totally free. Kahoot quizzes are extremely versatile and can be used as fun practice and assessment tools for practically any Scope text. Kahoot is perfect for those last few minutes if you finish class early or for those final days before a break.

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” from the December/January issue.

 

 

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)
Projector
Internet connection
The Scope article “Grammar Steps Into a Glacier”
My Kahoot quiz

 

Time:

10-15 minutes of class time

 

Skills:

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 a Senior Editor at Scope and a former classroom teacher.

Writing Contests: 9 Ways to Help Your Students Win

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Looking for authentic writing opportunities for your students? How about ways to recognize their work? Scope's writing contests are just the thing! With each issue of Scope, students have the chance to enter one of several writing contests and win a fantastic book hand-picked by Scope editors or some other fabulous prize. Share these 9 tricks with your students to increase their chances of winning! Find all the current contests here.

 

Share these 9 tricks with your students to increase their chances of winning!

 

  

Viv (left) and Anny (right), our fabulous contest judges reading your students' amazing essays

1. Follow the rules.
It sounds simple, but so many entries we receive get disqualified right off the bat because they are sent in after the deadline or lack the requested contact information. If an entry is to be considered, it must follow ALL the rules listed on the contest activity sheet.

2. Make it legible.
If we can’t read it, we can’t judge it. Encourage students to type up their entries if you suspect that their handwriting may be difficult to read. (Did you know we accept emailed entries? Send them to ScopeMag@scholastic.com.)

3. Keep it organized.
If you are submitting a class set of contest entries, make sure EACH entry has its own contest form with all relevant contact info and that the form is securely attached or clearly marked.

4. Make your Google Doc public.
We receive so many emailed entries that we WANT to read . . . but can’t. If you want to submit entries as Google Docs, remember to make your entry viewable to anyone with the link. We can’t open your submission unless you give us permission. This is a very important tip! The VAST MAJORITY of Google Docs we receive cannot be viewed.

5. Be passionate and energetic.
Our contest judges Viv and Anny read your students' entries with love and care. But when there are hundreds or thousands of entries, the writing can start to get monotonous. Your students can stand out by writing with pizzazz—with energy and passion. Hint: Make sure your students' vary their sentence constructions.

6. Relate to your experience.
We love a submission that answers the question while relating back to the writer’s world. Has your student ever experienced anything like what the characters or people he or she is writing about experienced? How would your student feel if he or she were in the character's shoes? We award brownie points for answering the question while seamlessly tying in anecdotal life experiences (when it makes sense for the type of writing task, of course).

7. Answer the question(s).
Many of our writing prompts have two-part questions. Make sure students answer all parts of the prompt, or their entries will be disqualified.

8. Cite text evidence.
Make sure your students cite their sources. (In most cases, the source is us.) Call us vain, but we adore it when students write such things as, “In the Scope article ‘Swimming for Her Life,’ Kristin Lewis claims that [insert text evidence here].” It makes our citation-happy-hearts soar.

9. Proofread
Check for spelling and grammar mistakes while making sure the writing flows from one idea to the next.

 

Best of luck! And as we say to our winners, “Keep on reading and writing!”

A Timely Election Text

By Anna Starecheski

 

We all know that this election season has been, shall we say, messy. We've heard from many teachers that it's been a struggle to teach their students about this election.

Here at Scholastic, we want to help you teach your students about the presidential election in age-appropriate ways. Our colleague Elliott Rubhun is quoted in this wonderful article from The Washington Post. We highly recommend you check it out—Elliott offers practical advice for how to teach the election for each grade level. For more on the election for kids, check out Scholastic's election coverage here.

For a more general conversation about politics, check out my article in Scope: "Is It Wrong To Talk About the Election?" The polarizing nature of this particular upcoming presidential election makes this article an ideal read in these final days leading up to November 8th. I also provide information about civil discourse, which is a great lens through which to explore the election in your classroom.

The article comes with a great constructed-response activity too! And here is a wonderful step-by-step guide to using my article for test-readiness.

 

Anna Starecheski is Assistant Editor at Storyworks Jr.

The Instructional Language Your Students Need to Know

Cohenworks

We've just finished putting the final touches on our newest glossary: academic terms!

This wonderful glossary is a great way to introduce your students to the instructional language they will encounter in activities, classroom discussions, and directions as well as on assessments.

There are lots of ways to use this glossary:

  • Project it on your whiteboard.
  • Upload it to Google Classroom.
  • Print it for students to keep in their binders.
  • Cut up the terms and use them as note cards.
  • Create posters to display around your classroom.

 

 

Find our other glossaries here.

Build Strong Analytical Readers with the Core Skills Workout

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The Core Skills Workout is a collection of eight skill-based activities that come with every issue, designed to help your students "bulk up" in the skills they need most to become strong, analytical readers.

If you haven't had a chance to check them out, now is the perfect time! We offer this collection of activities in addition to the quizzes, vocabulary, and other support materials that come with each issue.

 

You can find the Core Skills Workout activities at Scope Online on the article pages or on the Core Skills page. We recommend that you use them with every issue.

 

The Workout covers . . .

Summarizing

Making inferences

Text evidence

Central ideas and details

Text features

Text structures

Tone

Mood

 

The Core Skills Workout is perfect for your classroom because . . .

1. It works with your scope and sequence.

As skills arise in your scope and sequence, you can choose the Core Skill activity that supports your teaching goals.

2. It's a great reinforcement tool.

Do the Workout with each issue—to reinforce the skills students have learned or to help students who need extra practice in a particular area.

3. It's ready for differentiation.

Most Core Skills Workout activities are offered on two levels. For example:     

 

In addition to the eight Workout activities, you also get . . .

1. Ready-to-go reference materials

A reference sheet is available for each of the eight skills covered in the Workout. Project the reference sheets on your whiteboard, upload them to Google Classroom, or print them for students to keep in their binders. Download them here or find them on the Core Skills page.

 

2. An easy way to put it all together

Our Read, Think, Explain activity (available on two levels) combines all eight skills in one tidy guided-reading activity. It comes with every nonfiction feature. We recommend you project it on your whiteboard and work through it as a class.

 

Answers to all activities can be found in the answer key.

 

Have a great workout!