Editor's Tip


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.

"More modeling, please!" We hear this often from teachers who are looking for more ways to support their students. Well, we've got your covered!

We've created two model texts for you to use with our You Write It activity.


What You'll Need:


Here's how we recommend using the model texts:
(All images below are downloadable.)


Step 1
As a class, preview Scope's You Write It titled "Why Pigs Rule."


Step 2
Pass out and discuss the model text. Choose the version without annotations or, for students who need additional support, the version with annotations.




Step 3
Now it's time for students to write an essay of their own. First review the You Write It "Why You Should Sing" from the April 2017 issue of Scope.


Step 4
Have students follow the guidelines at the bottom of the You Write It to write and edit their essays, using "Why Pigs Rule" as a model. Students can also use the Guided Writing activity which walks them through the process of writing their essays.

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



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!

Anna Starecheski


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.

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!

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.


There are so many wonderful aspects of Scope. We don't want you to miss any of them! So we created 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


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?


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!

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 (like this one) 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 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!”

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.


Scope's glossary academic terms 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.