Monday, January 5, 2015

Smithsonian Tribune-Free K-12 Reading Resource

Smithsonian has a wonderful free reading resource for teachers.  It provides students engaging news articles written on their specific reading level. Each weekday trending new articles are posted. Students also have the opportunity to watch one-minute STEM videos.

It is easy to set up an account through Smithsonian.  After teachers have registered it is simple to import a class list.  They encourage you to use students first name only and last initial. Teachers are then given each student's user name and password.

Teachers can set up to nine different classrooms.

Students then login through the app.  There are four apps to choose from depending on the grade level you teach.

Download SmithsonianTTJunior for Grades K-4
Download SmithsonianTweenTribune for Grades 5-8
Download SmithsonianTeenTribune for Grades 9-12
Download SmithsonianTTEspa├▒ol in Spanish

After reading the article assigned by the teacher, students then take a quiz and post comments on the article they read. It is easy to track, each student's quiz and the comments they make are displayed on the teacher dashboard.  All comments have to be teacher approved, and students can respond to their classmates' comments. If you want student's comments to go public for others to view and comment, all you have to do is send TweenTribune an email.  I love the aspect that students have the opportunity to connect with other students globally.  If their comments are shared publicly, teachers still need to approve comments shared on each child's post.

Monday Morning Ready
Smithsonian TweenTribune just introduced Monday Morning Ready. Each weekend I get their weekly newsletters.  I am sent a new article and quiz, adapted to different reading levels.  The topic selected is a hot topic that is trending for the week.  Lesson plans and materials are provided so teachers can expand upon the topic. 

Lexile Levels
Each article is given a Lexile Level so you can assign articles according to each student's specific reading level.  Articles are adapted to multiple reading levels. Even though students read the same article, they take the quiz written on their specific level. 

Great Selection of Topics
There is a wide variety of current event topics for students to read.  I have found them high-interest articles that are relevant to our students. It is important that our students are reading nonfiction materials, as well as staying informed on what is going on in the world.  The content includes text, graphics, and photos; as well as audio and audio video materials.

Teacher Links
Teacher management is simple.  There is a drop-down box to manage students, assign articles, and approve comments.  

Assignment Dashboard

Teachers can create individualized plans.
Individualized Lesson Plans

Example of my students' comments.

Daily Quiz
Students also can take a daily quiz about current and past events.  They can research and look up the answers.  Here is an example of one of the questions from January 5th.  Scores are recorded on the teacher's dashboard.

Picture of the Day
Another awesome feature my students love is the picture of the day.  There is a caption below each picture, but students are unable to see it until they comment on the photo.  After they submit their comment they are able to view the caption.  This is great to foster student imagination and "thinking outside the box".  If teacher's allow, students have the opportunity to change and modify their comment after viewing the actual caption.  Below is the picture of the day for January 5th.

I love that my students have access to quality nonfiction articles.  I plan to utilize the Smithsonian Site during Guided Reading/Daily 5.

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