Archive | March, 2014

Tech Tool Review: Newsela

17 Mar

Newsela is a free web tool that lets users read a single news article at a variety of lexile levels. Educators can sign up for a newselafreeaccount and read and print articles from Newsela or they can upload student rosters and assign articles to students to read and quiz over on the web as well.  Newsela articles even align to common core standards.

How do I use Newsela?

On  your first visit to Newsela, either create an account or sign in using your Google ID.  Then, you can search through articles and as you find informational texts that would work with your class, use the blue bar on the right side of the page or change the lexile level of the article.  From there, print out the necessary copies of the differentiated news articles.  Or, if your class has access to computers, each student can get their own Newsela account and you can assign students articles to read and quizzes to take.  This post will walk users through the basics of using Newsela.

How can I use Newsela in my classroom?

Informational Texts: We all know that the common core state standards require more informational texts in all content areas.  Teachers can use Newsela to find current informational texts for all reading levels.
Differentiated Instruction: After finding an article, teachers can assign the same article to learners of all different reading levels.
Formative Assessment: Use Newsela to assess your students’ reading skills by assigning articles and quizzes for them to take.  Review students’ results in your Newsela Binder.

Model Lexile Levels: Teachers can use Newsela to gain an understanding of what different lexile levels look like to be better informed about the upcoming shift in text complexity.



This post originally appeared on


R(e)Post of the Week: 5 Good Options for Creating Digital Portfolios

14 Mar

Even with all of the snow days we’ve had, the end of the school year will be upon us before we know it. So, it’s time to start thinking now about possible end-of-the-year projects. If your students aren’t already keeping a digital portfolio, creating one can be an engaging and useful reflection and synthesis of learning. On Free Technology for Teachers this week, Richard Byrne suggests 5 Good Options for Creating Digital Portfolios. Byrne is great at suggesting web tools that are easy to use. A digital portfolio is also a great opportunity for students to show a little creativity and produce a product they will be proud to share with parents and guardians.

30 Seconds of Google: Add-Ons!

12 Mar

“You use Google Docs and Sheets to get all sorts of stuff done—whether you’re staying up late to finish that final paper or just getting started on a new project at the office. But to help take some of that work off your shoulders, today we’re launching add-ons—new tools created by developer partners that give you even more features in your documents and spreadsheets.”

-From the Google Drive Blog