It is not always easy to bring current events into the Early Years classroom, but at last I've found a way to do not only that, but to connect it with reading comprehension strategies. The Telegraph Pictures for iPad app features 12 pictures from news events around the world, taken the day prior to accessing them. The pictures are not only beautiful, but informative, interesting and even inspirational at times. Here's how I would use this in an Early Years or Middle Years classroom:
1. Choose one of the 12 new pictures and project the image in the classroom. Before the students see the image, tap on the picture so that the caption is hidden.
2. When the children come into the room, have them take paper (could be a worksheet, or could be just scrap) and have them record the following: 4 details, 3 questions, 2 connections and 1 inference.
3. After a few minutes (no more than 10), have the students turn and talk to their elbow partner.
4. Then, invite pairs of students to share their ideas with the rest of the class. Discuss how looking for important details, questioning, making connections and inferring are all reading comprehension strategies that will help them to be a better reader.
5. At the end of the class, tap the image again and the caption will be seen. Now it's time for a discussion about an event from the previous day.
The next wonderful find I want to share with you is the Newsela website. This website publishes news articles related to current events, science, kids' interest, war and peace, and more. The most exciting thing about this website is the toggle at the right hand side of the screen, which allows the reader to adjust the text in the article to a higher or lower reading level. Most texts range from Gr. 4 to Gr. 12 levels, and the adjustment does not change the content of the text, nor the photo, just the readability. So students sitting right beside each other would have no idea at which level their neighbour is reading, as the page looks the same. The two screen shots above are at a Gr. 4 and a Gr. 12 level, respectively. This is a free account that teachers create. A student code is then generated for students, and teachers can assign specific articles for their class to read. New items are added regularly. There is an option for a quiz following the article, should teachers so choose. Wouldn't it be wonderful if all websites were created with this awesome feature?!!!
Travelling Curriculum Support Teacher