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The Debrief

How to make time for science in the elementary classroom with Newsela

Lindsey Menichetti
Mar 23, 2020

As a former elementary classroom teacher, I know exactly what it feels like to be asked to add something extra to your science instruction. With limited time for science during the school day, new inquiry-based science standards, and not enough prep time, making any changes to your teaching style can feel overwhelming! Even when there was an exciting opportunity, I always wonder when I would have had the time to implement it.

As a teacher with a genuine appreciation for the importance of science in the classroom, I found it difficult to fit in everything that needed to be taught. I had just about enough time for students to conduct experiments and clean them up. I knew I was losing possibilities for students to discuss the concepts, question the process, and build background knowledge. Yet it was my passion for creating these possibilities in the student learning experience that led me to my new role in the instructional content department at Newsela. 

When I taught in Nebraska, I was often asked to ensure student engagement, track students' formative progress, and find opportunities for cross-curricular learning. Newsela can help teachers do all of those things, and the part I was most grateful for was how much time it saved me by offering texts that were already differentiated for my students. However, I was focused on using Newsela for reading and writing.

Enter: Newsela Science. Newsela Science was not available while I was teaching, but oh how I wish it had been. Teachers and students can pull science-specific, differentiated texts to use during their science or reading block. In addition, many of our articles are already organized to complement popular curricula, such as the NGSS framework. Below you can explore how Newsela Science empowers teachers to embed literacy into their Science instruction with engaging and accessible texts.

 Using Newsela Science for authentic texts, science quizzes, and Write Prompts

 For teachers who are experiencing a lack of science instructional time, Newsela Science is a great cross-curricular tool to engage your students with. Below is the Newsela Science landing page, where content is curated by collection and themes. Teachers can begin their lesson planning by selecting articles with a collection to use during their small group reading rotations that align to their state standards or frameworks. 

The Science of Earthquakes 

Let’s dive into an article from the NGSS Phenomena, Elementary, Science collection to see how you can leverage a text on Newsela Science. In “The Science of Earthquakes” text, teachers can leverage the text at 5 different reading levels, to make their science lesson accessible for all of their students. Articles are paired with Newsela Lesson Sparks, that include activities aligned with the NGSS and offer teachers formative science instruction, while also providing reading comprehension quizzes and Write Prompts to promote literacy. 

Infographics and Literacy 

Partnering with Newsela’s multimedia editor, many articles also include infographics, such as the one below. This way teachers can use texts alongside imagery, which can cross-functionally align with teaching text features in reading as well as the science concept itself. With these dynamic tools, teachers will be on their way to teaching reading strategies and comprehension while building science concept knowledge in no time; not to mention, they’ll be doing all of this with genuinely engaging material.

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