Online News & Note-Taking Tools
- Dogo News – Dogo (which means young or small in Swahili) News provides serves as a leading source of news and information for current events, news and non-fictional content for Common Core ELA, Science and Social Studies. You may also want to visit companion Dogo sites focusing on books, movies, as well as one for teachers.
- Newsela – Current event articles covering many subjects, each written at five different Lexile levels so all students can read the same material at an appropriate level.
- Newseum – The goal of this source is to promote, explain and defend free expression. Special attention is given to the five freedoms of the First Amendment, including religion, speech, press, assembly and petition.
- Science News for Students – This site publishes stories about recent research and current events across the full breadth of STEM fields. We offer several types of articles, blog posts and weekly features. Each article is associated with additional content that can aid the classroom. Stories are grouped into topics, such as “space,” “life & evolution” or “math & technology.”
- Tween Tribune – Over 200,000 registered teachers are using free Smithsonian teacher tools in their classrooms. The site provides access to Daily AP news articles and self-scoring quizzes (both Lexile leveled for K-12), critical thinking questions, student commenting, Spanish AP articles, weekly lesson plans, weekly videos, and weekend “Monday Morning Ready” newsletter as prep for the week ahead.
Research Tools for Young Learners
In a connected world, there are ample research tools available.
Helping students learn how to use them grows more important with ubiquitous access.
Below, we explore several online research tools that can facilitate student research.
Setting Up Class Debates
In the Hyperdoc The Great Milk Debate, fifth grade students find themselves facing a challenge: Their principal, Mrs. Hilcher, has banned chocolate milk. Here’s one possible scenario to present students with:
Students: To improve your health, after consulting with school nutritionists, we have decided to no longer allow chocolate milk to be served during breakfast and lunch. Sugar and sweets present one of the greatest threats to human beings ever. “One carton of chocolate milk includes about 40 percent of the recommended daily allowance of sugar in a child’s diet,” said Mr. LK.
Students are encouraged to explore both sides of the debate. Learners are tasked with examining:
- Claim: For example, “Flavored milk gets kids to drink more milk.”
- Evidence: “Research shows that flavored milk, which delivers nine essential nutrients, contributes just 3% of added sugars to kids’ diets versus sodas and fruit drinks.”
- Reasoning: “Studies show that school-aged children who drink flavored milk actually drink more milk overall, have better quality diets, and do not have higher intakes of added sugar or total fat.”
The Hyperdoc provides students with a means to discover this information. The teacher who creates the Hyperdoc provides the resources students can explore. It may be advantageous for students to do their own research.
Five Online Research Tools for Children
- KidRex – Powered by Google Custom Search, KidRex is a search engine designed by kids for kids. Check our their page for Parents. Compare it to Searchquarium.
- KidzSearch – Easy-to-use search engine.
- Kidtopia – Provides access to a wide variety of topics, but also allows for keyword searches.
- Sweet Search – A search engine that provides filtered search capabilities.
- Fact Monster -Easily explore and learn new facts at Fact Monster by using their well-organized categories.
In the Hyperdoc, students take their research and use it to craft a persuasive letter attempting to convince others.
Test your preparation and your public speaking skills in The Great Milk Debate. You will be assigned to a debate team. Together you will go through each of your letters together and develop an argument defending your side against another debate team who will defend the opposite side. Each side will get two minutes to present their arguments. The winning debate team will be voted on by the audience.
Kid-friendly search engines can introduce students to search strategies, alleviating educators’ fears of encountering inappropriate content. Give them a try in your classroom.
Looking for great note-taking tools? Want to create power checklists for yourself and your students (or empower them to create their own!)?
Both of the following come with free Android/iOS apps, as well as are accessible on whatever computing device you may have (e.g. Chromebook, Mac/Windows laptop)
Great for Notes, Unformatted Writing and Checklists
- Google Keep
- Wunderlist (more features available for pay version)
- Bear Writer (more features available for pay version)
Great for Notes, Document Repositories, Checklists and More
Keep in mind that if you are a Google Suites user, Google Keep will probably be your go-to. If you are Windows/Office 365, then definitely use OneNote. Or, if you are on a Mac, give SimpleNote a try if the Apple Notes app isn't your favorite.