In the past, I have written about both, Newsela and DocentEDU. At the time, I suppose one could say my vision was still developing regarding how to best utilize each tool. I have spent some time tinkering, playing, and trying to break them. I am happy to say, that not only have I found the perfect combination of each, I have utterly failed to break either… and I’m pretty good at breaking stuff.
If you are interested in reading my initial post about DocentEDU, click HERE. There, you will find a quick and ugly tutorial on how to use DocentEDU.
DocentEDU is a great tool that makes any web content your content. It is extremely easy to use, and easy to get set up. In each of my class periods yesterday, I had my 7th grade students sign up and enroll in my DocentEDU class. This process took no more than a couple of minutes each time.
Now, I am able to assign Docents to my courses. If you have not checked out Newsela, you are really missing out. This is a treasure trove of articles that can be scaled to a variety of reading levels with a simple click. Click HERE to open Newsela in a separate window/tab.
The beauty of Newsela is that you get articles that are basically the same at a variety of reading levels. This is the perfect way to differentiate instruction in the classroom. We, as teachers, often complain that it is too difficult to differentiate in upper grades. There simply isn’t enough time, enough space, no kidney table, etc… well, that excuse is now gone.
By pairing DocentEDU and Newsela, I can assign reading material to students based on their individual level. It is a simple process to push your high readers by elevating the level and accommodate your lower readers/special populations by having a lower level.
One of the great things you get as a result, is that everyone read basically the same article, so you can still facilitate great whole group discussions where EVERYONE can be a part of it.
Using DocentEDU with Newsela just makes sense. You can embed video to further illustrate points, ask questions, highlight areas you want to focus on, etc. This way, you can ensure that students are getting the information needed, and fostering a climate where all learners in the room are actually being pushed to new limits. Too often, the higher readers end up not being pushed, or the lower readers get left further behind. Not anymore.
So, if you have not already done so, go sign up for your free trial of DocentEDU and make some Newsela docents.
As always, share what you know and what you create.