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Using News-O-Matic in the Classroom

How do teachers use News-O-Matic? There’s no wrong way. In fact, educators have found countless ways to add the app to their classes. That’s why New York public school teacher Jayne Clare (and Teachers with Apps co-founder) called it a “Swiss Army Knife of Classroom Apps.” Here are just a handful of ways some our passionate educators implement News-O-Matic on a daily basis.

How do YOU use News-O-Matic? Share your tips and techniques with other educators around the world!

"Working on recognizing main ideas and supporting details, the kids used the highlighters to mark the articles - one color for main idea and another for supporting details. It provided a quick formative assessment for me. Kids took screenshots and turned them in on Google Classroom. I've done the same with the quizzes. They have to go back to the article and highlight the parts that support their answers. Great way to promote looking back at the text."

− Dina L.

""I use News-O-Matic as a choice during independent reading time. If it is just right for the students, they read it silently. If it is too hard, then they use the Read to Me function. I also use it during my weekly share time to share an article of interest to me. Lastly, we currently use it as the source for a weekly world news article in our classroom-published newspaper.""

− Krista W

"My first graders used news-o-matic every day and absoutly loved it! They are devastated that out free trial ran out.
We use the info daily to read about current events, also to research topics and as a connection to literary skills being taught in the classroom.
News-O-matic is AMAZING!!"

− Woofie B.

"I use it as a reward! Get your work done and you get to use the iPad for Read-o-Matic! Works like a charm, students LOVE it!"

− Fuji B.

"Every child has an IPAD and they daily go in to complete 2 or 3 current events readings and answer the questions. We then take the last 5 min. of the day to discuss what is going on in our world! Kids love News O Matic."

− Martha B.

"We have a news crew at school who weekly prepare newscasts for students. Currently they report on happenings around the school, but with NOM students could keep current about the news and use what they're reading during the week as a current events feature."

− Jenny I.

"I use this app in my speech therapy sessions. It's a perfect way to target IEP goals using current information. We can work on vocabulary, comprehension skills, predicting, compare/contrast, etc. I picked it as one of my top 10 apps on my blog. The ability to use different modalities helps my students understand the information and meet their needs."

− Cindy M.
    • At Morning Meetings
    • Begin the day with News-O-Matic. Project the app on a Smartboard and ask students to vote on one or two articles to read together. Tell students to take turn reading paragraphs of the passage out loud. Ask others to engage on their own devices (or the shared classroom resource) to interact with the map and explore the additional features of the article, such as the Fact, Act, Video, and Slide Show. At the end of the article, direct students to answer the comprehension questions. Then prompt the children to describe their thoughts on the topic using the discussion prompt embedded in the Teacher’s Guide. This regularly recurring activity reinforces the value of a routine of daily nonfiction reading.

    • Independent Reading
    • As students complete other projects during the school day, reward them with time to read the news of the day. Provide the student with the mobile device and the flexibility to read an article of his or her choice. Adjust the reading level of the student to range of his or her ability or adjust the Lexile level to challenge the reader further. With enough time left, students should answer the assessment questions for the article within the app or on the separate Teacher’s Guide.

    • Geography Enrichment
    • Split the class into small work groups. Ask them to discuss the five stories in the current edition of News-O-Matic — and predict where in the world they each take place. Tell them to read the stories and look for context clues that direct the reader to learn about the geography, such as a reference to Sierra Leone as a “West African nation.” Direct students to the interactive maps by asking them to “Tap for Map” on each individual article. Tell readers to listen to the native language of the story by tapping “Hello” and learning additional facts about the country by clicking “Fun Fact.” To wrap up the session, ask let students to compare their original predictions on the locations with the actual coordinates of the articles, based on their discoveries with the interactive map.

    • Fast Recaps
    • Ask students to select an article that interests them from the day’s edition. When they are finished, tell them to compile a list of 5–10 facts that they learned from the text. This information can come from the body of the article, as well as maps, photographs, captions, charts, or any other text features.) Direct students to write the facts in complete sentences. Finally, ask children to come up with at least two or three questions that they still have about the topic. As a group, you can discuss resources that could be used to answer the remaining questions.

    • Small Group / Shared Reading
    • Divide the classroom into five small groups of students. Ask each small group to collectively order the stories (from 1 to 5) that they would most like to read. Draw at random a list to determine which group gets to pick first, second, third, fourth, and fifth. The first group gets to choose its choice of story, and then the other groups follow. Give the groups ample time to read the articles together and discuss the main idea. Once each group has completed the shared reading exercise, ask each one to appoint a presenter to explain the key points of the story to the rest of the class. Direct other students in the group to fulfill other roles, such as recorder and vocabulary interpreter.

    • Vocabulary Development
    • Each News-O-Matic article contains a variety of academic and domain-specific words for students to learn. Ask students to read a given passage and identify the words that are unfamiliar to them. Explain that the underlined words are hyperlinked to an audio recording and kid-friendly definition. Direct students to read the sentences directly preceding and following the sentences with the unfamiliar words or terms. Ask them to search for context that would provide clues for the definitions. Tell students to create their own dictionary of unfamiliar words; they can add to their log each day with each edition. Make sure that students reflect on their handmade dictionaries at the end of the year to commemorate and celebrate their growing vocabularies.

    • Week in Review
    • Set aside time each day during a week for News-O-Matic reading. Ask students to monitor any recurring topics, such as a growing conflict or an ongoing sports tournament. Tell them to write their favorite stories — as well as the ones they consider most important — each day in a reading log. For each article, request that the student summarize the main idea and key points. Then ask students on Friday to review the most relevant articles of the week and draw conclusions about current events over the five-day period. Request that each student give a two-minute presentation to the class in an effort to recap the lessons they learned during the week.

    • News Selection Process
    • Before beginning with a new edition of News-O-Matic, ask students to talk about events they have been hearing in the news. That could include the previous night’s sporting events or world news that they’ve recently learned about. Tell those students to share the source of their information, whether it’s their parents, friends, the TV, or anywhere else. Then direct students to open News-O-Matic and review the balance of the edition. Ask students to review the variety of topics, such as “science,” “US,” and “Arts.” Then tell them to evaluate the timeliness and relevance of the edition based on the information the stories they wanted to learn about. Allow students to debate the story selection and volunteer a modified set of stories they would have chosen as Editor-in-Chief.