I wanted to review one of Kelly Gallagher's strategies called Article of the Week that has changed the game of teaching for me. I have tried every method of homework under the sun in the past 8 years. I have tried homework menus, homework assigned on certain days, daily five homework, grammar homework, reading homework, writing homework...and the list goes on. The main method of homework that works for my students and that remains genuine is Gallagher's Article of the Week. The Article of the Week or AOW incorporates the addition of useful non-fiction resources into the classroom, and also provides students with a method of increasing their reading performance and knowledge base. Students are taught skills and purpose with annotation. I like to assign a new focus for each marking period while doing an AOW. For example:
- Marking Period 1: Vocabulary Emphasis
- Marking Period 2: Non-Fiction Summary Emphasis
- Marking Period 3: Comprehension Questions
- Marking Period 4: Paragraph Writing
- Marking Period 5: Thinking Maps
- Marking Period 6: Discussion and Dialogue
Each week students receive an article and they are given some tasks:
- Read the title, author, and date.
- Evaluate the source.
- Number the paragraphs.
- Annotate! Use symbols and comments.
- Underline important areas of comprehension. Circle words you do not understand.
- Reread or participate in second draft reading. This is a Kelly Gallagher phrase from Deeper Reading, also Kylene Beers and Bob Probst use this term quite often in their texts.
- Complete a corresponding activity that may be linked to a focus from above.
Here are the typed up general directions ready to go: article-of-the-week-completion-directions2016
Let's check out some awesome exemplars from both advanced english and general english!
I like to grade these based on a rubric for each week after the first six weeks. Before this, I am checking to make sure they understand how and why to annotate the text. Check out some rubric examples:
I started to implement this strategy last year, and I feel like the biggest take-a-ways are: 1. skills with annotation and 2. knowledge of current events/critical thinking about the world. Students are more likely to have opinions about current events. As educators, it is our duty to help students have a voice when speaking about the world around us.
I like to grab articles from NEWSELA because they lexile the articles and update them each week. Kids stay current on the events in the news and the world. I am also in the process of looking at TweenTribune that seems to offer a similar concept that NEWSELA does, but just different formatting.
Writing Mindset Reflection: What should homework look like? How do we get students to read more non-fiction text?