Meeting the Common Core Standards with Technology Tools: Teaching History and English

Common Core State Standards: 
Literacy in History/Social Studies
Informational Text
Writing
Instructional Strategies: 
Visualizing
Summarizing
Self-Questioning

Technology tools for smart phones and tablets, such as HistoryPin and News360, put news headlines at student’s fingertips. See the following infographic example of 2013 news consumption: 

Using a headline, have students work collaboratively to compare points of view. They can work in pairs or groups based on interests, needs, or reading comprehension levels.

Students can start out with the same news story, but accessed from different sources. Discuss how and why the stories sounded different. Elicit discussion about an author’s point of view and how this affected what they wrote. Ask how it affected the students’ interpretations of the news. You’ll be doing more than making current events meaningfully—you’ll also be addressing a key ELA Common Core State Standard: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.6: Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.

Here are other engaging ways to vary this kind of learning activity:

  • Have students send emails telling different people about the news story (keeping their audience in mind)
  • Students can create presentations, audio recordings, or videos of their newscast or letter with Animoto
  • Then, they can watch or listen to these recordings to understand the different points of view
  • Modify easy-to-access lesson plans on history and persuasive writing and integrating interactive learning with textbooks to help your students achieve relevant CCSS
  • Have students collaborate to create an class infographic using the information found in their searches.

Incorporating reading comprehension strategies from PowerUp, such as visualizing, self-questioning, and summarizing—can help your students make meaning of newspaper articles, blogs, and websites that present current and historical events.

Acknowledgment: Special thanks to Rebecca Flynn for helping to prepare this blog post.

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