BCMS Teachers Win Trip to New York City

| February 15, 2016
submitted photo Mrs. Beth Lee (sitting on front right) with some of her students who assisted with the contest entry.

submitted photo
Mrs. Beth Lee (sitting on front right) with some of her students who assisted with the contest entry.

QUITMAN – Brooks County Middle School Teacher Beth Lee recently won an all-expense paid trip to New York City from #NewsELA.

Teachers at Brooks County Middle School have used this resource for some time because it makes learning relevant and helps students stay abreast of current events around the world while helping students on their individual Lexile levels. NewsELA recently sponsored a photo contest asking teachers to submit photos showing #NewsELA in use in their classrooms.

Mrs. Beth Lee, eighth grade teacher, submitted a photo to the contest, and it was selected as the grand prize winner! As the grand prize winner, Mrs. Lee will travel with the English Language Arts Instructional Coach, Mrs. Ashlee Gruno, to New York City for an office tour and a behind-the-scenes look at NewsELA with its founders.

Below is what Lee submitted to the contest:

Quitman, Georgia. Our hometown. Less than 4,000 citizens, three traffic lights, and miles upon miles of farmland and peach orchards. Newsela helps us bring the great, big world into our small classroom. The different articles are truly engaging and allow me to help the students become more worldly. Our classroom participates in “Take Me There Thursdays” an initiative to bring the world into our classrooms. Many of our students have never left the boundaries of our county, much less our state or country, but with Newsela, they can go to Mexico, China, Africa, and even outer space! Our students have narrow thinking because they have narrow experiences, but Newsela changes that! Students use literacy strategies like annolighting, paragraph frames, text connections, and more to understand their world and fellow humans.

I will never forget a recent Newsela lesson on about Syrian refugees. Based on a before-reading poll, nearly all of my students believed that no refugees should be allowed to come to the US, but after reading a text set comprised of a Newsela article, an excerpt by Anne Frank, and a few Humans of New York posts, nearly all of them had changed their minds! That lesson exemplified the reason I teach—to make students think, feel, and do more than they can imagine!

My classes are composed of students with a wide range of reading abilities, and Newsela allows me to easily provide engaging instruction with the click of a button. The lexile ranges, the paired text sets, the assessment and writing prompts, and the Spanish articles make Newsela an awesome instructional tool! Our teachers even read Newsela and share their favorite articles because the material is so interesting! “I read it on Newsela,” is a popular catchphrase heard in professional learning and collaborative planning. In a world full of click-bait and sponsored content, it is so refreshing to find real news, presented in exciting and accessible ways. The Newsela team is a pack of storytellers with teachers’ hearts, and the written word lives and thrives through this website and app. We would love to come to NY to see where the magic happens, and we know we will continue to use NewsELA on a weekly basis to bring the world to our small-town students!

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