With six weeks of school left, I have started a major clean and purge kick this week. One of the first things on my list was organizing the many Scholastic News magazines I have leftover from the year. I mean many.
Since I teach children of several different reading levels, I have subscriptions to grades 2, 3, and 4 Scholastic News. Since I teach small groups, I tend to have lots and lots of leftovers! Yes, I am revising my number of subscriptions for next year. But, for this year, I had more than I could use. I sorted them all in a copy paper box by grade level, and then the question became what in the world can I do with them?
- Text Features Posters - Earlier last year, my friends made non-fiction text features posters. I gave them a handful of old Scholastic News (SN) magazines, poster paper, and scissors. Their task was to identify as many informational text features they could find. They cut them out, pasted them on the poster and labeled each one, and wrote a sentence telling what it does. In case you were wondering, given a handful of SN magazines, you will find pretty much every text feature imaginable.
- Centers - There are so many options for these in centers!
- 5Ws - Place a variety of SN mags in a folder with a 5W graphic organizer (who, what, where, when, why.) Students can pick any article to read and complete the organizer.
- Vocab Search - There are always vocab boxes in SN. Task your friends with creating a definition in their own words. Then, they can locate and then write down the sentence in which the word is used. Next, they can write their own sentence using the word in context correctly and create an illustration for this. This can all happen on one sheet of paper!
- Grammar Hunts - Stack some newspapers with a bucket of highlighters and a task card that has your friends highlight (for example) 5 nouns in yellow, 5 verbs in blue, 3 pronouns, 4 adjectives, etc. You get the idea. If you have been working on prefixes and suffixes, you could create a task card that has them hunt for that. For younger kids, you could do a search for words that begin with certain blends. There's wide variety of things you could search for!
- Title It! - Use labels to cover the titles of the article. Task your friends with creating a title for the article once they have read it. Not as easy as it might seem if you require a relevant title that will catch the reader's interest. It really forces your friends to mentally summarize the article and think about the author's message.
- A Magazine and A Task - There are so many generic graphic organizers that can be put with any magazine. You can provide organizers that have your friends summarize, compare and contrast, sequence, etc. Just match up a SN with a particular organizer and done. I should say that SN all come with an activity sheet which you could also just copy and use.
- Social Studies Maps - There is a map in every SN, usually with questions that rely on reading the map and not the article. It would be great to cut out a bunch of maps from different magazines, paste them on card stock, laminate them, and have your friends practice map skills using the various maps and dry erase markers. You could have the answer key on the other side for easy self-checks. This would also be a good center activity.
- Substitute Work - I'm sure this one was kind of obvious! SN come with very explicit lesson plans and worksheets making them easy for substitutes to use. I find the content is always on target, so I know a worthwhile lesson is being done while I am gone. Plus, my friends like these newspapers which means I know the sub won't have resistant students on her hands.
- Have a Nonfiction Read In! - I wrote about a read in I recently had with my friends. These would be great for that if you have a limited amount of time to do it and wanted your friends to get in some nonfiction text reading.
- Write the Story - The cover of each SN has a catchy title, a great photograph, and a blurb designed to spark your friends' interest. Give them the cover and have them write the article that goes along with it. Now, the obvious problem here is that these are informational articles, and your friends may not have the information needed to write the article. No problem! They could write a draft, read the article, then incorporate some facts from the article into their own writing. They are writing, identifying facts, revising, and more. Or, they could just write an imaginative piece. Your choice.
- Cut Them Up - Lots of the photographs in the magazines would make great picture prompts. If you are making a collage of some kind, old SN magazines are a great age appropriate resource for pictures unlike some magazines where the ads alone can make you cringe!
- Summer Quick Read Packets - If you want your friends to do some summer reading, create a variety pack of SN magazines in a folder. Give your friends a folder to decorate with a summer reading theme. Let them pick the magazines they would want to read over the summer to put in their folder. It wouldn't really matter if they've read them earlier in the year. Rereading is good! Plus, these are short, engaging articles that are great for reluctant readers to engage in over the summer. If there is an accountability or project component to your summer reading, the kids could complete the back page of the magazine which has questions to answer on the various articles.
- Interview the Expert - Pair your friends to read the same article. When done, have one friend be the reporter and the other the expert. Have the reporter interview the expert on the article topic. They will both need to have read the article so the expert has the information and the reporter can come up with questions to ask.
- Donate! - If all else fails and you really can't find a use for them in your classroom, donate them to a teacher who doesn't get a subscription. Or, if your district allows, drop some off at your pediatrician's or orthodontist's office to put in with their magazines. If you have a local boys or girls club you might donate them there.
Those are just some ideas I came up with thinking about this today. I'll bet you could come up with even more! If you have another great idea or a thought about these ideas, tell us in the comments. Love to hear from you!