How to develop a unit around news articles

news article unit

The other Spanish III teacher and I incorporate a lot of current events into our curriculum.  I knew that this year, I wanted to develop a unit around the news articles that I write with Martina.  I have shared how I supplement articles with these ideas.  However, I wanted to explain how I am making these resources link together with this unit.  I first decided on the goals of the unit.  They are:

  • I can understand current events in Spanish-speaking countries.
  • I can make connections between current events in Spanish-speaking countries.
  • I can make connections between current events in the US and Spanish-speaking countries.
  • I can understand how current events reflect upon the culture of each country.

Then, my co-teacher and I discussed some assessments that we could use.

  • For interpretive reading, I love Señora Chase’s Quick Quiz rubrics.  We will use the newest edition of El Mundo en Tus Manos and have students complete the quiz.  The other benefit is that we can allow students flexibility to choose what article they would like to be assessed on.  I always appreciate when differentiation can be that easy!
  • We have classes of 18 students total.  We will have them divide into 4 groups, and each group can choose an article.  Students will read the article then use the authentic resources to investigate even more into the topic.  The small group will present their topic to ONE other small group, and they will also ask the other group questions to start an interpersonal conversation.  I liked the idea of small groups in order to give each person a chance to talk.  That can be lost in a larger class.  My hope is that this will bridge nicely with the tertulia that I have my Spanish V students complete.
  • Finally, since our news is written, my hope is to have students research their own news topic and create a newscast in the form of a video in a comprehensible way.  I also like that this helps infuse some creativity into the unit.

Here are some of the tasks that I used to start getting my students making these connections.

First, they read the news articles and did this quick assignment from Martina.  Then, they voted on the article that they enjoyed the most.  At the end, I had them brainstorm connections that they saw between at least three of the articles with partners and we discussed them aloud.

The next day I grouped them according to the article that they liked, gave them an older article (but new to them) and I had them complete a Venn Diagram comparing the article they liked the day before to the one that they currently read.  Then, they wrote up comparisons based on what they had read.

After that, I had them share their favorite video on Flipgrid.  As we continue to work on developing their proficiency, I want students to start supporting their thoughts.  Since they are in Spanish III, I want more than I thought it was interesting.  I need SPECIFIC FACTS, friends!

The next week, we had more news to read!  I started with a dictation.  I picked out five significant sentences in the articles.  Then, I read them aloud numerous times while students wrote them down in Spanish.  This allowed me to highlight certain grammar points or spelling.  After the dictation, I asked a few PQA questions to my students.  One article was about José Andrés, and he has numerous restaurants in the DC area.  We discussed which restaurants were his and which ones students had visited.  Also, another program was Hamilton.  We talked about who had seen Hamilton before.

Then, I gave the students the articles and had them highlight three main ideas from each one.  We discussed the important parts, and I reviewed any questions that students had from each article.  After that, I had students craft questions to do a GimKit collab.

The next day, we had chat stations.  Students worked with a partner to answer these questions then we discussed them as a whole class.  This allowed more students to participate and answer questions.  However, in retrospect, I should have had students complete a presentational writing assignment after the chat stations.  This would have made for an even more significant conversation.  We also looked at some of the authentic resource videos briefly.  You could also have students create an EdPuzzle project with them as well.

We also played Trashketball while students were answering questions about the articles.  I start by giving each team ten X’s.  If they answer the question correctly, they can take away two X’s from any other team.  If they throw the ball in the trashcan from behind one line, they can take away 3 X’s.  If they throw the ball in the trashcan from behind a farther line, they earn an extra X and they can take away FOUR lives from another team.  They can also divide up their X’s if they want to.  Once a team loses their X’s, they can shoot the ball again to earn two more lives and be back in the game.  It is a lot of fun!

As you continue to incorporate news articles into your classes in a small or bigger way, I hope this post offers you more ideas on how to use the articles and create a unit around them!  In my next post, I will include details on how I structured their presentation around the news.


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