A Non-fiction Article That Will Silence Your Students!

30 01 2013

Looking for an awesome multi-media nonfiction article that will engage your students in ways that they haven’t been engaged before?

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Then, you must check out this article! The New York Times has really outdone itself with the info graphics that are included in this amazing article about an avalanche in Washington state last February. The text tells the story of a group of skiers that ended up caught in an avalanche. As you read the text, there are video clips that you can watch. They range from interviews from survivors, actual footage of some of the skiers looking for their friends in the aftermath, and short clips from avalanche predictors. There are also slide shows throughout that students can click on, actual 911 sound clips, and amazing pictures and info graphics that show exactly what happened, where. 

I wasn’t sure how to present this lesson, since I hadn’t come across anything like it. I decide to summarize the start of the article for my kids to get them excited and interested. I then scrolled through the article and tabs and showed them some video clips and sound clips to pique their interest. The article is broken down into different sections as the story progresses. Each section has its own tab at the top. Each section is a great example of a lead, and how to draw a reader in. I read the start of each section so they knew what kind of information they could find in that section. 

I then told them that they could look and read through this article in any way that they want to. They could start at the beginning, read just the sections they wanted to, or just watch the videos and listen to the sound clips. I was very curious to see how they would engage in this type of article, and what they thought about it.

As they were checking out the article , there was silence in the room. Everyone was really into reading the article, watching the clips and they loved the freedom to explore as they wanted to (after all, wouldn’t you want to read an article like this, the way that interests you, instead of having a bunch of questions to answer or things you had to read?!) . When they were done, I had them fill out an exit ticket listing three things they learned, thought was cool, or how they liked this new type of reading experience.

What I learned was that, yes, many students went to watch the videos, but they ended up reading a ton of text around it, as they wanted to know more. Many of my students bookmarked this site on their phones and tablets so that they could go back and check out some more things that we didn’t have time for. 

And-  since the  Common Core has been all the talk lately and we also used this article to –  Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of using different mediums ( e.g., print or digital text, video, multimedia) to present a particular topic or idea.

Perfect lesson for a cold, snowy day. 🙂 

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One response

7 02 2013
Mary Lee

Wow! That’s amazing! I have to go back and read and view when I have more time!

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