This is the start page (9-12) for online activities at Scholastic.com. Activities are organized by grade-level, subject, and activity. Activities are broken into: READING RESPONSE, SPELLING AND VOCABULARY, and WRITE AND PUBLISH; Individual activity headings are linked to individual activity pages.
Type of Material:
This is a collection of classroom-ready resources for teaching writing and literature. There is also a nod to common core with a robust section dedicated to writing about nonfiction.
This would be a great resource for the K-12 teacher for a variety of purposes. The learning activities are self-paced, and can be completed by a very young student. The activities can be assigned as homework, as well as completed by students in a classroom setting that is equipped with a computer and internet connection.
There are a variety of activities that would lend themselves well to in-class, homework, or flipped-classroom instruction.
As these are online activities, they require the use of a computer or tablet. Many of the activities are multimedia, which may require speakers and/or earphones. Reviewer noted that most activities are not Flash, and can be easily accessed.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
The activities themselves are well thought-out, with a a draft-work-polish-publish theme. There is an emphasis upon publication and sharing--enforcing the idea of audience and getting beyond writer-centered composition. For example, in the poetry section, there is a safe way to share and publish student-made poetry and a list of places students can publish their work.
The purpose of Scholastic.com is to provide the site's visitors with supplemental learning activities to enrich the K-12 education experience.
Target Student Population:
The material is designed for teachers, parents, and students in the Pre K through grade 12 educational setting. The disciplines include Language Arts, Social Studies, Math, and English Language Learners.
I would recommend most of these writing assignments for grades 9-10, but not for the upper grades. The exception is the Poetry, Short-Fiction, and Essay writing section, which is more sophisticated and designed for more mature students.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
The activities found on Scholastic.com can be completed by a very young student, with a teacher and/or parent's guidance. A basic knowledge of web navigation is required if a parent/guardian/teacher is not present. However, there are several printable activities found on Scholastics site that can be completed offline, as well.
Basic computer skills would be required to access these materials. Also, teachers presenting these materials may require knowledge of the audio-systems of their classroom computers as many of the materials are multi-media.
One of the most unique features of the Language Arts activities are those for speech-writing. In addition, the number of resources for the development of writing skills, in general, is quite impressive. As Scholastic has become a household name in the field of education, it comes as no surprise that each discipline includes plenty of materials and activities that encourage learners to explore culturally diverse topics. The resources included on the Essay page are helpful with the development of a sound argument, and include a particularly helpful PDF document (printable handout), titled, "Anticipate Your Opponent," that allows students to predict the potential arguments proposed by an opponent, and the adjacent space is used for a planned response.
The materials are well-thought-out, and they are based upon the highest standards of composition teaching--pushing the writer beyond writer-based composition into reader-based composition by employing a real audience beyond the classroom. Each assignment includes a clear theme, background, step-by-step instructions, and opportunities for publication.
The materials per each discipline are top-notch, and go above and beyond the standard K-12 curriculum offerings.
The material for Poetry, Short-Fiction, and Essay is complex and deep. Presentation requires some sophistication or direction. Students faced with the main page may be confused about how to proceed through the unit. Design does not favor independent use of materials without teacher direction at first. However, each section of the Poetry, Short Fiction, and Essay lessons are of similar layout and design. Once a student has used one, the others may come more easily.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
Aside from the culturally diverse materials, the activities available for each discipline are wide in their scope. These lessons are aligned to the Common Core Standards, yet are unique in that they include activities that do not appear in the average Language Arts textbook.
Each lesson in the Poetry, Short-Fiction, and Essay sections has a robust teacher resource section including background to the lesson, printable lesson plans, graphic organizers, and rubrics.
Again, there is little reason for concern, if any. This is a fantastic resource for anyone interested in the Language Arts, and is beneficial for students, teachers, and parents/guardians.
Teachers not familiar with writing in Poetry, Short-Fiction, and Essay may need to spend some time becoming familiar with the concepts behind the material and may need time to organize the lessons for the best outcome. Support for teaching is broad and deep, but it also requires sufficient prep time.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
If a user is new to navigating the web, this site would still be quite accessible. It is not overpopulated by advertisements or pop-ups and is user-friendly enough for students in early elementary grades if an adult is present to take them to the initial lessons start page.
Materials are well organized, easy to locate, easy to differentiate, and attractively presented. The interface design is well-thought-out and easy to use. Tools protect student identity while providing an opportunity to share with a real audience.
Presentation of the material for a more mature student audience is a consideration. Teen students are especially concerned with design that speaks to them in a serious way, and the design of the Poetry, Short-Fiction, and Essay materials do that. However, not all students would be sophisticated enough to understand the steps as they are presented, or patient enough to carefully go through each step in order to take full advantage of the lesson. Close step-by-step intervention may be required for students who are not likely to follow specific instruction easily.
Other Issues and Comments:
An additional feature that should also be mentioned is the audio option for many of the activities. This is particularly helpful in the Speech-writing and Poetry activities, as tone and diction are significant in learning, teaching, and doing both these activities.
This material is of high quality. It is built for teachers to use for a deep lesson in writing over many days or even weeks. Support for Poetry, Short-Fiction, and Essay are provided in printables, graphic organizers, and online activities--providing the type of differentiation that will prevent student fatigue with the online website. Rubrics are well designed and easy to use. A nice feature is the inclusion of a peer writing editorial board, with teens speaking to teens about their writing.
Search by ISBN?
It looks like you have entered an ISBN number. Would you like to search using what you have
entered as an ISBN number?
Searching for Members?
You entered an email address. Would you like to search for members? Click Yes to continue. If no, materials will be displayed first. You can refine your search with the options on the left of the results page.