Did you know that the New York Times has an archive of student crosswords listed by subjects on this page? From American History to Technology, you can find puzzles created by Frank Longo as well as the answers and suggested curriculum links. I found this link when I discovered this page that provides a printable crossword puzzle on how people say thank you around the world. A couple of other timely suggestions are, “Thanksgiving,” “Giving,” and “Holidays Around the World.” These seem to be targeted at the teenage age range, though some upper elementary and middle school students can probably work on them in groups, given the proper resources.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is coming up in the States next week. Sadly, so much has been in the news lately about civil rights violations all over the world that it’s difficult to comprehend that anything has improved since King’s legacy survives. As a teacher, I want to be sure that my students learn empathy and respect for others. But it’s hard to find lessons that hit the right chord with every grade level I teach.
For integration with current events, middle and high school teachers should definitely check out the multitude of lesson plans for civil rights on the New York Times’ Learning Network.
Do you teach Kindergarten? You can teach a lesson about civil rights, too! Check out this adorable idea from Joelle Trayers, where she assigned her students to imagine what rights snow people would demand!
I alluded to Poetry Pairing a long time ago when I posted about the New York Times Learning Network, but I think it is well-deserving of its very own post. Poetry Pairing is a collaborative effort between the New York Times and the Poetry Foundation. Each week, a poem and a current article are selected to pair together. Comparing the articles to the poems, which are all selected from the American Life in Poetry Project, can bring some very rich conversation into the classroom. By juxtaposing poetry, some of which was written centuries ago, with current events, readers (or listeners, if you use a text-t0-speech program) can examine the common themes and trends they might observe. They can debate the messages of each piece, and whether or not they complement each other or markedly contrast.
I selected this particular pairing because of its poem, written by an 8 year old, and its article, which spoke to my heart, about this process of creating that children so enjoy – and the process of sifting through these creations that parents must endure. It is a particularly poignant example of the interesting weekly combinations brought about on this site.
Even if your students are not quite old enough to appreciate the posts found on the New York Times site, I think that this is a lovely idea for a lesson that could be brought to younger students as well. Using shorter poems and current stories that are relevant to them, a teacher could integrate many higher order thinking skills using this framework.
According to its website, “The Learning Network provides teaching and learning materials and ideas based on New York Times content.” Although the site is designed for students who are 13 or over, I have found many lessons that can be adapted to my elementary level Gifted and Talented students. The site includes lesson plans with links to related stories in the New York Times, as well as news quizzes and crossword puzzles. I find the “Student Opinion” section to be a treasure chest of engaging questions that can help students connect themselves to the real world. The “Poetry Pairings” section is also intriguing. The site is a great resource for teachers, and gives teenagers a voice and a place to see how the news relates to them