It’s an amazing idea, especially if I teach social studies in the future. I can’t say it’s the best strategy for English-only teachers, though, because it might crowd out the independent reading of fiction (unless you go with little to no teacher instruction). (Ms. Gross writes here in her blog that it hasn’t, though Mr. Olsen says some of the newspaper reading happens in history class.)
Still, I’m really intrigued and impressed — and a bit jealous. Ms. Gross and Mr. Olsen are doing an excellent job encouraging the reading of current events and nonfiction. They’re also getting their students excited about the world and helping them build background knowledge. Their work with The Learning Network is also impressive. And they’re offering one strong model about how teachers can approach the new Common Core State Standards. I look forward to learning more about their journey.