Ideas for Using Upfront
A sampling of how your colleagues across the country are using Upfront in their classrooms.
Want to share your ideas? Email Assistant Editor, Lucia De Stefani
“I conduct Socratic seminars using Upfront. In a small-group discussion, students use open-ended questions to critically analyze one article. They use textual evidence to support their conclusions and focus on how the text affects their views of our global community.”
—Vivett Dukes, Teacher at Eagle Academy in the borough of Queens in New York City
“I use Upfront to set up stations in my classroom. At one station, students read a short article and take the corresponding quiz. At other stations, they analyze the political cartoon and do a writing exercise using one
of the Upfront articles.”
—Sarah Ross-Koves, teacher of English and social studies at Carson City-Crystal High School in Carson City, Michigan
“I divide students into groups and assign each group to read a different section of the same Upfront article. Each group must provide a 3-2-1 summary of their section—3 interesting facts, 2 new pieces of information they learned, and 1 thing they want to investigate more.”
—Elizabeth Contreras, curriculum specialist and teacher in Dallas, Texas
“Students choose articles that match their interests, then form groups based on their choice. Within the groups, students engage in micro-debates in which they present their views on the topic and engage in a question-and-answer exchange. They share what they read and discussed with the class.”
—Ben Johnson, Elm Grove, Wisconsin
“Since students love the political cartoons on the back page, I’ve devised a mini lesson on what political cartoons are and why they’re effective. We look at a few cartoons together and analyze the techniques used. Then students draw their own cartoon on an issue that means something to them.”
—Tammy Lee, Heritage High School, Saginaw, Michigan
“Before we even read the article, I give kids 30 seconds to write down three things they know about the topic. Then I ask them to share those things with their groups. This helps students access their prior knowledge of a topic. And if they don’t have any prior knowledge, they’ll get a bit of background before reading.”
—Deb Ward, Harry A. Burke High School, Omaha, Neb.
“Because the magazine is so topical, I have my students do a comparison between articles that focus on similar issues. I ask students to compare and contrast how the issue is handled. I then ask the class to make associations with other events they’re studying or that they know from their direct experience.”
—George Burroughs, Montclair High School, New Jersey
“I often do a vocabulary exercise: As students read an article, I tell them to write down five words they’re not sure about or that made them stop during reading. They look for context clues and then try to write new sentences with those words. It’s a little icebreaker on the vocabulary.”
—Phyllis Bowie, S.A.V.E. High School, Anchorage, Alaska
“I frequently use Upfront articles as Socratic seminar texts, especially when they connect to other concepts we’re exploring in class. Students read and annotate an article, discuss it among themselves, and then write a follow-up reflection in response to a central question addressed in the article.”
—Joe Marangell, East Haven Public Schools, East Haven, CT
Have students choose any article that’s more than one page long. Based on that article and one other source, they should write a four paragraph expository essay, then conclude with a summary of their own opinion on the topic.
—Kris Pritchard, Alpha Omega Academy, Huntsville, TX