Let's get lit and by lit I mean Commonlit.org. I've been hanging around teenagers too much. Anyway, I'm sure you have seen it before, but if you haven't you need to know that it was created by angels who know teachers "ain't got time for that." Before discovering Commonlit.org, I used to scour the internet looking for non-fiction texts that related to what we were currently reading for our literature unit, and it would take me hours. Then I found the Holy Grail. This website offers many, different non-fiction and fiction texts for teacher and student use. I will often go to the search bar and type in whatever novel we are reading to see what texts they have to accompany our text. You can also browse by genre, literary device, text set, unit, grade-level, and/or theme. Its access to texts is AMAZING!

So, how do I use it?  I use commonlit.org for all of my non-fiction Tuesdays. My non-fiction Tuesday texts most often connect to what we are reading for our literature unit (e.g. Medea, Frankenstein, Fahrenheit, etc.). When we read Othello, I use non-fiction texts from Common Lit such as Who Was the Bard?; What Makes Good People Do Bad Things?Teaching Shakespeare in a Maximum Security Prison; Shakespeare Had Fewer Words but Doper Rhymes, than Rappers; and Why Do We Hate Love? . Each of these articles directly relates to Othello, and we make this connection each time we read. I usually have students read the article, answer the multiple choice questions, and a few of the open-ended questions.  I also created a vocab./connection activity to go along with each of these non-fiction texts that the students must complete too. The vocab. activities  I created for each of these texts cover three of the languages standards under the CCSS:
Use context (e.g., the overall meaning of a sentence, paragraph, or text; a word's position or function in a sentence) as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.
Identify and correctly use patterns of word changes that indicate different meanings or parts of speech (e.g., analyze, analysis, analytical; advocate, advocacy).
Verify the preliminary determination of the meaning of a word or phrase (e.g., by checking the inferred meaning in context or in a dictionary).
At the end of the vocab. lesson, students are asked to make a connection from the non-fiction text to the text we are currently reading in class. Because there are so many steps in this lesson, I really break it apart, so we can have discussions after each section: multiple choice, vocab., then the connection activity. I love non-fiction Tuesdays because I'm able to do so many things with just one article. Thanks to Commonlit! 

Keep on stressin' on,
Michon Otuafi

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