Kristin Lewis - Editor of Scope Magazine
Teaching Intense Topics
How to approach this issue’s nonfiction feature in your classroom
When I first heard the story of Addie Rerecich, who is featured in this issue’s narrative-nonfiction article Hunting Invisible Killers, I immediately thought of Scope readers. When Addie was 11, she contracted several antibiotic-resistant superbugs, including MRSA. After a five-month battle, Addie required a lung transplant to survive.
The rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria—AKA “superbugs”—is terrifying, to be sure. My own family has been affected, and it is likely that you, or someone you or your students know, has had some experience with these infections as well. At first, I worried that the subject matter might be too intense for middle-schoolers, particularly sixth-graders. The idea that one day, in the not-too-distant future, infections that were once easily treated might become deadly is enough to give anyone nightmares. In the end, however, I decided that writing about superbugs was not only appropriate for Scope but also an important public service.
As I learned—and as your students will learn in the article—the fight against superbugs is not hopeless. There are things everyone can do now to protect themselves, such as thoroughly washing hands, taking antibiotics only when necessary (and when prescribed, taking the entire prescription), and urging lawmakers to give drug companies incentives to invest in new antibiotics.
I encourage you to approach the topic in your class with a candid but positive spirit. Begin with our
It is my hope that your students will not feel hopeless about these frightening infections, but rather become empowered to help fight them. Who knows? Maybe you have the next Alexander Fleming in your classroom right now!All best,
May I Visit You?
One of the best parts of my job is visiting classrooms to see Scope in action. I love talking to your students, watching you using your whiteboard, and observing the amazing class discussions that take place around our stories and articles. I also love helping you learn how to use Scope as effectively as possible. We’ve added so many exciting features recently—our new Teacher’s Guide, our Core Skills Program, our differentiated activities and I want to make sure you know exactly how to get the most out of all of our wonderful resources.
So I am offering you a personal Scope tutorial! If your school is close to New York City, I’ll stop by. Otherwise, let’s chat by Skype, Facetime, or phone.
In the meantime, enjoy this fabulous issue. My favorite part? Our paired-text feature. We’ve paired an informational text about phobias with an Ethiopian folktale about a boy who sets out to conquer his fear. The stories are utterly fascinating (wait until you get a load of the dragon illustration!), and your students will flex their critical-thinking muscles as they integrate knowledge and ideas from both texts.Happy Holidays!
Welcome to the brand-new Scope Online
The same resources you love in a gorgeous new design
When I was in third grade, I embroidered a bright-red dishtowel as a Christmas gift for my mother. I agonized over it for weeks—stitching and restitching until I had embroidered what I believed to be a perfect candle. (In truth, it looked more like a misshapen pencil.) But what I remember more than the actual dishtowel is the anticipation of giving it to my mother. Every time I thought about her unwrapping it, my heart pounded with giddy excitement.
Well, that is exactly how I have felt for the past few weeks as we’ve put the finishing touches on the brand-new Scope Online.
About a year ago, our team set out to give this website a makeover. We wanted a fresh-looking, better-performing site that would make accessing your support materials an easier and richer experience. Thanks to many dedicated staff members, the wonderful teachers who tested the new site for us, and countless cups of coffee, we are finally ready for you to “unwrap” your new Scope Online.
Here are some of my favorite new features:
A whole page for each article. (Click here for an example.)
Well-organized, easy-to-find content
A fresh and colorful design
Many other exciting digital offerings are coming soon, including an iPad app. We will also be unveiling password protection. (Set-up instructions appeared in your October Teacher’s Guide.)
As for that dishtowel? It probably wasn’t at the top of my mom’s holiday wish list, but she still squealed with delight when she opened my present. How I wish I could come to each of your classrooms so I can see you “open” the new Scope Online (which, thankfully, is much more fabulous than that sad dishtowel).
I am hoping for squeals of delight from each of you.Happy Halloween!
Don’t Miss The Dead Rising!
Why I love this issue’s spooky historical-fiction play
I am so excited for you and your students to read this issue’s play, The Dead Rising, by our wonderful Associate Editor Justin O’Neill. Based on true events, the story is awesomely creepy for Halloween, and we know your students are going to have TONS of fun performing it. (We certainly did!)
But I also love how meaty the play is. There is so much for your students to sink their teeth into. Your students will:
learn about tuberculosis (hello, domain vocabulary), one of the most feared and misunderstood diseases
explore the relationship between science and superstition (lots of higher-level thinking required)
read a challenging primary document (don’t miss our Document Dive activity!)
I can’t wait to hear how the lesson goes in your classroom! Drop me a line at KELewis@scholastic.com with your feedback and ideas or just to say hello.Happy Halloween!
It's Going to Be a Great Year!
A look at what’s in store for you and your students in 2013/2014
My dear teachers,
I have so many exciting things to tell you as you start the new school year! Team Scope has spent the summer overhauling our Teacher’s Guide, designing a beautiful new website, planning fabulous stories to dazzle your students, and studying the new Common Core assessments—all so we can make Scope even more useful to you and your students.
Here is an overview of the exciting things you can expect in Scope this year:
We know how important it is for students of all reading levels to be able to access complex texts. So we will be offering more differentiation in our support materials, including activities available in two versions—with more and less scaffolding. We are also offering higher- and lower-level versions of the writing prompts that appear in the Student Edition. Find these performance tasks in your Teacher’s Guide.
We love the way the Common Core approaches text complexity, because it goes beyond simple Lexile scores: Qualitative factors as well as reader tasks are also taken into account. We also know how challenging it is to measure these subjective factors. Look for the “Complexity Factors” box in each lesson plan, which explores how each Scope story or article will challenge your students.
Core Skills Program for Your Scope and Sequence
Our core skills program is designed to help you assess, reinforce, and remediate priority ELA skills throughout the year—using Scope content. Click here for details.
Opportunities to Get Your Students Published
Many of you have written to me over the past few months about getting your students’ work published. So at the end of the year, we will publish 25 of the best student writing submissions we have received over the course of the year. All contest entries we have received will be considered. Visit our contests page for details.
All of these new offerings are the result of amazing collaboration, with both our team of fabulous teacher advisers and the many of you who have written to me with your feedback and ideas. I am always so impressed by your insights and your dedication.Happy teaching,