What it is: Our Little Earth is a great international online newspaper for kids. It is delivered every two weeks directly to email and best of all, it is free! Past editions of Our Little Earth can be found on the site for students to read and explore. Each issue helps students stay informed about what current events are happening in the world around them. Every edition has a map showing students where the news came from for the issue. The articles are easy for students to read and do a great job of offering enough background information so that students can make connections to the text and better understand it.
How to integrate Our Little Earth into your classroom: I really like Our Little Earth kids news, it is simple in its delivery, but packs a substantial punch of great information. This is a fantastic source for students to read just-in-time, non-fiction text, at a level that is accessible to them. Subscribe to Our Little Earth and read through a story-a-day for the weeks following. Make sure to model for kids how to explore the themes, politics, geography and history that is related in each article. This is also a great starting point for kids to fact check, make connections, and confirm the reliability of a source. The news is current, so there is always something fresh!
I love using current news with students, it keeps the classroom relevant and touches enough transdisciplinary themes that students can make connections to other reading and learning they are doing. Combine Our Little Earth with @angelamaiers What Breaks Your Heart project. As students are more informed, they will be able to better articulate things about the world they would like to be a part of changing.
Use Google Earth to help students learn geography at the same time. Create a pin on the map for each story read. Ask students to come up with a title for each story (or use the title provided) to help them remember what they read about that location. Add to the same Google Earth map all year-long so that students can begin to see common themes by geography.
Tips: Use the search feature to help students dig even deeper into events and themes. What happened a year ago at this time?
What do you think of Our Little Earth? How do you plan to use it in your classroom?