App Review
News-O-Matic, School Edition, 2014-15

Adaptive, interactive daily stories for elementary school students

  • Five new feature stories are delivered to the iPad each school day.

  • Experience the story through kid-friendly content and bright images.

  • Fun extras, like maps, help kids look at the news from different angles.

  • Comprehension and discussion questions are included, and teachers can customize.

  • Teachers can monitor student work from the teacher dashboard, customizing Lexile reading level for individual students.

Quick Take
Pros: Stories chosen are high-interest and appropriate for the audience.
Cons: Brief articles don't allow for much depth, and few sources are included in stories.
Bottom Line: Students can learn about what’s happening in the world in an engaging way from a high-quality news source.
Learning Scores
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Each day's five stories are high-interest and written for an older elementary audience. Students will appreciate reading the story, viewing slideshows, or watching video clips for each feature.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 3

Teachers can set reading levels for individual students to cater stories to student needs. Comprehension questions are included for each story, as well as daily teacher guides that include CCSS alignment.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 4

Students can easily communicate with the editorial staff, sending their feedback. Stories can be translated into Spanish or read aloud for students who need that scaffolding.

Our Review
What's It Like?

News-O-Matic, School Edition, 2014-15 is a daily news and activity app for kids in grades 2-5. Teachers and kids can read five current events articles daily, answer questions, chat with classmates about the stories, and send comments or questions to the editor. Topics include everything from religion and politics to scientific discoveries and kid entrepreneurs. A child psychologist reviews the articles for age-appropriateness, and each day teachers get a Teacher's Guide via email that has discussion questions, assessment questions correlated to a Common Core standard, and more. A "Read to Me" feature allows kids to hear stories via a narrator as an alternative to reading them, and stories are also available in Spanish translations. Kids and teachers can look forward to new articles each day of the school year.

Is It Good For Learning?

News-O-Matic, School Edition, 2014-15 is an exceptional resource for helping kids get interested in current events. From listening to how the word "hello" is spoken where a story happened, to viewing the distance between the story and your school's location, kids learn how to think about news from many angles. The more than 15 features (stories, puzzles, games, timelines, a rating system, maps, discussion questions, chat, and more) encourage kids to stay informed on a daily basis. Kids also must think critically about what they're reading, and dig deep into learning more. The "Read to Me" feature can assist kids in learning to correctly pronounce uncommon, subject-specific vocabulary related to news topics, including geographic place names (such as cities and countries), science terms, and more. A week's worth of content is available for review, so even if kids can't check in daily, they can browse several days' worth of stories, discuss with classmates, and answer questions. Citation information is included with each article so teachers can instruct kids in citing sources, and kids can use the articles for research. The bright visuals, concrete ways to interact with the stories, and extra content for teachers make this a standout news resource for classrooms.

How Can Teachers Use It?

News-O-Matic, School Edition, 2014-15 is an excellent way to incorporate daily current events into your classroom, while integrating Common Core standards into the topics within current events. If you read an article as a class together, encourage your students to rate it together as a group, and debate why it receives their positive or negative rating. Choose a kid each day to send a comment or question about an article to the editor. Set aside time each day for kids to read the day's news and post comments to the class's chat forum. Be sure to check out the separate Teachers Guide for questions related to the articles, scope and sequence, and suggested discussion questions. Teachers can set Lexile levels indivually for students, and teachers can customize the questions related to each article. If time doesn't permit daily news time in class, teachers can encourage parents to load the free version on their home devices and have kids read for homework a few nights per week. 

This review of News-O-Matic, School Edition, 2014-15 was written by

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