Helping 6-12 Students Investigate Non-Fiction Texts

Screenshot of the hmh FYI website

The Gist

While we aren’t all English teachers, it’s unlikely to find a teacher whose students wouldn’t perform better if they had more tools for reading content across all disciplines. The FYI website not only provides curated current articles aligned with standards and other English curriculum resources, it provides clear tips for helping students access, analyze, and apply information within authentic non-fiction texts. These articles and tips can be accessed in a moment’s notice to ask students to find a piece of interesting and relevant content for evaluation.

The Whole Story

Somewhere between the middle child or second cousin of HMH’s Collections curricular resources is their FYI website, a curated collection of current event articles aligned with the topics and content students explore as they move through units of study in SVVSD’s secondary English classes. The content is pulled from CNN to Science Daily, from the White House to The Columbus Dispatch.

Teachers helping students learn content and skills from any discipline would be hard-pressed to go poking around FYI and not find something relevant to their classrooms. And while timely content is already a plus for secondary schools, it’s the help in improving reading skills teachers outside English classrooms might find most helpful.

FYI’s “Reading Tips” tab includes a sidebar with help in navigating “Key Ideas and Details”, Craft and Structure”, “Integration of Knowledge and Ideas”, and “Research” – each with its own subsections.

A science teacher hoping to help students access the latest climate change study from Nature could draft some quick questions for investigation and point students to the relevant pages for tips on making sure their answers hit the mark.

History teachers helping their students understand political systems in post-colonial countries around the world could help students draft a list of questions they’re curious about and then help them review the relevant reading tips to help make sure their answers are top-notch.

Algebra teachers looking to help students pull out the most pressing details from a complicated word problem might ask students to take 10 minutes to find a reading strategy that could best help them unlock a barrier to understanding.

How are you helping students access materials to unpack non-fiction texts? Leave some examples in the comments.

Logging in to Collections

The Gist:
NEW LINK FOR COLLECTIONSImage of Collections Logo with link to Collections Login
The Whole Story:
HMH is improving their processes for single sign on and for the automatic creation of accounts and classes. As part of the transition, they required a purge all existing accounts in HMH Collections.
What does this mean for Collections teachers?
  • The old HMH login page will no longer work, and teachers will want to delete any saved bookmarks.
  • A link to the new single sign on page will be added to the teacher and student Ceran pages. (Please note that this link cannot be bookmarked since the link itself contains a token request that times out.)
  • All previous SVVSD students, teachers, and classes were be purged from HMH.
  • Any notes, assessments, or other materials saved within the Collections program itself will also be deleted and no longer accessible.
  • Between Monday, August 1st, and Thursday, August 4th, fall classes, teachers, and students will be uploaded to HMH and teachers should again be able to log in.
SVVSD strongly resisted this purge and communicated with HMH that this was an inconvenience to district teachers and students. The publisher assures us that this purge is a one-time event and will not be an annual recurrence.