Article of the Week


Each week, students are assigned an article to read that is related to the current unit of study. They are expected to

1) Show evidence of close reading (See: "How to Do a Close Reading")
2) Highlight and annotate text (See: "How to Annotate")
3) Discuss confusions and revelations in small groups (classwork)
4) Respond with a 1 page reflection summary or argument

Format of AoW will depend on the time frame you have in class, this format works well for short 45 minute periods

Sample Timeline

Monday - introduce the article, spend 15 minutes to frame the article, related it to the current content. Optionally, you may allocate a larger amount of time so students can read the article in class, particularly if the content of the article is difficult

Tuesday - Thur - students read and annotate the article on their own time, allocate 20 minutes on one of these days to have small group discussions. (You may want to check that annotations have been done to ensure students have read the article at this point)

Friday - Annotations and Reflection paper due

Reflection Summary Guidelines

1-3 paragraphs that includes

For beginning students, you may want to use this framing guide to help them write the summary.

AoW and Technology

If your students are using Edmodo or other content management systems, articles can be assigned and discussed asynchronously online. Annotations for articles can be submitted using Diigo.

I recommend at least trying an online discussion, you may find that normally quiet students offer very insightful comments when they do not have to speak in front of others.

Article Sources

There are many places on the web to find science articles that relate to your unit.


Scientific American

BBC News - Science and Environment

New York Times Science

The Scientist


For advanced students, you may want to eventually transition to scientific journals

Open Access Journals can be found at PLOS One

Student Handouts

Annotation Tips | Article Reflection Summary Guidelines

Assessment Rubrics

(also as printable labels)

  Exceeds (3) Meets (2) Below (1) Not Evident (0)
Establishes context and big idea of the article or the goal of the article        
Includes specific, relevant details and expands upon that detail with connecting thoughts and ideas        
Includes personal content, opinions or connections to self        
Demonstrates proper grammar, punctuation and style (turned in on time)        
Total out of 10  

Annotations Only

5 pts: A majority of the annotations are thoughtful, insightful, exhibits deep understanding of content,
4 pts: Most annotations are thoughtful, insightful, exhibits deep understanding of content
3 pts: Some annotations are thoughtful and show that student understands content and made an effort to read closely
2 pts: Very few annotations, at least 1-2 show that student has a rudimentary understanding of the content
1 pt: Very few annotations, irrelevant annotations, it is not apparent that student read the article