Feature Description Benefits Customizability
Class Discussions Each lesson begins with a discussion prompt about local news, issues, and people, in which students think about their role as young citizens in the community. Discussion prompts provide a motivational hook and guiding questions to promote student discourse.

Discussions offer students connections between classroom content and their daily lives.
Teachers can guide and expand the discussion based on student interests, local issues, and content areas.
Content Slides Slides deliver instructional content to provide students with knowledge of news media literacy, reading comprehension, critical thinking, and local citizenship. Teachers use slides to effectively build a foundation for students to make more informed decisions and engage as citizens in their local communities. Teachers can adjust the slides to align with their disciplinary goals, adapt to students’ needs, and suit their teaching styles.

Teachers can choose to present the slides to the whole class or ask students to study them on their own.
W-Question System The W-Question System is a reliable process for evaluating the trustworthiness of news and informational text that features concrete examples, a graphical flowchart, and a step-by-step guide. Teachers use a proven-effective process to teach fundamental critical thinking skills in an explicit and intentional way.

Students establish routines and develop habits of best practice by working through a sequence of lessons.
Teachers can also apply this system to the evaluation of discipline-specific texts, social media, and everyday information sources.
Interactive Videos Interactive videos model reading comprehension and critical thinking strategies for individual students that provide opportunities for guided practice with immediate feedback, adapt to student performance, and assess their proficiency levels. Interactive videos adapt to the learning pace and ability levels of each student.

Personalized assessment encourages students to repeat videos until they reach proficiency.
Teachers can choose between short and long versions of each video based on time availability or their students’ ability levels.
Assignments Different assignments based on local news text and websites allow students to practice the strategies in each lesson while learning about their local community. Assignments help students to reinforce and apply fundamental skills to authentic informational text.

Assignments prompt students to think beyond the classroom and feel more connected to their community.
Students can choose news articles they find interesting when completing assignments.

Teachers can recommend articles that are relevant to their community, align with their content, and are of interest to their students.
Grading Rubrics All assignments have built-in grading rubrics that link directly to the gradebook and are visible to students. Grading rubrics are clear and organized, making grading quick and easy for teachers.

Students know in advance what the expectations for each assignment are.
Teachers can choose whether to follow the grading rubrics or adapt them.

Teachers can decide whether to grade for points or give participation credit.
Local Resources Students use local newspapers and websites of local public officials as learning materials. Students learn informed action-taking at the local level.

Students are more motivated when learning about topics relevant to their lives and their community.
Local resources are customized to represent each school’s community.

Teachers can incorporate additional resources they find relevant to their learning objectives.