THE LEARNING NETWORK – Common Core Support


Text to Text: A New Feature, and an Invitation to Share Ideas

A June 29, 1971, front-page New York Times article. A June 29, 1971, front-page New York Times article.

Updated Oct. 22, 2013 with a new graphic organizer.

This week we begin a new lesson plan format that we’re calling Text to Text.

Simpler than our usual daily lesson plans, it is just what it sounds like: we’ll be pairing two written texts that we think “speak” to each other in interesting ways, and supplying a few questions and ideas for working with the two together.

One of the excerpts will, of course, always be from The New York Times — sometimes ripped from that week’s headlines, and other times from the archives.

The other excerpt will usually come from an often-taught literary, historical, cultural, scientific or mathematical text. We will also include visuals — photographs, videos, infographics or illustrations — that might be used as additional texts on the topic.

Our main goal, as for most of what we do on this blog, is to show students how relevant what they study in school can be to the “real world.”


A June 10, 2013, front-page New York Times article. A June 10, 2013, front-page New York Times article.

But in the era of Common Core standards, when students are being asked to do “close reading,” and teachers are seeking to add more authentic nonfiction across the curriculum, we hope that this series will also help teachers quickly find pieces they can use easily.

This week we’ll publish three examples to get started, then add new ones at least once a month. You’ll be able to locate them all by clicking on the tag “Text to Text.”

Our first example pairs current news about the N.S.A. leaker Edward J. Snowden with news from 1971 about Daniel Ellsberg. In this case, both pieces come from The Times, but stay tuned: the next two go further afield.

We have also created three graphic organizers your students can use with any post in this series — or any time they’re doing close reading or comparing texts. They are all writable PDFs: Continue reading


Gobstopper is an e-reading platform for schools that allows educators to put the questions and quizzes they would normally place in worksheets directly into the text. Teachers can make a quiz pop up at the end of the chapter that is automatically graded by Gobstopper. They can even embed videos of themselves explaining difficult concepts at exactly the moment a student encounters the difficult passage in their reading.