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Your Guide to Article of the Week


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As you learned in your syllabus, Article of the Week, or AoW, is pretty important in terms of points earned for this class. Almost every week (there are a couple of short holiday weeks where no AoW is assigned), you have this assignment, and it’s always worth 20 points. Those 20 points per week add up. 


So, what is it and how do you ace it every week?


AoWs are actual news articles that I’ve found somewhere else. I think they’re interesting, and I think you might find them interesting. Maybe not, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to do it 


I put the AoW in a Google Doc just like this one. The highlighted, underlined text is a hyperlink that was in the original article. If you click on it, you’ll go to those links. At the top, I always put a link back to that original article if you’d like to visit it for any particular reason. 


So, acing the AoW. You have to do three things. 

  1. READ IT. I know, this one should seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many students don’t know that I actually expect this step.

  2. Comment THROUGHOUT the article. I expect 7- 10 comments on every single article. I expect those not just to be at the end, not just to be in the beginning, but all the way through. Let me see your reading process. Let me see where this article is making you think, where it’s boring, where it’s confusing, or where you connect to it. Annotations are worth up to 10 points. 

  3. Respond at the end. I leave you some response questions, but you don’t have to use those. If something else in the article caught your attention, respond to that. The response questions are what you write about when you have no idea what to write. If you want to tell me that your uncle is just like the guy in the article because he plays the harmonica while riding on an alligator just like the guy, and when the author of the article was talking about how many dead alligator carcasses were laying in the yard when he walked up, and you had the same experience at your uncle’s house, tell me that. Just keep your responses tailored to the article. You have to be connecting with it, not telling me how freaking stupid it is that I make you do this assignment every single week. That’s worth 10 points too. Your responses need to be 300 words every week. 


Okay, so what does it actually look like?


Here are samples of some really good in text responses from other students:




And here are some samples of stuff that doesn’t really count as comments.




Why aren’t those comments acceptable? I’m looking for something more. Maybe you really do think something in the article is cool, but be prepared to say “Cool. I love it when people die at the beginning of the article because I’m a future serial killer, and it helps me connect with the profession I think I’ll grow into.”

Tell me something is awesome, but then tell me why it’s awesome.

By the way, feel free to give me an “LOL” or a 😀 . I’m good with either of those. HOWEVER, you need to do one of two things if you’re responding that way. (1) explain why you’re responding that way, OR (2) don’t count that as part of your seven to ten comments. 


That second example of poor comments you see above? Those weren’t the student’s only comments. Those two happened to be buried in a slew of about 30 great comments the student made on that particular article, so, the student got all of the points, even though two of those comments were short. 


I want 7 - 10 GOOD comments. Throw in the text speak and emojis, too, but give me the good comments as well. 


Okay, a quick chart of stuff you can comment about:


That reminds me of

This made me think of

I read another article/book that

This makes me picture

Summarize what’s going on

Tell what the text is making you learn

Predict what will happen

I wonder why . . .

I wonder if . . .

The most important information here is . . .

I didn’t know this word, so I looked it up and it means . . . 

This idea is similar to . . .


THESE AREN’T THE ONLY THINGS YOU CAN COMMENT ON. This is the chart you use when you get stuck. 


Okay, but comments are only part 1. Responses are part 2. There are two rules with responses. 1 - They need to hit 300 words. 2 - They need to be mostly related to the article. 


Say, for example, the article is about people trying to break into Area 51 - which is a government base where pop culture believes they have aliens or alien stuff. Your response, though, instead of being about that article, is a plot summary of Independence Day with Will Smith because they mention Area 51 in that movie. Hey, I like that connection, but I don’t want the plot summary. I want to know that you were connecting to the article because it made you think of that movie, then I want you to move on.


You can cover one topic in your response. You can cover five topics in your response, but you need to talk about the article. 


Some sample responses:


This article is so heartwarming. In the beginning i was skeptical how well a school that a basketball player developed was. But then i read what they are doing and how they are working with these kids and i’m overjoyed. They take kids at risk, which can be absent a lot or misbehaved or just struggling in school, and take them to a school where someone cares and wants to help them. We don’t really have this problem here but in big schools i’ve heard that teachers don’t really care. They just teach the lesson and hand out the homework. I can see why a lot of people struggle because they don’t get one on one help from a teacher or support from everyone around them. I just think that they love and support and hope for these students that the teachers have is amazing. To see that someone cares and that they can transform their lives and take them from trouble is amazing. 


I think this is amazing that if kids are not provided with it at home they have the opportunity to get it at school. I think a lot of kids miss out on a lot of things because at their school they are not offered these things. Like at our school they do backpack buddies. Like at Lebron’s school they do things where the kids can go in with their parents if they need something. I think at bigger schools they do not do this stuff for many reasons. One there are a lot of kids so they  might constantly have to refill stuff and they may not have time. And for two, kids at a bigger school maybe scared to go get stuff, like they may be embarrassed. I think that it is really awesome that this foundation is able to provide for the ones that can’t. 


So, any questions? Send them my way..


Oh, by the way, if you really can’t connect to an article of the week, come see me so we can discuss it. Maybe you’ve lost the thread of what the heck is going on. Maybe it’s something else. Either way, it’s fair game to come discuss an AoW with me so you can generate more comments.