There and Back Again: My Journey with Gallagher’s Article of the Week Assignment

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Kelly Gallagher September 27, 2014 at 8:07 pm #

Dave has done what all good teachers do: take an idea and make it better for his kids. That said, I have one simple goal for the AoW assignment—that my kids get smarter about the world. Because of time limitations—and because of all the other things I have to teach—I have not created rubrics or taken the AoW deeper. Instead, I quickly check for understanding via a short weekly quiz I give every Friday (where the 1st question is always something about this week’s AoW).

For those interested in a math version of the AoW, check out Kelly Turner’s work:


Sherri September 28, 2014 at 10:32 am #

Love love love the “math” graphs of a week…has a serious place in a social studies classroom and science for that matters thanks for sharing this!


davestuartjr September 28, 2014 at 3:10 pm #

I do too. Those are high quality documents. Can’t wait to share these with more folks.


davestuartjr September 28, 2014 at 3:12 pm #

Kelly, thank you for your leadership and general life domination. You are a champion. I’m pumped for that next book of yours — the title alone has me eager.


Lynsay September 28, 2014 at 12:30 pm #

I love the idea of printing the scaffolds and rubrics once. I would love some more discussion on when and why you’d use Reading for Meaning statements vs. not. Concrete examples help best.


davestuartjr September 28, 2014 at 3:09 pm #

Hi Lynsay,

Great question — I will make a note of that for next week’s post, all right? In that post, I wanted to share some of these one-time-print-outs and walk through how I’ll be using them. Hope you are well!


Patti Harris September 30, 2014 at 1:16 am #

I teach an Expository Reading and Writing for 12th grade and between Dave and Kelly and all the books I never have time to finish, my seniors love the idea of being able to think for themselves and to put their thoughts into words – providing valuable evidence for their claim. They like it so much that the 35 seniors that have class after lunch have, so far, not been tardy to class.

I started using last year and my district purchased the Pro version which allows me to monitor their reading and lexiles. It is an excellent source of timely and interesting articles and the reading level can be set by the teacher. One student confided that she reads even if there is no assignment.

AoW and Newsela and I am a happy camper (until I have to read them)!


Mary Clark September 30, 2014 at 7:23 pm #

Dave, this is so ridiculously great that I am going to share it with teachers and hover over them until they read it. Seriously, what you’ve built on Kelly Gallagher’s foundation is amazing. Like Patti Harris’s school, we now have Newsela Pro. I’d love to see teachers use your approach, then gradually allow students to choose articles of interest from Newsela and create a portfolio of their own AoW and responses.

I’m emailing the teachers now, but I will be tracking them down one by one and hovering tomorrow. Thanks to you, and to Kelly Gallagher, for the great work!



davestuartjr September 30, 2014 at 9:45 pm #

Mary, you got me laughing out loud with that image of you literally sharing it with them and then hovering until they read it. Oh my goodness, it is good to know you Mary Clark

That Newsela portfolio sounds sweet — I’d love to hear more about that as it progresses!


Audrey October 4, 2014 at 11:04 am #

Dave, where should 5th grade teachers start?

These ideas look great but my kiddos need a more basic start.
I think there must be some things for them to start responding analytically.


Lynsay October 19, 2014 at 10:51 am #

Dave and all,

1. Thanks!I kicked off the article of the week structure last week. I’m going simple. Know more about the world. Have informed opinions. Turn stuff in on time. Call me if you need help. Period.

2. Sharing! This is the article we’ll read this week, in case you/anyone wants it.

Summary: Stop worrying about Ebola and start caring for yourself in the most obvious of ways, preventing far more common causes of death.


Becca November 18, 2014 at 1:14 pm #

I just set out to scaffold and make a rubric for AoW for teachers in my district…so thank you Dave for giving me something to work with using Kelly Gallagher’s great idea. It’s beneficial not to have to re-invent the wheel! I like both Kelly and Dave’s perspectives too, (mainly background knowledge v. scaffolding and rubric-ing more carefully.) I can actually see the different takes as a benefit to suggesting this assignment to teachers. Teaching teams at different grade-levels might choose which strategy they prefer, which means that they are getting what they want and incorporating an assignment useful to students.


davestuartjr November 18, 2014 at 1:20 pm #

Becca, I am glad to hear that this post and the one that came after it were helpful to you in moving AoW forward in your district. I think you are right to honor teacher autonomy with allowing for some choice in scaffolding.


Lynsay December 13, 2014 at 5:53 pm #

Dave, in the spirit of 80/20, would you be willing to share an editable copy of the rubric so I can tweak yours rather than make one?


davestuartjr January 17, 2015 at 10:05 pm #

Hi Lynsay — check out this post for just that resource!


Emily Ratica March 12, 2015 at 12:35 am #

I have used Gallagher’s AotW assignment for a few years and I love it! I am totally using your ideas to improve though, I think it will enhance the experience even more for my ELA 10th graders. A few thing I added: TED talks – every Friday, before we discuss the article for that week, I show them a TED talk that relates to the article. If there is no TED talk, I find another educational video on YouTube (Crash Course, SciShow, Mental Floss, etc.) that deals with the issue in the article. My students love it and it really enhances our Friday discussions. Another slight change I made – I find articles that relate to our fictional reading (i.e. We are reading M. T. Anderson’s FEED right now, so all of the articles I use have to do with technology, advertising, teen social media use, etc.). This helps the students make connections between the text and the events of the real world, and increases their engagement/desire to read! Thanks for the inspirational post!


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