Mark Jones, Assistant Headteacher, St Christopher’s School, Bahrain
How do you use news-based learning with your pupils?
We use the First News Digital Edition as a reading tool for children. They are encouraged to access this before school and occasionally during break times when inside. We also use Engage Pro as a regular part of homework or again, during registration before lessons start. Some staff very much enjoy using Engage Printables to support Guided reading, preferring this option when working directly with children.
Our school is in the middle of a full curriculum update, so at the moment First News Education is used to support general reading and for Guided Reading sessions. Informal debates have been had in many classrooms based upon the headlines of that week.
How have your pupils responded?
Our children have responded with great enthusiasm to all of the tools, regularly completing the polls and talking about the different articles that they have come across.
“I love doing the crosswords and getting the badges” – Annabel Y4
“It is great that you can find out what is going on at the moment” – Alex Y6
Our main goals are that the tools are used regularly and that they engage children in their reading – this is definitely evident and therefore we are very satisfied at this time.
“We have found First News Education to be an excellent addition to the suite of resources that we provide for our pupils here at St Christopher’s School. We have been delighted with the way that it has been received by students who really can’t wait to see what the headlines will be each week.”
How did First News Education support your school during remote teaching?
First News was a fabulous addition to our remote learning as it provided such a huge library of articles and past editions for our children to explore. The fact that it is relevant and up to date is guaranteed to capture children’s interest. Children generally were directed to use Engage Pro for a set amount of time or to complete a number of comprehension activities each week.
What has been the most valuable feature for your school?
During lockdown, the area in which children have suffered the most is interactions and playing with other children. One of the things that First News provides is an opportunity for relevant and fun discussion on a regular basis. Staff have found the weekly e-mail effective as a way of sharing a link (via Classroom) directly with children and then using this to initiate discussions and talking points. The automatic feedback and marking is of course a very well received feature!
We have found First News Education to be an excellent addition to the suite of resources that we provide for our pupils here at St Christopher’s School. We have been delighted with the way that it has been received by students who really can’t wait to see what the headlines will be each week.
I can say, very enthusiastically, that staff and students at school have absolutely loved having the access to First News and Engage Pro – it is a fabulous investment and well worth the money.