I decided to try out TweenTribune.com (a totally free source) this year in addition to my Edusoft blog (for which I pay monthly out of my personal bank account $6.95 to avoid ads). Have you tried it yet? With 28,000 teachers already using TweenTribune, I feel like a late-adopter.
Here’s how TweenTribune works. Each weekday, they search the Web for age-appropriate news stories that will interest tweens (ages 8 to 14), and invite them to comment. All comments are moderated before publishing, so it’s Web-safe.
I can register my own class, customize the pages, moderate comments, and get individual printouts for each student. That would be a big help at the beginning of the year when I am demonstrating writing for an authentic audience for my reading & language arts teachers. I’ll be using the Top Ten Lesson Plans as conversation starters for collaborative planning.
Here are some of the safeguards TweenTribune uses and lists on their webpage for teachers:
“TweenTribune is in full compliance with COPPA – the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act – as outlined by the Federal Trade Commission. This means that:
- Students may not use their last names.
- Students may not use their email address anywhere on the site.
- TweenTribune does not gather or store student email addresses.
- Teachers can moderate students’ comments before they’re published.
- TweenTribune only uses news stories from reputable news organizations, such as the Associated Press, and local newspapers and TV stations.
- Teachers’ identities are independently verified before they are granted administrative privileges.”
Are you one of the teachers using TweenTribune? I’d love to hear more from you about your successes and challenges.