Tween Tribune is something I have just learned about and not actually had my kids accessing yet, but the potential is AWESOME! Everyday, a new set of articles are posted that are appropriate for intermediate students and beyond. Students can comment on articles after you've set up their accounts, and then you approve their comments, making this a very safe venue for sharing. The articles are current, high interest, and well written models of informational texts. The vocabulary is tough but easy enough to glean meaning of through use of context. These are perfect for your core mini lessons in reader's workshop if you need a piece of informational text. The photos that accompany each article are also highly engaging and can be used as their own inspirations for future writing prompts.
Bonuses! There is a daily Quiz relating to one article and you and your kids can track your "Q" scores. At the end of each article, there is a critical thinking question three words that can be defined using the article's context. I am thinking, on our classroom blog, I am going to use this as weekly extra credit in reading. Generally, the kids really enjoy anything that is computer related and will give it a shot. I am also dying to try out the comment section. Before school and during lunch, I also open my room for those kids that don't have computer access and will probably test this baby out on them!
Another idea, is to use the "20 lesson plans that teach and engage, no matter which text a student selects," prompts. These would be great "what do I do when I'm finished choices." This web site has opened a can of worms for me....there's so much to explore! PLEASE: If you sign on and find something great, post in the comments sections for all to see- but mostly for my own selfish reasons hehe....
Check it out....but reserve some time to do it! Enjoy!