How to Use The Learning Network

Welcome to The Learning Network. Here are four quick facts about our site:

The Learning Network publishes about 1,000 teaching resources each school year, all using Times content — articles, essays, images, videos, graphics and podcasts — as teaching tools across subject areas. Our regular daily and weekly features run from September through May, with special resources published throughout the summer.

We offer activities for students, including writing prompts, quizzes, films and contests, and resources for teachers, such as lesson plans, webinars and professional development tools.

Our intended audience is middle and high school teachers and students (teenagers 13 and up). That said, we know that our content is also used in elementary schools and colleges, and much of it is appropriate for both.

All of our resources are free. You do not need a New York Times subscription to use our site.

We’d love to hear more about you and how you use our site. If you want to join our community of educators and keep up with what’s new, bookmark our home page, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or get our free weekly newsletter. Any questions, concerns or suggestions? Please write to us at [email protected] or post a comment.

Activities for Students

Lesson of the Day (Daily)

Each school day we select one current Times article, on topics including sports, music, politics and world issues. We provide a warm-up, questions for reading and discussion, and an extension activity, all written directly to students. We see these quick lessons as an easy way to bring current events into the classroom; discuss important news topics; expand students’ worldview; address media and news literacy; and offer opportunities for critical thinking about the important issues and ideas of the day.

Student Opinion Questions (Daily)

Every school day we post a new question that invites students to read a Times article and respond with their own ideas. Teachers tell us it is a good opportunity to practice writing for an authentic audience. Some of our questions ask students to make an argument, while others invite personal writing. They range across topics, including social media, college admissions, gun violence and gender roles.

Picture Prompts (Tuesday-Friday)

These short, accessible, image-driven prompts include both photographs and illustrations, and invite a variety of kinds of writing. Each prompt links to a related Times article, but all students need to start writing is the image and the questions we use to introduce it.

Current Events Conversation (Weekly on Thursdays)

Each week we publish a roundup of our favorite student comments on our writing prompts. Teachers tell us that students get excited to see their names and writing celebrated in The New York Times!

News Quizzes (Weekly on Tuesdays)

Our 10-question interactive News Quiz tests students about the week’s biggest stories, gives additional context about each event and shows how students stack up against other participants.

Country of the Week Quizzes (Weekly on Mondays)

Our Country of the Week five-question quiz tests students’ geography skills (e.g., can you find Peru on a map?) and then uses Times reporting, photos and videos to introduce quiz takers to a different country in an interactive way.

Word of the Day (Daily)

Each day we define a new vocabulary word, show how it was used in a recent Times article, and invite students to write a sentence using the word and post it in the comments.

What’s Going On in This Picture? (Weekly on Mondays)

Every Sunday night we post an intriguing photograph without its caption and ask students to think critically about what they see. On Mondays, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Eastern time, we host a live, moderated student discussion with our partner organization, Visual Thinking Strategies. Students continue to comment all week, and on Thursday afternoons we reveal the “back story” about the photo and what it depicts.

What’s Going On in This Graph? (Weekly on Wednesdays)

For this related feature, we invite students all week to wonder about a Times graph, map or chart. With our partners at the American Statistical Association, we host a live, moderated discussion on Wednesdays, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Eastern time, and publish additional background about these graphs on Thursday afternoons — about the same time we publish a new graph for the coming week.

Film Club (Weekly on Thursdays)

Each week we feature a short documentary film from The Times — most are under 10 minutes — and ask students to think about themes like race and gender identity; technology and society; civil rights; criminal justice; ethics; and artistic and scientific exploration. We think these films will inspire powerful conversation, and we invite students to begin those conversations on our site.

Contests (Monthly year-round)

We’re running nine student contests for the 2021-22 school year. All are open to high school students and most are open to middle school students. Contests include: personal narratives, reviews, journalistic profiles, STEM articles, editorials, podcasts and more.

Vocabulary Challenges (Monthly year-round)

New this year, we are posing monthly challenges that invite students to engage with words through writing, drawing and video-making, and connect their language study to what they read in the newspaper and observe in their own lives. All the challenges are open to middle and high school students, and we have a special opportunity in January specifically for English language learners.

Resources for Teachers

Teaching Ideas (Frequently)

In addition to our Lessons of the Day, we publish teaching resources — all using Times content — to help inspire you to bring the world to your classroom. Whether you want to teach about race and racism, incorporate virtual reality into your curriculum or try out a new writing project, we have a library of hundreds of resources to help. You can also get ideas for teaching with The Times from other educators, or submit one of your own in our Reader Ideas column.

Our Writing Curriculum (All year)

We have our own free, flexible, eight-unit writing curriculum based on writing found in newspapers, such as editorials, reviews, personal narratives and analysis essays. The curriculum uses our 1,000-plus prompts, our mentor text guided practice series, and our many contests to frame a whole school year of writing practice, learning and publishing. We also offer many lesson plans on how to teach writing and explore commonly taught literary works.

Mentor Texts (Frequently)

This series spotlights texts written by Times journalists and teenagers to help student writers identify effective “writer’s moves” and emulate them in their own work. The series includes annotated articles and essays, lesson plans for practicing specific skills and suggestions from teachers about how to use Times mentors in the classroom.

Webinars and Professional Development (Monthly)

Want more ideas for integrating our teaching and learning features into your classroom routines? Check out our free live and on-demand webinars, where you’ll hear from teachers, students and Learning Network editors about more ways to use this site. Develop your teaching practice with self-guided learning modules, advice from other educators, a professional learning community and more.

Video Resources (Frequently)

Visit our YouTube channel to find dozens of on-demand webinars, tutorials on how to use our features, writing advice from Times journalists and reflections from student winners of our contests to help inspire and improve your teaching practice.

The Teaching Project (Yearly)

This yearlong program invites middle and high school teachers and librarians from across the United States to bring the mission of The Times to their schools. The program kicks off with a four-day summer institute. Participants spend the rest of the school year developing a curriculum project, collaborating with colleagues and sharing what they’ve learned with their educator communities.