I just sat with the 8th grade science teacher and set up a group for her science students on our Elgg social network. Each student is responsible for hosting one weekly discussion about something newsworthy. They have to locate an article online, link to the article (by posting the URL), summarize the text, and post a series of follow-up questions. Their classmates then comment on the blog post as part of their classwork/homework grade.
Below are some sites I post to help the 8th graders looking for articles. Please let me know if you can suggest other web journals:
Here is a sample post from a student last year: