My Grade 3/4 technology class is at it again. We read (and wrote) an e-book; now, we’re writing a newspaper. I’m teaching reporting to the next generation.
This is an exciting project for me, and not just because of my journalistic creds. I want my students to learn the value of being a creator, not just a consumer. That was one of the lessons we learned in our e-book module—it isn’t just that you can read the books. You can write them, too, and other people can, and will, read them. There are no gatekeepers anymore.
One of the sample news stories we looked at was about a nine-year-old aspiring reporter who self-publishes her own local newspaper. I’d love to see a future writer come out of this group. And if they do a good job on this, I’ll consider a limited print run, in addition to on-line publication via our school blog. Anything to encourage creation!
It’s been fun to teach some news fundamentals to kids. We looked at a few sample stories first, then deconstructed the different sections of the newspaper. Our sports reporter is covering the PE swimming program. Our entertainment reporters are covering the school play. We even have a freelancer available to us—the admissions director has offered to photograph for our students if they want her. Of course, she will not be charging them money, but I have encouraged her to ‘negotiate’ with them a little if she’d like. In the real world, we do pay our freelancers. Even if all she has them do is shelve library books, I don’t mind teaching them to earn her services.
And we’ve had to struggle with some more mundane practicalities, just as real newspapers do. Half of my technology classes this month got eaten by the transportation arrangements for the swimming, so I have been stealing little chunks of end-of-the-day downtime to make up some of the time. And several students plan to interview staff members who are part-time. They will need to plan around these people’s schedules in order to get the quotes they need for their story.
I’ll keep you posted on how it turns out.