Thursday, March 21, 2019

The Spotted Article - Justin ES Newspaper

Tuesday afternoons, the library at Justin Elementary quickly fills with Chromebooks and excited
students. Anyone who has spent any amount of time in the world of education knows, the greatest
idea factories in the school are; the students. When 3rd grade student, Leyton, approached
Ms.Thorne about starting a school newspaper club, she immediately saw the potential for student
voice and choice through this activity. With a little research on the ins and outs of a successful school
paper, the club quickly began to take life. In an effort to provide student ownership of the paper,
Ms. Thorne allowed students to be involved from the start; selecting their own name for the
publication as well as self selecting topics of interest to be featured. Students chose to
include: Teacher of the Month, Book of the Month, History of the Month, Challenge of the Month,
just to name a few. Ms. Thorne shared, “They have free reign - for the most part - on what they’d
like to write about and are able to collaborate with their peers on ideas to include in their article.”

While the task of getting things rolling wasn’t too much to tackle, deciding on the best way for students
to write and publish the paper, proved to be more of a challenge.  Ms. Alyssa Thorne knew she wanted to
use technology to provide students a platform for effective collaboration and meaningful creativity,
however she wanted to be careful in her selection of tools.  “I value independence and desired
for this club to be student-led. Finding tools that the students could explore and easily figure out
without my constant guidance was important to me, and I’m pretty sure the students appreciate
it, too!” Ultimately, she selected Google Slides, Canva, MakeBeliefsComix, and Google Sites.  
Students utilize each tool for a different part of their process.  Google Slides is used for drafting,
ELA, Justin Elementary, Newspaper, Clubs, Canva, GAFE, Google Slides, Google Sites, MakeBeliefsComix, AppSmashing, 3-5, Community, Mrs. Alyssa Thorne, Rene' Egle

revising, peer editing, and collaboration.  Canva provides a template for the design of the newspaper
and advertisements that appear in the paper.  To add a little fun, MakeBeliefsComix is used to
create entertaining comic strips.

Google Sites allows students to easily organize and share each completed publication. Click the
image below to see the monthly newsletters.

With the help of technology, these young writers are now published authors!  Students are enjoying
the club and learning a lot along the way. Reagan shared, “I like Newspaper Club because I like to
have the freedom to write what I feel like writing.”  Another student expressed, “I love how everyone
can cooperate, and it’s always fun to make articles!” The words of these students are evidence
enough of the overall success of the project.  Ms. Alyssa Thorne is passionate about this endeavor and
would love to collaborate with any other educators who might be interested in starting a newspaper
club at their own campus.

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