One of our central themes that we carried through during our four weeks in South Range Elementary School was producing our own E-Magazine. Below I’ll tell about that process as summarized.
We started our process to get familiar with journalism by exploring local newspapers. In that lesson we explored what sections there are included in newspaper and what are the regularities of common journal. Pupils found out for example that one of the first noteworthy things is to find out the date that the paper is published (before reading news or weather forecasts).
|Pupils exploring local newspapers|
Already at this point we realized that it’s unnecessary to go deeper in details of journalism as generally. Taking into account pupils’ age you should keep matters in basics and cut the corners. Our purpose was by no means to create new journalists of 3rd graders, but more like to let them explore and get familiar with journalism and communication as generally. I told also some own experiences about being journalist and I introduced my tools and ways of exploring information.
Important thing to remember is also variable skill levels of pupils. When producing articles with 30 pupils you have to simplify all operations and set enough aids so everyone of large class can accomplish something. So we decided to give ready topics for kids and give even complete questions to find information for. We separated large class in groups, three persons per each. We gave the topics and assistance questions and gave also specific roles for group members. One’s task was to write answers on paper, one was communicating person (ask more instructions from teacher if needed and report their progress of task) and one was have to be a scribe, when finishing the article to final form by computer.
|Rush hour at the news desk!|
Pupils’ task was to find answers to questions together and use different ways of explore information. In a weather article they had to go outside and observe current circumstances there, in a school article they had to ask some questions from school staff (like a miniature of interview) and so on. Accordingly, stages were like in real information exploring when making article, but in reduced format.
After finding the answers it was time to type an article in computer class. In that phase we noticed quick that it would have been important to remind pupils at the beginning what is style of writing, when writing an article. Even though the kids used full sentences when writing, most of them forgot to echo the questions. So though their sentences were logical, reader may miss the point and context without seeing the original questions!
|Kimmo and Antero are typing their final version of the article.|
The first time in computer class took some extra time, because we had to advise them, how to add article to Magazine Factory and how to copy and paste text from word processor software. Pupils adopt new things fast, so next time all the phases went already better and faster.
Some articles (for example the school introduction and some weather article) were separated for few groups and we connected their outputs in one single article before publishing them. Everyone could do some stories and at least we felt that they enjoyed that!
Taking photos with SLR camera was of course on important phase of creating articles, but I will tell about that later.