The 100 Mile Elementary Newspaper Club published their first paper last week.
This new monthly competitor to the Free Press is a newspaper written by students for students at 100 Mile Elementary. Organizing teacher and editor Amy Simcox said so far the paper has been a learning experience for everyone involved.
“I wanted to give the kids something to do at lunch and give them some kind of ownership and leadership in what’s going on at our school,” Simcox said. “I thought it’d give them a chance to do something they could be proud of.”
The paper is written by students in Grades 5 to 7, Simcox said, with a focus on school events and life. So far, she said, there’s been around a dozen students involved though she said interest fluctuates depending on the day.
Simcox said each month she plans to host a story meeting with the club to discuss the upcoming events at the school. During the meeting, students can decide if they want to be the journalist writing about the event or the photographer taking pictures of the event using one of the school’s iPads.
“I give them a sheet that has who, what, when, where and why and then they have to go to the event and fill out the sheet. Then they bring it back to me and write out the story in the paper,” Simcox said.
Grade 5 student Calvin Kreschuk said he joined the club because he enjoys taking pictures of people. His first assignment was writing a back-to-school story to welcome his classmates.
“I like that you can get creative and be imaginative,” Calvin said. “For both my stories and my photos.”
Calvin is looking forward to covering his school’s track and field and cross-country events because sports is something he’s eager to try.
Simcox was partially inspired by her own experience writing for her school’s paper back in high school. It’s been a bit more challenging than she anticipated, noting that deadlines are a new concept for some of her students.
“I was like ‘oh how hard can it be to set this up?” Simcox laughed. “Oh my god, it is a lot of wrangling and reminding the kids they have to do this now. I was in high school when I did it and some of these kids don’t have the same typing skills I did. When they bring a story to me I’ll type it up and talk to them about what should be a sentence and how to group paragraphs.”
Despite these hurdles, Simcox and the club published their first issue of the 100 Mile Elementary News on Oct. 7.
Lilia Sawyer-Ned said she has been having fun taking part in the newspaper club. The Grade 6 student enjoys spending her recess inside writing stories.
“I like writing stories but it’s kind of challenging when you have a deadline,” Lilia said. “Sometimes I get nervous and worried it’s not going to get finished but I still do it, even though I’m nervous.”
Lilia said she’s looking forward to writing a story about Halloween and intends to interview students about what they like about it. She wants to improve her skills over the next year.
“It’s important to have a student newspaper because if a person just came it will tell them information about our school,” Lilia said. “It’s very fun.”
Over the next few months, Simcox said she plans to continue to work with her students and broaden their journalistic skills. By the end she wants her students to be typing up their own stories and coming to her with their own ideas on what should go into the paper.
“Right now we have some student writing that has been included and the kids want to include a list of birthdays,” Simcox said. “This month we just have Halloween and Thanksgiving to cover so I’m encouraging them that if they see something in the school that’s newsworthy to come to talk to me about it and we’ll put it in. Now their minds are starting to think ‘OK what are we going to put in the newspaper and what do people want to read about?”
Simcox said that as the year goes on she expects her team to grow more skilled and confident.
“I’m hoping that they realize their writing is valuable and we’re not just teaching them to write for something to do. They can do something with it and take pride in their work, that they’ve accomplished something.”