In the past few weeks I received several questions about setting up a newspaper work station. So here is a section from Practice with Purpose that describes a newspaper station. Please feel free to share your ideas and experiences with this station in the comments section!
A portable newspaper station made with the class includes cut-out headlines, graphics, and matching articles along with directions for the station and a sample of work kids should do there.
Two third graders are working in the newspaper station writing news stories for the quarterly class paper. One is writing a want ad; she is searching for a good adventure story, preferably one set in the mountains with interesting characters. Another student is writing an article about the planets, something they are studying in science. They are writing their articles on preprinted sheets formatted for their news stories as a support. A chart is posted in the newspaper station; students have signed up on it ahead of time, noting what they want to write about so they don’t duplicate articles. The teacher will help them format the newspaper by using a template in a computer program; they will type their articles on the computer while at the computer station on another day.
In a fourth-grade classroom, two students are working together, reading the Mini Pages, a syndicated newspaper for kids. It is part of the Saturday paper that the teacher collects weekly at home and laminates. Her students choose one of the newspapers, read the articles together and then use a vis-àvis pen to do the puzzles and answer questions on the last page. The kids enjoy the articles, and the teacher likes the simplicity of the station.
Ideas for the Work Station
This work station is a great way to incorporate current events and nonfiction reading. It’s a great tie-in for social studies and science. There are several ways to set it up. One way is to cut out newspaper articles of interest for your kids. Mount the headline, graphics, and article separately on three different pieces of card stock, and cut to size. Repeat this process for four to five articles. You might include one from the sports section, another from the food section, one from the front page, and another from the editorials for variety. Be sure to include articles your students will be able to read and understand on their own. Then put all the headlines in a zippered plastic bag, all the graphics in another bag, and the articles in a third bag. Have kids match them, read, and discuss them.
Another idea is to use a file folder box to collect newspaper articles. Fill it with file folders that kids label with categories such as “Community Events,” “Heroes,” “Political Cartoons,” “Mistakes in Newspapers,” “Sports,” “Vocabulary,” Cartoons,” and “Weather.” On the front of each folder glue a sample of that type of article. Again, have students contribute to the files. Include colored construction paper, scissors, and glue sticks so students can affix each article to a “card” to be added to the file. You might have each kind of article glued to a certain color to make filing easier. For example, all sports stories are glued onto blue paper, which is then put in the corresponding file folder where “Sports” is written in blue letters. Include generic question cards for kids to answer about the articles.
A third way to set up this station is to use a commercially available newspaper for kids, such as the Mini Pages, Time for Kids, or Scholastic News. (These can be found online also.) Simply laminate the weekly newspaper, hole-punch it in the upper left-hand corner, and add a 1-inch metal book ring. Hang the newspapers on a hook and you have an instant newspaper station.
There are many things students might choose to do at the newspaper station, including some of the following that might be posted on your “I Can” list there:
I Can . . .
■ Write a news article for our class newspaper.
■ Read a newspaper written for kids.
■ Use a newspaper station task card.
■ Add a news article to the appropriate folder in the news file box.
■ Read two articles from different news sources on the same topic, then compare and contrast
■ Read a news article with a partner. Underline facts in blue. Circle opinions in red.
How the Newspaper Work Station Supports Student Performance on State Tests
Reading and writing news articles gives your students practice with one type of nonfiction used in the real world. Many state tests include articles as a genre students must be able to comprehend in the upper grades. Sometimes there are test questions about parts of a news article, such as headlines and captions. Working with features of news articles at work stations gives students lots of opportunities to become comfortable with this genre. In addition, it gives them knowledge of real-world events, which expands their background knowledge and prepares them for distinguishing between fact and
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