In Fletcher, six student reporters are putting the news front and center as they take over the school newsletter and other online media.
During Explore Time on Friday afternoons, sixth graders choose from a variety of topics they would like to learn more about. Opportunities range from worldwide games and cooking to journalism.
Journalism club members have organized themselves as reporters and begin their work by “pitching” their story idea to the group. They answer questions about their idea, conduct interviews and write their stories, which are critiqued by the group. Following the editing process, the students publish their work in the school newsletter, online and in local papers.
“I like investigative reporting best,” sixth grader reporter Gavin Gillilan said. “I found a caterpillar and I took a picture and interviewed a scientist from UVM to learn all about it.”
Story topics have ranged from a recent series of turtle sightings at school to the upcoming Halloween gathering.
“We see reporters on the news and their name in the paper and now we know that it is one more opportunity for us. I can be hard work and you have to be sure that everything you say is true,” Gillilan said.
During the first trimester, students will each write a news story, editorial, feature story, and cartoon.
“Something happened at our school and I thought everyone should know right away,” sixth grader Dani Reardon said. “I learned that you don’t have to wait for the newsletter or paper. You can tell people online the moment something is happening.”
Below are a two examples of recent journalism club stories:
Non-Native Caterpillar Found
By Gavin Gillilan, Journalism Club Reporter
A caterpillar that was thought to be only in Minnesota has been found in Vermont.
Eleven-year-old Gavin Gillilan and his cousins Mathew, Emma and Anna Spiller and their stepmother, Sara Mitchell, found a tomato hornworm caterpillar (Manduca Quinquemaculata) in Sara Mitchell’s vegetable garden.
“I did some research and found out it wasn’t native to Vermont,” said Gavin Gillilan. It was four inches long. It is also one of the biggest problems to gardens. It is also a major target for parasitic wasps, a species of wasp that lays it’s eggs then transmits a virus into another insect.
It is also a target for regular wasps who lays it’s eggs in the living caterpillar. After the wasp’s hatch (prepare to be grossly grossed out) the larvae eat the intestines and then break the skin and wrap themselves in silk.
The Tomato hornworm caterpillar mainly kills potato, pepper, and eggplants.
Fletcher Students “Play” Around With New Sports
By Lindy Langlois, Journalism Club Reporter
A teacher at Fletcher Elementary is looking to teach her students new sports. This article is based on a teacher looking to have given students an opportunity to play and learn more sports. Miss Underwood, a fifth grade teacher, is looking to teach her students new sports that other people are playing around the world, and create new ones.
“The goal is to learn new games, practice them, and teach them to others.” Miss Underwood explained.
While still having fun, Miss Underwood also wants to make sure her students are using teamwork. Mainly this group is currently working on making games, or sports, to be used during field days at school in the future for other students. I asked a member of this club their opinion.
“I think it’s fun, and good for us because we are doing things for other people, not just us,” one member said. For example, some people are looking to make a winter obstacle course for others. This sports group is something that some fifth and sixth graders chose to do on Fridays from 2:00 to 3:00 as part of an explore class.
Target 3 – Flexible Learning Environments.
Indicators of Success: (1) Staff, students and the community embrace digital, social, mobile learning styes. (2) Students engage in answering authentic questions and solving problems in collaborative settings. (3) Flexible learning environments are the context for collaboration and extend beyond the classroom. (4) Students and staff integrate technology to redefine educational experiences.
Action Steps: (1) Increase access to resources for all students. (2) Develop opportunities for students to demonstrate transferrable skills in authentic settings.