Bright Ideas Lesson Plans
My third grade class at South Daytona Elementary receives the News-Journal every Monday morning. We are a Chapter I school, and this has been a BIG event for the students (and many of the parents!). At the beginning of the year I was assigning a current event report each Monday as homework. Very few were ever completed and I realized that the majority of my students households did not subscribe to the News-Journal, nor were they likely to pick one up on a weekly basis. However, since our classroom subscription began last fall interest has peaked in both students and moms and dads - I have even had parents stop by to pick up the paper for their child who is absent on Mondays!
My students enjoy pouring over the want ads and working on the MiniPage, which is always curriculum enhancing as are the web sites found there. The activity I have found most successful, however, is the Current Event Report.
We use a very simple form (designed by a helpful parent a few years ago), beginning by choosing articles together, gleaning "just the facts" and often using simply the captions under interesting pictures as the source of information. As their confidence increases, details are added, more geography is tied in and the Current Event becomes an individual assignment. Articles then begin reflecting each student´s interests and strengths with some expanding to write about their own personal activities and events in "newspaper" form.
I have found this format to be a wonderful stepping stone to both expository and narrative writing, as well as FCAT´s short and extended responses. Better understanding of events happening in South Daytona and beyond correlates with better understanding in all curriculum areas.
Heidi J. Stephens
South Daytona Elementary