For the last eight years, students in the Discovery class have distributed a four to six page newspaper entitled, “The Flying Eagle” at the end of each quarter. The young journalists have varied from a third and fourth grade writing team to only fourth grade contributions the last several years. The advisors for group, Mrs. Thomas and Mrs. Baker, have found that the fourth grade language arts curriculum readily lends itself to writing in-depth opinion pieces and reporting facts.
Topics for the paper include district events, school wide events, classroom happenings, opinion pieces, poems, teacher feature, jokes, and written debates. The students look forward to covering sports and possibly submitting comics in the second edition this school year. Often the young journalists interview other classmates within the school as well as their teachers. Occasionally, students have the opportunity to interview district leaders.
In order to prepare for becoming journalists, the students read the Landry News written by Andrew Clements. This story is about a young girl, Cara Laundry, who moved to a new school. Cara created a newspaper article regarding her teacher, Mr. Larson, which he viewed as offensive and unfair. Cara begins to feel guilty that she was so harsh with her judgment of the teacher and creates a second edition to rectify the problem. Fourth grade journalist Jayden Hicks explained the book’s purpose is to teach students that true journalism is writing about the facts that exist.
When asked what he liked best about being a part of the newspaper, Bryce Blumenstock explained, “We make a list of options/topics that we can write about and we are allowed to volunteer to write on certain subjects.” Ella McLear added, “Everyone has to write an article.” Jayden Hicks concluded, “I like researching information and making sure all the facts are correct in the article.” Mrs. Evers, a third grade language arts instructor, remarked she enjoyed the paper. She stated, “I love that the students are having fun while practicing their writing skills as well as their interviewing skills. It is exciting to see them write in a different format and expand their knowledge of vocabulary.”