teen, newspapers

Teachers Proving Newspapers Still Relevant in Classroom

September 15, 2010 07:00 AM
by Sarah Amandolare
An Illinois high school English teacher was recognized for incorporating newspapers into her lesson plans, highlighting the medium’s continued importance in education.

Newspapers Teach Various Skills

Alton High School freshman English teacher Amy Hart was given the Teacher of the Year Award from Newspapers in Education, which promotes using newspapers as teaching tools.

According to Illinois newspaper The Telegraph, the award is determined by a selection committee and “is based on how teachers use the newspapers in the classroom, what impact the program has on pupils and how active the teacher is in the program.” Newspapers in Education supplies classrooms with free newspapers.

Hart said she favors a “scavenger hunt” activity requiring students to locate particular “words, phrases or pictures” in the newspaper to familiarize themselves with various sections. Summarizing, analysis and evaluation are also skills enhanced by reading newspapers, Hart said.

Using Newspapers in Lesson Plans

Reading Rockets published A Teacher's Guide to Using Newspapers to Enhance Language Arts Skills, provided by the Newspaper Association of America Foundation. The guide discusses how a newspaper is like a “living textbook,” requiring students to think critically about current events not found in textbooks. Furthermore, “[t]he newspaper expands the curriculum with an unlimited amount of information to use as background for learning activities.”

ReadWriteThink offers a free lesson plan on “Creating a Classroom Newspaper.” Students must tap into their creativity to craft “authentic newspaper stories,” thereby acting as editors and reporters. The lesson covers newspaper sections and how to write an article, and discusses online newspapers, layout and design techniques, and newspaper reading habits.

Background: Newspapers in education

Newspapers in Education posts three sets of lesson plans every Monday, each targeting different grade levels and consisting of “five activities for using your newspaper in the classroom,” as well as questions and activities tied to learning standards. Teachers may also access a full year’s archive of lesson plans.

The New York Times is one newspaper that has joined the Newspapers in Education program. There are extensive teacher resources utilizing both print and online editions of The Times, including lively and informative blogs from The New York Times Learning Network.

Related Topic: New media in the classroom

The benefits of using new media in the classroom are undeniable. Whether teachers link up with classrooms around the world for collaborative learning, or incorporate the Web into lesson plans, students can learn essential skills.

FindingDulcinea is filled with tools to ease teachers’ transition online. Our Ten Steps to Better Web Research are essential for teachers who may be struggling to help their students find credible online sources.

Our search engine, SweetSearch, is the best search engine for students. It links to tens of thousands of Web sites that have been evaluated and deemed reliable by our research experts and librarian and teacher consultants.

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