Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Newspaper Articles

Once upon a time, long long ago and a couple miles away, I was a newspaper reporter.  I was the lifestyles reporter, which meant I didn't often cover hard news (elections were about as close as I got, with rare exceptions), but some of the lessons I learned stuck with me.  When I was making lesson plans for the year, I thought, "Wouldn't it be neat to have the kids write a newspaper article?"

They thought so, too.  When I started talking about the idea last week, I asked them to decide who they would want to interview, suspecting that they would want to interview Oz's family about living in Australia/emigrating to the U.S. or calling my mom to ask her about growing up in the '60s or even just interrogating me or Oz about some topic or other. 

I couldn't have been more wrong.  Doodlebug elected to interview a neighbor of ours who happens to be a state representative, and Boo wanted to talk to her violin teacher about being a professional musician and teacher.  I was surprised, but I called and e-mailed and got them both set up with interviews.

Before their interviews we discussed the importance of getting accurate quotes, how newspaper articles differ from creative writing ('said' vs. any other synonym, for example, and using full/last names, and all the paragraphs).  Today we sat down with their notes and talked about finding the most important facts, leads (make the reader ask a question), headlines (action verbs!), and adding background information.  Then I worked with the kids to write their articles.  If you've ever looked into Brave Writer, this would definitely have fallen under the 'Partnership Writing' category, particularly given the number of questions I answered during the process.

Anyway, they kids finished their articles.

Here are the results:

State representative finds job satisfying

by Doodlebug

Mark McCullough is a hardworking figure in Oklahoma politics.

McCullough is a state representative from Sapulpa.  He is in his fourth term as representative.  He enjoys helping solve complex problems and helping constituents solve their problems.

"It is a great honor to serve the community in which I grew up," he said.

He is very content as a representative.  He studies policy, makes laws, and helps constituents on a daily basis.

"It is very satisfying, personally satisfying," he said.

To become a representative, candidates have to file for office.  To get elected they normally have to go on a campaign.  They have to win the primary election, maybe a runoff election, and the general election to finally become a representative.


Professional violinist shares love of instrument

by Boo

Why would anybody want to spend hours every day just practicing with an instrument?

Sue Loomis is a professional violinist who likes to teach people to play the violin to share its sweet sound.  She also likes to see new people learn new things.

Loomis took up the violin when she was 10.  When she heard another violinist play, she wanted to do it as well.  In college she earned a bachelor's degree in math but continued to get a master's degree in music and violin performance.

"At every step I had something to do," she said.

Loomis is very busy all the time.  She works at the youth symphony and teaches people of all ages.

"I wouldn't change anything that I've done," she said.


Common Household Mom said...

This is an excellent project, and excellent results. Bravo!

Beth said...

Awwww! They're doing so good with their writing!

Suburban Correspondent said...

Wow! Impressive! And now I feel bad about my lack of homeschooling creativity. Don't worry, though; it will pass. I mean, the feeling-bad part, not the lack-of-creativity part...