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Creating a Class Newsletter

Subject Area: Language Arts

Grade Level(s): 5

Duration of Activity: One week

Description of Activity:

The students will use Microsoft Publisher or other publishing software and a digital camera to make a class newsletter that includes events that happened during the school year.

Objectives:

  • The students will write an article about an event that happened during the school year using both school and world events.
  • The students will use Microsoft Publisher or other publishing software to create a newsletter that includes these events.
  • The students will take photos using a digital camera to complement their articles. For world events that happened during the year, photos may be used from a news Web site as long as they are used in a face-to-face classroom assignment. Permission must be obtained for using any copyrighted materials posted to the World Wide Web.

Materials/Equipment:

  • Computers
  • Internet access
  • Printer
  • Digital Camera
  • Microsoft Publisher (or comparable) software
  • Photo-editing software (optional)
  • Handout 1: Rubric for Newsletter Assessment
  • Handout 2: Graphic Organizer

Prerequisites (skills or background needed):

Procedure

Teacher Component:

  1. The teacher will become familiar with the newsletter templates available with the software. Some provision should be made as to how the template used will be selected (either by the teacher or by a vote of the class).
  2. The teacher will guide the students in researching their articles for the newsletter.
  3. The teacher will guide the students in adding photos with the digital camera and the Internet to their articles, taking into consideration the shape of the space available for the photograph in the template.
  4. The teacher will guide the students in putting their individual articles and photographs into the newsletter.
  5. The teacher will set up a folder in which to save the articles and the newsletter. Students must be reminded to take great care not to delete others work when saving to the joint project newsletter file.

Student Activities:

Day 1
The students will begin research for their articles. The teacher should post examples of ideas on the board to help the decision process. Once a topic has been found the student must brainstorm for ideas of what to write about. A graphic organizer is good to use for brainstorming.

Day 2
The students will begin putting their ideas together to create a rough draft. The teacher will assign the students will to teams. The students will share their rough drafts with their teams, getting ideas on how they could improve, or add to, their articles.

Day 3
The students will decide which articles and photographs will go in the different parts of the newsletter. The students will re-write their articles and begin taking photographs that will be added to their articles. When taking the photographs, the students should keep in mind the shape of the space available for the picture. Photo-editing software or paint programs can be used to crop the images to the correct shape if necessary. Because the students will be working at different paces, they should be able to share both the computers and digital cameras.

Day 4
The students will finalize their articles and add them to the Microsoft Publisher class newsletter. This will take some time, as all of them must be put on the same computer. During this time the students can be helping each other finish the articles, and find Web sites for those who need world event photos.

Day 5
The students will take a written assessment demonstrating that they know how to write a descriptive paragraph.

Accommodations:

  • For a one-computer classroom the students can write the articles by hand, and as they finish them, the students can type the text into the desktop publishing software.
  • The teacher may have to help in getting all the material typed unless the students have already mastered keyboarding
  • Students can use 35mm photographs and scan them for use with their articles if a digital photo is not available.

Extension Activities:

  • The students can publish their newsletter for the entire school.
  • The students can create a newsletter highlighting what they have learned during the school year.
  • The students could create a family newsletter, including birth announcements, birthday parties, special events, and so forth.

Integration:

  • Language Arts
  • Technology
  • Social Studies

Assessments:

  1. Written Assessment on how to write a descriptive paragraph. Use a writing prompt such as, Write a descriptive paragraph about what you do every morning to get to school."
  2. Grade the article and paragraph according to Handout 1: Grading Rubric for Newsletter Article.

URLs:

Curriculum Frameworks

Mississippi:

Fifth Grade

  1. Communicate for a variety of purposes through different forms of writing using processes of reading, writing, listening, and viewing for an expanding audience. (R, W, L, V)
  2. Complete projects and tasks in an organized and coherent manner. (R, W, S, L, V)
  3. Participate cooperatively while engaging in small group activities to analyze and interpret information, to make decisions, to solve problems, and to produce a given product.

National Educational Technology Standards (NETS):

  1. Use keyboards and other common input devices efficiently and effectively.(1)
  2. Use general-purpose productivity tools and peripherals to support personal productivity, remediate skill deficits, and facilitate learning throughout the curriculum.

TerraNova:

05 Identify Reading Strategies (Level 11-21/22)
Demonstrate awareness of techniques that enhance comprehension, such as using existing knowledge, summarizing content, comparing information across texts, using graphics and text structure, and formulating questions that deepen understanding.

Write responses that interpret and extend the use of information from documents and forms, and that demonstrate knowledge and use of strategies.

08 Writing strategies (Level 11-21/22)
Demonstrate knowledge of information sources, outlines, and other pre-writing techniques.

Demonstrate an understanding of the use of topic sentences, concluding sentences, connective and transitional words and phrases, supporting statements, sequencing ideas, and relevant information in writing expository prose.

09 Editing skills (Level 11-21/22)
Identify the appropriate use of capitalization, punctuation, nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs in existing text.

Demonstrate knowledge of writing conventions and sentence structure through identifying and connecting errors in existing text and in text written by the student.

Link and Feedback to Author(s):

Jan Easley, Houlka Attendance Center, Houlka, MS
jeasley@chickasaw.k12.ms.us

Teresa Moore, Houlka Attendance Center, Houlka, MS
tmcculloch@chickasaw.k12.ms.us

Handout 1:
Rubric for Newsletter Assessment
Word Acrobat
Handout 2:
Graphic Organizer
Word Acrobat
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