Friday, January 9, 2015

Extra! Extra! News From SES Has a Whole New Look!

Last year, the fourth grade teachers at Searsport Elementary School and I worked on a couple of initiatives to bring the news to students, and help the students bring the news to you.  One news website that is great for students is Newsela.  Newsela takes news stories from reputable national and international news outlets, and differentiates them at several reading levels, all the way down to the elementary level.  They also do a great job of finding a nice cross-section of articles covering important economic stories, international developments, technological advancements, and spotlights on young people doing some amazing things all over the world.

We didn't just want students reading the news, however.  News happens all around us, including in our schools.  So, we wanted our students to report on the news happening where they are too.  So, we began with a newspaper project, and we finished the year with an issue for the second and third trimesters.

But the news industry is changing, and fast.  More and more, people are getting their news from online sources, and news outlets are changing their websites as a result.  News websites now feature multimedia, infographics, interactive charts and data sets, and blogs and community-sourced content.  Content is updated by the hour or minute, not by the day or week (and certainly not trimester).  So, we thought it appropriate to change our approach to our project.  So, I'm happy to announce our brand new news blog!  The blog will feature some of the same features of an online news source, including sections for different types of stories, more pictures and video, and content added as soon as it is ready.  We have established a team of student "editors" who will be taking stories written by their classmates and moving them into the website, adding multimedia captured by other students at different events.  We're also hoping to integrate into the After School Program, with additional students taking on reporting responsibilities.  I am so excited to continue this project, and really feel as though the new website gives us more flexibility to go in all kinds of different directions.

Here's the URL for the news blog.  Please share away, and check in often to stay caught up with all things SES!

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