AES 5th graders work on ‘genuine article’

Published 7:43 pm Thursday, January 8, 2009

Lots of schoolchildren at some point have asked themselves, “What do I want to do when I grow up?” For some fifth grade students at Andalusia Elementary School, the answer might be writing for a newspaper just like the Andalusia Star-News.

This quarter, students in Deb Hughes’ fifth grade science class will work on a unique project where they will write “newspaper articles” about the lessons they are taught during school. The students have been divided into groups, and will write their articles on subjects such as rockets, ecosystems and crime scene investigation. They will also take photographs during the lessons and include those photos with the articles.

“I thought it would be a good opportunity for these kids to learn how to do authentic writing,” Hughes said. “It’s fun, because some of the kids really seem to enjoy the writing and other kids enjoy the picture taking. Every so often during class I’ll see a student scribble something that was said down in a notepad, or take a quick photo of something, just like a real reporter might do.”

Halle Burkhardt, a student in Hughes’ class, said she has already learned a lot about photography during the project.

“Before this, I just randomly took all kinds of pictures of everything,” she said. “But now I see that you need to pay attention to the light and glare, and things like that.”

The students will write their articles and take their photos with an eye for quality, just as if they were going to be actually published in a newspaper or magazine.

“I like the idea of having their eyes opened to some of these interesting jobs and experiences,” Hughes said. “Who knows, some of them may grow up to be journalists some day. These are all good, hard-working kids, so I know that they won’t neglect their normal class work while also working on this project.”