The Newspapers In Education program, which I have been involved with for over three years, has allowed me to create the most streamlined and effective learning "vehicle" within my curriculum.
The use of the newspaper transitions across the curriculum in many disciplines, Language Arts and Social Science for me in particular! My intial use of the newspaper was that of a "tickler" for getting my learners interested in Current Events - but I found that many wanted to read the ENTIRE paper when given the opportunity. To have learners EXCITED about reading caught my attention - and to find a source that nearly everyone could pick up, read AND discuss was a "pot of gold" for me. I have since expanded the use of the newspaper to a weekly activity that I nicknamed "The MoBee", short for The Modesto Bee. Each Wednesday, I read the paper, looking for articles that showcase current events or local items of interest. I select 2-3 items from each section of the paper, create both individual question sheets and a classroom overhead so that I can introduce the questions to my learners. I use two (2) types of "questions" - our regular format, where I simply ask my learners to find an answer, either a single word or short sentence. Our "Jeopardy" format, which my learners HATE, is just like the television show. I give my learners the answer, they must develop the question! This format creates a more research/reading based activity....Because of the varied levels of learners in my classes and their varied reading levels, I utilize co-op learning to it's maximum, but each learner MUST complete the assignment on their own. I am fortunate to have the cooperation of the NIE Staff at the Modesto Bee, both for the opportunity to use their newspaper, but also to have their curriculum support in addition to the one I have developed. The use of the newspaper has opened doors for my learners that will remain "open" for years to come - as lifelong learners and lifelong readers. DAVE FRY, Social Science Instructor, Argus High School, Ceres Unified School District, Ceres, CA.