While middle school is not often associated with hard hitting journalism, it can certainly be a place that nurtures the talents of future journalists. This year, the middle school is able to offer a journalism elective taught by our delightful EAL specialist, Ms. Ruth Tipei.
In the first quarter of the course, Ms. Tipei and her students focused on the important tasks of setting up their newsroom. Through the process of finding sources, scheduling and conducting interviews and gathering photographs, the students learned a lot about what it takes to publish an issue of a newspaper. They loved that they were able to try their hands at writing articles as they were required to apply their skills and knowledge to the production of the first issue.
This course not only introduced our students to journalism writing, editing and designing, it also pushed them to grow in other areas. They developed their creativity, critical thinking and leadership skills as they learned to put aside their differences to work together. They also learned to listen to each other’s ideas and compromise in order to meet their goals. “One very essential thing I learned from my classmates is teamwork,” said Grade 7 student, Andy. “Without them, none of this would have been possible, and I would like to thank each and every one of them for contributing to the journalism department.” On days when all the pieces fell into place, this course operated like a miniature newsroom where everyone had their own responsibilities while collaborating with others.
Putting together a newspaper during Home Learning has not been without its challenges. “I think that the thing that is challenging for this class is collaborating and talking with my classmates since we are online,” said Grade 8 student, Alex. “We need to ask others a lot of things when we are working on the newspaper since we are working together. To create a good final product, we need to talk a lot and being online makes it harder since we can't talk like in real life.” While starting the school online and learning to navigate being a part of this class over Zoom, the students have shown remarkable resilience. They were able to adapt quickly, collaborate, meet their deadlines and produce the first issue of the CCN newspaper.
Another wonderful outcome of this course is the informal mentorship provided to the students by Concordia high school seniors who run the Thundercloud newsletter. In fact, Ms. Tipei structured this course like it was a student-led club with her providing instruction on how to write in the journalistic style. “I’ve really enjoyed working with the students,” Ms. Tipei said. “Watching them really take ownership of this product is really great to see. Their next issue will be even greater!”