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Fifth-grade online newspaper makes its mark with some amazing Whiz Kids.

Some fifth-grade kids from were part of the school's first ever online newspaper this year. The school created the program with the help of parents Dena Napoli and Natalie Miscinski. The children met once a week after school in the computer lab and worked on their stories. Many of the students had flash drives which allowed them to work on their stories at home as well as in the lab. Students also used digital cameras and learned how to download pictures and edit.

Some of the articles the students came up with included reports on school events, such as the Science Fair, D.A.R.E graduation, a visit from speaker Lloyd Bachrach, and the Sock Hop. They interviewed staff members and students in special spotlights. Some special topics that were covered included when the music teacher performed the Heimlich maneuver on a student choking on an orange during lunch, the meaning of President’s Day, the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the blizzard of 2011.

The students also created an Activities Section with student responses to questions entitled, Man on the Playground, a word search created by students, Identify the Mystery Photo and even a comic strip. The creativity and dedication of these kids are amazing. Students also learned about photography and how to edit and upload photos and fit them to the articles. They learned wonderful styles of writing, editing, computer programming and working together as a team.

I asked several of the news reporters some questions about their experience with the newspaper and this is what they had to say. Riley Braun talked about the best part of the newspaper being the stories and the hardest being the process of formatting on the computer. Riley said what he learned the most this year was improving his grammar and that he thinks next year’s kids will enjoy working with their friends on something fun.

Chase Hoffman enjoyed working with his friends, as well, and said that the thing he learned this year was how different sections of a newspaper get put together. He also talked about when a person makes a commitment to write a story he has to do a lot of work to get it done. Some of the articles Chase helped write included the blizzard of 2011 and Man on the Playground.

Olivia Demeris enjoyed learning about other kids and teachers during her interviews. The hardest part for her was thinking of stories, but she thinks the newspaper club helped her become a better writer. Olivia hopes that other fifth-graders try it because you can write about anything you want, and “Even if you do not like to write, it is still a fun time with your friends.”

Allie Maltby talked about how hard it was to get her stories done by the deadline and the next meeting time. She learned how to write great stories and how to format. Allie worked on the Sock Hop story and interviewed fifth-grade teacher Mr. Andres.

Cole Pearson enjoyed having fun with his friends and typing up the stories. He also learned that it takes a lot of work to create a newspaper. Cole wrote articles on Silly Bands and some winter activities around school.

Isabel Milich enjoyed the freedom to write whatever she wanted but learned how hard it is to find information you want on some Web sites. Isabelle talked about learning to negotiate with others when choosing stories to write. She wrote articles on orchestra, Science Fair and the class field trip.

Lastly, Erin Campagna loved writing stories her friends and family would actually get to see. She found choosing the topic to be the most difficult. Erin learned to edit and make sure she was informing the reader about something. She hopes others will join it next year and have as much fun working with their friends as she did.

As you can see these Whiz Kids had a great time but, wow, did they learn a lot of educational things while having fun. This was the first year the school has had this program, and it was a huge success. I have a feeling we will see writing from many of these kids in the future. Take a look at their latest edition at forestglenpta.org, and click on the link on the homepage.

What Whiz Kids do you know? We are always looking for more kids to write about from all over Glen Ellyn. I know that their are several other schools with kids doing amazing things. Tell me about them! 


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