Fifth graders have been building on their writing skills and delving into the world of informational writing. As part of a journalism unit in teachers Deirdre Cococcia’s and Susan Engelhardt’s classes, the students wrote feature articles reflecting on their school’s successful implementation of in-person and remote learning during the pandemic.
To start off the unit, the students learned about responsible and ethical journalism and gained knowledge about how to incorporate the five Ws – who, what, when, where and why – the fundamental questions that every story should answer. They also learned what makes a compelling story and investigated the difference between a news story and a feature article. Having gained the necessary skills, the students brainstormed key subtopics related to the topic of in-person and remote learning successes before crafting their feature articles.
Some of the subtopics the students chose to write about included building and safety protocols in their school, classroom setups, and lunch and recess safety measures, as well as changes in their art and music classes. They also wrote about specials and protocols in a remote classroom, as well as using Zoom to learn and socialize.
“We’ve learned that to make a good feature article, you use something that’s really big in the world and something that people would want to know about,” fifth grader Caitlin P. said. “I think this is a really big success that we’re in school full time.”
After completing their feature articles, the students will choose a new, personal topic that they feel passionate about and further explore it independently in writing. Some of the topics include skiing, lemons, Greek myths, Persian food, wildfires and more.
“The students have been working through the journalistic process more independently,” Engelhardt said. “They are inspired and excited to share their passions, interests and knowledge through writing and getting it out into the world.”