1 Sure Way To Get Your Students Engaged In Writing

1 Sure Way To Get Your Students Engaged In Writing: writing classroom news with A Word On Third

Even my most reluctant writers get excited when we write the class news report. Last April I came up with the idea to film a weekly class news segment.

It became so successful in my classroom, making such an impact on my writers, that I decided to run with the idea.

One of the best parts of the class news report is that it not only keeps my students excited about writing, but it also informs the students' families about what we do in class. Double win!

Here's how it works in my classroom from start to finish in under 40 minutes:

  1. Pick 5 students to write the news. Each student picks one subject area to cover in the news report. Students have about 25 minutes to write their pieces.
  2. Spend about 10 minutes reading over the news. Focus on making sure the news report has a smooth flow, full of transitions from news anchor to news anchor.
  3. Have students practice reading their news segment for fluency for another minute or two.
  4. Film the news, all in one take. I'm serious--one take! MAYBE TWO if you want to get fancy, but one is really all you need.
I edit the news segments in iMovie, but this year I'm hoping to have my students start editing too. You might edit yours, but you don't have to.

You can even add in some extra pizazz by having students interview others, write special interest reports, or create book commercials. How cute would it be to break from your news report for a message from "sponsors?" We've even started adding in special music breaks once in a while. I record my students during the last minute of music classes sometimes.

You can do this yourself too, with simple writing paper and any recording device. That's literally all you need. You really don't have to edit it if that intimidates you; after all, it's a class news report, not a real TV program! You can film during a writing period with a small group, or you might decide to film on Thursdays at lunch time like I do. Luckily for me, my schedule allows me to switch my lunch and prep around on the days I record the news. Just share your finished piece on Seesaw or email it as a google file to families.

If you want some resources to help you get started, I am selling my student-run classroom news resource on Teachers Pay Teachers for only $2.50. 

Click here or on the above picture to check it out! You'll get:
  • teacher tips for writing, filming, and editing the news,
  • a sample news introduction for your students to read at the beginning of each report,
  • prompts to develop on-screen communication between student news anchors,
  • a sample student script to assist students in writing their own,
  • a student script direction sheet and template,
  • a book commercial template,
  • a special interest news report template,
  • and an interview template.
If you try this out, please comment below and let me know what cool ideas you come up with for making your news report awesome!

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