The Plumley Appeal

Extra Extra! I wanted to tell you about the first (and only) edition of The Plumley Appeal!  This project came straight from my students and was a great way to make writing meaningful for them.  Believe it or not, they got this idea when the word "newspaper" was one of our spelling words!
To begin, we spent time looking at newspapers and talking about what makes a newspaper a newspaper.  Then, we talked to The Commercial Appeal's music writer (and my friend) Bob Mehr about how a paper gets made, tips on interviewing, the job of an editor, and how he got his start in journalism.
After brainstorming article ideas, everyone chose a topic and started writing.  Some kids chose to work together, while others worked independently.  Many kids interviewed other teachers and students, some focused on comics, and others wrote features.
iPads were used for research for several articles.  A few kids even made graphs using Excel!
After the kids wrote a rough draft, we went to the computer lab to type the articles.
Layout time!  I formatted all of the articles into text boxes of various sizes to add interest.  A few kids manned the copy machine and worked on shrinking comics and ads to fit better onto the paper.  The kids worked together to fit all the newspaper elements onto the paper (11x17).
We moved onto distribution next.  Here, armed with calculators, we figured out how many copies we needed to make to distribute around the school.  Then, we worked on folding the papers to make them look like a real newspaper.
Everyone had fun delivering the papers.  What a great response!  The office staff loved receiving a hand delivered copy of The Plumley Appeal.
After dropping off several copies in the Middle School snack area, we were excited to walk through and see so many kids reading our paper!
I wish I could show you all of the fun articles in the newspaper, but an online version is not available yet.  This lunchtime article is a great example, and I have to agree that the cafeteria cookies are delicious!
Several ads were created for the paper.  You know I loved the sewing one!
The back page was filled with games and comics.  So fun!
Throughout the newspaper, "Newsbunny", a sweet, newspaper bunny collage, will pop up and tell you about a section.  He's the official mascot of The Plumely Appeal.

This was such a fun project to work on with the kids.  It really allowed them to have a purpose for their writing, work collaboratively, problem solve, and be creative.  Everyone contributed as they wished.  Several people have asked if I'll do a newspaper project again next year, but I really can't answer that now.  The beauty of The Plumley Appeal is that is came from the kids.  They suggested it and bugged me until I gave them the green light and guidance to get it going.  We'll see what next year brings!

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