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Teaching by Doing

The School Newspaper. A forgotten relic that was once part of every high school across America is making a comeback.

At Clissold Elementary School in Morgan Park/Beverly, Chicago, my colleague and I (but mostly the students), had the opportunity to begin the process of writing, editing, publishing and distributing a bi-fold,weekly, 6-12 page student newspaper. The students were given 'beats' to cover; city news, local happenings, sports, politics, school issues, world news, restaurant reviews, movie reviews and 'dear abby' columns. The actual writing and editing was coupled with an after-school Journalism Club. It was here that we taught the history, basic components, skills, etc., of the art of writing for newspapers. The support of our principal was key. I will never forget her kindness and encouragement. The enthusiasm of the students was overwhelming. The fact that I had a dedicated, creative, intelligent, partner was essential as well. Together we assisted the student with the ins and outs of "putting the paper to bed"each and every week.

I urge all of you who are interested in the written word to think about the possibilities. We had a blast. Our southside community looked forward to each and every publication. The school was proud! At a meeting with Chicago school officials one Spring, our principal was able to show the latest issue of "The Clissold Gazzette"to Arne Duncan, at that time the CEO of the CPS. He was very impressed by our publication, the hard work and unwavering spirit of these elementary students shone through each page!