Classroom Set Up

Teachers, set up your classrooms to make the best use of the newspapers available to you. Before beginning your work with newspapers, consider all factors that affect classroom organization and management.

Electronic or e-Editions or Web versions of the newspaper

Teachers who use electronic or Web versions may project selected stories to the whole class, using LCD projectors and Smartboards and model reading strategies to one or more stories. LCD projectors also allow teachers and students to scan pages and sections and select specific newspaper stories for close reading and analysis. Teachers, you may print off and assign the selected stories to individual students, teams or small groups. Bring in a single copy of the printed newspaper to show how the e-Edition and Web edition compare.

If you have multiple computers in your classrooms, set up newspaper centers for students to complete assignments or read newspapers on their own. In well-equipped computer labs, students may read e-Editions and Web editions of newspapers in ways similar to their reading of print versions. Use of the e-Edition allows students to read more than the day’s news. Through e-Editions, they gain access to archives with stories from past issues of the newspaper. Web-based newspapers often offer archives and multimedia presentations.

Teachers, remember that access to the e-Edition and Web versions of the newspaper varies from newspaper to newspaper. Schools control access to content on the Web, so check to make sure your system does not block access to your newspaper’s e-Edition or Web site.

Print editions of the newspaper

If you order print editions in bulk, let school office staff know that you expect to receive a bundle of newspapers. Designate students to pick up the newspapers and bring them to your classroom. Designate students in each class to give out and take up the newspapers at the beginning and end of the class.

Note too that some activities may not require students to have the same newspaper. Teachers, if you do not have a class set of the same day’s newspaper, think of ways to use a collection of different newspapers. Bring copies from home and/or have students bring in copies available to them. Base assignments on the newspapers that you have in class.

Make sure students have enough room to work with the newspapers. Provide tables and chairs or space on the floor or have students push desks together. If space is a concern, direct students to pull out the section they need and place the rest of the paper under their desks. Or teach them the commuter fold used by people who ride subways and read newspapers in tight space. Having students fold their newspaper in half, thirds, fourths offers a quick, simple fraction lesson.

If several classes use the same set of papers or if students use the newspapers for several days, stress that each student leave the newspaper sections in correct order for the next class’s use.

Devise a way to encourage students to keep their newspapers in order. Number the newspapers and give students the same number. Give out and take up the newspapers in order. Or, have each student who uses a newspaper write his or her name on the paper. That way, you can keep track of who used the newspapers and students encourage each other to refold the newspapers.

After students complete their reading assignments, use the newspapers for activities that involve cutting. No one wants to read a newspaper with holes cut in it, so skimming, scanning and close reading first and then assign activities that involve cutting.

Have supplies available, such a scissors, glue sticks, construction paper, index cards, various highlighters and other markers and playdough and/or clay. Find out if your newspaper makes leftover newsprint available to its teachers. Students use different colored highlighters and markers to indicate parts of speech, main ideas, key words and different categories of foods, for example. They can write in margins and cut out examples to illustrate concepts. They can also illustrate stories, using the supplies you provide.

Devote bulletin board and other space to newspapers. Students can list new words or display photos or stories that relate to their classroom studies. Also post local, state, national and world maps on walls and bulletin boards, so that students can locate places mentioned in the newspaper. Displays can also feature front and editorial pages, labeled to reinforce the teaching of newspaper terms.

Reuse or recycle the newspapers. After you finish with the newspapers, share them with other teachers. Encourage students to read on their own and share their reading with their parents by sending the newspapers home. Or, set up a recycling center and have students assist you in that effort.

Newspaper ink does not rub off on hands as it once did. But, consider making your own wet wipes by applying a mixture of two cups of water, one tablespoons of shampoo and two tablespoons of baby oil to paper towels or keeping a canister of pre-moistened wipes nearby. You may want to time your use of the newspaper, so that students can wash their hands afterward.