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If Hornets Could Talk...


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Keywords: Kidspiration, newspaper, journalism, research, grammar, english, language arts
Subject(s): Art, Social Skills, Technology, Writing, Reading, Information Skills, Photography, Social Studies, English/Language Arts, Spelling, Service Learning, Grammar, Science, Math
Grade 5
School: Hillsdale Elementary School, Shreveport, LA
Planned By: Rebekah Lewis
Original Author: Rebekah Lewis, Shreveport


I’ve found a way to incorporate almost all of the English Language Arts standards and grade level expectations into one exciting year long project. I would like to start the first annual Hillsdale newspaper and informative website-“If Hornets Could Talk,” both to be accessed by students, teachers, faculty, and parents at home and at school. I would also like to continue and add on to this newspaper/website year after year, so that younger students coming up through Hillsdale will be looking forward to being a part of creating these informational resources, and learning with enjoyment and enthusiasm.

The target population is my 5th Grade class at Hillsdale Elementary. I will have approximately 25 students and will also include the other fifth grade classes throughout the year.

I’ve taken these grade level expectations directly from the LA Comprehensive Curriculum website (http://www.doe.state.la.us/lde/uploads/7016.doc).

These are objectives that must not only be taught and mastered prior to the iLEAP test in April, but also are skills that must be achieved to have continued success in middle school, high school, and further education. Each of these objectives can be met through the newspaper and website activities. I’ve listed many objectives and there are many more that will be achieved at (http://www.doe.state.la.us/lde/ssa/2108.html).
18a. Write multi-paragraph compositions on student- or teacher-selected topics organized with an established central idea and topics organized with transitional words and phrases that unify points and ideas
21d. Develop grade-appropriate compositions applying writing processes such as conferencing and applying writing processes such as revising based on feedback and use of various tools (e.g., LEAP 21 Writer’s Checklist, rubrics), proofreading/editing, using the various modes (i.e., description, narration, exposition, and persuasion
25a. Write for various purposes, including formal and informal letters that state a purpose, make requests, or give compliments, including evaluations of media, such as films, performances, or field trips, explanations of stories and poems using retellings, examples, and text-based evidence
26a. Use standard English punctuation, including parentheses and commas in direct quotations. quotation marks around dialogue, Write paragraphs and compositions following standard English structure and usage, including correct sentence fragments and run-on sentences
29b. Apply knowledge of parts of speech in writing, including selecting and using specific nouns, pronouns, and verbs for clarity (ELA-3-M4)
30. Spell high-frequency, commonly confused, frequently misspelled words correctly
31. Incorporate accurate spelling and use a variety of resources (e.g., glossaries, dictionaries, thesauruses, spell check) to find correct spellings
33. Use complete sentences and standard English grammar, diction, syntax, and pronunciation when speaking
34. Follow procedures (e.g., read, question, write a response, form groups) from detailed oral instructions
42a. Locate and select information using a variety of organizational features in grade-appropriate resources, including complex reference sources (e.g., almanacs, atlases, newspapers, magazines, brochures, map legends, prefaces, appendices, frequently accessed and bookmarked Web addresses, encyclopedias, atlases, library catalogs, specialized dictionaries, almanacs, technical encyclopedias, databases, audio and video tapes, films, documentaries) for use in researching a topic
44a. Locate, gather, and select information using data-gathering strategies, including surveying, interviewing, paraphrasing
45a. Generate grade-appropriate research reports that include information presented in a variety of forms, including visual representations of data information, graphic organizers (e.g., outlines, timelines, charts, websites, bibliographies)
46. Use word processing and/or other technology to draft, revise, and publish a variety of works, including compositions and reports (ELA-5-M4)
47a. Give credit for borrowed information following acceptable use policy, including integrating quotations

The goals/objectives of this project are not only to have success in achieving high standardized testing scores, above average report card grades, and a high 5th grade passing rate, but also for students to enjoy the learning process as a whole. It is a pertinent fact that if a student, or any person, takes a personal role in their own learning process and finds internal satisfaction and validation, learning becomes a permanent part in their lives and memory. I want the students to be able to relate their work inside the classroom with their after-3:00 reality. I mostly desire that my students, who live in low income/high poverty situations, realize that they are capable of achieving any future they choose. Academic success leads to a positive self image and increased self esteem, and this project will point us in the right direction.

By the end of this year, this project’s results will come full circle. I will not only be able to observe and grade each and every objective of the Louisiana ELA Comprehensive Curriculum, but an exact record of every step of each assignment will be published and kept and displayed throughout the year.

Students will be able to use past issues to see their own mistakes and how they continue to grow with each assignment. They will be able to observe their peers’ styles and learn from each other, as well. We will have a newspaper journal for each student with every completed copy, as well as the students’ own rough drafts of assignments. To see their own growth throughout their last year of elementary and to have this record of a great time in their lives forever is exciting to think about.

This project requires that students give their best to each assignment, as not only I will be observing it, but other students, parents, and faculty as well. Through the website hit numbers, we will see how many people are interested and accessing, and I hope to see increased numbers of students, faculty, and family requesting more issues and copies. I am so excited to try this that I’m actually ready for summer to end!
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
This one project will encompass all subjects throughout the entire school year, as well as reach to other grade levels and the community.
Follow-Up
We will share our project with the local media via newspapers, internet, radio, and television.
Materials: Digital SLR, Printers, Camera Bags, Flash/USB Drives, Tripods, Batteries, Memory Cards, Reading, Literacy, Writing, Elementary, Word Processor, Art Tools, Inspiration, Authoring and Publishing, Slideshow, Clip Art, Worksheets, Timeline, Screen Capture, Animation, Video Tools
Other Items: 1 HP - Officejet Pro Wireless Multifunction Printer/ Copier/ Scanner/ Fax 8500, $349.99 each, total of $349.99
1 Samsung Ultra Compact MemoryCam (SC-MM10S), $379.99 each, total of $379.99
1 SanDisk 512MB Ultra® II SD™ Card (SDSDH-512-901), $45.99 each, total of $45.99
3 HP - Officejet 940XL Ink Cartridge - Black, $35.99 each, total of $107.97
3 HP - Officejet 940XL Ink Cartridge - Cyan, $25.99 each, total of $77.97
1 Belkin Gold Series USB 2.0 Cable (F3U133V-06-GLD), $29.99 each, total of $29.99
2 Case white copy paper, $50.00 each, total of $100.00
3 HP - Officejet 940XL Ink Cartridge - Magenta, $25.99 each, total of $77.97
3 HP - Officejet 940XL Ink Cartridge - Yellow, $25.99 each, total of $77.97