This list of newspaper-related learning projects, adapted by us from one developed by Barry Morris for readers of the Tampa Tribune, offers something for every age group!
Commentary and editorials
Editorial cartoons: Collect cartoons over several months. Categorize editorial cartoons under major issues and create a mural about local, national, and world issues. Have student editorial teams develop their own research project about a particular state, national or world issue.
Write a letter to the editor: Many editorials touch on issues relevant to students. Have them compose a letter to the editor in response.
New Hampshire news pages
Journalist speakers: Invite a Concord Monitor journalist to speak to the class about local events and famous New Hampshire writers. (Information on arranging a visit.)
Scavenger hunt: Go to the New Hampshire Historical Society and research old copies of the Concord Monitor to find biographical material on famous New Hampshire figures.
Native American history: Select articles from the Concord Monitor about Native Americans.
Databases and history: Create a database using information about Native Americans. Include important facts found in newspaper articles about local history and culture.
New Hampshire environmental issues: Use coverage of current environmental issues as a starting point to investigate what students can do to help.
City issues: Have research teams watch the newspapers for important issues developing in the city or the county. The class selects an issue (environmental, political, public safety), develops a list of questions, and invites a local politician or community leader to discuss possible solutions.
Honor a school: Be on the lookout for schools that are featured in the newspaper. Build a bridge between schools. Develop groups of pen pals between schools. Invite a class from another school for a field day or picnic at a local park.
Other cultures, other languages: Develop a big brother/little brother, big sister/little sister program in your school. Have older students work with the younger children who are experiencing language problems. Search the paper for articles about their culture.
Save a park: Collect articles from the newspaper about environmental problems in the region. Develop a school project to make a difference in our county. Consider a park clean-up project or a river clean-up day. Locate the county parks and interview park personnel about ways your school could adopt a park.
Race relations: Invite a Monitor reporter to discuss how she develops a strategy for researching an in-depth article on racial relations. (Information on arranging a visit.)
City and county maps: Collect local maps from the news. Create "Follow The Directions" games.
Scrapbooks: Build scrapbooks for each major cultural group represented in central New Hampshire. Have research teams concentrate on a single cultural group. Search the daily papers for articles about the groups.
Bridges between cultures: Search for local articles about problems between cultures in our community. Write class letters to business, religious, community, and political leaders who represent various cultures in the area. Ask them how school groups can build bridges of understanding between cultures.
History/heritage: Make a collection of the historical articles from the paper. Using information from the news article, plan field trips to see the places of local historical interest.
Comic puzzles: Cut out favorite comics. Cut the each frame out. Give the frames to students and ask them to figure out the order of the frames. Have them put the comic strip back together.
Cartoonists: Students select their favorite cartoons out of the newspaper. Paste their comic strip characters at the top of a large piece of drawing paper. Using these characters as models, students will build their own comic strips.
Class comics: Teams of three (Writer, Painter, Cartoonist) create their own original cartoons for a class newspaper. When the design is complete, it is taken to the Class Editor who places it on the class newspaper pages. The Class Publisher then sends the newspaper to the Xerox machine for publishing. Be sure to hang copies of the newspaper's comic pages on the walls to help student cartoonists with the problems of lay-out.
Mix 'em up: Collect several weeks of the comic pages of the Sunday edition of the Concord Monitor. Have Student Cartoonists meet together in teams to decide on a whole new comic strip that mixes characters from several different strips. Example: (Beetle Bailey goes on a trip with Garfield and Buckles).
Time warp: Pull cartoon strips from the Sunday editions. Have student writing teams mix cartoon frames from B.C. with Dennis the Menace and explain what happens next. Tell what happens when Hagar the Horrible steps into a time machine and lands in Buckles' doghouse. Garfield wanders out of his front yard into the backyard of The Wizard of Id. What would be the problems? Adventures?
Peanuts play: Peanuts by Charles Schulz is one of the most famous cartoon strips of all times. Collect eight weeks of Peanuts. Paste these strips on STORYBOARDS, large pieces of paper with the strip at the top and a description of the story underneath the strip. Tape these Storyboards to the wall and move them around until you have an outline for a PEANUTS PLAY. Give everyone a part and let them present these comic strips as a play for another classroom. Be sure to include music from the more famous Charlie Brown television shows.
Comic dialogues: Cut out comic strips from the newspaper. Cut out the dialogue balloons and paste the drawings to white paper. Students then study the drawings and decide what the characters are saying. They write the new dialogue into the balloons.
Thoughts on life: Build a large mural of famous cartoon characters. Have ARTISTS in the classroom draw full-size figures of Garfield, Buckles, Charlie Brown, Lucy, Hagar, The Wizard, The King of Id, Beetle Bailey, Sergeant, Marvin, Cathy, Hi, Lois, Dilbert, Frank, Ernest, Mother Goose, and Grimm. Then have student AUTHORS write beside each character answers to the following questions: favorite food, ideal house, favorite game, the perfect friend, What I want most in the world, favorite method of transportation, favorite hobby, What I would hate the most, Where I would like to travel, Food I would hate.
Match-up game: Have older students build a Match-up Game using cartoon pictures of famous characters on one set of cards. Then students attempt to match the Face Cards with Name Cards with Personality Cards.
Stick puppets: Cut out your favorite comic characters. Laminate them and glue to Popsicle sticks. Use the puppets to create team plays for younger children.
Writing and reading buddies: Build a mentoring program of older students who meet regularly with primary grade students as reading and writing buddies. Use the comics section as their first reading materials.
Comics and cultures: Follow the comic strips for three weeks. Cut out all the comics that deal with minorities, different languages, different cultures, or different countries.
Dream vacations: Use the Travel pages to plan your dream vacation. Use ads to figure out the costs. Draw a map and chart out the stops on your trip.
Dress-up day: Have an International Dress-Up Day. Send out study teams to locate pictures of children from other countries. Use the newspaper travel section and world news section.
Puppet shows: Build puppets from other countries. Have puppet shows retelling the favorite stories of different cultural groups.
Home and garden pages
International garden: Plant an International garden. Have parents donate plants indigenous to other countries.
Plant trivia cards: Create a set of trivia flashcards of plants and trees, include the local name, scientific name, and description of the plant or tree.
Famous actors and actresses: Study the entertainment section and make a list of famous actors and actresses and the movies they have made.
Tourist brochures: Check out the entertainment section, look for information about local museums, water parks, zoos, historical parks, theme parks. Have student tourist teams build brochures advertising favorite tourist spots.
Food section and grocery ads
Recipes around the world: Search the newspaper for recipes from other countries. Collect these recipes and build a class notebook of great food ideas from other cultures.
International luncheon: Each family chooses a country or culture and fixes a favorite dish from that culture. The dishes are set out on long banquet tables with decorations from that country and flags. Search for recipes in the newspaper's food section. Build a class recipe book to give to every family.
Products map: Have students build a mural picturing all the products that are produced in other countries and shipped into the United States. Use information and photographs from the newspaper to develop the murals.
Stock market: Each Student Business Team of three is given $10,000 to invest in the Stock Market. Using the stock prices listed in the Business Section, follow your stocks for two months. Each day the team determines the losses and profits for the stock purchased. Stocks may be bought and sold through a Stock Broker Team for a fee. A Banker Team will make loans to Student Business Teams who can convince the Bank by using business articles from the newspaper.
United States-Merchant to the world: Using a world map, have the students mark with arrows the major products that leave the United States and move into other countries. Use the newspaper as a source for this information.
National news pages
U.S. citizenship: Invite a judge to come to school to explain how immigrants go through the citizenship process.
States R Us: Build states file folders with articles and photographs. Write the state capitals for additional information.
State newspapers: Locate pen pals around the country. Have pen pals mail a newspaper from their state to your school. Compare these state newspapers with the Concord Monitor. Keep these newspapers on file in the library. The goal is to collect one paper from every state.
A melting pot: Paint a United States map on the playground courts. Write in the names of the states and also the cultures represented in our country.
Grandparents Hall of Fame: Have a Grandparents Day at the school. Invite them to share how the state has changed over this century. Ask the grandparents to bring in any old newspapers they have saved over the years.
Big book stories: Have parents and grandparents from other countries write a story from their childhood in a big book. Ask them to write it in their original language and then translate it. Look for world maps in the news that can be used in the books to locate the country.
Famous athletes: Cut out pictures of famous athletes for identification quizzes. Paste them on index cards. Write their names and important statistics on the back of the cards. Research the sports pages to find biographical information.
Olympians and other sports heroes: Build a Hall of Fame in the classroom. Using pictures and biographical information, have the class determine what sports categories will be honored and by class vote determine who will be placed in the Hall of Fame. Example: Hall of Swimmers, Hall of Football, Hall of Wrestlers, Hall of Baseball.
The Super Bowl: Student teams select their favorite football teams at the beginning of the season. Following the stats and sports reports in the paper, the teams keep current football statistics and predictions on their favorite team. Each team builds a football poster and continues to add information throughout the semester. Big Super Bowl party at the end of the season.
Action shots: The sports pages are filled with wonderful action shots. Build a collection of these pictures for story-writing projects or paragraph descriptions.
Baseball cards: Build a set of cards of your favorite team including statistics and biographical information found in the newspaper.
World news pages
Internet and the news: Select articles about other countries from the World News pages. Search the Internet for information on other countries, cultures, and holidays.
Country file folders: Build country file folders. Collect news articles, photographs, and Internet print-outs. Use this information to produce a profile of your country.
World Wide Web page: Select an article from the world news pages. Discover information about the country using your Media Center. Set up a home page on the World Wide Web inviting students from that culture to correspond. Example: Invite students from Tarpon Springs to correspond through the Internet about the Greek culture.
Pen pals and the news: When corresponding with Pen Pals from other countries, send them articles from the Monitor that gives them a picture of life in New Hampshire. Ask your Pen Pals to send you articles from their newspapers. Put these news articles in your country files.
Photo library: Build a newspaper photo library of pictures from other countries and cultures.
Country reports: Use cross-age tutoring as a strategy. Have older students teach country units to younger grade levels. Let these big brother/little brother teams search the newspapers and cut out pictures from other countries.
Choose a better way: Come to some understandings as your students dialogue with adult guests from other countries about the conflicts between cultures and how these conflicts could be prevented.
Games from around the world: Learn to play the games of other cultures. Invite parents to the class who were raised in another country. Ask them to describe games they played when they were young. Try these new games. Build a world games book with a description of the game, the rules, and a drawing of the activity. Print the book and give it to all the class. Ask the PE coach to help the class discover games from other countries. Also ask the Media Center Specialist to assist in the project.
World language tapes: Collect an audio library of people speaking in different languages. Add these tapes to your country files and newspaper articles.
World word walls: Hang large sheets of paper from the ceiling. Write lists of words (animals, foods, verbs, etc). Invite students from other cultures and languages to translate these words. Write the translations beside the lists. English-French-German- Italian-Spanish.
World library: Build large classroom libraries of folktales, songs, children's stories, fables, and histories from other countries. Add your country files and newspaper collections to the World Library. Invite students to apply for the job of World Librarian. Their job would be to care for materials, encourage students to add to the collection, and set up a check-out system for the materials.
International Day: Have an International Day in your class. Turn the classroom into a Living Museum where students collect artifacts from different countries. Collect an audio library of songs from other countries. Set up displays of artifacts in the classroom. Have students invite other classrooms to visit the museum. Train the students to serve as Curators in the museum.
United Nations: Decorate your room with the flags of the world. Have a set of nation labels available. Let students attempt to match the flags with the country names. Throughout the year, keep searching the newspaper for country articles. Set a goal of one country article for each of the world's countries.
Tree garden: Plant a tree garden in memory of children caught in war zones. Research articles about Palestine, Bosnia, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Ireland and other countries.
World families: Paint a world map on the playground courts. Ask parents to share where their families originated. Place a star on the map at those origination points.
World trouble spots: Have research team discover the major trouble spots in the world. Use the newspaper as a source for the research. Have these teams videotape their information.
World music: Ask the Music Specialist to collect music from other countries. Set aside a day to build musical instruments from native tribes around the world.
Languages around the world: Have parents, grandparents,
and students who speak other languages to develop simple language training tapes
for the students in the class. Also have the parents write headlines from the
newspaper into other languages.