May 2011…The National Education Association Foundation has posted a story and photos about the growth of healthy newspapers in the Norristown (PA) Area School District.
Norristown teachers received $5,000 from the foundation two years ago to further develop the program in the elementary and middle schools. The school district currently has student-produced health newspapers in seven schools that are part of the Healthy NewsWorks program.
“We expanded involvement by both teachers and students,” Lorette Vacchiano, one of the Norristown teachers who oversaw the grant, said in the foundation’s web article. “In the process, we have laid the groundwork for sustainability of the program.”
She also was quoted in the article as saying that the newspapers are used in classrooms as a teaching tool.
For instance, the video accompanying the story illustrates how the papers can lead to lessons for other students in the school. After finishing a unit about plays, students in a second and third grade classroom wrote and acted in their own “commercial” to promote their paper, the Cole Manor Healthy Comet.
Beyond learning reporting and writing techniques, Mrs. Vacchiano said, the newspaper experience helps the student journalists become more poised, responsible and collaborative.
“This is really a big deal for us here,” Mrs. Vacchiano said in the website article. “We are so proud.”