January 2021 … Hats off to William Rowen Elementary School reporters who have launched the school’s first-ever health newspaper in the middle of a pandemic!
The first issue focused on COVID-related topics such as getting enough sleep especially during the pandemic and reflections on their lives during the past year. But their top story was announcing the inaugural issue of the William Rowen Healthy Roar to their school community.
“We are learning about health, and readers can learn along with us,” one reporter says in the story.
Danecia Berrian, a fifth grade teacher who is the faculty advisor of the Healthy Roar, said her reporters were so excited about their first issue that she made sure that it was posted on the school’s Facebook page before the winter holidays.
“You could see a sense of accomplishment on their faces,” Ms. Berrian said. “To see your hard work put into a living, breathing artifact that will transcend through time is a moment that can always be remembered and referred back to. I think completing the first volume, catapulted their excitement for the second volume. I can’t wait to see their finished product!”
The Healthy Roar staff has plunged into its second issue, which is expected to feature articles about germs, nutrition, and other topics.
Ms. Berrian has included the Healthy Roar in her health curriculum this year in two of her classes. She also teaches fifth grade math and science at William Rowen, which is in the School District of Philadelphia.
“Rowen students are extremely enthusiastic during our virtual lessons,” said Mia Blitstein, Healthy NewsWorks program manager. “They are curious and engaged, which makes for great reporting! I have been so impressed by the Healthy Roar reporters, which is in large part due to the consistency and dedication of their teacher, Ms. Berrian.”
In all, Healthy NewsWorks participating newspapers will have published 10 editions in December and January. The program is anticipating the start of another school program and an after-school program in the next several weeks.
In addition, Cole Manor Elementary School in the Norristown Area School District and Laura W. Waring Elementary School in the School District of Philadelphia have started the Healthy NewsWorks Cub Reporter series in second and first grade classrooms, respectively. The Cub Reporter program, which is geared to students in grades K to 3, has expanded its Hearty Kids curriculum on heart-healthy behaviors to include a series called Kind Kids. Kind Kids provides lessons on the benefits of friendship, stress reduction, and sleep.