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Our imaginary class:  Our class is a mixed group of middle level 7th and 8th grade students in a language arts classroom. There are 32 students in two sections for a total of 12 7th grade students and 20 8th grade students.These students have access to 30 laptop computers and 25 iPads that are stored in the computer lab. Our school is a small parochial school located in Cedar Falls, Iowa. We have a broad range of income levels and social and cultural backgrounds among our student population. These students have had many opportunities to use technology in their school work from as early as kindergarten, they are very techno savvy. These students have expressed an interest in creating a student newspaper.

The project: The project will be to use resources to develop an online newspaper.  This newspaper will include both local school and community, but can involve all the other components of an e-newspaper.  This will be a cross curricular project: involving the Language Arts, Social Studies, Technology, Art , and possibly Foreign Language classrooms. There are other possibilities for integration of other subject areas as the project develops.

This project will give students a chance to improve their reading and writing skills through a global audience of their peers. Students will learn about the political and social aspects of other cultures and learn more about their own community through writing and  teaching others.

There can also be a foreign language aspect to the project by having students write at least one story  in the language they are studying. The partner school would then edit and critique the story. The partner school would write one story in English and we would edit and critique their writing.

Our goal: Provide students a chance to voice their opinions and ideas about community and world events through modern day e-journalism. Learn concepts of writing different types of news stories such as opinion, editorial, informational, political. Learn about other parts of the world from the perspective of their peers. In the process of creating their online newspaper they will also learn how to use the technology required to create a finished project, concepts of layout and design of their paper and depending on their partner school a chance to practice writing in the foreign language they are studying.

Challenges: We see the most challenging barrier for this project will be finding schools to partner with on this project. Also the time frame of the project could be a problem since not all schools run on the same schedule that we do here  in the United States. The project would have to span more than one school year which could become a problem as staff and administration changes  affect the ability or desire of a partner school to continue the project.

Change in Students’ Perceptions: Students will have the opportunity to  see that some issues are the same for middle level students no matter where you are in the world. They can learn about life styles and traditions of other cultures from their age perspective. Students would also have an opportunity to ask questions about larger world topics to see how interpretations are the same and different.

Resource: http://pulitzercenter.org/blog/news-points/youth-connected-technology-and-journalism-shape-world-views

My partner: Sandra Steinfadt http://sandrasaha.blogspot.com/