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Showcasing Jane York and "Newspapers"


As a former art major, third grade teacher Jane York, adores activities that are hands-on.

"I started using newspaper in the classroom years ago, after I expanded an idea presented at an in-service I attended," recalled York, who teaches at Chimneyrock Elementary in Cordova, Tennessee. "The original idea was for a spelling activity in which students spelled out words. I added other subjects, definitions, cooperative groups, and time to the activity."

York uses newspapers to teach vocabulary in reading, science, and social studies. She gives her students a page of words -- students are not required to know how to spell them -- and calls out definitions. Students work in cooperative groups to choose a word that fits each definition and then spell the word with letters from the newspaper. The activity is designed to reinforce the connection between words and their meanings. York also makes use of newspapers for math, as students search for even and odd numbers, and so on.

"My students love using newspapers," York told Education World. "They've learned to develop strategies to accomplish their goal, and I feel it helps them with higher level thinking skills and problem solving. They're excited every time they see me pick up the papers. They also have learned to work in cooperative groups in a very productive manner."

Newspaper activities aren't the only entertaining outlet York implements to teach spelling and vocabulary. Her students also enjoy online games, hangman, bingo, riddles, and spelling games like Sparkle.

"I'm careful to explain each newspaper-related lesson in detail first," said York. "I demonstrate each step so students understand the activity and remember to use indoor voices. And I always remind students to work as a team."

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If you're a teacher who has completed an interesting or unusual activity with your class -- or if you know of a teacher who has -- please let us know about it. E-mail a brief description of the activity, along with your contact information, to [email protected]

Article by Cara Bafile
Education World®
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