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Showcasing Robert Curry nad "Spoofing the News"

As an editor of his high school paper, Robert Curry recalls channeling his love of Mad Magazine and "Saturday Night Live" into a spoof issue of the paper that was distributed on the first day of April. Now, Curry brings his humorous touch to the spring news at Vinci Park School in San Jose, California.

President Bush "joins" Robert Curry, "teacher of the year."

"During the past few years, I've been creating and using Web sites to communicate with students, parents, and the community," explained the fifth grade teacher, "as well as to deliver problem-based learning content created by myself and other teachers. I thought an April Fools' Day page would be a fun way for students and staff to have a laugh and not take themselves too seriously."

Each April, in place of his usual class Web site, Curry runs an edition packed with fictional news from his class and the school. He bases his material on real events that staff, students, and parents recognize, but Curry gives them a special twist.

"I use it as a spoof of some of the things staff, students, and parents know I overdo, such as a Web site link for every possible unit we study, or my claim to fame of spending part of every one of my past six summers in Washington, D.C.," he said. "We also gently spoof the other fifth grade teachers."

Recent editions of the April Fools' Day page have featured the rumored engagement of Curry's friend and fellow teacher to actress Jennifer Lopez, and reports of another class's trip on Monterey Bay that Curry touted as TV's new "Survivor Junior." On the fictional news page, the school lunch program, which Curry admits is an easy target, offers an "escargot pocket" in lieu of its usual "taco pocket." To give his stories an element of reality and to amuse readers, Curry publishes retouched images with his articles.

Curry "appears" with "former student," rapper Snoop Dogg.

"Because the students believed them to be real, the photos of me with President Bush, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Snoop Dog were big hits -- even after they slowly realized it wasn't for real!" reported Curry. "They know I am not a fan of 'gangster rap,' so the article and doctored photo of me with Snoop Dog was a particular student favorite."

In organizing his news page, Curry brainstorms for ideas that are current and unique to the class and school. Then he sketches the ideas on paper and gets to work. Keeping the page light and fun is important to him, so he's careful not to choose subjects that might result in hurt feelings.

"So often, creating a class Web site seems difficult and stressful, but this is a way for us to just have a load of fun," Curry added.

Images courtesy of Robert Curry.
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Article by Cara Bafile
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