ELA Activity| Making A Homeschool Newspaper|
We are midway through the year and everyone feels a bit burnt out so I decided to canvass the next weeks’ lessons and come up with an alternative activity to develop the same skills but in a different, more hands-on way. I found that for ELA (English Language Arts) my 3 youngest were working on capitalization, comma placement and sentence structure. So instead of doing that weeks’ worksheets, we did an ELA activity for the whole family. We decided on making a homeschool newspaper and named it “Ridiculous Times”. My preschool friend even got in on the fun as she traced the letters for the title and solved the who-gets-to-do-the-front-page dilemma.
After examining a real newspaper, the kids brainstormed what content belongs in their newspaper. They decided on famous birthdays, arrest records, the weather, advertisements with coupons and articles. I asked each of the three to type one article about a topic of their choice. They wrote about the election, the new TMNT series and the new season of a of a show. I asked them to each create one ad with coupons, just for fun. Lastly they split the remaining three topics, my 6th grader did an arrest record of made up people and crimes, my 5th grader listed famous birthdays of actual people and my 3rd grader did the weather based on our next weeks forecast.
As they worked I guided them to improve capitalization, punctuation and sentence structure. I don’t grade or give scores, instead I converse with them about the work they do while they’re doing it. Throughout the activity there are lots of guided revisions, hints and proof-reading aloud. After all their hard work they were 100% sure they had perfected everything, so we printed, glued and called it complete!
The lists and articles were great for hitting the subject matter of their curriculum workbooks. The 5th and 6th graders were both reviewing the proper way to write the date, so for each arrest or birthday on their lists they were to type the date in a particular form. They all had “spot-the-mistake” worksheets for capitalization, punctuation and spelling errors, so editing their articles was a real application of the original activity. The older two were also asked to cite the sources they used to write their articles at the bottom of the page. The weather activity for my 3rd grader was meant to boost moral and be fun because he didn’t have another learning standard or strand to hit based on his curriculums work. He is not a fan of ELA and would much rather be doing math so contributing a simple, bright-colored diagram was a happy medium since he also needed to write an article. The ads were not linked to any learning progression and I did not require any specifics except the two coupons and some color. Their ads were for Flextape, State Farm and Copcon, the personal assistant/ defender that my third grader invented for his ad.
We printed on colorful paper, used fun clipart, illustrated original pictures and made silly advertisements; all to make a project based learning opportunity that our children really responded to! I love the simplicity of the curriculum we are using(easy-peasy all-in-one) but I also love turning a simple skill builder into something bigger and more exciting! I saw a lot of growth as the kids worked and I saw a lot more potential since they did engage so well. I have to say this is currently my favorite ELA activity for the whole family and we will definitely be making a homeschool newspaper again!