by Cori Hilsgen
All Saints Academy fifth-grade students in Tess Koltes’ classroom recently learned how to interview for, write and publish a newspaper.
The class includes 10 boys and six girls who wrote the fall edition of the paper. The ASA sixth-grade class will write the spring edition.
Koltes teaches fifth- and sixth-grade writing. She said it’s the best subject to teach because students share their personal hopes, dreams and aspirations.
Koltes said the paper was part of the language arts standards for fifth grade. She began the project by brainstorming ideas and the students added other topics.
“They have amazing ideas and when they began brainstorming together, the ideas expanded and mushroomed into a smorgasbord of ideas,” Koltes said.
Some of the topics the students chose to write about included Toy Bingo, a Halloween party, field trips, volleyball, soccer, football, band, the Christmas program, Spanish, school Mass, the Workathon, Kindergarten buddies, Knowledge Bowl and more.
Students learned the interviewing process, various newspaper terms such as headline, byline and placeline, how to write an eye-catching title, how to write quotations, the difference between fact and opinion, how to write paragraphs, to check if the five Ws (who, what, when, where and why) are present and more.
They used Google Drive and placed their articles on Google Docs to share with Koltes. Stories were evaluated by their peers on a peer-evaluation form.
The students wrote the articles and Koltes did the editing and layout of the paper. In the future, she said she hopes to instruct the students how to do that process also.
Students commented about what they learned while creating the newspaper.
“I learned how to write in third person,” Colin Klein said.
“I learned how to make people excited about the article and how to get their minds flowing with the opening sentences,” Kenzie Finken said.
“I learned you can learn a lot about people,” Alaina Botz said.
Claire Sia Su said she learned how to put interview questions into an article and Jaedyn Nydeen said she learned the importance of having a good lead-in sentence that brings people into the article.
Students also commented what they liked best about creating a newspaper.
“I liked interviewing people,” John Hawkins said.
“I liked brainstorming all the topics together in class,” Max Meyer said.
“I liked choosing a topic to write (about) and making up the title of the article,” Mary Morris said.
Brennan Thielen said he liked interviewing classmates to learn their points of view.
Koltes said the students are wonderful writers and are a creative group. She said she hopes to be able to really stretch them by the time they leave sixth grade.
A copy of the paper was printed for the classroom and it was also loaded to the school’s webpage for parents and others affiliated with the school to view. Some articles might also be published in the school yearbook.