When Julius E. Sprauve School’s third graders saw the Source news story about the territory’s teacher of the year, Jeune Provost, they were inspired to publish their own newspaper, the 3rd Grade Student News.
Provost also happens to be a third grade teacher at the school so she was in the right place to organize the effort.
“People can read about what happens in school and the third-grade class,” student Jerah Richardson, 8, said.
Provost said the newspaper also addresses what she sees as a disconnection between the school and the community, and the paper will get the word out about good things going on at the school.
To get the project rolling, she picked the names of four students out of hat. She said this means that the third graders participating in the newspaper project have a range of abilities. The way she selected the students drew mention from one student.
“We threw our names in a box,” Audena Pickering, 9, said as the budding reporters gathered for an interview.
According to student Mariela Reynosa, 8, the student reporters came from both Provost’s and teacher Brenda Brown’s third grade classes.
When asked if any of them wanted to be reporters, all raised their hands. While it’s unlikely that all eight of them will follow that career path, Provost and school Principal Ellen Francois both said this experience will give them a taste of what it’s like to be a reporter.
“They researched, interviewed and wrote,” Francois said.
The students liked that part too.
“I like it when I get to ask questions,” Ty’ah Smith, 8, said.
Delisha Hill, 9, said the writing was the hardest part.
“But we get to write anything we want,” Jah-Niqueqa Henry, 8, said.
Working on the newspaper also gives them a view into the workaday world they’ll face when they grow up. In fact, Provost had to fire a boy who didn’t get his story in on time. She said she tries to make it a realistic situation.
“This is a job. If you don’t put in the work and don’t show up on time …” Provost said.
However, she said the boy will get another opportunity to participate. Other students will too because Provost said the staff changes every month.
The students meet before class to brainstorm ideas for the issue. They then get their assignments and do their interviews. The students type their stories into the computer, with Provost and Brown doing the final editing. Provost said she has a template that enables her to simply paste the stories in for printing on the school’s computer printer.
While she initially printed enough copies so each of the school’s approximately 25 teachers could have a copy for their class, she said when the March issue comes out, she’ll do more because the demand was high.
The one-page 3rd Grade Student News features interviews of students and stories about school happenings.
“I like to read the joke of the month,” Negesti Dennis, 8, said.
Most of the students said they really enjoyed putting the 3rd Grade Student News together.
“And telling people third grade is fun,” Yuli Potter, 9, said.