Featured School Papers:

Know Your J-Jargon

graphics editor: Usually, the editor responsible for all non-photographic illustrations in a newspaper, including information graphics, maps and illustrations. News Reporting & Writing (Eighth Edition) by the Missouri Group. Copyright 2005. Reproduced by permission of Bedford/St. Martins.

Learn more J-Jargon »

Teaching Tips

We are collecting tips from high school newspaper advisers nationwide on how to run student publications and deal with the issues from administrators, students and parents.

9 story ideas for covering curricular activities

From the participants in the 2010 Reynolds Institute at Kent State University

  1. Stress in Testing: This could be multi-part to explain how the younger students are prepared for the state tests (in forms of meeting the government’s adequate yearly progress) or seniors taking AP or CLEP tests. Sources: principals on why the tests are important, district or state officials, and guidance counselors on what they mean for the student, and teachers in how they prepare their students. Students themselves will be great resources for it also. A side bar on sleeping/eating habits during testing time may also be useful.
  2. “Grading” for Success – How to Survive when Your Grades are Not: Discussion of how to deal with grades that aren’t necessarily what are desired would be a good article. Many complaints fly around regarding the end result with grades, and students seem to receive the same advice. Different advice from different sources would be ideal. Sources: Bringing in the advice on one educator from every discipline would yield a different opinion for sure based on the type course. Sylvan tutors would be good to references, as well as other professional tutoring businesses that specialize in study skills. A worker from the Social Equity office on campus (these offices help learning disabled students adapt to studying skills and tips on improving in class abilities). Additionally, representatives from Career Resource Centers in college can give advice and tips based on prior students with grading difficulties.
  3. Alternative credits: In a shift in the state curriculum, the state now allows students to “test out” of classes they think they might be able to bypass for higher level learning. Essentially students would be able to earn credit without setting foot in a classroom. We’ve talked about it at staff meetings, but there’s been no announcement to students. For this story, students would find out what Westlake’s policy is on testing out of classes, when this will be available, how rigorous the requirements are, if any students are doing this or have requested information about it, etc. Sources: Ohio (or YOUR state) Department of Education – website or media contact – Basics on what changed and why; Department Chairs – What departments are doing to prepare; Principal – Who is participating? Is it possible to do this now? How difficult are the tests? How do people sign up? Will this decrease class sizes or the number of teachers needed in the future?
  4. Plagiarism: Angle – define it, what is the school policy, punishment for those who get caught, what are the policies of other local schools/colleges, how can students avoid plagiarism (citing info). Sources: school handbook, principal, department chair (English would be top choice), student who got caught (might be difficult to get them to admit unless he or she wants to make others aware of what can happen), research real-life situations where students (high school or college) have lost opportunities (scholarships and/or dismissed from college).
  5. ESL freedoms : Should speaking a language other than English be allowed on a regular basis during class? Often, whether Japanese exchange students, Hispanic students, or Haitian students, during class students who are English native speakers only are offended when anything but English is spoken. What are the effects of being discouraged to speak anything but English during the regular school day? Does this reinforce current immigration laws? Sources: ESL counselor in the district discussing the ability to be bilingual and the transformation to English.
  6. English Language Learners: English Language Learners are among the fastest growing groups of students in the United States, according to The New York Times. Some high schools have large numbers of these students,. Possibilities for a package: What ELL programs does our school offer? How do kids do when immersed in a regular classroom with little awareness of the language? What are some common phrases in languages students at our high school speak? Sources: The ELL teacher, classroom teachers who have ELL students, ELL students, students part of a group for students new to the school, national trends.
  7. Dual Credit Courses: What courses are offered, how many people take them, and why do they take them? Sources: Students, counselor, teachers of dual courses. Colleges would be another great source to see if it really is a plus for students to take dual courses.
  8. A story that will cover the 50th anniversary of “To Kill a Mockingbird”: All of our junior students read the novel and we could give some background information on the book, the making of the book into a movie. The students could ask the teachers if they have anything special planned for the teaching of the book this year since it is the 50th anniversary of its publication. We could link the feature story with our “Man on the Street” feature, asking students and staff what their favorite part of the book was. Sources: Kelly Peugh-Forte (English teacher teaching the book), William Nelson (English teacher teaching the book), Joseph Scott (English teacher teaching the book), and various students and staff for “Man on the Street.”
  9. Summer reading: More and more schools are instituting required summer reading. At our school we’ve shifted in the last few years from assigning summer reading only to honors students to assigning it to all students. Reporters could do a summer reading package that could include a poll with the best and worst summer reading selections, short book reviews with photos, a man-on-the-street about whether summer reading should be required, and/or opposing viewpoints columns on the same issue. Sources: NCTE or ALA – Stats on summer reading; English department or teachers – who picks the books, how; Random students, teachers, admins — Opinions on summer reading; Is there any research on the effectiveness of summer reading?