Garrison Fourth-Graders Produce Their Own Newspaper

Issue available online as Garrison Gazette on school website

Students in Amy Kuchera's fourth-grade class at Garrison School read the issue of Philipstown.info they produced, hot off the press.

Students in Amy Kuchera’s fourth-grade class at Garrison School read the issue of Philipstown.info they produced, hot off the press.

Fourth-grade students in Jennifer Kirkpatrick’s and Amy Kuchera’s classes at Garrison Union Free School this month produced their own print edition of The Paper/Philipstown.info (renamed the Garrison Gazette online) filled with news about coyotes in Garrison, blazing trails at the School Forest, how yoga can help kids, a look back at Butterfield Hospital, interviews with Superintendent Laura Mitchell and many other reports.

“After attending several workshops at Haldane on project-based learning, I wanted to incorporate an exciting, inquiry-based project during our nonfiction unit,” explained Kirkpatrick, who teaches English and social studies. In particular, she was looking for a project that addressed reading, writing and speaking standards.

Students began by reading a variety of news and feature articles from local and national newspapers. The venture’s chief editors (Kirkpatrick and Kuchera) then handed out assignment letters asking the students to produce an article aimed at the readers of Philipstown.info.

Students in Amy Kuchera's fourth-grade class check out their work.

Students in Amy Kuchera’s fourth-grade class check out their work.

“The driving question they had to keep in mind when was, ‘What is important to you in your community?’” Kirkpatrick said. Students researched their topics and interviewed community members before drafting their articles. Throughout the editing process, the teachers invited journalists and other guest speakers to help guide students and provide feedback.

The most exciting part for her, said Kirkpatrick, was the moment after the students were told to start reporting. “Once students were given their assignment letters, they asked so many thoughtful questions,” she said.

The Garrison Gazette is posted online at gufs.org.

Photos courtesy Garrison School

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