I am a national news reporter turned elementary school teacher. I worked for The Associated Press for ten years in Florida, Michigan and Wisconsin, covering stories both weighty and light-hearted. My journalism experiences range quite literally from the horrific arrest and insanity trial of Jeffrey Dahmer to a quirky mermaid reunion show in Weeki Wachi Springs. I’ve covered hurricanes and wildfires, riots, manatee deaths, breakfast cereal, mayoral and gubernatorial elections, the ValuJet crash in the Florida Everglades, presidential campaigns, automotive earnings reports, high-profile trials, the actions of suicide doctor Jack Kevorkian, the first deaf contestant in the National Spelling Bee and many, many other newsworthy events.
After leaving the AP, I freelanced, wrote a book about teachers and later became a teacher myself. I teach fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders. I began holding daily news meetings with my upper elementary class about four years ago, as a way to discuss important events going on in the world around us and help them connect with their own communities. I saw how discussing the news helped my students feel less isolated, more aware and more willing to engage.
I recognize that I came into my class news meetings with a clear advantage over most teachers: my journalism experience and first-hand understanding of how reporters do their jobs. And so, here I’d like to share that.
I hope to answer your questions, perhaps give you some confidence starting out. I welcome your suggestions. I’d love to hear what works for you, and what just doesn’t. And I think ideas get stronger when they’re bounced around amongst people who care about them. So let’s get started.
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