Sunday, December 6, 2009

Camp Kettle Newspaper

To guide our little bunny trail study of the Civil War which is actually taking the lion's share of our time, we've been using the Civil War unit of the Time Travelers History Study Series from Homeschool in the Woods. I first used one of Amy Pak's studies last spring when we used Time Travelers New World Explorers. When I went to the LEAH convention in Rochester last June, I was able to see the Civil War notebook and lapbook all finished and it looked terrific. Between the kids and I being sick and Thanksgiving and all our lego busyness, we haven't gotten terrifically far, but we are plodding ahead at the request of the E11 and R9, who are not finished exploring this era of American history.

As part of the study, we are constructing a newspaper. During the Explorers Unit, I had the kids do the Explorers Weekly by themselves, but this time I decided to have them work on it together. First, I thought I'd take a moment to officially explain the idea behind a newspaper article. I offered an example of Kit Kittredge, whose movie the older kids watched in the theater when it came out. But...they told me they really knew how to write a newspaper article from playing Liberty Kids! Apparently, you have to write articles as part of the game play. That was cool. But...a teacher never misses the opportunity to post reminders on the nearest chalk board. Ahem.

The Time Traveler CDs come with many templates and graphics. This is one of the templates for The Camp Kettle. Each week there is a new set of headlines. This is the paper the kids were working on when I mentioned it in the article, Using Books to Inspire. I7 came up with the book title and R9 described the missing/wanted runaway slaves.

These are the rough drafts of the articles the older kids wrote. They both did a great job at succinctly providing the information for the articles. We edited together. E11 had the fanciest run on sentence going so he fixed that nicely. R9 has some spelling to work on (lest you think my children are perfect students!), but she had one flawless sentence which made us both smile! She has a real thing for not capitalizing the beginning words of sentences for example. This was definitely cause for a celebration! I've actually begun All About Spelling (review coming very soon) with R9 to see if we can help her establish some more spelling conventions. She's a heavy reader so that isn't it. E11 is a natural speller. So much so that we really just address what is wrong in his writing and typically he can fix it himself unless the word is completely counter-intuitive.

Although the spelling leaves something to be desired, R9's composition is quite good! Here is her article:

Slaves Continue to Escape! "Moses" Leads Many to Freedom

Owners are mad. Moses, also known as Harriet Tubman, helps saves to escape! Slaves are fleeing with Moses to freedom! During the night, Moses and the slaves start their journey to freedom. Slaves are disappearing from plantations. If you are wondering why, the answer is because they want freedom.

Below is E11's brief article about John Brown:

"Bleeding Kansas" John Brown Leads Raiding Party

John Brown, a Connecticutican born in 1800, led a small raiding party along Pottawatomie Creek. He and his men killed five pro-slavery men before being forced to leave Kansas and move to Maryland after James Buchanan put a price on his head.

All we have left to do now is type these and place them on the newsletter template. This week there will be new articles to write.


School for Us said...

What a great idea! I think writing newspaper articles is a great way to both show what the kids have learned and reinforce that learning. And, at the same time, you get to work on spelling, grammar, etc, in a fun way! Hmmm... I'll have to think about what topic we can do with this idea.

Lynn1 said...

Heather, I loved this post. Writing up newspapers and newspaper articles is one of the things I want to incorporate with our Ambleside Online books and creative writing assignments. I just need to quit having medical and pet emergencies and maybe we'll actually get something done!

I sure know how it is to have a natural speller and one who doesn't naturally spell well. Born from the same parents but so different!


Samvach said...

Thank you for posting examples of your children's writing. I find that extremely helpful.