Wee-Wetotem staff learning news writing
Reporters for Oneonta Elementary’s Wee-Wetotem are learning first hand the excitement, boredom, pressure, fun, hard work, and even the perils that are associated with putting out a newspaper.
The students quickly adopted every writer’s goal – to see their names in print. A byline of their names makes them “very proud.” When the printed newspaper is distributed throughout the school each month, the staff says they have “a great feeling of accomplishment.”
Teacher Denise Eller initiated the newspaper project as a unit for study for students in the school’s gifted program. It turned out so well that superintendent Bill Burdette suggested the newspaper be commercially printed and the decision was made to continue its production monthly.
Each edition takes more than 32 hours of preparation (of more than one student working) including students using the class’s Apple computer to word process the articles and layout pages.
Elementary students in the gifted program learn typing using a special computer program, and fifth and sixth graders generally handle the word processing chores.
Typical editions of the Wee-Wetotem include articles on an elementary teacher of the month, sports, special projects of classes, and a photograph called “What’s Happening.”
Students also create word problems, puzzles, and recipes.
Eller says 1,000 copies of the paper are published monthly and distributed at the school. So that the student body doesn’t have to pay for copies of the paper, staffers make the Wee-Wetotem self-supporting by selling advertising.
Jennifer Littleton is in charge of selling the ads to local businesses, and Eller received many comments on the fifth graders “professionalism.”
Eller says the newspaper is fast becoming a school paper, with students in other classes contributing poems and articles for publication.
She hopes a darkroom at the school can be used next year in teaching the staff how to develop photographs so they won’t have to wait while the prints are made away from campus.