Hands on Scholastic Journalism for youth!

A Backpack Journalist

Afterschool Expanded Day – Team Backpack Journalists

TEAMBACKPACKJOURNALISTS – “Backpack” photojournalism and storytelling program combines creative expression; writing and digital photography to complete an assignment using a project based learning approach. Students experience, the “real world”, reporting on venues and meeting face to face career professionals, artists and designers and managers within an industry, in the school classroom, or via a field trip.

The program is designed for expanded day or after school, with content and expected outcome to support ELA, and for the “Cover the Assignment”, social studies and history.

 “TEAMBACKPACKJOURNALISTS” – Signature Lesson Plans, Thematic Units and Projects.  Please note each of the following has been pilot tested and is available in a PDF, to accompany the Curriculum Package. Description follows.

“What’s your Story?” – Interviewing, photography and public speaking combined in a team building exercise is perfect for the opening days of a classroom. This will allow students and teachers to get to know one another. Students are paired with another student that they do not know, and each interview each other, using writing prompt.  Following the interview, they each introduce the new friend/student to the entire class in a public speaking exercise.  Following, each student team, work within a portable portrait studio taking photos of each other.  Each student receives a printed photo, and copy of their interview.  The teacher also receives a set for the classroom book, which also may contain the “What’s your Story” content of each student.

“The Seagull” – This is a basic writing assignment.  Students are asked to sit quietly, and shut their eyes.  Prose is read out loud to the class that is descriptive and may include works of Walt Whitman, Blades of Grass and Jonathan Livingston Seagull.  Each student is asked the following:  “you are a Seagull, and what do you see now flying in over ________________________(the name of the city), what do you see below you.  Ok, now you can see below?  Describe it in a simple sentence.  What do you smell?  What can you feel?  Is the wind blowing? And continue forward and back repeating.  This type of creative challenge will help the student to combine visual imaging in the mind, with descriptive words.   This is a great writing warm-up exercise that will help a student find writing fun.  They also draw illustrations to support their writing. Proper sentence structure, grammar and spelling while important, is not a requirement of this exercise.  This is used to help a student connect with a “movies in the mind” approach to visualizing and then by writing it out, expressing themselves.

“Our Rockwell’s” SELFIES – Norman Rockwell in his lifetime created 321 covers for Saturday Evening Post, and thousands of other works of art.  We study first the life of Norman Rockwell to understand his rise from poverty in New York City, to one of America’s greatest illustrators.   Many Americans thought Rockwell actually painted or illustrated each of his works of art from drawings.  Key to our program is that Rockwell often built a set, using people and props, and then photographed it, as a means to build his story.  From this photograph, he would then paint or illustrate the final work of art.  Each student is asked to create their own “Rockwell”.  They may wish to think about what they’d like to be one day, and then create a set design to illustrate the career or life choice. Using multiple elements, from graphics to actual props, each student is photographed and then provides a written description of this choice.  Norman Rockwell chronicled American History in so much of his work, that this session can also include a period in history and a civics lesson.

“Hats tell a story.”   This requires a selection of hats.  (note many of the dollar stores have fun hats!)   Each hat represents either an occupational career or has historical significance.  Following a portrait with the hat in place, the student researches and writes a short essay.  As each hat is presented to the class, the  Instructor shares basic information on the occupation.  Information on each hat includes quick lyrics to songs, description of the lifestyle that would follow the hat, and then the assignment to each student.  We cover Pirates, Revolutionary War Heroes, musical entertainers, military and sports, and a wide assortment of Cowboy and Cowgirl Hats with brims that tell the story.  “Hats” combine visual imaging with photography, and writing that includes some research with social studies and history.  Please note, sanitizing use of hats is important for this suggested module.

“The Life of Larry Doby” : Pride Against Prejudice, the Life of Larry Doby, Camden, SC

Objective: To research and study the life of Larry Doby, from his upbringing in Camden, South Carolina, to moving to Patterson, New Jersey when he was a young teen, and then following his journey as he played “Negro Baseball”, to joining the American League/Cleveland Indians and the Majors, once all white, in 1947, three months after Jack (Jackie) Robinson. He was often called #2, in breaking the color line. The following year, 1948, he hit the home run that won the World Series, and was featured on the front cover of the Cleveland Plains Dealer in hug with Steve Grommet, the white pitcher. The research continues on until he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998. This thematic unit correlates American History beginning in the 1940’s, when segregation was the “way of life” with Doby’s life and career, as he succeeds in Baseball. Doby’s life is a man’s journey, as he went from a world that was totally segregated to integration, resulting in a successful career. (Note:  in piloting this thematic unit, a book was published.  This lesson plan is aligned to Social Studies Standards, which include also an literacy component.

“Cover the Assignment”:   each classroom is set as a newsroom, with students assigned as reporters.  A topic to report on is agreed on by the students following a review of current affairs and interests of the students.    Topics can range from a civic based event to sports or entertainment.  Holiday activities such as Veteran’s Day or Independence Day are ideal for research as most communities will have multiple opportunities for a student to gain experience as a reporter.  TEAMBACKPACKJOURNALISTS (the class) may include often a field trip and on site interviewing and photography.  Notes are taken. Upon return to the classroom, the students transcribe their notes into full sentences on to index cards, editing teams established, and each team organizes the notes and discards the duplicate sentences.  A draft article is begun.  Photos are downloaded by a team of students and reviewed for focus and subject.  All students are contributors to a final product, whether it’s a published book or website.

AFTERSCHOOL EXPANDED DAY:  All lesson plans/thematic units are available in a PDF, for IPADS, or other readers.  When bundled with our Basic Curriculum, the cost is $100.   Our writing basics are included with our general curriculum. When purchased separately, $200.

Teacher professional development is available to support these units.  Please see curriculum description for purchasing information.  For further information:  843 284 8026 [email protected]

Hands on Scholastic Journalism for youth!
Afterschool Expanded Day – Team Backpack Journalists