When Nancy Mead, a veteran teacher at Jones Elementary School in Gladstone, Michigan, started a class newsletter, little did she know that her kid reporters would eventually have the chance for a national readership. Mead gives weekly assignments to her students, who chronicle class activities on AlphaSmart Neos, low-cost word processors that act as laptop alternatives. The reporters also take digital photos and beam copy and images to Mead’s computer via infrared. “The students love it. They feel important when they take the briefcase home with the AlphaSmart and the camera,” she explains. “And it gives them another avenue to practice writing skills.
”This March the students will show their work to the world when they contribute to The National Neo, an online newspaper written by students for students. Renaissance Learning, the manufacturer of the Neo, is hosting the project. “To have the students’ work put on a national web site is an exciting way to get them motivated about writing,”says Jones.
Pamela Derringer is a contributing writer for Scholastic Adminstr@tor magazine.