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Vogt's Notes: Newspapers used as learning tool in classrooms

Newspapers In Education Week is celebrated annually during the first full school week in March (March 4-8, 2013).

Newspapers In Education (NIE) is an international program that uses the newspaper as a teaching tool to promote and increase children’s literacy. NIE is a unique way for schools, businesses and the local newspaper to work together in a partnership that benefits everyone.

The Lake Country Echo and Pine River Journal thank the following business sponsors for allowing our newspapers to be placed in area classrooms: Insurance Brokers of Minnesota, Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union and Schaefer’s Foods for the Lake Country Echo, and Hanneken Insurance, Pine River State Bank and Cass Company Insurance Agency for the Pine River Journal.

Look for our NIE advertisements that run once a month in each newspaper, featuring students from elementary to high school who use our newspapers as part of the NIE curriculum.

This week, an ad with a photo of several students in Dan Moddes’ college economics class at Pequot Lakes High School is shown on page 11.

Following are several responses from Pequot Lakes and Pine River-Backus teachers explaining how they use the local newspapers in their classrooms.

Jon Dale, Pequot Lakes Middle School

seventh-grade teacher

My seventh grade uses the papers for power core to improve their reading skills and comprehension. We use both the Echo and the Dispatch for current event readings and lessons. The kids really enjoy both papers, especially the Echo because of the local ties to the community!

Garry Grewe, Pequot Lakes Middle School

sixth-grade teacher

The kids enjoy getting the paper every week! They use it to keep track of what’s going on in our community — sports, community events and school news. If they don’t get the paper every Thursday, the kids are asking me where it’s at!

Vicki Palmer, Pequot Lakes High School

journalism teacher

During a semester of high school journalism, we read the Echo/Journal each Thursday. We talk about smalltown media versus large city coverage. We also pay close attention to the editorial section — letters to the editor, guest editorials and political cartoons to be more aware of issues in our community/country. Before students take journalism, many of them never read or bothered to read newspapers; later, when the semester is over, they often come to my room to see if I have extras.

Michelle Holden, PR-B Elementary School

fourth-grade teacher

Students look forward to getting their Pine River Journal on Thursdays! We look for people we know in the paper, read select articles and learn about the advertising. The students then take their papers home to share with their families.

Lynn Wangberg, Pine River-Backus School

I use the Pine River Journal with all my eighth-grade classrooms. I feel it is very important that the students know what is going on in their community. We often discuss the different parts of the newspaper and where to find certain information.

For example, where do you find church news or what can you find in the classifieds, etc.

Each week students complete our Pine River Journal Scavenger Hunt, where I make questions about what is in the paper and they search through the paper to find the answers. It is so fun when they spot a friend or relative in the paper, and especially fun when they see or read about themselves in our paper.

Students become more aware of what is happening around the Pine River-Backus area.

Susan TeHennepe, Pine River-Backus

Elementary School third-grade teacher

We use the paper to look at the different parts to locate information for our test prep (state MCA testing). The kids are more interested because it is our local newspaper, and they often recognize someone they know in the paper. Last week was very exciting for them because our class picture along with the article on our Grandma Arlene was one of the feature stories!