Earth Stream Teen Magazine Publication Link
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When I started teaching this amazing group of students at SLA, I knew that we'd do some great work together. I wanted to make sure that my students had authentic experiences as readers and writers. So this quarter, we have worked together to create this teen magazine. Our hope is that this project will inspire other classes to create similar work. If you like our work, please share it widely and leave us comments because we are eager to hear from you. Thank you for checking out our work.
At the beginning of our first quarter Ms. Rami explained to us how she wanted us to do “real” learning instead of “fake” learning. A common theme in high school english is that the teachers will assign their students a book to read and a large portion of the students will only read a little of the book but pretend that they did. If there is no real reading than classroom discussions become fake and mundane. We as a class wanted to be real readers. The kind of readers that challenge ourselves and motivate others to do the same. Another aspect of “real learning” is writing. This quarter we have focussed on making our writing real and relevant which is where this magazine comes into play. At first the magazine was just an idea but then it turned into this amazing project.
During one of our first classes of the 2nd Quarter Ms. Rami introduced the project to us. She had us brainstorm different ideas that we would want to write our articles on. The following week we sat around in a circle and had a class discussion on ideas. Some of the braver more confident people jumped at the chance to share their ideas. Meanwhile the more hesitant listened from the side. When someone shared their idea either Ms. Rami or other students would recomend other things that they could add to their idea making it something more specific or letting it go a little deeper. Eventually the shy bystanders started to share their ideas and there began to be a sense of what this magazine would end up looking like. It was great to see the ideas float around and begin to form into their full glory. Our assignment at the end of the class was to decide the final topic that we wanted to work on and if their were other people we could work with.
Once each of us had come up with our solid ideas and figured out if it was going to be a partner article or not we started to learn how to write articles in an appealing way. We read “Saying No to College” at our tables in class and took out parts that stood out to us. Then as a group we talked about those parts and how we can implicate them in our articles. We also talked about what parts we didn’t like which is an important part of a discussion. A really interesting thing that we did was we got the opportunity to skype in with Kristen Graham, a Pulitzer Prize winner, about her experience as a journalist. We all got the opportunity to ask her questions about how she gets the stories, what it is like to have a career as a journalist. From her we were able to get the advice we needed to really get started.
A big part of any magazine is making it turn into a well written, visually appealing piece of work. In order to make that possible a couple of people needed to volunteer to do some extra work. There were a couple different roles that needed to be filled. We needed someone to make a name for the magazine, copy editors, photo and art editors, visual layout designer, and someone to get the word out to everyone. Lastly we needed a couple people to oversee all of those roles. It was surprisingly easy to get all of those rolls filled. The simplicity of that showed how interested and excited everyone is about this project.
In the last stages we have a deadline for the rough draft to be due. The classes leading up to the deadline have been fully work periods in which the different people can work together to get the article ready for edits.
As a part of the editing process we were given a sheet to fill out. The sheet needed to be filled out by the lit lab that we have during lunch periods. The Lit Lab is a place where a couple of stellar students can help out other students by proof reading their writing work.