This year I wanted to try something different for lunch time activities than the double groups of Think Green I had last year, and the Scratch that went on for several months. Last year I realized that only 1 group of students taking part in Think Green was enough. For the extra time, I needed something else that the students could be interested in.
My first thought was The Student Blogging Challenge. It is an awesome concept. However, the only problem is that its start date is right up against the beginning of school, and it is very difficult for me to free myself up during that time. They do a second challenge in the Winter, so I believe I will pursue it then instead.
Blogging was on my mind though, so I thought about getting the students involved with a school blog, one that would be similar to the classic "School Newspaper". I could get some students involved in writing about the school, or things that they thought were interesting. We could start with a text and image based blog in the fall, and maybe after Christmas try to extend it to an Audio podcast, and perhaps, if everything worked, we could even try video later in the year. After some thought, and speaking to a journalist I know, I thought I would go with this.
For the extra time I had available, instead of one long term project I could instead do shorter ones. The blogging challenge lasts for approximately 10 weeks, and the I could bolster that with some other activities like Scratch, or even a take-apart computer club I thought about.
I presented the journalism idea to the students in Grade 6 and got an overwhelmingly positive result. We met yesterday with the roughly 19 students who showed interest to do a preliminary talk about what we would do, what we could call it (MQP Journalism sounded somewhat stuffy), and so I could pass out permission slips.
I told the students that most of the time I would like them to suggest what we were going to do, but for right now, with the elections going on, I was going to direct them. After that there would be several weeks where we ironed out details on posting and using Google Apps.
When it came to naming, one student had an excellent idea, suggesting we call it "The Queen's Columns", because we were at Mary Queen of Peace, and columns would be similar to a newspaper. The idea met with great approval from the other students.
So we meet again on Monday to discuss our first job, which is finding out who our election candidates are, and writing some questions for them.