Philadelphia students embrace new responsibility

October 2013…Kathy Turner of Philadelphia’s James Dobson Elementary School said the Healthy NewsWorks student media program will give her students the opportunity to learn real-life skills and gain health knowledge.

Ms. Turner, a sixth and seventh grade teacher, became one of Healthy NewsWorks’ newest editors in September. Dobson is located in the Manayunk section of Philadelphia. The program “is a great opportunity for the students to work on nonfiction writing through a newspaper,” said Ms. Turner, who has been a teacher for 19 years.  She expects it will also help her seventh grade students fulfill the nonfiction reading and writing requirements of the Common Core State Standards.  “I believe that they will have a better understanding and approach to nonfiction materials because they will have had experience writing it,” she said.

Dobson’s health newspaper, called the James Dobson Fit Fin, will become a point of pride for the students to share with their parents, she said. “It can also relay messages to make the student body healthier.”  In particular, Ms. Turner said her student journalists can educate other students about the importance of being mentally healthy and help them identify areas of stress relief. Many children don’t recognize mental health as a health topic, she said.

Although her seventh graders began training as reporters only in September, Ms. Turner said they already feel proud that they’ve been given the responsibility of producing the school newspaper.

Another Philadelphia school, AMY Northwest (Academy for the Middle Years) in the Roxborough section, joined the program in late October.


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