The Observer Staff Visits 5th Graders At McAlister Intermediate School

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Photo courtesy of McAlister Intermediate School

Suffield Observer columnist Andy Sauer explains the different kinds of stories readers find newsworthy to 5th grade students at the McAlister Intermediate School. Fifth graders at McAlister are learning about journalism and how to write news articles as part of a nonfiction writing unit. Managing Editor Ann Kannen is seated next to Andy; writer Krystal Holmes (fifth grade parent) was present as well.

On December 3 and 4 the fifth-grade students got a visit from the staff at The Suffield Observer. The fifth-grade teachers asked the Observer to talk to the students as part of their journalism unit.

Do you ever struggle to think of an idea to write about? Well, students also struggle sometimes, and the staff at the Observer opened up their presentation by explaining how they get ideas for articles. Another thing they talked to us about is that your facts need to be true because you don’t want people to get false information.

The Observer staff told our class that in order to become a good journalist you need to develop a rough draft and then revise, revise, revise. The Observer has several editors who review every article multiple times. Then, when they organize the articles to fit on the pages sometimes they have to revise the article a final time to shorten or lengthen the article to fit properly on the page. The amount of work necessary to prepare the Observer, or any newspaper, surprised me and my classmates.

A very important thing that we learned was that there are a lot of people behind the Observer; it is mostly run by volunteers. It goes to show that they are very passionate about being a journalist. The Observer staff encouraged students to become journalists themselves and write articles that hopefully can be published in the paper.

I  hope this article encourages people to write their own article. I really appreciate The Suffield Observer coming and talking to the fifth grade. I bet you don’t think about how much work people put into it, but it is a lot.

I never would have thought about writing an article, but here I am writing an article. 

Editor’s Noteon the McAlister Visit

In mid-December, several Suffield Observer staff members got the opportunity to speak to fifth graders at McAlister Intermediate School (MIS) about journalism. 

Board member Krystal Holmes, created our presentation to the MIS students who were beginning a unit on journalism. 

Beth Chafetz, former English teacher at SMS for 15 years and co-editor of the Observer, gave pointers about the writing process. 

Andy Sauer, experienced journalist, who writes a monthly Observer column “Suffield Observations” provided insight into how a writer gets his/her ideas from their daily observations. 

Ann Kannen, Managing Editor of the Observer, explained the inner workings of the Observer and how over 100 volunteers work together throughout the year to get the paper published and distributed. 

The Observer staff was impressed by the questions and interactions of the students.We look forward to receiving articles from the students in the future.

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