Cub reporters: Elementary schoolers start newspaper

Nov 18, 2022

Music critics raved about the Cape Symphony’s latest performance. Don’t believe us? Just ask Wareham Elementary School third grader Peyton Pease. 

“I really liked hearing the water splash when they played ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,’ Pease said.

Pease, along with 180 other students, attended the performance at the Barnstable High School Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, Nov. 15. It was the first assignment for the school’s new student newspaper, which Wareham Elementary School Principal Bethany Chandler said is in its earliest stages.

The idea for the newspaper came from a desire to introduce reading and writing to students in nontraditional ways.

“We want students to build knowledge through a non-fiction lens, and to explore more with current events,” Chandler said.

Inspiration partly came from Mike Schmocker’s book “Focus,” which advocates a simple-is-best approach for improving learning.

“What’s better than [writing for] a newspaper to gain real world experience?” Chandler said.

Chandler plans on starting the newspaper with fourth graders, and hopes that students from other grades will submit their work as well. They can submit news reporting about local events, along with poems, comics and jokes.

Students got their first taste of reporting at the symphony, where they took notes on their favorite parts to include in their article.

“I liked when the conductor used the wand as a broom,” said third grader Elliot Pereira.

The “water splash” sound that Pease enjoyed was actually cymbals crashing, causing even Assistant Principal Sara Russo to jump from her seat. Russo, who organized students attending the event, explained that during one of the songs, the conductor instructed the audience to close their eyes and imagine the conducting baton as a broom.

For many students, this was their first time attending a symphony orchestra. Not only were students gaining experience as reporters, but they could also also consider the possibility of playing an instrument in the school band once they reach fourth grade.

“I want to play the cello,” said third grader Cameron Norton, who was inspired by Cameron Renshaw, an 11-year-old cellist who performed with the orchestra.

“I learned about how all the instruments sound when they are played together,” said third grader Charlotte Casey.

The notes that the young reporters took during the concert will be put to use for their first article. According to Chandler, they hope to start writing after Thanksgiving with their first edition coming out around January of next year.

“We want to put something in their hands that they want to read — something that they created,” Chandler said.