This week at school there was one consistent conversation in the halls and classrooms on the 4th floor: underage drinking, facebook, and getting called out on it by a peer. Who was the “snitch” who printed out photographs from facebook and gave them to the dean? Why did they do it? What would happen? Could the school do anything? Why this week when so much was riding on the early college application process? How would parents react?
It was a wake up call that my journalism class reported on, working in groups on the many parts of the story, interviewing parents, students, and administrators. This was the perfect teachable moment: how do you write objectively when you are scared and angry? The school reacted wisely, the kids discovered, and we are publishing a broadside on Monday (maybe Tuesday morning) with all of their stories because, even though they asked for them, the school newspaper editors did not use the j-class stories but chose to let a senior buddy write a piece that was full of inaccuracies and connotative language.
In that broadside we also get to publish the results of the pre-election poll of 75% of the upper school students, fielded by the history elective in participatory democracy and compiled by the qualitative statistics class. This will be a tough story to write quickly, but I’ve got just the students to do the job. Collaborative writing on a deadline for publication – thank heavens for Google Docs!
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There is also a good lesson here for students about leaving their digital footprints or faceprints. Educators need to help address the issues.
Best wishes with the Monday morning deadline. Writing with a purpose squared!
Thanks for the good thoughts – I know we can do it! We talked a lot in my senior classes about digital footprints and how something posted never really goes away. They we all so surprised! We need to do a better job with this, I agree.