Lisa Holewa

is creating content for teachers to hold class news meetings

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About Lisa Holewa

Class News Meeting

I am a national news reporter turned elementary school teacher. I worked for The Associated Press for ten years, covering stories that ranged from the horrific arrest and insanity trial of Jeffrey Dahmer to a quirky mermaid reunion show in Weeki Wachi Springs. I’ve covered hurricanes and wildfires, riots, manatee deaths, breakfast cereal, mayoral and gubernatorial elections, the ValuJet crash in the Florida Everglades, presidential campaigns, automotive earnings reports, high-profile trials, the actions of suicide doctor Jack Kevorkian, the first deaf contestant in the National Spelling Bee and many, many other newsworthy events.

After leaving the AP, I freelanced, wrote a book about teachers and then became a teacher myself. I currently teach fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade students. I began holding daily news meetings with my upper elementary class about four years ago, as a way to discuss important events going on in the world around us and help to them connect with their own communities. I saw how discussing the news helped my students feel less isolated, more aware and more willing to engage.

I’d love for all elementary school students to have the opportunity to have these discussions in their classrooms. But it’s a tricky thing. How do you talk to kids about events that even adults sometimes can’t understand? How much information is too much? Should there be limits on what elementary school students are told and can discuss? These are important questions for teachers to ask before they start having these conversations. I’d like to provide a forum for that.

I also recognize that, unlike most elementary school teachers, I came into my own class news meetings with a clear advantage: my journalism experience and first-hand understanding of how reporters do their jobs. And so, I’d like to share that.

Teachers can use my website and blog to learn about how newspapers work, the role of the press in our society, who reporters are and what they really do.  I'll share resources for teaching elementary school students about journalism. And most importantly, I'll help teachers begin their own daily class news meetings. Each day of the school year, I'll share what stories I plan to discuss as a starting point for ideas, and then update with how it went, what worked and what didn't. Teachers can share details of their own news meetings, offer ideas, or ask questions.

I’m hoping we can become a community that grows together and supports each other as we have these important, but difficult, conversations with our students, helping them understand and impact the world around them.
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