HARVARD -- Hildreth Elementary School teachers made a special presentation at the school committee meeting Monday night about the Feature Article Project for fifth-graders.

The Feature Article Project is a readers' workshop designed to incorporate reading and writing skills into technology. The workshop helps students design their own magazine article by analyzing articles in Time.

By reading other magazine articles, the students are taught to become critical thinkers, learning to question whether the story is supported by fact or opinion. Through this method, students learn note-taking skills while choosing their own topic using library resources.

The fifth-graders are encouraged to support their topic using at least three different references. One required source is the Internet. Students are taught how to navigate online to find credible resources, yet also be discriminating when it comes to finding evidence to support their topic as everything posted on the Internet is not true.

The students are then taught computer word processing skills with Microsoft Word and including how to store data on flash drives.

Next, they are taught how to publish their story using Microsoft Publisher where they design their story into a two- or three-column article. With Microsoft Publisher, students learn to insert charts and graphics and paste images from the Internet into their article.

Students also used Microsoft Publisher to design bullying brochures to pass out to children in lower grades.


The teachers said that the students are highly engaged in the project, coming up with a writer's voice and a call to social action. Two of the articles presented focused on smoking and its effects and the speed and strength of hurricanes and the damage it does.

"The good news is that children are learning technology," said Chairman SusanMary Redinger, "The bad news is they'll be out-pacing me soon!"