May 31, 2017

Creating digital magazines brings nonfiction to life for sixth graders

Digitalmagcupcakes copy

Ames Middle School sixth grade students are ready with an answer in case anyone asks what they learned this year.

In their hands are printed versions of digital magazines the students researched, wrote, and designed for literacy class to show what they learned studying nonfiction text structures and writing processes throughout the year.

Literacy teacher Drew DeJong said the literacy team, as a professional Learning Community, created the magazine project so students could demonstrate understanding of sixth grade learning standards such as identifying the author’s purpose and the structure of a text. The students were expected to create two articles over a topic they chose, using a different text structure for each article.  Chris Douglas, who also teaches sixth grade literacy, said, “I loved teaching the project because it truly incorporates all the elements of literacy that we cover throughout the year.”

The magazine project kept student Abby Cuva engaged in learning all year.  “We had a lot of freedom and we spent a lot of class time focusing on writing about things that interest us,” she said.

For Ally Donavon, the magazine project presented unique opportunities to use technology. “The project let us explore some new programs on our computers,” she said.

When students finally pulled together their project in a digital magazine, they created their own cover page, table of contents, fun pages and other magazine features. The finished files were sent to District’s production coordinator for printing.

“The looks on the students faces when they receive their magazine is something really neat,” DeJong said. “Since each text structure is so different, this project really lets the students show off what they have learned over the year and put their own creative twist on it!”

For Ally and Abby,  the creative twist for their digital food magazine was baking and bringing to class a batch of cyclone-themed cupcakes.