Talk of the Hawk available online

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On Educating LaRue County column

By Ron Benningfield

Summer Garris’s Twenty-first Century Publishing class is producing a LaRue County High School online magazine that reports on a variety of student interests.

“Our goals for this publication are to provide a magazine for students by students (written about issues LCHS students care about) and to create a means of capturing the ‘essence’ of LCHS from a student perspective,” said Garris who heads the school’s English department.

The idea of having a school publication is not new, according to Garris.

“Several years ago, we offered a writing techniques class where students created a print newspaper,” she said. “When students received lap-top computers (Laptops of LaRue in which each high school student was been issued a computer last fall), it just made sense to reconfigure the idea to go digital.”

Paul Mullins, the high school principal, suggested re-creating the course to allow students to publish a newsletter digitally (The publication is available solely online at: http://issuu.com/lchs21stcenturypub/docs/talkofthehawk_v1/1?zoomed=&zoom....

The class is similar to a journalism course, but offers students an array of means to publish their original works.

“We are currently working on an advertising project, where students will produce advertisements for our school clubs and organizations, so the course is not limited to publishing just feature articles,” said Garris. “It is a writing course, with most of the course instruction focusing on generating writing pieces, editing and revising writing pieces, and publishing those pieces.”

Every student in the class works on the publication, advertising the magazine, writing articles, creating cartoons, editing for other students and formatting the magazine.

Garris’s students write about what they know ñ personal experiences, activities in which they are involved, and subjects relevant to them. Early in the course, students decided sections which would be of high interest in the magazine. They included life outside of school, how to deal with issues, sports, extra-curricular activities, entertainment, fashion and student life.

“In the early stages of each edition, we have a lot of class discussions where students brainstorm ideas for articles that would fit into these categories,” said Garris.

The class goal is to do four publications for the school year.

“Since students did not receive their laptops until October, we were a bit late in rolling out our first edition,” said Garris. “In the future, we will have four quarterly editions, but for this year, we may only do three.”

Part of their challenge is learning the technology, figuring out the best and most efficient ways to generate and publish their work and working through the logistics of the project.

“We are getting the hang of it, though, and hope to have our second edition out early next week with a third edition in the works right after that,” she said.

The 24-page first edition covered a variety of subjects ranging from being a new student to an article on 2012 and the Apocalypse. The writers gave advice on preparing for college, discussed the effect of metal music on behavior, the safety and (sometimes) danger of wearing vehicle seatbelts and other topics relative to teens.

Erika Bowles is the chief editor, working with co-editors Shelby Sullivan and Tyler Litton. They receive drafts from students and format those into the final publication after meeting with individual writers to suggest final editing.

Garris said few members of the class have expressed an interest in media broadcasting or journalism.

“Being a brand new course, many students did not have any idea as to what type of course this would be,” she said. “However, some have expressed interest in the field.”

The LaRue County Herald News’website has a link to “The Talk of the Hawk” at www.laruecountyherald.com.