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TV and Teen Drinking

§ April 28th, 2011 § Filed under Current Events, English Language Arts, Health, High School, Media criticism § Tagged , , § No Comments

Between prom and graduation, it’s the season to celebrate. The end of the school year is also an important time to talk to students about celebrating responsibly. Here is an NIE activity that can open a discussion about the dangers of underage drinking.

Researchers have found that the more television high school students watch, the more likely they are to start drinking. The characters on TV who drink alcohol are often portrayed as influential and glamorous to teens. Take the MTV show Skins for example. The first time I saw a commercial for the program I thought it was a public service announcement against underage drinking. But it’s the opposite—Skins is centered on teenagers partying and consuming alcohol.

Have your students review the television listings in the Boston Herald. Based on research and prior knowledge of the shows, students should make a list of programs that can encourage drinking. Then discuss with your class why those programs might promote drinking, and how underage drinking is harmful.

Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

This activity is adapted from the NIE and the Common Core State Standards packet. Download the complete packet available on the NIE homepage.

Designed for students in grades 9-12, this activity can complement English Language Arts, current events, media criticism, and health classes.

Nifty Newspaper Recycling Projects

§ April 22nd, 2011 § Filed under Art, Elementary School, English Language Arts, High School, Math, Middle School, Science § No Comments

Newspaper Slippers courtesty of

Courtesy of

In celebration of Earth Day, here are some fun ways to reuse old newspapers before they make it into the recycling bin.

Create Newspaper Slippers
Learn how to make one-time-use slippers that double as a great art project.

Write Newspaper Poetry
Have your students look through the newspaper for words and phrases that catch their eye. Students should cut them out and arrange them to form a poem. Then students can paste their newspaper poem on a new sheet of paper.

Courtesy of

Craft Newspaper Lunch or Gift Bags
Tired of bringing lunch to school in a brown paper bag? Make your own lunch bag—or gift bag—out of old newspapers.

Build Newspaper Towers
How tall a tower can your students build using only two sheets of newspaper?

Need even more recycling inspiration?
Check out this house in Rockport that's made entirely out of newspapers!

A Smart Way to Go Green
Another great way to reduce your carbon footprint is to read the online Boston Herald Smart Edition. It’s an exact replica of the Boston Herald print edition, but it never needs to be recycled. Teachers can order a free subscription here.

Student Jobs: McDonald’s to hire 2,200 employees

§ April 19th, 2011 § Filed under Current Events, English Language Arts, High School, Marketing, Media criticism § No Comments

Photo courtesy of

Ask someone about their first job, and there’s a good chance they worked at McDonald’s. Everyone from my high school friends to my mother started out by serving up fries. Today McDonald’s will pass down the golden arches to more young people as they hire 2,200 employees in Massachusetts during their National Hiring Day.

But teens have stiff competition. According to today’s Boston Herald, the rough economy means that more experienced workers are expected to apply for the same jobs as students.

Perhaps some of your students will take a day out of their April vacation to apply for a job at McDonald’s. When school resumes, it would be a great time to talk about employment. Read the Boston Herald article Workers of all ages vie for McJobs. Then discuss student jobs with your class.

Discussion Questions:

  • Who has a job?
  • What do you do for work?
  • Do you work with mainly older people, younger people, or do you work with a varied age range?
  • How many of you work at McDonald’s or another fast food restaurant?
  • Did anyone apply for a job at McDonald’s during National Hiring Day? Did you get hired?
  • Is anyone having trouble getting hired?
  • Has anyone been laid off?
  • How has your experience looking for a first job been different than that of your parents or older siblings? Why?
  • What are some things you can do to enhance your chances of getting hired when you apply for a job?

This activity is designed for students in grades 9-12. It can complement English Language Arts, media criticism, marketing, and current events classes.

Please review the article prior to sharing it with your students, as the Boston Herald is written for all audiences.

Contact Julie Burridge if you need help finding the article for discussion.

April Vacation Delivery Notice

§ April 18th, 2011 § Filed under NIE News § No Comments

Attention NIE teachers-- Print delivery has been canceled this week for April vacation. Delivery will resume on Monday, April 25.

Still want to read the newspaper? You can access the Boston Herald Smart Edition during school vacations.

Announcing our Flip Camera Contest Winner!

§ April 15th, 2011 § Filed under Computers and Technology, Current Events, Elementary School, English Language Arts, History, Media criticism, Middle School, NIE News § No Comments

Congratulations to fourth grade teacher Casey Deaguero from Bernazzani Elementary School! She was chosen as our Flip Camera contest winner.

Casey uses a scavenger hunt to engage students in reading the Boston Herald Smart Edition. Her activity is designed for students in grades 3-5, but it can be modified for different grade levels. Try it out with your students the next time you read the online newspaper.

Newspaper Hunt

  1. What is the month, day and year of the newspaper you are investigating?
  2. Is there an advertisement on the front cover of the newspaper for something to buy or a show to see?  If so, what is the name of the company who has an ad and what are they trying to promote or sell?
  3. Locate the blue table of contents button at the top of the screen.  What page can the “scoreboard” section be found?  How about the “news” section?
  4. Under the table of contents click on the “picture gallery.”Find a picture that looks interesting.  Then click on it and read the article.  What was it about?
  5. How would you describe today’s weather? What is the high temperature? What is the low temperature? Hint: To find the weather section, click on page two of the newspaper and look for the table of contents printed on the left side of that page.
  6. Below the weather is the TV guide.  What is the name of a show you would like to watch? What channel and time is it on?To the right of the weather is information about tides.  In Boston what time is the morning high tide? How high will it be?
  7. Browse through the newspaper until you find a page showing cars for sale.  If you could buy any car what kind would you buy?  How much does it cost? What color would you pick? Bonus Question: If the total cost of your car was paid over a 12 month period, how much would you pay each month?
  8. Find the comics section.  Read any comic strip of your choice.  Can you figure out what it is about?
  9. Browse through the newspaper until you find a page showing houses for sale.  Which house would you like to buy? What town is it in? How much does it cost?
  10. Find an ad for an item in the newspaper under $500.  How much does it cost? How much would it cost if you bought 4 of them?
  11. Look at the classified/jobs section of the newspaper.  Which one sounds interesting to you? Why? What kind of education or training do you think you would need in order to work this job?

150th Civil War Anniversary

§ April 12th, 2011 § Filed under Current Events, Elementary School, High School, History, Middle School, Science, Teacher resources, Uncategorized § No Comments

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. To find a wealth of lesson plans and interactive activities covering different aspects of the war, visit this webpage by

Don't miss the Podcast Glowing Wounds because it's a great way to connect science to history. When students listen to the podcast, they’ll find out how high school students discovered an explanation for Civil War soldiers with glow-in-the-dark battle wounds.

New Website Helps Teachers Find Better Lessons

§ April 4th, 2011 § Filed under Teacher resources § No Comments

Need ideas to help your students grasp a tricky topic? Have an engaging lesson you’d like to share with other teachers? Check out, a free Website that lets teachers find and share lessons. It was profiled in today’s Boston Herald. Click here to read the story Web co. lets teachers learn from each other.

I like BetterLesson because it's an online network just for teachers. It has a Facebook feel-- when you log on you'll find a news feed full of lessons that you might be interested in. Educators meet other teachers, post everything from single lessons to entire courses, and provide feedback on the lessons they tried.  If you want to find a quality lesson quickly, this Website is a great place to look.