Back to Projects

Portraits of Rochester

School: Genesee Community Charter School

City/State: Rochester, NY

Grade(s): 4

Format(s): Newspaper

Subject(s): English Language Arts, Social Studies

Project Overview

4th grade students at the Genesee Community Charter School in Rochester, New York, created this simulated newspaper as part of a Learning Expedition called “Portraits of Rochester.”

Students started by requesting information from local organizations as a way to find people in the Rochester area to interview. Each student, along with a partner, then interviewed one of these people: interviewees included a city planner, the county clerk and the mayor as well as people from local organizations.

The Learning Expedition also included researching the history of Rochester since 1945 and the newspaper includes biographical and historical information about places and people. Topics range from the race riots of the 1950s to the status of the city’s malls to the local library. It also includes other ways of engaging readers such as a puzzle and a quiz.

The layout of this newspaper was done by teachers and students but the production was done outside of the school. The work was printed on large-sized newsprint paper, folded in half to approximate the actual size and feel of a real newspaper.

How This Project Can Be Useful

  • Format allows multiple means for sharing information – text, drawings, etc.
  • Printing the newspaper on actual newsprint lends an exemplary level of authenticity to the product that makes it particularly engaging for students
  • Showing drawings by two students, side-by-side, of the same interviewee allows for a nice comparison of student work
  • Portraits show a good level of care for 4th graders – which was possible through completing multiple drafts
  • Topics of writing are compelling and diverse – from race riots to the mayor’s life history

Common Core State Standards

Standard Long Term Learning Target
  • I can write informative/explanatory texts that convey ideas and information clearly.
  • I can use grammar conventions to send a clear message to a reader or listener.
  • I can use conventions to send a clear message to my reader.
  • I use formal English when appropriate.
  • I can accurately use 4th grade academic vocabulary to express my ideas.
Back to Projects