Bowdoin Central School teachers Katie Benner and Steve Crowe are encouraging students to share their voice through the school’s new student newspaper. (Chris Quattrucci/The Times Record)

BOWDOIN — For a little over an hour each Wednesday, a classroom full of elementary school students transforms into a bustling newsroom.

Assignments are handed out, current events discussed, each student given their own responsibility and a chance to share their voice through writing.

The classroom turned school paper is the vision of Bowdoin Central School teachers Katie Benner and Steve Crowe, who hatched the idea over the summer. Students will make their first foray into the journalism industry this fall, producing a publication called The Bear Broadcast.

“Literacy is a passion of mine,” said Benner. “I’ve always wanted the kids to have different opportunities to write for a greater audience than just their classroom.”

The initial news staff will have 12 students in grades 3-5. The plan is to have four issues for each season, with the opportunity for more students to join. To encourage writing on a school wide level, students from other classes will be able to submit their writing for the paper.

“You want the kids to want to write and try something new,” said Benner. “Some of the sections they want to put in the paper we’ve had to do a little bit of direction and leading, but for their first time ever writing we really want them to choose.”

At their most recent meeting, the paper’s young staff worked on its news writing skills. Huddled around a table, the the young journalists developed ledes for a story about a recent “egg drop” demonstration at the school.

The demonstration was meant to help explain gravity, which the students noted in their story, but the developing story included the imagination and observation one might expect from young writers. The splat of the egg hitting the pavement and “smelly” result of the fallen eggs. All important details in this story.

Ideas for the story were free flowing, encapsulating the vision Crowe and Benner had for the new club. The freedom to be creative and develop a story in their own words may even help spark a new passion.

“To have that opportunity to explore something like that when you’re young can give you a lot more focus when you’re making your way through school,” said Crowe.

Club advisors have given some direction and handed out assignments for their newly developed news staff Wednesday. Coverage includes events happening within the school, interviews, sports, comics and even a food review, all produced by the kids.

Crowe’s daughter is among the students working on the first iteration newspaper staff. She’ll be doing a food review for the first edition but has a number of interests in writing.

“I’ve always liked writing,” she said. “I think it’s because me and my dad are mostly alike and he likes writing too. I also like fantasy and realistic fiction.”

Community members will be able to read the new publication through the school’s website. Hard copies will also be available at the school. The first edition of The Bear Broadcast will be out in late November or early December. The students decided on the name and have even developed their own logo.

“For me it was more about having voice and being able to try different genres and to just have the whole school reading each other’s work,” said Benner. “Not that the writing we do in class isn’t important, it is. It’s just a different type of writing. The purpose of it is different.”

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