Newspaper activities for February 2016

Check out these daily lesson plans using the newspaper for the month of February. This calendar provides a subject specific focus for each day of the week with activities for every school day of the month: Monday – Language Arts, Tuesday – Social Studies, Wednesday – Math, Thursday – Science, Friday – Newspaper Information.

To download the calendar, click here

2016 Feb

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Information and activities are from KRP’s The Ultimate Holiday Activity Guide from the NIE Institute.

MLKSince 1986, the United States has observed the birth of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. as a legal public holiday. It is always celebrated on the third Monday in January. This day is set aside each year to honor King, the powerful black minister from Atlanta who was the main force behind the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. He was also a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (1964) for leading non-violent civil rights demonstrations.

Despite his belief in peaceful demonstrations, King himself was often the target of violence. It ended King’s life at the age of 39, when an assassin shot and killed him while he supported a strike by black garbage workers in Memphis, Tenn., in 1968.

1. Even though slavery was officially abolished in 1865, Martin Luther King Jr. talked often about his desire for freedom for African-Americans. Ask students to discuss what they think King meant by freedom. Then have them cut out words and pictures from the newspaper that illustrate freedom to use on a poster.

2. Martin Luther King Jr. was a hero to many people both when he was alive and after his death. Have students look through the newspaper for a present-day hero. Then have them make a list of the character traits that make that person a positive influence. Conclude by having them find a person featured in the newspaper who would not be a good role model. Allow them to discuss their thoughts.

3. Civil rights, such as the right to free speech, are the freedoms a person has because he or she is a member of a civilized society. Ask students to imagine what it would be like to lose their civil rights. What freedoms would they have to give up? Now, ask students to look through the newspaper for a story about someone who is denied his or her civil rights. Have them discuss their thoughts in small groups.

4. Provide students copies of Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream Speech” along with examples of news stories and editorials from the newspaper (see the link below for the speech.) Ask each to assume the role of reporter and pretend they were present when King gave the speech. Conclude the activity by having them write either a newspaper story about the speech or an editorial expressing opinions about what was said.

Click here to read or download Martin Luther King Jr.’s  “I Have a Dream Speech.” 

One more resource:

2016 January newspaper activities

Check out these daily lesson plans using the newspaper for the month of January. This calendar provides a subject specific focus for each day of the week with activities for every school day of the month: Monday – Language Arts, Tuesday – Social Studies, Wednesday – Math, Thursday – Science, Friday – Newspaper Information.

To download a printable copy, click here

2016 Jan



Happy New Year!

Information and activities are from KRP’s Ultimate Holiday Activity Guide from the NIE Institute.

New Years Day (federal) 

In Ancient Rome, for example, people gave each other gifts of branches from sacred trees or coins with pictures of Janus, the god of gates, doors, and beginnings and after whom the month of January was named.

In early America, colonists in New England celebrated New Year’s Day by firing guns into the air and shouting, perhaps a precursor to the modern-day custom of making noise to ring in the new year.

Today, we celebrate with such rituals as New Year’s Eve parties, visiting friends and relatives, attending religious services, watching football games, and making resolutions.

1. Talk to kids about calendars. Tell them that Jan. 1 is the first day of the year on the Gregorian calendar, a calendar that was adopted by most Western nations in the 16th century. Then divide the class into 12 groups and assign each group a month of the calendar to learn about. Ask the groups to create a pictorial calendar page representing their months. Have them use pictures and other graphics cut out of the newspaper to illustrate activities, events, and special days during the month. Bind the pages into a calendar to display throughout the school year.

2. One ritual many Americans observe on New Year’s Day is the making of resolutions. Talk about resolutions people might make and whether it’s easy to stick to them. Then ask students to turn to the newspaper’s comics and pick a character that needs help making a resolution. Have each student write down the resolution and create a “plan of action” for carrying it out.

3. People in different countries celebrate New Year’s Day in different ways. In Belgium, for example, children write their parents New Year’s messages on decorated paper. In China, where the new year doesn’t begin until sometime between Jan. 21 and Feb. 19, adults dress up as dragons. And in Japan, people decorate their front doors and visit shrines. Ask students to find a story in the main news section of the newspaper that originates in a country other than the United States. Then ask them to research that country’s New Year’s customs and share their findings with the class. Plan a class New Year’s festival that incorporates some of those customs.

4. Using words cut out of newspaper ads, have students write a cinquain to describe New Year’s Day. A cinquain is a five-line poem: Line 1 has one word; Line 2 has two words; Line 3 has three words; Line 4 has four words; and Line 5 has one word.

What is Boxing Day?

Here’s some information from

What does Boxing Day celebrate?   Boxing Day has nothing to do with the fighting sport of boxing, but rather is a day when gifts are given to people in the service industry like mail carriers, doormen, porters, and tradesmen.

When is Boxing Day celebrated?  The day after Christmas, December 26th

Who celebrates this day?   This day is a holiday in the United Kingdom and most other areas that were settled by the English except the United States. Other countries that celebrate the holiday include New Zealand, Australia, and Canada.

What do people do to celebrate?   The main thing people do to celebrate is to tip any service workers who have worked for them throughout the year such as postal workers, the paper boy, the milkman, and doormen.

The holiday is also a day to give to the poor. Some people gather gifts in Christmas boxes to give to poor children throughout the world.

In many countries Boxing Day has become a large shopping day. Just like Black Friday after Thanksgiving, Boxing Day is a day of big markdowns on products that stores were not able to sell for Christmas.

Other ways people celebrate include traditional hunts, family reunions, and sporting events such as football.

History of Boxing Day  No one is quite sure where Boxing Day got its start. Here are a few of the possible origins of the day:

One possible origin is from metal boxes that were placed outside of churches during the Middle Ages. These boxes were for offerings to give to the poor on the Feast of St. Stephen, which is also celebrated on the 26th.

Another possible origin is from when wealthy English Lords would give their servants the day after Christmas off as a holiday. They would also give them a box with leftover food or even a present on this day.

The day is likely a combination of these traditions and others. Either way, Boxing Day has been around for hundreds of years and is a national holiday in England and other countries.

Night tour

Wednesday night I gave the Schumacher family of Grand Forks a “Night Tour” of the Herald production plant.  The Herald donated this “Night Tour” to the Altru Foundation Gala Event, which included the opportunity to see the Grand Forks Herald newspaper printing on the press.

The winner was Jami Schumacher of Grand Forks.  She told me she would be bringing her husband Matt and their three sons, Eliot, Sam and Max.  They bid on the package for their youngest son, Eliot who turns 13 in a couple of weeks.  He is very interested in how things are made.  She thought this would be the perfect surprise birthday present for him.


The Schumacher family in the paper storage room at the Grand Forks Herald production plant. Left to right: Max, Matt, Eliot (wearing his special birthday glasses), Jami and Sam


The Schumacher family with Sue Lindlauf (me) in the pressroom.


The Schumacher family with pressmen Jeremy and Jeff.

The tour also included visiting:

  • the CTP room where the metal plates for the press are processed
  • the paper storage room and the giant ink tanks
  • the mailroom, where the flyers are inserted into the papers, the stacking machine that puts the newspapers into bundles
  • the dock area where drivers and city carriers pick up their bundles.

Thank you to everyone,  especially the pressroom staff for making us feel so welcome at the plant.  The Schumacher family very much enjoyed their “Night Tour” of the Grand Forks Herald!