Missy Hilton has three sons at Trailside a first-grader, third-grader and fifth-grader and said she had been talking with Principal Kathleen Einhorn about doing some type of coaching or instruction at the school.
Hilton is part of the writing and production team for the non-profit organization "Giving a Bleep," so being in charge of a journalism club seemed like a good fit. She and four other women Annette Velarde, Michele Roepke, Lisa Antonucci and Amy Henry helped about 25 third-, fourth- and fifth-graders create a newspaper.
"What we did was once the kids knew what they were going to be working on, we would break the kids up into groups," she said. "Everybody would take a group or a person and help them with their work."
The children wrote stories about things that were going on at the school, Hilton said, from a vet program held on Tuesdays to the increasing enrollment at the school. The students who didn't write contributed artwork like cartoon strips or a crossword puzzle.
"We tried to take things you would find in any newspaper and do a little bit of everything," she said.
The first meeting in September attracted 37 students, Hilton said, and she was surprised at the enthusiasm and dedication the students that stayed in the club displayed when putting the paper together.
"I did not have a single discipline problem, and they were really focused on what they were doing," she said. "They had a lot of fun with it."
A local newspaper editor and photographer met with the club earlier in the year and showed the students how to take pictures and write headlines. Hilton said the students then learned all about the "who, what, where, when and why" of news writing, why it is important to get sources' names right and what a quote was.
The students then wrote short articles and helped each other edit, she said. The objective was to help students meet the school's writing goals while doing something fun. Hilton said she worked with Einhorn to make sure the club and its practices were in line with the curriculum they were being taught in the classroom at the time.
The 10-week program will restart when the students return from the Christmas break, and Hilton is not worried about whether they will return to the "Pint-Sized Press" club.
"The kids are already asking when they get to meet and start up again and thinking of new ideas," she said. "The interest is huge, which was a pleasant surprise and pretty inspiring."
For more information on "Pint-Sized Press" and how to get involved, contact Trailside Elementary Principal Kathleen Einhorn at 645-5680.