Shouts of excitement and rapid discussion rang out in the school hall of Clementi Primary School last Friday morning.
Groups of pupils shuffled through stacks of photographs to find the most appropriate one to accompany an article about Olympic champion Joseph Schooling, and debated among themselves the best headlines to bring out the essence of stories about Lombok and the new activity of exercising on trampolines.
About 110 pupils from three classes - half of the school's Primary 4 cohort - were the first to try out these hands-on activities, among others offered by the Little Red Dot Pop-Up Newsroom, a new programme by The Straits Times Schools team.
The team produces weekly publications Little Red Dot (LRD) for primary schools and IN for secondary schools, and organises reader engagement events.
It was really fun because we were able to try out the different roles in the newsroom.
JOYCE LAI, a pupil from Clementi Primary School who was among those who tried out the activities.
Said ST Schools editor Serene Luo, 34: "Schools send so many requests to visit the newsroom that we thought, why not take the newsroom to them instead?
"From putting into practice English language techniques to soft skills such as listening, being empathetic and thinking critically, so much can be learnt."
In teams of five, pupils visited the four stations set up in their school hall. At each station, they learnt about news principles and received a task. They even got to take byline pictures for one another, which will go onto souvenir mock media passes.
For nine-year-old Muhammad Azhad Mohamed Nasir, this meant his team debating many different ideas, with their headline "Bouncexercise" earning praise from ST Schools' Ms Luo.
The team with the most points will receive a hamper. The challenge enthused groups to do their best, cheering when they won points or groaning when they realised they had missed the mark.
Though nine-year-old Joyce Lai reckoned her group did not score enough points to win, she still enjoyed the experience. Said Joyce: "It was really fun because we were able to try out the different roles in the newsroom."
Neha Saravanan, nine, said she enjoyed listening to her teammates' opinions, though the most challenging task for her was identifying the best photo to go with the article.
"When I read the passage, there were many ideas. Many photos seemed relevant."
The school's head of department of English, Mrs Yvonne Kam, who is in her 30s, said that most of the Primary 3 and 4 pupils read Little Red Dot, which the school subscribes to.
The pop-up newsroom enhanced the school's use of newspapers for group work and reflections and to teach skills such as critical thinking.
Said Mrs Kam: "It's a good platform to expose them more to the news. The three classes that experienced the pop-up newsroom had a good opportunity and we will be seeing how we can work together to have the activities in other classes."
Inquiries about the Little Red Dot Pop-Up Newsroom should be directed to Mr David Tan at email@example.com
Schools that want to subscribe to Little Red Dot can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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