ThreeSixty Learning Labs Kick Off

ThreeSixty Journalism’s spring 2019 News Team session kicked off Saturday, February 2 with part one in a series of writing learning labs for students. Through instruction, conversation and practice, improving students’ writing skills is the mission of the learning labs.

On the initial Saturday, students participated in a series of writing challenges. ThreeSixty had three goals for students to achieve.

  • Improve writing skills in a newsroom environment
  • Get feedback on our writing from peers
  • Feel more comfortable writing at any point in the process

“Observe, be curious, ask questions, WRITE!”

Students learned about the power curiosity and observation as a reporter. Students were surprised immediately and had to describe the person sitting on their right without looking at them. It was a lot harder than students expected.

We walked through how we would cover our local Sears store staying open while others close. We walked through questions, and observations we would note to take readers inside the store.

Then, students wrote a description of a ThreeSixty experience that would help bring a prospective student into the newsroom as they read the story. The details and stories our students told were powerful and engaging.

After lunch, students shared three hashtags that they follow or use to describe themselves. We came up with a great list!

The second half of the day focused on captions and social media writing. We looked at photos from the extremely cold weather days this week and built engaging social media campaigns.

Overall, we were impressed with students’ writing skills and ability to quickly apply what they learned to the next writing challenge.

The final reflection was to write a six-word story summing up what they learned, inspired by Ernest Hemmingway’s famous story, “For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.”

Sophia Schach of Southwest High School wrote her takeaway as, “State facts, observe surroundings, show emotion.”

Surina Arora of Blake High School wrote, “Observe, be curious, ask questions, WRITE.”

Blessing Kasongoma of Patrick Henry High School shared, “Being an observant and curious journalist are helpful tips that I’m taking with me.”

The students will return next Saturday for a learning lab on Editing and Fake News, and the third session the following week explores Broadcast skills.