How Wilder is Answering the Call for Student Voice




Last year, Wilder Elementary started its first student-run News Crew. Twelve students in grades 4 and 5 were selected to become part of the News Crew. All students in those grades were able to submit an article, along with a teacher recommendation and parent approval. The twelve students were then selected from those submissions.  Mrs. Gwinn, Wilder Librarian, wanted the students to have a voice for the Wilder community, while also keeping writing as one of the focus points last year. 


Each week these students met with Mrs. Gwinn, for a Lunch Bunch meeting. They brought their lunches to the library where they would work on Feature Stories for the school website.  Each month they chose an event to write about.  Students were given a notebook and an iPad to use to record interviews, photos, and notes for their articles.  They would then go “on assignment” and interview teachers and students, take photos of the events, and sometimes videotape them.  They were given a deadline to submit their article and photos to Mrs. Gwinn.  Students submitted their work using Google Classroom.  Mrs. Gwinn would work with them and edit their work before submitting them to the school website.  The Feature Stories are located on the Library page of the school website, and most were also linked to a banner picture from the Home Page of the website. Some of these articles were also submitted for the district website.


Mrs. Gwinn will continue this Student News Crew this year, but will only be using 5th grade students due to scheduling issues.  But, she is going to introduce video editing with the News Crew. She will be using a new tool for Wilder called Padcaster, which is a portable video production studio.  She will also be teaching them how to enhance their photos using several apps.



It all started with an idea – an idea that will provide a platform for students to showcase what makes them special, while also giving students an outlet to show their gifts for PE, Music and Art.  Coach Lorenzo Hayes felt the need to celebrate the uniqueness of each child that enters Wilder.  He is giving students the chance to be part of a very “special” digital magazine called WESPY, which stands for Wilder Elementary Specials Performance Network. Coach Hayes will submit some challenges throughout the year for students to submit for the magazine.  These could range from a writing challenge, a fantasy football challenge, a photography challenge, a music challenge and other challenges. 


Each magazine will have a theme, and the challenges will centered around its theme, but they can also incorporate subjects outside of Specials, too.  Students earn WILD bucks by submitting their challenges, and have a possibility of being in the WESPY newsletter.


This opportunity is open for all the students, but if a challenge is thought too difficult, students can always receive help from their parent or a teacher. His goal is to include all entries into a magazine, but if there are too many submissions, he will find another way to display the student work.  Deadline for submission are two weeks prior to the magazine’s release date.


In order to submit the challenges, participants will need the Classroom Code in Google Classroom.  Only students with a school Google account will be able to access Google Classroom. Parents can use their children’s Google accounts to participate in surveys or in the Fantasy Sports challenges. After choosing which challenge to do, participants can then click on the “assignment” and submit their work.


 Coach Hayes felt that this magazine could “increase confidence in the strengths and weaknesses of each student”.   The magazines will be posted every two months. The release day will be the first Monday in the month. Proposed release dates: August 15th, October 7th, December 2nd, February 3rd ,March 2nd, May 4th.


To make the magazine, Coach Hayes uses these programs:  Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator and eventually Premier Pro.  He uses Illustrator for the logos and special typography, Photoshop for each magazine page, and then he organizes all of the pages using InDesign.


In order to show the students what the magazine would look like, Coach Hayes chose to highlight the Specials Team in the first digital magazine.  Here is a link of that magazine.


Coach Hayes says “I want those who are connected to the school to be able to see what our students can produce. For that, I hope that the school community participates and views the magazine. The more the merrier! Please keep in mind that the magazine will also be the main communication tool for the Specials teachers.”