Oh, good news!
It's just another manic Monday.
If you're not familiar with this song, maybe you didn't grow up in the eighties. “Manic Monday”, a hit tune by The Bangles written by Prince, was at one point a classic breakfast song in our house on Mondays. Only now we have no idea if today is Monday or not. Do you?
The past few weeks have gone by very fast, though at one point I had a feeling a whole month had gone through in seven days. We were watching the news constantly, as things were changing at high speed and we were wondering if schools would be closing, if we could still use public transport or buy pasta without having to hire a unicorn, and so on.
I got to a point where I realized I was no longer learning anything new from the news – I was simply becoming more stressed and out of touch with the actual reality inside my house. I needed to disconnect from the news. I needed to stick to a few highlights in the afternoon, to know the basics. But what exactly was I expecting to read? At one point, I felt like crying, “Extra! Extra! We’re still at home!” So I decided to go on a bit of an information diet. Many of you may enjoy reading the news or may need it for different reasons – this is not the case for me at the moment. In fact, the more bad news I read, the less I can appreciate the positive stuff happening around me, and the harder this period becomes.
I started looking up news of specific things I wanted to find out on. When is the latest episode of Bake Off Argentina going to be on YouTube? Is it true that Gilmore Girls will be renewed for another season, a reboot of its reboot? And will it be sunny again tomorrow?
While not everyone needs to detox from the news, I found it actually helped me see more clearly. Instead of the clutter of a million headlines, numbers and hyperbolic adjectives, I could now swim more smoothly down a news page and choose what I actually wanted to see, no longer clicking frantically on article after article.
And I felt the need for some good news, or at least, for some different news – for a change.
This week’s exercise
We’ll try to write some news articles based on anything we have witnessed from our balcony or bedroom windows, using our imagination where necessary. We can also report about things that have happened at home, and we are free to indulge in a little creative writing here too.
My youngest lost a tooth, my eldest wrote a poem about spring, they both learned new songs on the piano, we all watched Bake Off Argentina and made chocolate crêpes… lots of wonderful news to share! I thought it would be good for them to start recording some of the special events and also sneak in a little writing.
I’ve included a worksheet for this week’s exercise, though if you prefer to use your own format, so much the better!
I included some space to write the date, and there’s a byline as well, for your child’s own name. Then there is a line for the headline and some space for them to include a photo or a drawing. You can include a caption underneath it.
To write this article, whether they want to include real news or made-up ones (some kids like to report on what their toys have been up to), remind them to tell the story including lots of interesting details.
They should present the information, whether true or not, removing their own opinion whenever possible (we’ll have a more personal, first-person writing exercise coming up soon).
For children who are confident writers, you can ask them to use passive voice instead of active voice (e.g. “The shiny coin was found under the pillow” or “The voices were heard from the small window”).
They can then read the news to the rest of the family, and write a new piece every week to create a home newspaper.
So what news have you got?