Travel Magazines in the Classroom
You can use travel magazines as a means to address a variety of standards.
By Chris Jackson
Having students make a travel magazine in the classroom is an excellent way to incorporate cross-curricular learning. Teachers can discuss topics in social studies and geography, but it is also ideal for language arts studies.
Teaching to student strengths and scaffolding student learning helps all students feel successful. A magazine project requires research, review, refinement, and practice interacting with language. A travel theme is great because it encourages students to look beyond what they already know--this is especially beneficial when working with English Language Learners.
A travel magazine project can also engage multiple intelligences to help students demonstrate their strengths collectively and individually. Students not only will be responsible for the literary elements of the magazine project, but will create the art, photographs, cover, and all of the other visual media that magazines include.
Several things to keep in mind when designing a travel magazine project:
1) Students should have clear guidelines for the project. My students are graded on six traits of writing: ideas, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, and conventions. The presentation is the most important aspect, and students need to be able to create a visually appealing magazine that is interesting, informative, factually accurate, and entertaining.
2) Students can engage in a regular writer’s workshop meeting with their instructor. Students also can create peer reviews and work to improve self-editing. The teacher can include any assignment that would regularly be completed in class as part of the magazine.
3) Magazines are filled with functional text such as: Table of Contents, the index, directories, menus, recipes, instructions, maps, and so much more. By having students create their own functional text, you can help them explore all the ways they use this type of writing in their everyday lives.
4) Expository writing is an important part of the standards. Students can create expository text through creating informative pieces for their literary magazine.
5) Some other types of writing to include in this project are: editorials, letters to the editor, advice columns, etc . . . All of these will differentiate how students interact with words and help them frame what kind of language and writing styles to use in different contexts.
The interesting nature of a magazine project helps students stay engaged. Students should not be working on any one type of assignment for too long before rotating to something else. One day students could be working on an editorial, and another creating a map.
Here are more activities to do with your students to help them begin a travel magazine project.
Travel Magazine Project:
Students research the Internet to create a travel brochure about France.
Students explore magazines and how they are written. They then write their own magazine article.
Students research and create a magazine for the Roaring 20's.
Students plan an imaginary trip to Europe while bringing in items they "bought" on their trip.