Tag Archives: News

The News-O-Matic Impact: Experiencing the World


News-O-Matic celebrates its 1,000th edition on Friday, August 26. In order to celebrate, a group of teachers, parents, media experts, and kids contributed essays to describe the impact of News-O-Matic in their world.

Shelly Fryer is an elementary school teacher in Oklahoma.

Shelly Fryer (second from left) and Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin (second from right)

Shelly Fryer (second from left) and Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin (second from right)


Here’s what she had to say.

I have been using News-O-Matic with my 3rd and 4th grade students for two years. One of my goals as a teacher is to have my students experience the world beyond the walls of our classroom in a way that is interesting for them yet, exposes them to “real” issues. I want students to know that they matter and be able to connect with the stories that they are reading. The news section “Real Jobs” has given my class many opportunities to see jobs that people can do and allow the students to ask questions and be curious.

It even inspired several of our students to interview Governor Fallin when she came to visit our classroom and find out more about what it was like being the Governor of Oklahoma.

One of the ways that I use News-O-Matic in the classroom is to have them read and respond. Students read the articles that interest them and then respond by writing to “Russ” or drawing a picture of what inspires them. It is important for students to be able to connect in a real way and be able to have a voice by responding to what they read. Also, the connected videos and pictures allow students to see and experience the news in a way that makes sense to them.

As a teacher I appreciate that News-O-Matic is sensitive to the things that may be upsetting in the news, and use a Child Psychologist to make sure that the students are informed but not frightened by the current news. Students want to know about what is going on in the world, but it is also very important that they know that they are safe.

News-O-Matic has made a real difference in my classroom. Having current and engaging content which encourages students to “experience” the world around them and then have the ability to respond in a real way allows students to feel like they matter, and that their views and opinions are heard.

Students at Oklahoma's Positive Tomorrows speak with Governor Fallin

Students at Oklahoma’s Positive Tomorrows speak with Governor Fallin

News-O-Matic Article of the Week: Power to the White House

The kids have voted! Here’s one of their favorite News-O-Matic articles from last week!

Power to the White House (published in News-O-Matic on Friday, August 16, 2013)

Workers are putting solar panels on top of the White House this week.


President Obama made a promise three years ago. He said he would put solar panels on the White House to show it’s important to use clean energy. This week, the president
finally fulfilled his promise. A White House official told the Washington Post that
workers have started to install the Sun-catchers.

The panels are going on the roof of the president’s home. Once they’re set up, they will soak up the Sun’s rays and turn them into energy. That energy will then be used to power things like lights and heat in the White House!



Obama is not the first president to put solar panels on the White House roof. In the 1970s, President Jimmy Carter had 32 set up to provide his family’s hot water. And in 2003, President George W. Bush added a solar power system to heat the White House swimming pool.

The Obama family’s dog, Bo, also has solar panels on his doghouse. He got them even before the president!

By Alexandra Friedell


solar panels: surfaces that turn the Sun’s rays into energy
install: put in place; set up


Fact: The solar panels that are going on the White House were made in America.
Act: Cut back on your energy use. What can you do to use less energy?

Fun Fact: There are no skyscrapers (really high buildings) in Washington, D.C.


News-O-Matic Article of the Week: Happy Mandela Day!

The kids have voted! Here’s one of their favorite News-O-Matic articles from last week!

Happy Mandela Day! (published in News-O-Matic on Thursday, July 18, 2013)
One of the world’s greatest leaders turns 95 years old!

School children from St Mary's College carry a poster for ill Nelson Mandela outside the Mediclinic Heart Hospital where former President Nelson Mandela remains_EPA

Nelson Mandela turns 95 years old today, and the world is coming together to celebrate! Mandela, South Africa’s first black president, spent 67 years helping his country. For all his hard work ending apartheid and fighting for equal rights, the United Nations declared July 18 “Mandela Day”!

Mandela Day encourages people to spend 67 minutes serving others, which is a minute for each year of Mandela’s activism.  For example, bike riders in South Africa spent 67 minutes today cleaning the community streets. This morning, people across South Africa held hands for 67 seconds as a promise to make South Africa a better place. And children in Johannesburg, South Africa, created Mandela’s portrait entirely out of cupcakes! The tasty tribute required 15,000 cupcakes!

These events kept the Mandela Day spirit of giving alive. “It’s about doing what you can to make a difference,” said Sello Hatang of the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory to BusinessDay Live.

Mandela has been sick in the hospital for six weeks, but his family hopes he will come home soon. Zondwa, Mandela’s grandson, told Eyewitness News, “Our grandfather is old, but we know that he is a fighter.”

How will you spend Mandela Day to make the world a better place?

By Gilmarie Brioso



apartheid – system that kept black and white people apart and favored white people

activism – working for change

portrait –image of a person’s face

tribute –gift to show thanks

FACT: Children in South African schools started class on Mandela Day by singing “Happy Birthday” to Nelson Mandela.

ACT: Spend 67 minutes giving back! Read to someone or volunteer at a shelter!


Upset by the News?

Unfortunately, tragedies occur often and your child may be upset by the news. That is okay! Stories in the news can make a child feel sad, angry, or scared. No matter what they are feeling, let your child know that feelings are okay!


The reason a story is in the news is because it is unusual. The events in the news do not happen very often. So, if a story is upsetting, remember children that it is very unlikely that it can happen near them.


The News-O-Matic team has talked to experts about these upsetting feelings. The experts shared the following tips:

Talk to your parents. Tell them if you are worried or upset. Ask them any questions you may have. Moms and dads have a special way to make you feel better.

Talk to your friends. You may learn that other people your age have the same feelings.

Talk to your teachers. Your teacher may want to talk about the story in a class. A class discussion may also help your classmates.

Draw a picture. You can use the drawing tool in the News Room. You can also use pencil and paper. Drawing a picture can help you let go of upset feelings.

Write a story. Write about how you feel. Write any questions you may have. You can keep your story private, or you can read it to someone.

Get the facts. Wrong information can spread upset feelings. News-O-Matic will always tell you the facts of a news story. Ask an adult if you want to know more facts.

Play or exercise. Playing can help you calm down. Go for a run or ride a bike. Blow bubbles.

Read some good news. Read a happy story or a book you love. Balance an upsetting news article with a happy story.

Do something to help! People often work together to help after a tragedy. Tap the “Act” button in an article or ask an adult to see how you can help.




All of the tips were given by News-O-Matic’s child psychologist, Phyllis Ohr. 

News-O-Matic Article of the Week: The 100th Tour de France

The kids have voted! Here’s one of their favorite News-O-Matic articles from last week!


The 100th Tour de France (published in News-O-Matic on Friday, July 5, 2013)
The world famous bike race continues across France.


The Tour de France is the most famous bicycle race in the world. Its name means “Tour of France,” and cyclists ride thousands of miles across the country to compete in the grueling contest.

The riders in this year’s Tour de France its 100th racestarted on June 29 on the French island of Corsica. They have already traveled many hundreds of miles and are now racing across the south part of the country. Throughout the next two weeks, each cyclist must climb mountains and pedal through the French countryside if he wants to have a chance at finishing first in Paris.

The winner from 2012, Bradley Wiggins from Great Britain, isn’t racing this year because he’s hurt. Through the sixth stage of the race (out of 21 stages), Daryl Impey is in the lead. Whoever is in first place gets to wear a special yellow jersey. Impey is the first cyclist from South Africa to ever wear the yellow jersey!

There are 14 days to go, and the course leader changes a lot. Who will win this year? Check back with News-O-Matic to find out!

By Jesse Jarnow


cyclists: bike riders
grueling: hard; tiring
jersey: shirt

Fact: The racers have to ride through two mountain ranges in France: the Alps and the Pyrenees.

Act: Have your own bike race in a park. But like the racers in France, wear a helmet and be careful!


Geography Fun Fact: The famous French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte was born in Corsica.


As of the time of the publication of this blog, Christopher Froome from Great Britain is currently ahead in the race.

News-O-Matic Article of the Week: Push Across America! [Exclusive!]

Push Across America! [Exclusive!]

Ryan Chalmers completes his inspiring trip across the United States.

Ryan Chalmers

Ryan Chalmers has used a wheelchair for his whole life. But that never stopped him from living an active life. He has played basketball, completed marathons, and learned to scuba dive. On April 6, he began a journey that no one has ever done before. He started to cross the United States in a wheelchair! And today, June 15, he made it all the way to New York City!

Starting in Los Angeles, Chalmers and his team have climbed mountains and pushed through deserts in order to arrive in New York. Along the way, Ryan (RC) stopped to talk to News-O-Matic (NOM) about his quest.


NOM: What was the hardest part of the trip?

RC: The hardest day was when we were pushing into the Death Valley desert in California.


NOM: What have been some of the most beautiful places of America that you have seen so far?

RC: I have found all the locations to be incredible, with each state offering something different. The beautiful Valley of Fire in Nevada is something I will never forget.


NOM: How did you build the strength to push so far each day?

RC: I have succeeded in part due to incredible coaching and my athletic trainer. What keeps me going is my love of wheelchair racing and my desire, passion, and commitment to Stay‐Focused.


NOM: What do you want to accomplish?

RC: 1) Raise awareness for the potential of all persons with disabilities, showing people we can accomplish anything we set our minds to. 2) Raise awareness for Stay-Focused, a group that enables teens and young adults with disabilities to scuba dive.


NOM: What would you say to someone who says you couldn’t do something?

RC: I wouldn’t find it necessary to respond at all. I would simply go out and prove them wrong.


By Russell Kahn



quest: adventure; journey

incredible: amazing; beautiful

commitment: promise; vow


Fact: To complete his journey, Ryan Chalmers passed through 14 states. He traveled about 55–60 miles per day.

Act: Follow Chalmers’ advice: “Never give up. Find what you are passionate about and what you love to do, set a goal for yourself, and go out and achieve it.”


Fun Fact: New York City recently created a program that lets people in wheelchairs ride taxis anywhere in the city!