KidsPost at 20 Years — and You

Students and teachers join in celebrating 20 years of KidsPost. They are encouraged to write profiles, news stories and comic strips; create Gyotaku prints; meet young activists; and publish a newspaper. Students also observe Bethany Beach fireflies and learn the physics of roller coasters, Ferris wheels and observation wheels. 

How do you celebrate a publication that has provided news, human interest stories, sports and weather for twenty years? And cared enough about its readers to share their birthdays and encourage their interaction — even publishing their weather art and poems, visiting their classrooms and holding toy tests.


KidsPost at 20 published a comic that revealed the backstory of C.H.I.P., its mascot. KidsPost's editor and reporters interviewed 12 young people who are making a difference in their communities and beyond. And for fun they added word finds and jokes. John Kelly, the founding editor of KidsPost, shares his memories and in his current column and asks early KidsPost readers to tell how they interacted with this special page for kids and what they are doing now.


You will Meet the KidsPost editor Christina Barron in a Q&A, read reprints and have activities to do: make a Guotaku print, a fish rubbing, or, perhaps, become an activist for the Bethany Beach firefly. KidsPost is encouraging kids to share their questions about the novel coronavirus outbreak and those between 5 and 14 years old to draw and paint what they have been doing during the pandemic. The latter project is being co-sponsored with Die Zeit newspaper in Hamburg, Germany, and the International Museum of Children’s Art in Oslo, Norway.


Today and every day let’s read and celebrate KidsPost. It is for you.




May 2020

Youth Activism
Resource Graphic 

Meet the KidsPost Editor
Career Education

In 20 years KidsPost has had three editors — John Kelly, Tracy Grant and Christina Barron. John Kelly in “As KidsPost turns 20, a look at how it has grown up” shares memories of founding this special feature for the “8- to 12-year-old” (now 6- to 13-year-old) demographic.


Christina Barron answered our questions about her role in Meet the KidsPost Editor.

Discuss her responses. Read KidsPost pages in print or articles online. What other questions do your students have for Christina? Also note that KidsPost is always ready to receive students’ weather art.


After you introduce your students to Christina Barron, you may wish to introduce them to some of the other people who produce The Post daily and the career opportunities.

Ad Designer

Capital Weather Gang

Real Estate Editor

Religion Reporter

Sports Editor

Sports Photojournalist


In addition to the reprints in the resource guide, check out additional resources to interact with KidsPost:

Second Glance Junior, Word Find and C.H.I.P. Says
• KidsPost’s mascot, C.H.I.P., gets his own comic
KidsPost graduates share stories of their early media literacy.


Write a News Story
Journalism, Media Literacy

Communicating the news, current and important events, in a manner that students will understand is the foundation of KidsPost. For the structure of the news story — 5Ws and H in the inverted pyramid for content, go to the INSIDE JOURNALISM guide, The Pledge of News. How to Write a News Story, How to Begin a News Story, Meet the Reporter and “Naked Mole-Rats Missing” is annotated in the The Annotated News Story.


Encourage students to differentiate between news, feature and opinion pieces. For example: News (naked mole-rats are missing from the zoo), Feature (habitats of mole-rats and other small animals), and Opinion (your view of mole-rats being in zoos). Have students brainstorm news stories from your school and their neighborhoods. Give the 5Ws and H of the story. Write a news story using the inverted pyramid structure.


Make a Gyotaku Print
Art, Biology, History, Science, Visual Literacy

What a great way to combine art, biology, cultural and culinary history — and fun fishing at a lake or in the seafood section of the grocery store. Introduce students to the Japanese art of fish rubbing. Read and discuss the KidsPost article “Traditional Japanese art method of printing fish provides important details about endangered, extinct species.”


• Have students ever gone fishing? What fish are found in local waters? What do these fish (and whether they may be eaten) reveal about the health of the water, diversity of the fish and their abundance?

• What fish can be bought in local grocery stores? From what countries or parts of the U.S. are these fish sourced?

With this background on the Japanese fish rubbing, students are ready to make a print or fish rubbing. See Teachers Notes for tips.


Consider the Economy
Business, Economics, Mathematics, U.S. History

Washington Post economics columnist Robert J. Samuelson wrote in August 2019 about global economic instability, the need to learn from history (the Great Depression, in this case) and concepts presented by economic historian Charles Kindleberger. Read and discuss "Learning from the Great Depression." This is an article that requires careful reading, an understanding of 2019 and the Great Depression.


Questions for consideration are given at the end of the column. Columnists present opinions founded in their experience and expertise. Work with students through the first questions to get a foundation for further study. What has happened in the U.S. and the world to influence economies?


Teachers might group students to research the months, September 2019 through August 2020 (depending when this activity is being done). In what ways are the ideas of Kindleberger demonstrated? Where does borrowing by countries influence the financial system? Is any country able to isolate itself?


Research might begin with 2020 columns by Samuelson. For example, “The national debt is out of control” (May 10, 2020) and “The sad death of the ‘hot’ economy.”

Observation Wheels
Resource Graphic 

Meet Young Activists
Civics, Composition, English, Ethics, Journalism

Malala Yousafzai and Greta Thunberg are well known for their activism. Lesser known young people around the globe are also inspired and dedicated to act upon a belief they hold. Twelve of them are profiled in the 20th birthday special supplement of KidsPost. Begin to meet six of them in the ledes to their profiles. Discussion could include:

• What causes do they pursue?

• What do you understand about their motivation?

• What are the benefits of getting involved in a cause — for yourself and others?

• Do students know of young people in your area who have the same or similar causes?

• Are any of your students pursuing projects that they founded or joined? If yes, perhaps you could interview this current or former student.


To meet three more activists read the profiles of Alice Imbastari, Maimouna Ndiaye and William Winslow. All 12 profiles are found online “12 kids who are changing their communities and our world.”


Annotate and Write a Lede
Civics, English, Journalism, Reading, Social Studies

The lede is the first paragraph(s) of a news story, feature article, column or opinion piece. It summarizes with the traditional 5Ws and H or draws the reader in with a variety lede. KidsPost profiled 12 kids and teens who are activists in their communities. We have reprinted five ledes that introduce six of these students in A Closer Read: Lede the Way.


Room is provided on each page to annotate the ledes as they are read. Highlight interesting quotations, new words and ideas. Ask questions. In addition to the five ledes, A Closer Read: Lede the Way provides questions to guide reading. These also may assist students in using the ledes as models for writing their own ledes.


Teachers may use this activity to have students write 10 questions to interview a classmate, then use the responses to practice writing a variety lede. If time allows, this may be expanded to write a profile.

Write a Profile
Character Education, Composition, English, Journalism, Social Studies

KidsPost, The Post and many other publications include profiles in their content. Who are the people in our neighborhoods, businesses, entertainment and politics? What do the teachers and staff members do after school, on weekends and during summer? What talents, travels and terrors do our classmates have?


The 20th birthday celebration of KidsPost included profiles of 12 young activists. Read the profiles of Alice Imbastari from Italy, Maimouna Ndiaye from Mali, and William Winslow from North Carolina. What is the cause of each student? What or who influenced them and how do they act on the cause?


Give students “Think Like a Reporter | Write a Profile” for guidelines in writing a profile. Teachers can decide if there is a common theme (students who …), a community tie (write for your community newsletter) or family connection (learn about a member of your family).


Additional examples of profiles are found in our curriculum guide, A Source of Inspiration, The Post Sunday Magazine feature, “There are 5,900 Stories Like This” and “A Year in America.


Create Cartoon Panel and Comic Strip
Art, Civics, English, Ethics, U.S. History

KidsPost editor Christina Barron and Lily Padula created a short comic about KidsPost mascot, C.H.I.P. Read “KidsPost’s mascot, C.H.I.P., gets his own comic.”

Discuss what you learn about C.H.I.P.’s backstory. What qualities does C.H.I.P. have that make him special and perfect for his job?

Do your students have pets? What stories could they write about their pets? Or put into pictures in one panel, in a strip or into a short comic?


Go to the Comic pages in The Post to read a panel and find a comic strip. Which comic strips do they like? Give students Create a Cartoon Panel and Comic Strip to guide their reading.


In Herblock & History, students are introduced to long-time Washington Post editorial cartoonist Herb Block and his work. Teachers can introduce students to examples of how a time period and actions can be represented and evaluated. In that guide is also Vocabulary of Cartooning, an illustrated introduction to techniques used by cartoonists.


Publish a Neighborhood Newspaper
Business, English, Journalism, Media Literacy, Visual Arts


In “When coronavirus strikes, kids make the news” KidsPost features newspapers written and published by students from their homes around the country.

As KidsPost reported “They’ve become reporters, photographers, editors, art directors and even cartoonists. And they are doing what good journalists do: keeping their communities (or maybe just their families) informed and entertained.”


A Q&A gives insider reasons for creating a newspaper. Read through the front pages that are shared.


Think through why and what you might need to publish a newspaper. You might include:

Motive and Audience. Why would your students and children start a newspaper?

Staff. Who will be editor, reporter, photojournalist, columnist and cartoonist?

Publishing. Where and how will they publish the paper?

Business side. What expenses will they have? Office supplies (pen, pencils, notepaper) and publishing supplies (paper, ink, printer, software, camera, online website). Will some be donated for use? Will they need to get an advertiser to cover expenses?


This month’s curriculum guide has information on writing a lede, news article and profile. Previous Post NIE curriculum guides offer other guidelines and examples. Review the INDEX 2001-2019 for the INSIDE JOURNALISM curriculum guides and other topics.

Read What Doers Do

KidsPost includes coverage of animals, plants and science subjects. A local angle is taken whenever possible to relate the topic to students’ lives. KidsPost knows that students are curious about how things work. Fireflies, rollercoasters and Ferris wheels meet the criteria.


Observe Bethany Beach Fireflies

Biology, Business, Entomology, Science

The decline of fireflies worldwide is attributed to loss of habitat and biodiversity changes. Read and discuss the KidsPost article, “Scientists want firefly unique to Delaware beach to be on endangered species list: The Bethany Beach firefly is threatened by development of vacation homes, they say.”

• What is the meaning of these terms: bethaniensis, endangered, luminescence, freshwater swale and nontidal?

• What factors are threatening the habitat of the Bethany Beach Firefly?

• Why are scientists concerned about development at Bethany Beach?

• How can students learn what current policies and actions are in Delaware, Bethany Beach and their own community to protect fireflies and other endangered species? What local committees, national organizations, state and federal agencies and others are addressing land use and environmental protections?


Ride a Roller Coaster
Journalism, Physics, Science


KidsPost readers met the designer of Six Flags America’s Joker’s Jinx in “How Do Roller Coasters Work? Come Along for a Ride.” Older students learned of “The Thrills of Physics: For Area High School Students, Theme Park Becomes a Laboratory.” This Style article introduces readers to a Spring physics activity that can be quite thrilling as well as an academic challenge.

• Before giving students the appropriate article to read, teachers might ask students to write about their experience at county fairs or amusement parks. What ride or exhibit do they remember the most? What sounds, smells and sights awaken memories?

• After reading the article discuss the different reactions to roller coaster rides.

• Discuss the science questions that were included in “The Thrills of Physics.” Are students able to explain them or answer them? Also note the physics and concrete information that the reporter inserts. How do these add contrast as well as support the underlying story?


After reading and discussing “The Thrills of Physics,” ask students to view the animated “Roller Coasters: Feeling loopy.” Teachers and students might use information from the animation to explain the experiences of the different roller coasters in the article. What other concepts are presented through the animation?


Post articles provide two more roller coaster background articles. If there is time, students may be given them to read: “A Brief History of the Roller Coaster” and “The Theory Behind the Thrill.

Continue on to the next activity that gives more background and focus on the physics of Ferris wheels, then and now.


Figure Out the Physics of the Ferris Wheel

Engineering, Mathematics, Physics, Science

When was the last time your students rode a Ferris wheel? Can they think back to the first time they rode one at a fair or amusement park? Perhaps their parents can remind them of their reactions to the first ride. Does it differ much from the most recent ride?


What about one of the new observation wheels? The Capital Wheel at National Harbor rises 180 feet above the Potomac River. Compare that experience to the experience on the High Roller 550 feet above the Las Vegas Strip. Both give spectacular views. Some background on the history of the Ferris Wheel, Ferris wheels and observation wheels is found in the following activities as well as physics labs, helping students to know how they stay upright and rotate.

Water in the Cup Lab
Engineering, Mathematics, Physics

The Revolution of the Ferris Wheel
Engineering, History, Mathematics, Physics


All Aboard the Ferris Wheel
Engineering, History, Mathematics, Physics


Turn of the Ferris Wheel
Art, Engineering, Fashion, History, Photography, Physics, Visual Arts


Post NIE Guide Editor | Carol Lange

Post NIE Guide Art Editor | Donna McCullough

Resource Graphic 
In The Know 

Column An opinion piece with a byline in publications; the columnist is expected to have knowledge, experience and a voice to present ideas. Columns cover a wide variety of purposes: entertainment, how-to, policies and politics, relationships, for example.
Comic strip

A sequence of images or panels/cartoons that tell a story, move a story forward with familiar characters or provide a slice of life. The 1919 strip, Barney Google an Snuffy Smith, by Billy DeBeck, is one of the longest-running comic strips in history.


Feature Stories with high human interest; many have an evergreen quality
Ferris Wheel

Revolving steel wheel invented by 33-year-old engineer George W. Ferris for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. William Somers preceded him building wooden roundabouts at Asbury Park, Atlantic City and Coney Island but these were only 50-foot wheels. Ferris’ Wheel was a 250-feet diameter wheel with 36 cars.

Ferris wheel

An amusement ride constructed of a rotating upright wheel with seating (car, capsule, pod) for passengers



Japanese art of fish rubbing or fish impression; originally use by fishermen to record prized catches; also source of data for biologists in study of historic fish populations

Lede The first sentence, paragraph or short portion at the beginning of a journalistic piece. In a traditional news story it contains the 5Ws and H.
News  Current events; what is taking place north, east, west and south that is of importance to people.
Observation wheel Very high wheel that rotates slowly, giving passengers views. The High Roller, at 550 feet, since March 2014 has been the world’s tallest observation wheel. Many have capsules that allow its passengers to move about.

Feature piece that focuses on an individual, company or place. The best have the concept presented through observation, interviews and formal/informal research. They may also be in a Q&A format.

District of Columbia Public Schools Academic Content Standards 

The District of Columbia has adopted the Common Core State Standards in reading and mathematics. In addition, DCPS has adopted new learning standards in arts, health and physical education, science, social studies, technology and world languages.



Academic Content Standards may be found at

Maryland Academic Content Standards 

English Language Arts. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

1. Introduce a topic; organize complex ideas, concepts, and information to make important connections and distinctions; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.

2. Develop the topic with well-chosen, relevant, and sufficient facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience's knowledge of the topic.

3. Use appropriate and varied transitions to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among complex ideas and concepts.  (Grades 9-10)


English Language Arts, Wrting: Production and Distribution of Writing. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade 8)



The Maryland Voluntary State Curriculum Content Standards can be found online at

Virginia Academic Content Standards 

English, Reading. The student will read and demonstrate comprehension of a variety of nonfiction texts.

a)   Skim materials using text features including type, headings, and graphics to predict and categorize information.

b)   Identify an author’s organizational pattern using textual clues, such as transitional words and phrases. 

c)   Make inferences and draw logical conclusions using explicit and implied textual evidence. 

d)   Differentiate between fact and opinion.        

e)   Identify the source, viewpoint, and purpose of texts.          

f)   Describe how word choice and language structure convey an author’s viewpoint.

g)   Identify the main idea.

h)   Summarize text identifying supporting details.

i)    Create an objective summary including main idea and supporting details.

j)    Identify cause and effect relationships.

k)   Organize and synthesize information for use in written and other formats.

 (Grade 7, 7.6)


English, Writing. The student will write in a variety of forms to include persuasive, reflective, interpretive, and analytic with an emphasis on persuasion and analysis.

a)   Engage in writing as a recursive process.

b)   Plan and organize writing to address a specific audience and purpose.

c)   Adjust writing content, technique, and voice for a variety of audiences and purposes.

d)   Communicate clearly the purpose of the writing using a thesis statement.

e)   Objectively introduce and develop topics, incorporating evidence and maintaining an organized structure and a formal style.

f)   Compose a thesis statement for persuasive writing that advocates a position.

g)   Clearly state and defend a position using reasons and sufficient evidence from credible sources as support.

h)   Identify counterclaims and provide counter - arguments.

i)    Show relationships among claims, reasons, and evidence and include a conclusion that follows logically from the information presented.

j)    Blend multiple forms of writing including embedding a narrative to produce effective essays.

k)   Elaborate ideas clearly through word choice.

l)    Use textual evidence to compare and contrast multiple texts.

m)  Revise writing for clarity of content, accuracy, and depth of information.

n)   Write and revise to a standard acceptable both in the workplace and in postsecondary education. (Grade 10, 10.6)


Academic Content Standards may be found at

Common Core Standards 

History/Social Studies, Science & Technical Subjects. Integration of Knowledge and Ideas. Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem. (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.7)


Science & Technical Subjects. Integration of Knowledge and Ideas. Translate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text into visual form (e.g., a table or chart) and translate information expressed visually or mathematically (e.g., in an equation) into words. (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.9-10.7)




Common Core standards may be found at