Young Reporters, May 7: Newsroom assignments for local students

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In the April 23 issue of The Northern Light, we offered local kids the following newsroom assignment: While they are under the governor’s stay-at-home order, kids’ lives have changed. They do their schooling from home, and probably more chores. What are they doing for fun? We are asking young reporters to think of things that kids can do for fun if they are bored. Explain your ideas in 200 words or less (for elementary students) or 350 words or less (for middle and high school students). Please submit a photo and one-sentence caption to accompany your article.

Here are the winning submissions from Assignment #2. Congratulations to our winners! 

What I like to do for fun now

By Sylvie Lausier, 14 years old

When school was canceled, I assumed that I would have a lot of time to do whatever I wanted. Instead, I spend much of my day doing school work. This means staring at a screen for hours at a time. I really enjoy taking walks with my mom when I want a break. It gives me a great opportunity to spend time outside.

I love to look at the plants that I pass by. They are such a vibrant shade of green this time of year! Flowers have started to bloom in a ton of different colors as well. It’s so exciting to see a plant that only flowers for a few weeks in spring. Each plant is beautiful in its own way, and I really appreciate that.

I recently rediscovered a walking route that I haven’t been on in months. I hadn’t realized how much it had changed. I constantly want to go back and explore. That specific piece of land is getting ready to be developed, and I want to enjoy it while it is still around. Since I’ve lived in Blaine for so long, I see the same things all the time, so going to places like the housing development brings a feeling of excitement.

The combination of pretty spring scenery and unexplored land makes for a really fun experience. It is calming to be around a different environment than the inside of my house. My best advice to anyone who feels overworked or bored is to get outside. There is always something new or unexpected to see.

What’s keeping me entertained these days

By Svenna Hrutfiord, 15 years old

My family has been able to do a lot of yard work, such as clearing out blackberries and planting a garden. Most of our plants are growing well, especially with the time we have to care for them. 

It’s harder for me to focus on my school work nowadays. When I go to school, there’s set times for each class and work that needs to be done during it, but at home there’s lots of things I’d rather be doing, so I struggle to get work done. However, each day I try to do the assignments for at least one class.

During this time I also have been taking advantage of the library’s online resources. I’ve been listening to my friends’ favorite books because I haven’t read a lot of them before. I’m also using the free language learning through them to learn Icelandic because my family comes from Iceland. I also have several Icelandic books my grandparents owned that I am using to learn as well, and I’ve set a goal to be able to read a book in Icelandic I’ve found called Ofurefli Saga. 

I’ve also watched or rewatched several series that I enjoyed or a friend recommended. Those have entertained me quite a bit and taken up some of my time.

Bored in quarantine?  It’s time to learn poker!

By Kaatri Glanzer, 7th grade

Do you need something to distract you for a couple of hours during this long stretch of quarantine that requires just a deck of cards? Here’s an idea: Why not learn how to play poker? 

Grab a handful of coins or poker chips and make sure everyone who’s playing gets the same amount. At the very beginning of a round, each player puts a chip, or coin, into the middle of your playing space, starting the “pot.” This is called “ante.” After everyone has done this, shuffle the deck of cards and deal five cards out to each player. The remaining stack of cards stays with you; you are now the “dealer.” 

There are three stages to this version of poker: betting, drawing and then betting again. The objective of the game is to get a higher ranking set of cards than everyone else based on the cards you have. When the first round of betting starts, you have three choices: raise, stay or fold. To raise means to add more coins or chips to the pot. To stay means to add nothing more to the pot. And to fold means to quit the round early, throwing your deck into a discard pile.

After the first round of betting is done, the “draw” phase is next. This is where you replace some cards! Starting with the person on your left, each person can choose any number of cards as long as it’s between zero and five. After that, the last round of betting happens with the same choices as the first round. 

After that final round of betting is over, the person who raised the pot the most has to show their cards. Whether he has a single pair or a flush, you must beat him with something higher like a straight flush. If no one can, then the player gets the pot and the round is over. 

Quick, easy and, most of all, fun! For more information on how to play this version of poker and the ranking of the cards, Google “Five-Card Draw.”

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