The day you were born holds personal significance, but do you know what was happening in the world at that very moment? Working like a team of investigative journalists, you and your high schooler can use your birth dates to create personalized front pages of a family newspaper!

What you’ll need:

    The front section of a recent newspaper

    A newspaper-length sheet of paper (16” x 22” or larger)

    Scissors, tape or glue, and markers

    Computer with Internet or access to library archives

    Printer and computer paper (optional)

  • Talk to your teen about the day he or she was born. Chances are, they don't know all that much about it. Mention where you lived, where they were born and who visited. What was their special day’s overall “climate?” Make them curious!
  • Next, using your date of birth, model how to be a sleuth. Sift through archives of the birthday on your local newspaper’s Web site, or take a trip to the library to search its periodical shelves. As you discover headlines, be enthusiastic. It will encourage them to craft their own page.
  • Have them begin by inputting “August 18, 1996” into Google, for instance, to find out about their birth date’s national and world events, such as how Russians and Chechen rebels inched toward a ceasefire. Hopefully, they’ll find hard and light news. Explore TIME’s online database for a mix of current events and pop culture items.
  • As you gather and share research, talk about changes in the world between your birth date and theirs; it will foster an understanding of our world’s expansive history.
  • Print and cut out headlines and snippets of online articles, or photocopy old newspaper and magazine stories. Using the layout of a recent newspaper as a guide, arrange headlines, sub-headings and text onto your pages. Urge budding writers to cook up their own snappy copy by summarizing their articles.
  • Find photos to accompany your headlines. Don’t forget to create captions!
  • Fill blank spaces with extras like weather forecasts, movie show times, sports scoreboards and colorful comic strips. Advertisements of hot products or trends are other indicators of culture on your birth date.
  • Include a “mock” article announcing your birth. Have fun with this! Note the time and place of birth, as well as weight and length of the newborn baby.
  • Title your newspaper. It could be an edition of a real one, like The New York Times or the Chicago Tribune, though you may want to produce one of your own. The Jonny Smith Daily has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
  • Use markers to add color, borders, and other features!

Requiring research, writing and design, this activity combines a history, language arts and art lesson into one! You'll also be spending quality time together away from the television, while learning a bit more about yourselves.