Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Writing the Newspaper Article

Anne McFarland
Sumter County Schools

Description

Turn students into reporters. After analyzing newspaper articles, students interview classmates for newsworthy events and write their own newspaper articles.

Objectives

The student writes fluently for a variety of occasions, audiences, and purposes, making appropriate choices regarding style, tone, level of detail, and organization.

Materials

-Current newspaper articles
-Photocopy paper
-Overhead transparencies and markers
-Transparency chart (see associated file)
-Chart for Writing the Newpaper Article (see associated file)
-Overhead projector
-Rubric for Writing the Newspaper Article (see associated file)

Preparations

1. Find and photocopy selected newspaper articles.
2. Select one article to make copies for each student.
3. Select five or six other articles to make copies for five or six groups of students.
4. Make the transparency chart (see associated file).
5. Gather additional transparencies and markers.
6. Make sure the overhead is in working order.
7. Make Chart for Writing the Newspaper Article (see associated file).
6. Make copies of Rubric for Writing the Newspaper Article (see associated file).

Procedures

Day One

1. Randomly hand out copies of several different newspaper articles so that students will have different copies.

2. Ask the students to comment on the purpose, style, diction, tone, details, paragraphing, organization of the newspaper articles as you write down their responses on a blank transparency.

3. After recording responses, ask the students to draw conclusions about the nature of a newspaper articles. Write their conclusions in a list on a blank overhead transparency or the chalkboar. Their list should be similar to the one that follows:
a. have short paragraphs
b. reports and contains factual information
c. are composed for the general public
d. contain objective language: quotations may express opinions, but reporter usually does not
e. contains vocabulary level suitable for the general public
f. provides clear details
g. has a beginning, middle, and an end
h. has a headline that relates to the topic.

4. Next, distribute a copy of the selected newspaper article to each student.

5. Ask them to read the first paragraph, called the lead.

6. Count the number of sentences in the lead.
Students should see when they compare the lead with the other articles, the lead generally has only one or maybe two sentences, rarely more.

7. Using the transparency chart (see associated file), write the who/what/when/where/why/how from just the lead of the selected article.

8. Ask students to draw conclusions about this information—this may take some prompting from the teacher. (In the article the author chose to say man instead of Mr. Smith because the lead provides general, not specific, information.)

9. Next, have the students find and identify the more specific details within the middle, the body, of the article and record this information on the same Transparency Chart under the lead in the part labeled body. In step 8, students concluded that the lead provides general information. Now they should see that the body contains more specific details.

10. Ask students to underline or highlight the quotations in the article.

11. Let students draw conclusions about the usage of quotations (examples):
a. adds to the interest
b. gives the views of those involved.

12. Ask students to underline or highlight the conclusion of the article.

13. Now, ask the students to comment on the headline--How does the headline of an article help the reader? Why is a headline used in a newspaper article?

14. Finally, wrap up the lesson with a review of their conclusions about occasion, audience, purpose, style, diction, tone, details, paragraphing, and organization about newspaper articles.

15. Review the parts: Headline, Lead, Body, and Conclusion of a newpaper article.

16. Put the copies of articles in their notebooks for tomorrow.

Day Two

1. Review the information about newspaper articles with students.

2. Divide the students into groups of five.

3. Provide each group with the copy of a selected article. Each group should have a different article.

4. Give each group a copy of the Transparency Chart (see associated file). Tell them to chart the lead and body in the same manner as we did yesterday.

5. Ask students to underline or highlight the quotations in the article, identify the speaker(s), and draw conclusions about the comments.

6. Ask students to underline or highlight the conclusion.

7. When all the groups are finished (about 20 minutes), let each group present its chart to the class.

8. Let students comment on the results (in a helpful, encouraging manner, not derogatory).

9. Review the parts of a newspaper article: Headline, Lead, Body, Conclusion.

10. Give assignment: Ask students to make a list of “newsworthy” events in their lives and to bring this list to class tomorrow.

11. Tell the students to put the copies of the articles into their notebooks for tomorrow.

Day Three

1. Ask students to pull out their lists of newsworthy events.

2. Have them volunteer an item (new puppy, won in softball, visited a special place, etc.) to assist those who may have had trouble.

3. Have students select one event they would want written up as a newspaper article.

4. Put students in groups of three, not pairs—sometimes a third person helps clarify—to interview and to write an article about one of the others: A interviews B, B interviews C, and C interviews A.

5. Allow time for interviewing and information gathering and circulate around the room to monitor progress.

6. Near the end of class, wrap up by reviewing the key elements of a newspaper article: headline, lead, specific details and quotations in body, and conclusion.

7. Put notes in notebook for tomorrow.

Day Four

1. Review the occasion, audience, purpose, style, tone, diction, detail, and organization of a newspaper article.

2. Review the parts of a newspaper article: Headline, Lead, Body, Conclusion.

3. Display Chart for Writing the Newspaper Article (see associated file) so that students can refer to it as they work. Distribute the Rubric for Writing the Newspaper Article (see associated file).

4. Review the rubric with the students.

5. Allow students time to compose a lead, using the information they gathered.

6. Ask for volunteers to read their leads for examples and for refining.

7. Allow students time to write the bodies of their articles. Circulate to assist weaker writers or anyone who is stuck.

8. Remind students to write a conclusion.

9. Near the end of class, tell students to put their work in their notebooks for tomorrow.

Day Five

1. Tell students to take out their articles.

2. Allow students more time to finish their articles.

3. Students should then revise and edit their work. Remind students of the importance of proofreading for conventions (punctuation, capitalization, and spelling) as they would for an FCAT writes essay. Review the basic rules of using commas, end marks, quotations, captalization, and spelling.

4. Circulate around the room to check progress and to assist.

5. Students who have finished, may swap articles to read and offer suggestions.

6. Near the end of class, discuss with students the final presentation of their articles. Refer to the Rubric for Writing the Newspaper Article (see associated file) and tell students the final draft may be handwritten with sketches or composed on computer with a picture and/or graphic.

7. The final article (including the interview notes and first draft) is due ____. Establish a time with which you are comfortable.

8. Tell students to put their work in their notebooks.

Assessments

Students gather information about a newsworthy event from classmates and write a newspaper article using that information. Use the Rubric for Writing the Newspaper Article (see associated file) to evaluate student work.

Extensions

To extend this lesson, tell students to

1. Copy the Chart for Writing the Newspaper Article into their notebooks or journals.
2. Copy the parts of a newspaper article: Headline, Lead, Body, and Conclusion.
3. Suggest that they take selected events of their lives, or the lives of friends and family, and write these events up as newspaper articles in their notebooks or journals.
4. Ask how they can present this information to friends and family. They can create newsletters containing their articles to give or mail to friends and family.
5. Suggest that they try submitting newspaper articles about more public events to the local newspapers.

ESOL or ESE Modifications:

1. Partner ESOL or ESE students with proficient students who enjoy helping their peers.
2. Allow the proficient students to assist the ESOL or ESE students in recording information during the interviews.
a. Encourage the proficient student to go first and record information from the interview.
b. Alternate interviewing and recording each other’s information with each question (who/what/when/where/why/how), rather than conduct an entire interview and then switch to the other student.
3. Allow the ESOL or ESE student to record one relevant quotation rather than more than one.
4. Allow both students more time to complete the assignment: the ESOL or ESE may need more time to put it all together, but the proficient student shouldn’t feel pressured by time because he or she is helping another.

Web Links

Guide to Grammar and Writing: (Use while proofreading to review punctuation, capitalization, and spelling rules.)
Webster Index

Web supplement for Writing the Newspaper Article
Webster Marks

Web supplement for Writing the Newspaper Article
Webster Capitals

Web supplement for Writing the Newspaper Article
Webster Spelling

St. Cloud University and LEO: Literacy Education Online: (Use while proofreading the article to look up questions they have in punctuation, capitalization, and spelling.)
Proofreading

Formula for Writing a Well-Written News Article: (Use as a brief reference while composing the article at home to help remind them of how to write the article.)
Formula for Writing a News Article

Return to the Beacon Lesson Plan Library.