Beacon Lesson Plan Library

News View

Brian Rowland


Students analyze three different news sources that describe the same event by comparing and contrasting the similarities and differences. They write an essay describing the main idea of the event, and the different methods used to develop the main idea.


The student selects and uses prereading strategies that are appropriate to the text (such as discussion, making predictions, brainstorming, generating questions, and previewing) to anticipate content, purpose, and organization of a reading selection.

The student applies a variety of response strategies, including rereading, note taking, summarizing, outlining, writing a formal report, and relating what is read to his or her own experiences and feelings.

The student determines the main idea and identifies relevant details, methods of development, and their effectiveness in a variety of types of written material.

The student selects and uses appropriate pre-writing strategies, such as brainstorming, graphic organizers, and outlines.

The student drafts and revises writing that: is focused, purposeful, and reflects insight into the writing situation; has an organizational pattern that provides for a logical progression of ideas; has effective use of transitional devices that contribute to a sense of completeness; has support that is substantial, specific, relevant, and concrete; demonstrates a commitment to and involvement with the subject; uses creative writing strategies as appropriate to the purpose of the paper; demonstrates a mature command of language with precision of expression; has varied sentence structure; and has few, if any, convention errors in mechanics, usage, punctuation, and spelling.


-News magazines
-Advanced Organizer Templates
-Graphic Organizer Templates


Select a newspaper article, national news magazine article, and editorial to model the assignment for students.

Ask students to collect newspapers and news magazines.

Ask media center to save newspapers and news magazines.

Gather and prepare advanced organizers and graphic organizers for student use.


Authentic Context:
You have been hired as a staff writer for a new weekly publication. In order to assess your reading abilities, your editor has asked you to analyze three different news sources that describe the same event: a front page newspaper article, an article from a national news magazine, and an editorial from any print source. The editor wants you to examine the main idea of each article and the methods used to support the main idea. You will present your summarized findings to the editor in essay format.

1. Ask students to bring in the front section of a recent newspaper for class discussion.
2. Facilitate a discussion of the news stories of national or international significance as reported in the newspapers.
3. Model for the class the process for selecting a newspaper story, a news magazine article, and an editorial on the same topic.
4. Examine and take notes on the newspaper story, looking for the main idea, the details and methods used to support the main idea, and the overall communication effectiveness of the story.
5. Develop an advanced organizer that delineates the criteria for evaluation.
6. Along with the students, complete the advanced organizer.
7. Model writing a paragraph evaluating the effectiveness of the newspaper story, stressing the differences (length, details, etc.) between the newspaper story and the news magazine article. Use the advanced organizer as an outline or blueprint for the summarized essay format.
8. Compare and contrast the general characteristics of an editorial versus a regular news story using a three-way Venn diagram.
9. Model writing a paragraph evaluating the editorial.
10. Explain to the students that they are to complete the evaluation of their news stories and editorial in the same fashion. Review assessment criteria.
11. Students bring in their newspaper stories, news magazine articles, and editorials.
12. As a class, students work on their analyses according to the standards set by the rubric.


Assessment Criteria

4 = Superior; 3 = Good; 2 = Average; 1 = Needs Improvement

1. Student has selected an appropriate, significant news story or event that matches criteria determined by class.
4 3 2 1
2. Student has selected an appropriate advanced organizer to organize the information. 4 3 2 1

3. Student has completed the advanced organizer in a manner that will support the developmentof the essay. 4 3 2 1

4. Using the completed advanced organizer, the student has taken pertinent notes, recognizing the main idea.
4 3 2 1

5. Using the completed advanced organizer, the student has taken notes that delineate the supporting details of the various media types. 4 3 2 1

6. Using a Venn diagram or an H-map, the student has selected appropriate details to be compared. 4 3 2 1

7. Student has written a paragraph that is focused on the topic. 4 3 2 1

8. Student has written a paragraph that explains the differences and similarities between the newspaper story, news magazine article, and editorial. 4 3 2 1

9. Student has written a paragraph that is focused on the topic of the editorial. 4 3 2 1

10. Student has written a paragraph that effectively analyzes the editorial's effectiveness. 4 3 2 1

11. Student accurately identified the specified characteristics of the different media types. 4 3 2 1

12. The essay contains support that is substantial, specific, relevant and concise. 4 3 2 1

13. The essay shows use of transitional devices. 4 3 2 1

14. Sentence structure is varied. 4 3 2 1

15. The essay is free of convention errors in mechanics, usage, punctuation, and spelling. 4 3 2 1

16. The paper's appearance is appropriate: neatly written, legible, wrinkle-free. 4 3 2 1

The essay could also be assessed using the Florida Writes! Rubric (see Associated File).

See Associated File for Sample FCAT Reading Passage.

See Associated File for Sample FCAT Questions.

Extended Response 4-point rubric
A top-score response will indicate that Clemens' article addresses both the style of the writer and the use of the correct word, whereas Tighe's article focuses exclusively on the use of precise words to convey exactly what the writer is saying. Both see word choice as important (the image of ligthtning and a lightning bug indicates Clemens' attitude toward correct versus the almost-correct word) but Tighe discusses more methodically than Clemens how to fing the right word.

How did the different materials you examined employ main idea and relevant details? Why do people use different formats to express their ideas and points of view?


Students write or record their own editorial on an issue.

Students keep a journal of their experience documenting all steps in the process of completing this assignment.

Students mount copies of their news stories and analyses on a poster and make a brief presentation to the class.
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