Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Write All About It (High School)

Suzanne Vann

Description

The students use research skills and the writing process to create a newspaper.

Objectives

The student locates, gathers, analyzes, and evaluates written information for a variety of purposes, including research projects, real-world tasks, and self-improvement.

The student selects and uses appropriate study and research skills and tools according to the type of information being gathered or organized, including almanacs, government publications, microfiche, news sources, and information services.

The student produces final documents that have been edited for: correct spelling; correct punctuation, including commas, colons, and common use of semicolons; correct capitalization; correct sentence formation; correct instances of possessives, subject/verb agreement, instances of noun/pronoun agreement, and the intentional use of fragments for effect; and correct formatting that appeals to readers, including appropriate use of a variety of graphics, tables, charts, and illustrations in both standard and innovative forms.

Materials

-12- X 18 - White or cream construction paper (2-3 pages per group)
-Colored pencils or markers
-Black pens
-Rubric (see attached file)

Preparations

1. Gather materials.
2. Prepare rubric handouts.
3. Gather materials in the library for research and schedule library time.

Procedures

Prior knowledge needed for this lesson is that students must be able to research information in a library, document sources in a bibliography, take notes from reference
materials, and use the writing process to create a finished draft. Remind students to avoid plagiarism.

1. Introduce the lesson by bringing to class a copy of the local newspaper. Ask students what types of information a newspaper contains-sports, editorials, current events,
etc. Lead a discussion about the unique elements of a newspaper--timeliness, accuracy, interest, etc.

2. Assign students to work in groups of five to six people to create a newspaper based on researched information about Ancient Greece. (I used this lesson after teaching THE ODYSSEY and a short unit on mythology. However, the topic could be adjusted for use with any novel or unit.) Note that the only -group- work to be done is the compilation of individually created articles in a newspaper format. All of the work will be done individually and assessed individually.

3. Although students work in groups to complete the final draft of the newspaper, each student is responsible for doing his or her own research, compiling the bibliography for the article, and writing the final draft of the article. Discuss the entire project with the class and distribute the rubric. Allow students to spend a few minutes on the first
day deciding which article each group member must write.

4. Before going to the library for research time, review research skills, documenting skills, note taking skills and appropriate behavior. Collect students' notes and
determine whether they are selecting and using appropriate study and research skills and tools according to the type of information being gathered. (This would probably be a good time to review each studentís bibliography as well.) After students have completed the research, assign the first draft and then review it when completed. Take students through the rest of the writing process with the article.

5. Collect the article and bibliography in final draft form and assess it formatively based on the rubric in the attached file. Have students make any corrections necessary
before transferring it to the newspaper format.

6. Give enough time for each individual to transfer the final article to the group newspaper (the large construction paper the teacher provides.) Allow students to
write on only one side of the newspaper. Each group must have a complete newspaper for the final project. In order to be complete, it must cover at least five of the following topics: Sports, News, Religion/Mythology, Cultural Events, Traditions, and a factually based Editorial. In other words, each person must select one of these
areas to write about.

7. The articles must be based on fact, and the information included must be documented with a bibliography. Although the information must be factually correct, there is room for creativity. For example, a student writing about the theatre could pretend to be a critic and could include some fictional information about -current stars- based on an
actual Greek play. Here are some potential story ideas, other ideas should be cleared with the teacher before beginning the research.

A. Sports-the origin of the Olympics, wrestling
B. News-political intrigues, a famous person or event of the era
C. Religion/Mythology-legends, beliefs, ceremonial practices (Students may not simply retell a myth-the article must be original)
D. Cultural Events-theatre, food, music
E. Traditions-ceremonies, beliefs, holidays
F. Editorial-Athens vs. Sparta, military service, womenís rights, citizens' rights, education

6. The newspaper will be dated between the years of 1200 and 1100 B.C., so the information researched must correlate with those dates. Since this newspaper is about
Ancient Greece, make sure the information is timely and accurate. Discuss anachronisms with students.

7. At the top of the newspaper, include the ancient date, edition number, title, and all of the reporters' names (group members). The final copy of the newspaper should be written in black ink or typed--donít allow students to use felt tip pens or markers as they might bleed. Each student will be responsible for writing his or her own article onto the final
draft of the newspaper.

Assessments

The students are assessed based on the end product-the newspaper article. The emphasis is placed on the research skills and the quality--both content and technical skill of the writing. Use the checklist in the attached file for scoring.

Extensions

1. This project can be extended by having each student write an individual newspaper that has all of the criteria that the group had to complete.
2. Another extension would be to have students use a word-processing or publishing program to create the newspapers. This would allow a further dimension (formatting) to be taught and assessed.
3. This project could also be taught in conjunction with a social studies teacher who is covering the geographical area which is the focus of the literature.
4. The newspaper could be presented to the class by the students as a public speaking assignment.

Attached Files

The rubric used in the assessment.†††††File Extension: pdf

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