From Theory to Practice
Students will enjoy this creative, exciting, and stimulating lesson in writing as they create authentic newspaper stories. As they are transformed into reporters and editors, they will become effective users of ICT in order to publish their own classroom newspaper. Various aspects of newspapers are covered, including parts of a newspaper, writing an article, online newspapers, newspaper reading habits, and layout and design techniques.
back to top
- Printing Press: In this online interactive tool, your students can choose the "newspaper" option to help them complete their newspaper section.
- Newspaper Story Format: Your students will find completing their newspaper article a snap by first filling out this useful handout that helps them identify each key element of an authentic newspaper article.
back to top
FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE
Lund, D.M., & Sanderson, D.A. (1999). From printed page to multimedia: Evolution of a second-grade class newspaper. Reading Online. Available: http://www.readingonline.org/articles/art_index.asp?HREF=lund/index.html.
- Encouraging children to read and write in ways that allow them to make sense of real language in real contexts is more likely to help them develop the skills necessary to become fluent readers and writers. Creation of a class newspaper provides such a real context, and thus makes an excellent choice as the basis for a project designed with this goal in mind.
- Use of the computer motivates students to learn and students' attitudes toward the newspaper genre are affected by active participation in the production of an authentic and original newspaper of their own.
- Abilities in formal writing are best developed with a "process approach" that goes through five distinct phases: prewriting, composing or drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. Using this approach helps students more fully understand the process of producing formal written documents, such as magazines and newspapers.
back to top
Motivation and Prior Knowledge:
Think, Pair, Share Exercise: Ask the class, "Who wants to be a writer? Why?" Have the class think quietly about this question for a minute. Ask students to pair up with a partner or in groups and share their thoughts. Then have the students share with you. Record their answers on a blackboard, making sure to write the child's name after each shared idea.
Ask the class, "What are some of the different types of professional writing in the world?" Record the responses of the groups, which may include:
Types of Writing:
- Short stories
- Public relations
On the board write the title: What is it like to be a writer? Underneath the title have two columns:
1) Good and
2) Not so good
Ask the class, "What are some good and not so good things about being a writer?" Record their answers, which may include:
- Meet interesting people
- Learn new things
- Get to create
- Many readers
- Can influence people
Not so good
- Editors change things
- People may not like what you write
Think, Pair, Share Exercise:
Ask the class, "What does it take to be a writer?" Have the class think silently about the question for a minute. Have students pair with a partner or in groups and share their thoughts. Then have them share their thoughts with you and record them on the board.
Being a Writer
- Good knowledge of English. Think of CUPS: Capitalization, Use of words, Punctuation, Spelling.
- Good knowledge of your field, general knowledge of everything.
- Good observational skills: What did the team do after they won? What did the woman say when she got her lost dog back? Remember colors, sounds, sequence of events, and words of people what you need to create the event.
- Persistence: Write and rewrite until you think it's perfect. Go after the story, dig for facts, get quotes to make it interesting, do your best for the readers.
- Thick skin: Not every teacher or editor or reader will like everything you write. Get used to it.
- Hard work. Writers are made, very seldom born. Tiger Woods has a great natural swing but he works out a lot and hits at least 1,000 practice shots a day.
How to Read a Newspaper - Bring newspapers to class and ask students why reading a newspaper is important. When that has been discussed, hand out the newspapers. Go through the "Before-During-After" reading strategies below for understanding and getting the most out of a newspaper story.
- Preview the text
- Read captions
- Look at subtitles
- Predict what the story might be about
- Look at the bold print words
- Look up unfamiliar words in a dictionary
- Clarify information by rereading text
- Summarize the text
- Create a visual image
- Think of prior knowledge
- Connect new information with prior knowledge
- Share new information with someone
Have students practice these strategies with their newspapers, then share what they've learned with you and the class. The test of whether you understand a newspaper story is: "Can you explain it to somebody else?"
Importance of Newspapers - Ask the class, "Why are newspapers important to our community? What kind of information do they provide to link us to our political and social structure?" Have the class think silently about the question for a minute, then ask them to pair with a partner or in groups and share their thoughts. Have them share their thoughts with you and the class and record them on the board.
Scavenger Hunt - Prepare a list of items students will have to locate in the newspaper (headline, a sale price, comic strip, sport scores, movies review, etc.). Give a time limit for the scavenger hunt.