Lesson Plan

Newsworthy Stories: Journalism 101

Students learn to craft newsworthy stories for an audience.
Susan M.
Blended Learning Coach
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My Grades K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, Arts
Objectives

In today's media rich world, it is imperative students learn to analyze and evaluate online news sources, as well as research and draft their own stories to contribute to their community. 

Students will be able to...

  • Reading: Analyze how a text makes connections among and distinctions between individuals, ideas, or events 
  • Writing: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content. 
  • Technology: Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing. 
Subjects
English Language Arts
discussion
reading comprehension
text analysis
writing
Grades 6 - 8
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Inquiry

Students investigate and read various news stories in various media forms, including both written and video. The teacher may curate various articles and videos on CNN website and Newsela site for students to read and watch or students can curate their own articles of interest. To begin discussion, the teacher will model inquiry style questions for article analysis. These may include questions such as:

  • What is the article about?
  • What is ____________________ connected/related to?
  • What are the significant components of the article?
  • What does ______________ mean?
  • What is the value of _________________?

The class can generate questions or the teacher could use a guiding list of inquiry questions.  Along with the questions, students will record observations, thoughts, and analyses of story structure, language, topic, and relevance on a shared Padlet. Following inquiry, students discuss what they discovered. 

2 Direct Instruction

Teacher will guide students through a lesson on news analysis, structure, language--connecting back to original observations from the padlet. This may include the inverted pyramid, consistency, clarity, accuracy, and brevity. Together, students will discover and create a newsworthy story structure. Students will use Evernote annotation tools on model stories. In conclusion, students will name what makes a quality newsworthy story. 

To deepen understanding of quality newsworthy stories, students will also compare and contrast several stories, evaluating quality. The teacher can do this whole class or small groups. Students are given several stories, and using criteria generated from earlier discovery, they analyze and evaluate giving a "report card" for each story. 

3 Guided/Independent Practice and Publication

Now students can put their learning into practice. They will draft their own stories (investigations around school, community, or city) on Google Drive for process and conferencing, and when ready for final draft, students will publish to class blog (Blogger or like platform). 

Process may look something like this:

  1. ​Students identify stories of interest. 
  2. On platform of choice, students draft their stories. 
  3. Process commences with conferring, feedback, and revision. 
  4. Students publish - could be individual (blog)  or collaborative (website). 
  5. Students share stories with community. 

4 Extension

WeVideo
Free, Free to Try, Paid
Google Drive
Free, Paid
iMovie
$4.99

Students can extend their learning by crafting a news package. Using a similar lesson flow, students can analyze and evaluate news packages online. This may entail looking at both various sites like CNN and also at social media. 

Lessons and explorations may include:

  1. Students learn journalistic video storytelling - tight shots, wide shots, mid shots. 
  2. Students learn and practicing interviewing. 
  3. Students draft two-column scripts from their news article. 
  4. Students choose and learn editing platform of choice.