Lesson Plan

Using The Outsiders to Explore Media Bias

A lesson plan to use at the end of Chapter 7 of the text The Outsiders to explore media bias.
Rebecca C.
Technology coordinator
Omaha Public Schools
Omaha, United States
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My Grades Pre-K, K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, English Language Learning, Health & Wellness
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Students will be able to create a newspaper article demonstrating their understanding of media bias.

English Language Arts
Grades 6 – 9
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook/ Attention Getter

Free, Paid

Using a tool like Plickers or Kahoot, begin the class with a quick 5 question check for understanding over the reading of chapter 7 in The Outsiders. Example questions could include:

1) What is Johnny's condition in the hospital? 2) What is Soda doing while the police try to interview Ponyboy? 3) What did the newspaper article call the boys? 4) How has Ponyboy's view of the Soc's changed? 5) What were Dally's injuries from the fire?

Go over correct answers and discuss with the group. Allow for any questions.

Student Instructions

Students have out a device to log into your Kahoot quiz, or they have their Plickers card ready to answer questions.

2 Direct Instruction

Using the example of the newspaper story on "Juvenile Delinquints Turned Heroes" in the novel, take students to the following website to discuss the various ways that the media can "change" a story to make it sound better/worse. Discuss examples in class.

Student Instructions

Students can take notes on the 6 different types of media bias discussed in class.

3 Guided Practice

Activity: Other — Small Group Work

Have students work in small groups to complete a "Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How" graphic organizer on the big event of Johnny saving the kids from the burning church in chapter 6. They will use this graphic organizer for their own newspaper story.

Student Instructions

To complete the "5Ws and H" graphic organizer:

1. Work in a small group

2. Use your book

3. Ask questions if clarification is needed 

4. Think about how a news station could report this story

4 Individual Practice

Free, Paid

As a summative assessment of the topic of media bias, students will create a front page newspaper story using the Smore website. Students will need to choose which type/types of media bias they will use in their story. The final product needs to have a headline, text body, as well as pictures and captions.

Student Instructions

Give students  a couple days to finish their front page story. Remind them of the importance of a headline in drawing attention to the article.

5 Wrap-Up

Students share their Smore news stories with the class, or with a small group depending on time allowed. Other students in the class or small group need to identify which type(s) of media bias the presenter used in his/her story. The students create a 140 character or less Tweet that they would use when sharing the story on Twitter with the world. The Tweet should continue the bias used in the story presented by the student. Discuss how this happens in our current world.

Student Instructions

Listen carefully to the presenter. Which type of bias did he/she use in the news article? If you were to share this article (retweet it) on social media, how could you perpetuate the bias demonstrated in the article? Does this happen in real life today?