News Writing for Middle School – The Lesson
Teacher Plans: Teachers will begin by directing students to write a news story. This lesson works especially well after they have completed the newspaper scavenger hunt. When students have looked at example news stories in the newspapers, and they understand basic news writing, ask students to write their own story.
After students have followed the nine steps in the directions, they should have completed a draft. Have students peer-edit the stories. Then, students should write a final copy. If computers are available, students should type the story and save it as a file electronically. The teacher can then take the files and make a newspaper on Microsoft Word by using the Newsletter templates as a guide.
Directions for students:
- Choose a news-worthy topic. Example topics: dress code, school lunches, sports, clubs, after school activities, new course offerings, student teachers, pep assemblies, recycling programs, etc.
- Choose two to three people to interview to find out information about the topic.
- Write questions for these people to make the interview organized and efficient. Ask the following type questions: WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, WHY AND HOW.
- Take notes on what each person says. If the person has a strong opinion about a topic, ask him or her if you can include a quote in your story. Make sure your write down exactly what he or she says when it is opinion or an unusual fact.
- Organize this information into a story. The most important information goes at the top of the story. The least important information goes at the end. This is called the inverted pyramid.
- The first line of your story is called the lead. The lead should include as much of the following: who, what, where, when, why and how information. The lead should not be more than 30 words. It should grab the reader’s attention and make a reader want to finish reading your story.
- Do not put your opinion in this story. You must only give facts about the topic. If you want opinion in your story, it must be from a quote (something that someone said.) The information should be in quotation marks with the student’s name after the quote.
- Paragraphs must be short in length. One to two sentence paragraphs are preferred.
- Remember to put the most important information first and the least important last. Look at the newspaper for examples of this.
When the newsletter is complete with all of the student stories, give each student a copy. Parents will enjoy reading the class project and the students will love seeing their name in print with this fun and easy lesson on news writing for middle school students.