A lesson plan on creating a newspaper will give students a very basic understanding of news writing. This lesson could be used in upper elementary classrooms, middle school classrooms, and in lower level high school classrooms.
Access to Computers & Digital Cameras
Students will need access to computers. For this lesson, the steps will ask students to type their articles on Microsoft Word and then complete the layout on Microsoft Word.
There are many other software programs that students can use. Some are more complicated than others. Teachers will need to see what is available in their school and will need to become comfortable using the programs.
In addition, photos always add interest. Teachers may want to gain access to a couple of digital cameras as well.
Learning the Parts of a Newspaper
Before students can make a newspaper, they need to know what goes into a newspaper. One easy way to teach this is to complete a newspaper scavenger hunt. The newspaper scavenger hunt shows the basics of a news article. However, there are many types of articles within a newspaper:
- News stories: This type usually answers the who, what, where, when, and why and gives important information to the reader. The reporter sticks to the facts in the article. Opinion is only offered in quotes from people interviewed. The articles tend to be about news that is current or fast-breaking. News stories can usually be broken into four types: international, national, state, and local.
- Editorials: This type is very different from a news article. Generally, these articles are strictly an opinion about topics of importance to the readers. They are written to persuade the reader.
- Feature stories: This type is a more in-depth article and is generally written for entertainment. Usually, the information is not "time sensitive" like in a news story.
- Sports: This type gives information about any sport. The articles are written differently than a news story and focus on the statics of the teams or athletes.
- Classifieds: These are advertisements. There are classified ads in the back of the newspaper where people try to sell items.
Writing Articles for a Class Newspaper
For a class newspaper, the students need to first decide what is newsworthy to them.
Step 1: They need to brainstorm a list of ideas.
Step 2: An editor, who will be in charge of organizing the paper, needs to be chosen. In addition, students who are savvy with the computer need to be chosen to do the layout of the newspaper. Next, reporters need to choose story ideas.
The editor and layout people need to decide what the newspaper should look like. For instance, how many columns, what size of paper, how many photos per page, and so forth will be included. Note: It is best to use the size for regular copy paper so that you can make copies for everyone.
Step 3: Reporters need to write a story. First, they need to write questions to find out more about the topic. Next, they need to interview a few people. Last, they need to write the stories.
Step 4: Students need to type their stories on Microsoft Word. The editor and/or teacher should edit them. Reporters should save their stories electronically.
Step 5: All of the articles need to be downloaded to one computer. The editor and layout people need to place the articles in Microsoft Word. There are templates available for newsletters that teachers may like to use.
If photos are used, students need to download all the photos to the same computer.
Step 6: Make copies and share.
The lesson plan on creating a newspaper is a great way to teach news writing and to use technology in the classroom.
Photo Reference: Photo by Kellie Hayden