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Lesson Plan   



 
    Lesson Information
     
 
    Objectives
    Assessment
     
   
    Resources
    Materials
    Vocabulary
    Procedures
    Day Plans
    Enrichment Options
     
   
    Teacher Reflection
     



Stage 1
Identify Desired Results


Catchy Title: Say What?
Theme/Topic of Lesson: Comprehension of Informational Text through the Newspaper
Time Commitment: Three 90-minute Lessons
Subject Area(s):
    Language Arts - Journalism
Grade Level(s): 6,7,8
Standards Alignment:
Class Challenge Question:

How do you identify the main idea from informative text?


Overview:

It is important for students to be able to identify main ideas and supporting details in their reading. It is also important to summarize text while maintaining the main ideas and messages. The lesson begins with a review of the 5 W's (Who, What, Where, When and Why), and how journalists use these elements to craft topical, interesting and relevant news stories. In addition, students pull out main ideas from articles and then summarize the news in their own words.   Students then learn and use media literacy skills to distinguish fact from opinion and detect bias in text. Finally the students craft their own articles using and applying newly acquired skills.

Other than basic writing skills,  no prior knowledge is required of students.  Teachers, however, should be familiar and comfortable with teaching media literacy skills, specifically, news writing.




Stage 2
Determine Acceptable Evidence


Learning Objectives:

The Students will:
  • Identify main ideas and messages from a news article by listing the 5 W's and summarizing a news article.

  • Distinguish between impartiality and bias by identifying it in real newspaper articles.

  • Write a short newspaper story that is topical, informative and interesting.

     


Assessment

The total number of points recommended for this lesson is 38 (See Say What Grading Sheet). 

Students are graded with a 1-4 rubric for their final newspaper article using the Writing a Good News Story Rubric.  A total of 20 points is recommended. Students will also be graded on the 5Ws, spelling/profreading, is the article interesting, has a clear purpose been identified and is the article backed up with accurate  information/ supporting details. Student progress will be assessed using “Assessing Handout #1 –Answering the 5 W’s” (10 points recommended) and the “Rubric –Assessing Worksheet #1” (8 points recommended).

 

 




Stage 3
Plan Learning Experiences


Resources

Print MaterialsLooking at Bias

Looking at Bias is Handout #3 found in the Idea Box Materials. This is a useful resource to walk students through detecting bias in print material.

Article Comparison

Three articles (reprinted in one document in your Idea Box) from three different newspapers reporting on the outcome of a Lakers/Pistons basketball.

Internet SitesOnline Newspapers

Online Newspapers is a comprehensive site that provides links to newspapers in the United States and around the world.

  http://www.onlinenewspapers.com/
Internet Public Library

The Internet Public Library is a comprehensive web site that provides links to newspapers in the United States and around the world.

  http://www.ipl.org/div/news/

Materials
Per class
    • Transparency of selected current event article
    • Transparency of Handout #1 -Answering the 5 W's
    • Overhead Projector
  • newspaper for kinetic manipulation

  • SayWhat vsc objectives  (View)
  • assessing handout 1 Answering 5 Ws  (View)
  • grading sheet  (View)
Per Student
  • o A current event article you select that demonstrates the 5 W's (who, what, where, when, and why). You can use your local newspaper or check the websites in the resource section to find an article on the Internet.
    o 2 copies of Handout #1 –

  • articlecomparison  (View)
  • Handout 2 Tips for Writing a Good News Story  (View)
  • Handout 3 Looking At Bias  (View)
  • handout1Answering5Ws  (View)
  • Rubric - assessing worksheet 1  (View)
  • worksheet1Impartialitycomparison  (View)
  • writing _news_story_rubric  (View)

Vocabulary
  • Hard News - When time is a factor, the story is called hard news
  • Soft News - A soft news story, or feature story, has fewer time constraints, and is usually not related to a major event.
  • Current Event - A newspaper story about a timely and significant occurance.
  • Bias - Bias is an inclination of temperament or outlook; especially : a personal and sometimes unreasoned judgment : PREJUDICE
  • Opinion Piece - A story in the newspaper that contains the author's point of views. Some examples of opinion pieces are: letters to the editor, editorials, regular columns by the same author, such as an advice column and book and movie reviews

Procedures

The lesson begins with a review of the 5 W's (Who, What, Where, When and Why), and how journalists use these elements to craft topical, interesting and relevant news stories. In addition, students pull out main ideas from articles and then summarize the news in their own words. Next, students learn media literacy skills to distinguish fact from opinion and detecting bias. Finally the students craft their own articles using their new skills.

Encouraging critical thinking skills in this lesson is one of the most important instructional strategies in this lesson.

Modification/ Differentiation: Various modification and differentiation advice is offered throughout the day activities' instructions. Modification recommendations include ideas and reasons for pairing students and supplying articles for the students to help save time and confusion.  Groups of 2-4 can engage EL and/or special needs students in dialogue.  Always keep the skills and learning needs of your students in mind when choosing how to best approach this lesson. More kinetic students may enjoy searching through real newspapers to select an article, while other students may find the many articles presented in a newspaper difficult to weed through and therefore a more directed approach with fewer options for the students would be helpful. Also, keep in mind that some students respond well to online articles while others prefer print.

Before beginning the lesson: Pre-assess what your students already know about current events by beginning with the following discussion questions:
What is meant by current events?
Why do we want to read about current events?
What information should be included in a current event article? 

Conclusions will most likely include the following:

  • A newspaper story is almost always about people who do things or something that has happened.
  • Stories are important so people can learn about the events and people in their community, city, state, country, world. You don't want to wait too long to report on a story, as people aren't interested in an event that happened months ago. When time is a factor, the story is called hard news. A soft news story, or feature story, has fewer time constraints, and is usually not related to a major event.
  • These stories are supposed to answer all the “5W” questions – who, why, where, when, what – so that readers will be able to understand the story.

Day 1: Searching for Information
Daily Challenge Question: What important information should be included in a current event article?
90 minutes
Set-up Directions:
  • Select a short news article about a current event to read as a class and make enough copies for each student
  •  Overhead Projector
  • Transparency of selected article
  • Transparency of Handout #1 - Answering the 5 W's
  • Handout #1 – Answering the 5 W’s (2 per student)
  • 3 different color writing utensils for each student


Teacher Presentation & Motivation:

Pre-assess what your students already know about current events by beginning with the following discussion questions:
What is meant by current events?
Why do we want to read about current events?
What information should be included in a current event article?

Conclusions will most likely include the following:

  • A newspaper story is almost always about people who do things or something that has happened.
  • Stories are important so people can learn about the events and people in their community, city, state, country, world. You don't want to wait too long to report on a story, as people aren't interested in an event that happened months ago.
  • When time is a factor, the story is called hard news. A soft news story, or feature story, has fewer time constraints, and is usually not related to a major event.
  • These stories are supposed to answer all the “5W” questions – who, why, where, when, what – so that readers will be able to understand the story.


Activity 1 - Find the Information

Together as a class do the following activity to dissect a story and uncover the critical information.

If you haven't already done so, distribute the newspaper story you chose, and pass out a copy to each student. They will need three different colors for underlining. (Modification: You can give them all the same colors to use for easier directions).

Read the article aloud to the class (or have students take turns reading paragraphs).

Instruct the students to read the article again to themselves. While reading, they should use three different colors to underline:

  • The information they feel is most important
  • The details that are helpful.
  • The information you feel is least important.

Demonstrate the above on the board using different colored chalk, if available.

Put a transparecy of the article on the overhead projector and begin underlining passags as students identify important material through the following class discussion:

· What did you underline that was important? (Through discussion begin relating the answers to the 5 Ws. Example: If a students says they underlined the place then tell them the location, the where, is always significant information). 
· What additional information did you underline that helped support important details? Did this make the story more interesting?
· What information did you find least important? Why do you think that information was included in the article?

· What information was missing?
· What essential questions need to be answered in a hard news stories to deliver the important facts?
(Elicit response of the 5 W’s.)

During the discussion of most and  least important information, tie in elements from Handout #2 -Tips to Writing a Good Story (example: Quotes to add details and divulge opinions, catchy openings and conclusions to add interest, etc).

At this point the 5 W's will all be underlined in the same color. Put a transparency of  Handout #1 –Answering the 5 W’s on the overhead projector. Together as a class read each topic and write in the answer according to the article you just read as a class.

Suggested modifications:

· To engage individualized participation from your students you may want to put them in groups of 2-4 for a discussion about what they underlined and why. (This will engage EL and special needs students and get them talking and thinking aloud.) You can then pass Handout #1 to them in their groups and instruct them to answer the questions and then meet together as a class to review the responses.
· Give your students the option to work together or alone to fill out Handout #1 – Answering the 5 W’s before you go over it together as a class. This will allow your advanced students to move ahead and allow your lower-level students to get assistance while they work out the answers.



Activity 2 - Searching for the 5 W's

In this activity students will work together in pairs to fill out Handout #1 - Answering the 5 W's and then each one will write a summary of the article in his own words.

Bring in various sections of the newspaper so students can become familiar with the paper while they select an article to summarize. (Modification: Pre-select articles from a newspaper as a time saver and to keep students more focused and on task. If you don't have newspaper, send students or go yourself to Internet newspapers – web addresses found in resource section - to select articles.)

Divide students into pairs to look at a newspaper section. Each pair should select an article and underline the main points.

Pairs then discuss together as they each fill out Handout #1 - Answering the 5 W's.

Students will then each write at least one paragraph summarizing what their articles are about. You can also have students draw a picture to go along with the summary.



Wrap Up:

Students should complete their summaries for homework if time runs out. Handout #1 -Answering the 5 W's and the summaries will be collected either at the end of class or the next day if necessary. Use “Assessing Handout #1” for grading.


Explain to the students that today you looked mainly at the main facts and purpose of news articles. Tomorrow you will compare articles for impartiality and bias. The students should keep in mind that at the end they will write their own news article.


Day 2: Looking at Bias
Daily Challenge Question: Are news articles always impartial?
60 minute period
Set-up Directions:

Write the words "fact" and "opinion" on the board or overhead projector.

Copy Worksheet #1 - Impartiality Comparison, and Handout #3 for students

Chose a pre-selected news article that shows positive or negative judgment or bias. Examples include:  Sporting events and politics (3 newspaper articles are included about a Lakers/ Pistons basketball playoff games). Articles are from USA Today, Los Angeles Daily News, and The Detroit News.  You can use these articles or others you find on your own to also use for a demonstration to fill out Worksheet #1 - Comparing Impartiality.

To save time, you may want to also pre-select student articles for Activity #1.  If not, be sure to bring in enough of a variety of of newspaper and magazines....Washington Post, Washington Times, Time, Newsweek, conservative, liberal, newspapers from competing sports teams, etc.



Teacher Presentation & Motivation:
Point to the words fact and opinion on the board. Reveal that one of the most important reading skills students can learn is distinguishing opinion from fact. Write the following quotes on the board as an example: (1) "The U.S. government spends nearly $2 billion a year on HIV research." (2) "The U.S. government should spend more money each year on HIV research." Ask for a show of hands of students who can identify the sentence that contains a fact (the first) and the one that expresses an opinion (the second).

Explain that separating fact from opinion requires careful reading. Advise students also to be on the lookout for clues like the following:
- Phrases that precede an opinion such as "it seems," "it appears," and "it would make sense."
- Words like "should"
(Refer to Handout #3 – Looking at Bias for other examples). 
 
Many different people write stories for newspapers: reporters, correspondents, feature writers, freelancers, columnists, and news agencies such as Reuters or the Associated Press. They each approach a story from a different vantage point, but they must try to stay impartial – reporting both sides of an issue, and using language that’s balanced and fair. Wording can change the bias of the story very subtly. Journalists try to be accurate, fair and impartial, but using certain words can change the meaning and elicit a certain response in the audience.

Display articles to look at as a class where you will search for words they think imply a positive or negative judgment. After identifying these words or phrases, explain to students that they will then look at their own source (news story, column, editorial, review), and its significance. Students should gain an understanding of how bias can creep into even 'accurate' news stories, and improve their critical thinking skills in the process.

 



Activity 1 - Comparing Impartiality

In pairs students will compare and contrast two articles about the same issue from different news sources (newspaper v. Internet article, conservative v. liberal papers, newspapers from competing sports teams, etc.). Again, be sure to give students enough variety to select articles, if you've chosen to not pre-select them yourself.

Give each student a copy of worksheet #1 – Comparing Impartiality and follow the directions.



Wrap Up:

If time permits, allow students to share their comparisons either in a whole group or small group setting. The small group setting engages more students and allows more students to talk and share. (Modification: if the teacher pre-selects the articles or topics for the articles than it is natural to put the pairs into groups who read articles of a similar topic to create more room for dialogue.)

Collect Worksheet #1 – Comparing Impartiality and assess it using Rubric – Assessing Worksheet #1. Prepare to return Handout #1 – Answering the 5 W’s and Worksheet #1 –Comparing Impartiality at the next days' activities.

Explain to students that they will write their own newspaper stories during the next activity.


Day 3: Writing to Inform
Daily Challenge Question: How do you put all the elements together to write a good news story?
90 minutes
Set-up Directions:
  • Score and return Handout #1 and Worksheet #1 back to the students
  • Copies of Handout #2 – Tips to Writing A Good News Story
  • Newspapers for students to cut headlines

Based on the graded handouts that you collected, prepare a list of ideas that students are struggling with, so you can review concepts.


 



Teacher Presentation & Motivation:

Before beginning their own stories, conduct a quick review, focusing on weak areas identified from handouts (i.e., 5Ws, showing subtle bias, etc).



Activity 1 - Writing the News

Tell students:  “Now it's your turn to write a newspaper story. Writing a newspaper story is not only fun, it's easy! You just have to make sure you answer all the possible questions, always thinking of the five Ws. After that, everything else will fall into place.”

Give the students the following options for their news stories:

· Clip out a headline without reading the story. Write your own short story for that headline. Remember to answer the 5 'Ws,

OR

· Write a newspaper story about something that recently happened at your school. Maybe it's a bake sale, or a play day, or maybe a band came to your school to play a concert.

Review Handout #2 - Tips for Writing a Good News Story. Remind students to always:

o Answer the five Ws.
o Keep it interesting.
o Interview at least one person, and quote what they say in the story. If you are using a headline for your story then make up your own quote.
o Use lots of description to tell your story. If you're talking about a bake sale, was the food delicious? If you're writing about a play day, was it really hot outside? If a band played a concert, what kinds of instruments did they bring with them?
o Reporters need to make sure they do not let their personal viewpoints influence a news story; but point of view may be used to make the story more interesting.

Modification: For students who need more instruction you can walk them through creating their own graphic organizer to write the rough draft. Tell them to take out a piece of paper and fill in the following categories: Headline, 5 W’s, quotes, supporting details.



Activity 2 - Peer Editing

As students finish their rough draft, pair them up with partners for peer editing. Peer editors should edit for spelling, the 5 W’s, interesting supporting details, and a sense of clear purpose for the article.

Modification: Depending on the level of the students and what you will do with the articles at the end of the lesson, the teacher may want to spend more time writing the articles and allow the students to finish their final drafts for homework. Allowing more time for the teacher and peers to edit the rough draft of the article ensures more success with the final draft.



Wrap Up:

Students finish the final draft of the article for homework and hand it in the next day. See Enrichment Options for ideas of what to do with the articles.



Enrichment Options
Community Connection
Now that each student has written an article you can take it a step further and produce the articles in a class newspaper - this can be done by compiling the articles into one newspaper. Another option is to break students into groups and have them layout their own newspaper by typing up the articles, creating a headline and making it all look like an actual paper.

 



Cross-Curricular Extensions

Students can write articles about their community.

Students can read local papers to summarize articles and look for impartiality and bias.




Stage 4
Teacher Reflection


As a reflective practitioner, note how this lesson could be adjusted after its initial implementation. How successful were the students? What did the assessment demonstrate about the students' learning? What skills do the students need to revisit? What instructional strategies worked and what made them successful? What will you change the next time you use this lesson? Why?



Author: Leslie Aaronson
Modified by: Donna Schnupp