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Tabloid Article Assignments

Motivation and Prior Knowledge:

Think, Pair, Share Exercise: Ask the class, "Who wants to be a writer? Why?" Have the class think quietly about this question for a minute. Ask students to pair up with a partner or in groups and share their thoughts. Then have the students share with you. Record their answers on a blackboard, making sure to write the child's name after each shared idea.

Ask the class, "What are some of the different types of professional writing in the world?" Record the responses of the groups, which may include:

Types of Writing:

  • Novels
  • Short stories
  • Non-fiction
  • Plays
  • Movies
  • Poetry
  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Television
  • Radio
  • Advertising
  • Public relations

On the board write the title: What is it like to be a writer? Underneath the title have two columns:

1) Good and

2) Not so good

Ask the class, "What are some good and not so good things about being a writer?" Record their answers, which may include:

Good

  • Travel
  • Meet interesting people
  • Learn new things
  • Get to create
  • Many readers
  • Can influence people

Not so good

  • Deadlines
  • Editors change things
  • People may not like what you write


Think, Pair, Share Exercise:
Ask the class, "What does it take to be a writer?" Have the class think silently about the question for a minute. Have students pair with a partner or in groups and share their thoughts. Then have them share their thoughts with you and record them on the board.

Being a Writer

  • Good knowledge of English. Think of CUPS: Capitalization, Use of words, Punctuation, Spelling.
  • Good knowledge of your field, general knowledge of everything.
  • Good observational skills: What did the team do after they won? What did the woman say when she got her lost dog back? Remember colors, sounds, sequence of events, and words of people — what you need to create the event.
  • Persistence: Write and rewrite until you think it's perfect. Go after the story, dig for facts, get quotes to make it interesting, do your best for the readers.
  • Thick skin: Not every teacher or editor or reader will like everything you write. Get used to it.
  • Hard work. Writers are made, very seldom born. Tiger Woods has a great natural swing but he works out a lot and hits at least 1,000 practice shots a day.

Additional Exercises:

How to Read a Newspaper - Bring newspapers to class and ask students why reading a newspaper is important. When that has been discussed, hand out the newspapers. Go through the "Before-During-After" reading strategies below for understanding and getting the most out of a newspaper story.

Before:
- Preview the text
- Read captions
- Look at subtitles
- Predict what the story might be about

During:
- Look at the bold print words
- Look up unfamiliar words in a dictionary
- Clarify information by rereading text

After:
- Summarize the text
- Create a visual image
- Think of prior knowledge
- Connect new information with prior knowledge
- Share new information with someone

Have students practice these strategies with their newspapers, then share what they've learned with you and the class. The test of whether you understand a newspaper story is: "Can you explain it to somebody else?"

Importance of Newspapers - Ask the class, "Why are newspapers important to our community? What kind of information do they provide to link us to our political and social structure?" Have the class think silently about the question for a minute, then ask them to pair with a partner or in groups and share their thoughts. Have them share their thoughts with you and the class and record them on the board.

Scavenger Hunt - Prepare a list of items students will have to locate in the newspaper (headline, a sale price, comic strip, sport scores, movies review, etc.). Give a time limit for the scavenger hunt.

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