Blocks sitting on newsprint that spell out "NEWS"
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Teacher's Corner: Journalism
In this month’s Teacher’s Corner, we will explore the world of journalism and the job of reporters. Each week will provide students interesting and engaging opportunities to practice the basic skillset that all journalists have.
In the United States, journalism is an important part of day-to-day life. In the United States, people expect journalists to follow the actions of the government and report it to the people. Journalists are so important that the work of the press is protected by the U.S. Constitution which states, “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of the press.”
 
In this month’s Teacher’s Corner, we will explore the world of journalism and the job of reporters. Each week will provide students interesting and engaging opportunities to practice the basic skillset that all journalists have. Each of the activities included in this month’s Teacher’s Corner provide students practice in working with the ‘5 W and H’ questions that serve as the foundation of journalism. Students will practice asking Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How? which serve as the center of any effective newspaper report. 
 
Each activity this month provides students a context to practice asking questions and dig for information in order to create news stories about the people and places important to them. 
 
Week 1:The Inverted Pyramid
Week 2: In the News
Week 3: Celebrity Interview
Week 4: What’s the Scoop?
 
Week one begins the month with an activity centered on the Inverted Pyramid. The Inverted Pyramid is a style of writing used in many news articles; students will practice identifying the parts of the pyramid. Week two features an active-reading activity where students can practice identifying important questions in a news story. Week three encourages students to play the part of a reporter and conduct a celebrity interview. Finally, this month’s Teacher’s Corner concludes with students working to produce their own news radio broadcast.
 
For more on journalism and the media, check out the American English MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) for English Language Learners: English for Journalism MOOC and the English for Media Literacy MOOC!
 
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Table of Contents

Week 1 - The Inverted PyramidExpand

In this week’s Teacher’s Corner, students will work on understanding the parts of a news story. This week’s activity uses a graphic organizer about the inverted pyramid. The inverted pyramid is a journalistic writing style that places the important information at the beginning of the news story and more general information at the end of the story.

LEVEL

Intermediate to Advanced

LANGUAGE FOCUS

Reading, speaking (primary focus); listening (secondary focus)

GOALS

During this activity students will:

  • learn the structure of a news article
  • practice listening and note-taking skills

MATERIALS

  • Teacher: whiteboard/chalkboard, markers or chalk, computer with speakers, printer  
  • Students: pencils or pens, notebooks or writing paper

PREPARATION

  1. Read through all the materials carefully.
  2. Read the article Experimental School in California Has No Homework and listen to the audio version of the story.
  3. Print out the Inverted Pyramid worksheet in Appendix 1. Make enough copies so that each pair of students in class has a worksheet.
  4. Print out the news article Experimental School in California Has No Homework in Appendix 2. Make enough copies so that each pair of students has a copy.

ACTIVITY PART ONE: PRE-READING ACTIVITY

  1. Begin the class by telling the students they will read a news article about a school with no grade levels and no homework. Ask the class, “What would a school with no grade levels or no homework look like?” Have the students do a think, pair, share.
    1. Have the students think about their own answer to the question. (2 minutes)
    2. Next, have them form pairs. Students should share their answer with their partner. (2 minutes)
    3. Finally, call on pairs to share their answers with the entire class. (4 minutes)
  2. Next, instruct the students to get out a piece of paper and a pen or pencil. Play the audio version of the article Experimental School in California Has No Homework. As the students listen to the article, have them take notes on the information in the article.
  3. After listening to the article, have the students form pairs. In pairs, have the students compare the notes they took about the article.

Have the pairs share their notes with the class. The goal in this part of the activity is to understand what details the students understood in the article, so answers may differ among the pairs. This is okay.

ACTIVITY PART TWO: READING THE STORY

  1. Begin this section of the activity by having the students form pairs.
  2. Next, give each pair a copy of the article Experimental School in California Has No Homework found in Appendix 1.

  3. Have the pairs read the article. As students read, circulate around the room to help students with any vocabulary questions they may have.

ACTIVITY PART THREE: UNDERSTANDING THE STRUCTURE

  1. Once the students have completed the reading, give each pair a copy of the Inverted Pyramid worksheet in Appendix 2.
  2. Have the students work in pairs to answer the questions on the worksheet.
    • Note: The worksheet has four sections that match the sections of the news article.
      1. The lead: This is the text between the main title and the first subtitle.
      2. The Facts: Most of the major facts of the story can be found under the subtitle No Homework.
      3. Important Details: The subheading Personalized learning contains the important details of the story that explain the information in the facts section of the story.
      4. General Information: The subheading Work in progress contains the general information about the story. This information adds extra details, which are not critical to understanding the story.
  3. Once the pairs have completed the worksheet, have them join another pair to form a small group. Have the pairs compare their answers to the worksheet questions. Once all the small groups have compared their answers, have them share their answers with the entire class.

For more on journalism vocabulary, check out The Lighter Side – Journalism Crossword!

Appendix 1: News Story

Experimental School in California Has No Homework

Khan Lab School is bringing back the one-room model to teach young students in Mountain View, California.

The school is a laboratory for an experimental kind of learning.

Silicon Valley, known for its technology companies, is also the birthplace of the school.

Twelve-year-old Mishal Junaid loves the Khan Lab School’s untraditional methods.

“When I wake up in the morning, I want to wake up, unlike my last school where I want to sleep in and not go to school...”

Junaid and her sister’s reactions to the school surprise their parents.

The girls’ father, Junaid Qurashi, told VOA: “Our children, they love going to school, to the point that even if they are tired or sick or have the flu,” they will not stay home from school. “To the point that we worry why kids come home so happy. Are they really learning things?”

No homework

Students ages 5 to 15 attend the experimental Khan Lab School. It has no grade levels and no homework. The students are in school from 8:30 in the morning until six o’clock at night. And, the school is open all year long, with small breaks here and there.

Nine-year-old Holly Thompson enjoys going there.

"You get to choose what you learn, and it's not just a teacher hands you a worksheet and tells you what to do. You get to set your own goals. You have a schedule. You go to different classes."

The school is the idea of Salman Khan, the founder of Khan Academy — famous for its educational videos. The videos are available on the internet free of charge and have millions of users around the world.

Khan said he started Khan Lab School because he thinks the current education system has problems. He hopes to create a better learning model.

“Where I see the future going is somewhat revisiting the past. There’s a lot of really good things about the one-room schoolhouse that you might have had in the rural areas that you still have today in a lot of places where you have mixed-age classrooms...”

He said this system lets the older students take responsibility and help younger students. That means the younger children get a lot of help. They get the help of the teacher and the older students.

Personalized learning

Khan said students also learn the study material at their own speed through videos. And, they get more attention through one-on-one discussions with teachers. They also learn by doing projects.

Malika Junaid noted a change in her daughters after they began attending the school. She said that, after six months, they seemed sure of their abilities. They are now not afraid to talk to adults and other students and now they always want to help.

The school’s director, Dominic Liechti, said this way of learning better prepares students for the future. He said the duties of a teacher need to change from leading the class to being someone who guides students in their learning, and provides individual support. A teacher is also a life-long learner, he said, not just someone who gives presentations.

Leichti also said the role of students is becoming more creative.

Work in progress

Salman Khan describes his Khan Lab School as a work in progress.

“Like a R-and-D lab [research and development lab], the first time that you make the drug or the first time that you make the material,” Khan said. “It’s not scalable yet, but you need to make it the first time and say 'that’s a pretty strong material.' And then you can think about how do you make it so that it’s more affordable and more scalable.”

Dominic Liechti says the community in the Mountain View area has been open to this new method to educating students.

“Especially in Silicon Valley because that’s the culture that you can start something,” he said. “You can pioneer something, and people join that movement, and I feel that amongst my staff.”

Liechti says he has that same feeling amongst his students and members of the community.

Elizabeth Lee wrote this story for VOANews.com. Alice Bryant adapted her report for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

Words in This Story

flu - n. the flu, also called influenza, is common disease that is used by a virus. It causes high body temperature, weakness, and breathing problems

grade - n. a level of study that is completed by a student during one year

scalable - adj. easy to make larger or more powerful

pioneer - n. a person who helps create or develop new ideas or methods

Appendix 2: Inverted Pyramid

Directions: Read the article Experimental School in California Has No Homework. After reading the article, answer the questions in the graphic organizer below.

 

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Week 2 - In the NewsExpand

This week’s Teacher’s Corner prepares students to practice journalism skills. Many news stories follow a specific structure that makes writing and reading them much easier. This activity allows students to practice deconstructing, or taking apart, a news article to explore the sections of a news story. This activity can be used separately, or can build upon the ideas presented in Week 1 of this month’s Teacher’s Corner.

Level

Intermediate to Advanced

Language Focus

Reading, writing (primary focus); listening, speaking (secondary focus)                 

Goals

During this activity students will:

  • Explore a news article
  • Develop their skills in analyzing a news story

Materials

  • Teacher: whiteboard/chalkboard, markers or chalk, computer and speakers
  • Students: pencils or pens, notebooks, or writing paper

Preparation

  1. Read through all the materials carefully.
  2. Prior to class, read the story Skateboarding: A Tool for Cultural Diplomacy? The story includes a video at the top of the page as well as an audio transcript of the story. Both of these will be used in the activity.
  3. Print out the News Story Jigsaw Cards in Appendix 1. Make one copy of the materials in Appendix 1 for each team of students. Be sure to cut out the text boxes and then mix up the sections before passing them out to students.

Activity Part One: Warm-Up

  1. Begin the class activity by asking students if they skateboard. If any of the students skateboard, have them explain to the class what skateboarding is. If none of the students skateboard, then go straight to the video.
  2. Next, play the video Naftalie Williams: “Skateboarding: A Tool for Cultural Diplomacy.” At this point the students do not need to take notes. Have them watch the video to see skateboarding in action and hear some of the details that will be presented in the news article.
    1. Note: If students are familiar with skateboarding, the video can be skipped. However, if students are not familiar with skateboarding, the video provides a helpful visual aid to show them the sport.

Activity Part Two: News Story Jigsaw

  1. Begin the class activity by having the students form pairs or small groups. Each group should be between two to four students. These groups will work as a team for the entire activity.
  2. Give each team the News Story Jigsaw Cards in Appendix 1.
  3. Provide the class a few moments to read through the sections of the story.
  4. Next, play the audio version of the story.
  5. Have the teams listen to the audio version of the story. As they listen, the teams should arrange the News Story Jigsaw Cards in the correct order.
  6. After students have placed the parts of the story in order, play the audio again so students can listen and follow along.

Activity Part Three: Just the Facts

  1. Begin this section of the activity by writing the following on the board:
    a. Who?
    b. What?
    c. When?
    d. Where?
    e. Why?
    f. How?
  2. Tell the students that an effective news story includes the answers to those questions because they answer all the basic facts a reader will want to know.
  3. Next, tell the pairs/small groups to take out a sheet of paper and a pen or pencil. Working in their pair/small groups, have the students read the story again and identify the answers to the “Wh” questions and the “How” question listed above. 
    a. Note: During this first step, the pairs/small groups can keep their answers simple. For example, in response to “Who?” students can write Neftalie Williams. For “What?” they can write skateboarding.
  4. Once students have identified the basic answers to the questions listed in step 1, have them read through the story again. This time instruct them to underline parts of the story that answer the “Wh” and “How” questions listed above. 
    a. Note: The goal in this step is to get students to engage in active reading. In active reading, students do more than read and memorize the details of a story. Instead they work to understand the meaning and purpose of an article.
  5. Once the teams have completed step 4, review the answers with the entire class. Go through the “Wh” and “How” questions one-by-one and have the different pairs/small groups share their answers with the class.

Homework Activity:

For homework, have the students write a paragraph or small essay. In the assignment, have students write about their own hobby or activity they would like to share with the world like Neftalie Williams does with skateboarding.

For more on working with the “5 Ws and H” questions check out Using Journalism Skills in the Language Classroom.

Appendix 1: News Story Jigsaw

Skateboarding involves riding and performing tricks on a small oval board attached to four wheels. It can be considered a recreational activity, an art form, or a method of transportation.

Neftalie Williams says skateboarding is his passion.

“When I'm skateboarding, I feel free. It gives me the space to do what I want to do and sort of tune out the rest of the world. All I do is what feels good to me, what feels great under my feet and it lets me belong to a larger community. So I feel it all, all at the same time.”

As a young adult, Williams gained a larger view on skateboarding.

“Right when I got to be about 20 years old, that's when I decided that not only was skateboarding important, but it's something that I should really, really be involved in --- not just working on being an amateur sponsor skater, but that skateboarding meant more to more people and it was a way to sort of connect communities everywhere.

"So, for me, I started thinking about skating in a broader context. I ended up putting together my own skateboarding camp for kids in New England, because that was me wanting to give back to the sport that gave me so much life. And a lot of my good friends have now become pro skaters and they were counselors at my camp at that time. So, that was my first foray into making things bigger for skateboarding as a whole.”

Neftalie Williams is a researcher and lecturer with the Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California (USC). He teaches a course called “Skateboarding and Action Sports in Business Media and Culture.”

Williams studied skateboarding in college and received a master’s degree in Public Diplomacy from USC. He is the first professor in the United States to teach the sport.

“I am the first professor of skateboarding and action sports here in the U.S., especially at a major university, USC. I've been looking at how skateboarding can be used as a tool for cultural diplomacy. So, when it came time to bring the class together, they knew that I'd been working out in the field in Cuba and Brazil and South Africa and that we were trying to find new ways to engage youth all over the world.

"So, when it came time to propose having a class that talked about it, they looked at the fact that I had the experience, that I also had all the ties within the skateboarding network to bring in great people -- leaders in the field -- and that we were really also looking at the role of gender in new sports and how to actually make inroads and communicate with our youth. They thought it was a really great idea and we went forward.”

The course has proven to be popular among students. But Williams has kept the class size small, permitting just 25 students to officially register for the course.

Examining skating as a tool for cultural diplomacy worldwide, Williams joined forces with the U.S. State Department, becoming the first skateboarding and academic sports envoy in U.S. history.

“One of the things I'm the most proud of is being the first skateboarding envoy for the U.S. government. We worked with the embassy in the Netherlands to engage the Syrian refugees who'd been granted asylum in the Netherlands. It was an amazing project. And, not only was it engaging the Syrian refugees, but it was also engaging the youth of the Netherlands. Both of those groups are going to be the future of the Netherlands populace.

"So, by having them both together they got to know one another, be totally engaged with each other and to spend time knowing what the future of the Netherlands was going to look like. And it wasn't just, 'this is a project for those kids' or 'this is just something for the elite.' For some of those kids it was the first time they ever got to see skateboarding up close. And they all became immediate parts of the skateboarding community.”

Because the skateboarding diplomacy project was so successful in the Netherlands, the State Department has asked for Williams’s help in creating skateboarding projects in other countries.

“So we're creating a plan right now to take skateboarding globally as an envoy. Some of the other countries that the U.S. government would like to engage using skateboarding as a tool for cultural diplomacy are Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Cambodia and Ethiopia.”

In addition to his work empowering and uniting skateboarding communities, Neftalie Williams is chairman of Cuba Skate, designed to create people-to-people exchange between communities in Cuba and the U.S.

“Cuba Skate is our nonprofit that's based in D.C. and here in L.A. and what we do is we bring boards back and forth to the kids that are in Cuba and we also promote educational exchange between the skaters that are here, skaters globally and the skaters that are in Cuba.

"So one of the main things that are important with our working with Cuba Skate is that there are no skate shops on the island. So, what we want to do is foster entrepreneurship in the youth so that they can create their own skate shops, their own cooperatives, give them a blueprint to look at how businesses are run here in skateboarding, [and] how they can run their own educational facilities there in Cuba.”

A major issue in the Cuban skateboarding community is its growing female membership.

“Cuba has a very large skate population and it's growing all the time. With skateboarding being moved to the Olympics hopefully in the future, it's nice to see that so many women are starting to take up skateboarding there and that there is no disparity between the men and women on the island.”

However, Williams says there are a few barriers Cuba Skate faces.

"The biggest obstacles that we face in Cuba skate is that we still have travel restrictions, there's still an embargo in place and that makes our work a little difficult. The good thing, though, is that we have our hearts in a light place because we know that progress is being made on both sides.”

Neftalie Williams believe skateboarding teaches self-expression, among other things.

“One of the most amazing thing that skateboarding teaches you is how to re-imagine yourself and the world around you. That’s very important because we have skaters all over the world who, particularly in Cuba, don't have access to resources. So, they've got to now look at themselves and figure out, 'how do I exist in this space?'

"[What] skateboarding also teaches you is how to persevere. Because there aren't people to teach you how to do tricks or having large teams involved in the skate, you learn how to do it on your own. The other thing is skateboarding teaches you is to build a family and to build a community. That's amazing because most sports don't do that. This is something that's just inherent in skateboarding.”

Neftalie started in skateboarding as a teenager. He says he, and other neighborhood kids, chose skateboarding because bicycles were too costly.

“Skateboarding was something that all the kids in my building started doing after we looked at how expensive it was to get bikes and so it was really something great to be involved in. So it didn’t matter what part of town you were from; skateboarding was something that everyone got into.”

Williams says the sport has given him so much. He says he hopes his work in skateboarding and the community will help ensure that the next generation of leaders is smarter and more culturally aware.

“Skateboarding to me is freedom. It's family. It’s education. It's transportation. It's really the most amazing thing in the whole wide world. It gives us the freedom to do whatever we want anywhere. And that's something that...that's the most important thing to me. That freedom and that ability to communicate globally.”

 

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Week 3 - Celebrity Interview Expand

This week’s Teacher’s Corner provides students with the opportunity to practice using reported speech as part of an exercise on writing a newspaper article about a celebrity interview.

Level

Intermediate to Advanced

Language Focus

Listening, writing (primary focus); speaking (secondary focus).            

Goals

During this activity students will:

  • Practice asking and answering questions as part of an interview news story.

Materials

  • Teacher: whiteboard/chalkboard, markers or chalk, computer and speakers
  • Students: pencils or pens, notebooks, or writing paper

Preparation

  1. Read through all the materials carefully.
  2. Print copies of the This Week’s Schedule worksheet in Appendix 1. Print one copy for each student.
  3. Print copies of the Reporter’s Notes worksheet in Appendix 2. Print one copy for each student.

Activity Part One: Celebrity Schedule

  1. Begin the class by asking students who their favorite famous person is. This could include athletes, movie stars, authors, politicians, or scientists.
  2. Have the students think about their answer as a think, pair, share:
    1. Think – First have the students work alone and think about their answer. (1 minute)
    2. Pair – When all students have an answer, have them pair up with a classmate and discuss their answers. Students should state who their favorite famous person is and why. (2 minutes)
    3. Share – After the students have worked in pairs, have them share their answer with the class. For added speaking and listening practice, have students share with the class the answer of their partner. (2 minutes)
  3. Next, give each student a copy of the This Week’s Schedule worksheet in Appendix 1.
  4. Have each student fill in the schedule assuming the role of the famous person they selected in the think, pair, share activity.
    1. Encourage the students to be creative and provide as many details as they can to their schedule.
  5. Once all the students have completed their schedule, move to Part 2 of the activity.

Activity Part Two: Reporter's Notes

  1. Begin this part of the activity by having the students put away the This Week’s Schedule worksheet they just completed. It will be used in Part 3 of the activity.
  2. Next, ask the class, “If you interviewed someone famous, what questions would you ask?” Have the students do another think, pair, share. 
  3. As students share their questions with the class, write the questions on the board to generate a list of interview questions.
  4. Next to these questions, write the phrase follow-up question. Ask the students if they know what this term means. 
    1. Note: The term follow-up question means a question asked in response to an answer. For example:
      Reporter: Why are you visiting New York City this week?
      Celebrity: I am here to promote my new movie.
      Reporter: A new movie? What is it about?
  5. Give each student a copy of the Reporter’s Notes worksheet in Appendix 2. Have the students write down questions they would ask a famous person. They should also brainstorm possible follow-up questions to ask during the interview.
    1. Note: Students may be unsure what follow-up questions to ask. Encourage them to think of as many as they can. They may not use them all, but that is okay. One of a reporter’s most important jobs is to be prepared. 

Activity Part Three: Celebrity Interview

  1. Begin this part of the activity by having the students form pairs. Decide which student in each pair will be student A and which student in the pair will be student B.
  2. Have student A be the celebrity and instruct them to take out the This Week’s Schedule worksheet and fill out in Part 1 of the activity.
  3. Student B in the pair will be the reporter. Instruct these students to take out their Reporter’s Notes worksheet from Part 2 of the activity. Student B should also have a pen or pencil to take notes during the interview. 
  4. Have students role play an interview with Student A (a famous person) answering the questions of Student B (the reporter). 
    1. Remind the students that they will be writing a news story for homework so the reporter should get as many details from their partner as they can!
  5. After the pairs have completed the interview, have them switch roles. Student A should now be the reporter and interview Student B.

Homework Activity:

Have the students take their Reporter’s Notes worksheet home and write up a short news story about the famous person they interviewed. Encourage students to use direct quotes and reported speech in their news story. 

Appendix 1: This Week’s Schedule

Directions: Fill out your schedule with your plan for each day. Include what you will do, when you will do it, where it will occur, and why you need to do this activity.

Monday

     What:

     When:

     Where:

     Why:

Tuesday

     What:

     When:

     Where:

     Why:

Wednesday

     What:

     When:

     Where:

     Why:

Thursday

     What:

     When:

     Where:

     Why:

Friday

     What:

     When:

     Where:

     Why:

Appendix 2: Reporter’s Notes Worksheet

Directions: A reporter’s job is to ask specific questions to get informative answers for newspaper stories. You are about to interview a famous person. What questions can you ask? What possible follow-up questions might be helpful during the interview?

Question 1:

 

                  Possible Follow-up Questions:

 

 

 

Question 2:

 

                  Possible Follow-up Questions:

 

 

 

Question 3:

 

                  Possible Follow-up Questions:

 

 

 

Question 4:

 

                  Possible Follow-up Questions:

 

 

 

Question 5:

 

                  Possible Follow-up Questions:

 

 

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Week 4 - What's the Scoop?Expand

Level

Intermediate to Advanced

Language Focus

Reading, writing (primary focus); listening, speaking (secondary focus)

Goals

During this activity students will:

  • Practice writing news stories
  • Record a news radio program

Materials

  • Teacher: whiteboard/chalkboard, markers or chalk
  • Students: pencils or pens, notebooks or writing paper

Preparation

  1. Read all of the materials carefully before starting the activity.

Note: Idioms/slang related to newspapers and news radio have a long tradition in American culture. In news slang, to scoop (v.) means to publish information or a news story before other newspapers. Scoop can be used as a noun as well. The title of part three of this activity “Over to You” is a phrase used to transition between news stories on television or radio. For example: a news story may end with “and that is the local news today. Coming up next we have the weather with Eddie. Over to you Eddie.”

Activity Part One: The Classroom News

  1. Begin the activity by having students form small groups of 3 to 4 students. Each small group will form a news team. For the remainder of the activity, students will work in these news teams. Each news team will produce one radio broadcast.
  2. In their news teams, have the students brainstorm the types of stories they read in the news or listen to on the radio, such as international news, local news, sports, movie reviews, etc.
  3. After the news teams have brainstormed ideas, have them share their ideas with the class. As groups announce their list to the class, write them on the chalkboard.
  4. Once of all the ideas have been listed on the board, ask the news teams which of the types of news stories they find the most interesting. Inform the students that these news stories will be the ones they include in a radio broadcast. Topics could include international news, the economy, entertainment, sports, weather, etc.
    • Have each news team vote on the news stories they want to include in their radio program.
    • Note: Some topics of the news can be more challenging for students to write about than others, such as international news or business news. If these topics are too difficult for the students’ language level, the radio broadcast can be created with smaller topics. For example, instead of one story within the topic of entertainment, the radio broadcast can have two, such as movie news and music news.

  5. Once the news teams decide which topics to include in their radio broadcast, have them select a producer. The producer is responsible for organizing the radio broadcast and making sure the stories are written and submitted on time. The producer will act as the team leader for his/her news team.

Activity Part Two: What’s the scoop

  1. Once the news teams have decided which topics to include in the radio broadcast, have the news teams decide which student will write which topic.
  2. Once students know the topic they will write about, have them get out paper and a pencil or pen and begin brainstorming possible ideas for a news story. Encourage the students to write down a general idea at the top of their paper. Below this they should write down the “5 Ws and H” questions of a newspaper story: Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How. Each of these should be included in each story.
  3. Note: This brainstorming activity will vary depending on the topics of the radio broadcast students decided to include. Be sure to circulate around the room and help students brainstorm ideas. The news topics easiest to write will probably be local news, entertainment, sports, and weather. These topics are all common parts of American news radio broadcasts.

    • In the entertainment section, possible story ideas are a review of a new movie or music album, a local performance occurring in town, or a story about the life of a famous celebrity.

    Note: For lower-level classes, students can work in pairs to write a story together.

  4. Instruct the students to continue the story-writing exercise at home as a homework assignment. For this activity, be sure to set a longer than normal homework deadline, such as one week. After you give the homework assignment and the due date, it will be the responsibility of the news team producers to make sure students complete the homework!

Activity Part Three: Over to You

After the students have completed their homework, begin this section of the activity. In this part of the activity, the students will organize their radio broadcast, practice reading it, and record it for a homework assignment.

  1. Begin this section of the activity by having the student gather into their news teams.
  2. In their news teams, students should read the news stories written by their classmates in their news team. They should then select the order in which the stories will be read during the broadcast.
    • Remind students that they want to choose an interesting or exciting story for their lead. In American journalism, the lead is the first and most important story in a newspaper or on a radio broadcast.
  3. Once the news teams have selected their lead, have them decide the order of the remaining stories for the radio broadcast.
  4. Note: Many American radio broadcasts follow a similar pattern; they begin with local news, then international news, then weather, and conclude with sports. If teams are having trouble organizing their radio broadcast, suggest they follow that pattern.

  5. Once the news teams have decided the order of their stories, have them practice reading their stories out loud. Each student in the news team should read one news story in the radio broadcast.
  6. Note: Remind students to include transitions in their news stories. Usually, a news story will end with a transition to the next story. For example, a news story may end with, “…and that is the local news today. Coming up next we have the weather with Eddie. Over to you Eddie.”

Homework Activity: For homework, have students record their radio broadcast. If students are feeling creative, encourage them to record and edit their radio broadcast using a free audio editing tool such as Audacity.

Optional Activity: Once each news team has recorded their radio broadcast, have them share their recording with the rest of class for other students to listen to for extra listening practice.

For more information on using Audacity for recording, check out: Audacity: Audio Recording Software
For more ideas on creating audio recordings for the classroom, check out the webinar: Podcasting in the Classroom.

For more ideas on using news in the classroom, check out the March 2016 Teacher’s Corner.

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