Place your students into cooperative working groups of 3, 4 or 5. Give each team a copy of the local newspaper. Allow enough time for them to read the headlines from each of the newspaper's sections. As you read a few of the headlines, have them identify the ones they think they would like to read more about. Ask them why they chose these articles. List these articles by name on the board.
Assign the articles, one to each team and give them time to have one team member read the article aloud to the group. If they decide that they no longer like the article, have them choose another. When all groups have completed the oral reading, have one member share the information with the entire class by summarizing the important facts. As they do, write these facts on the board.
After all groups have reported on their news articles, the facts will be compared to see if there are any common categories. All good news items have 6 major pieces of information:
Who What When Where Why How
( The five W's and H )
Have each team appoint one recorder to write these categories on a piece of paper with 6 lines between each. Direct the teams to look at the categories written on the board and discuss which facts and statements on the board might best fit into each category. The recorder writes the statements under the correct category name as the group makes the decision.
Visit each team to restate the direction and check for understanding. Choose a few teams to share their categories and information and ask the whole class to respond. If time permits, have each team work together to categorize a second article to be shared with the whole class.
Have each team cut out the headline of an article that they like. Have them paste the headline on the top of a lined piece of paper and pass the paper to the next team. Team #2 will use the categories on the board to list the important information from the newspaper for each category for that article.
After ample practice time has been given (an additional writing period or two), prepare the class for writing an actual news item on an event that has happened on your campus.
Copy and distribute the writing situation and writing directions.
Write a five-paragraph news report about an important event at your school. Include an eye-catching headline, a byline and a lead paragraph. Also include paragraphs with supportive details. Finally, provide a comment about what you believe to be the impact this event may have on your school, its students, or the community.
Use the prompts in the worksheet (below) to help write your first rough draft. When you have completed this file, print your news item and share your work in a read-around group. Use the suggestions your writing team has provided to help you edit your rough draft. When complete, save your file on your data disk with a good, descriptive name. Finally, print one copy of your final article.
If writing meets all four points, the grade is an A, if three the grade is B, etc. Also, students may be graded on each step of the process. Less skilled writers could thus raise their grades.