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Write the News Lesson
Engage students with this week's news, events, and anniversaries.
April 24-28, 2017
1. Introduce your students to a giant of journalism.
Legendary reporter Edward R. Murrow
was born April 26, 1908. His broadcast career started in 1935, continued through the birth of television news and then he eventually joined the Kennedy administration as director of the U.S. Information Agency. Murrow was known for his courage, integrity, social responsibility, and journalistic excellence. Invite students to find a story in today’s news that illustrates one of those attributes and to write about the one they chose and explain their reasons. Invite students to look for a local reporter they think is going good work and write him or her a letter of thanks.
Common Core Standard: compare and contrast
was born in April 1564. His exact birth date isn’t known, but his baptismal date was April 26, 1564. In those days, most babies were baptized three days after birth so it is likely, but not certain, that he was born on April 23. What is known is that he died on that date, April 23, 1616. What is also known is that his written words lived on long after he died. What story in today’s news do your students think will live on for a long time?
3. Some students are visual learners who process best when they can see and visualize what they need to understand. A good practice activity is to suggest that they “make a movie in their minds” while they read. By making a movie they imagine, frame by frame, the action in a story. Have them choose a news story that details some action. It could even be a story in the Sports section. Before they read tell them to visualize the action in their minds as they read. Then, after reading, have them use drawing paper to sketch, frame by frame, the action in the story. They should finish by writing a short title for each scene in their movie.
Common Core Standard: Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source
4. On April 29, 1852, the first edition of Roget’s Thesaurus was published. Have students choose 10 words from the headlines in today’s news and replace each with a synonym.
Common Core Standard: demonstrate understanding of word meanings
Comedian Jerry Seinfeld’s birthday is April 29. In his honor, invite students to read the comic strips and to vote on the top three funniest strips. Poll the class and have students graph the results of the poll. Students can use
this online graphing tool t
o show the results of the class poll. Allow time for them to compare the types of graphs they created.
Common Core Standard: creating graphic representation of data
On April 28, 1930, the first organized night baseball game was played in Independence, Kansas. Have students celebrate that anniversary by checking out the baseball scores in today’s news. Have them find the scores of five winning teams and compute the percentage of difference between each winning score and losing score.
Common Core Standard: computing with authentic data
Have students create a vocabulary list of science words found in the news. They should record the spelling, meaning and the use of each word. Some examples might be: exploration, narcotics, energy, pollution, preventative, analysis, comet, weather,
Common Core Standard: understand informational text
Explain to students that objects that humans use come from four main natural resource groups: forests/plants, animal, mineral and fossil fuel. What people do with things after they’re done with them can have an impact on our environment. For example, you may want to bring an egg carton or milk carton or any other common waste item into your classroom. Hold it up and ask students to brainstorm where it came from. Then put these four terms on the board:
Each is a waste management strategy. “Recover” is a newer term. It means to use energy from the waste as power. Ask students to think about how each of those strategies could pertain to the item you brought in.
Then send students into the news to select an item and to analyze each of the waste management strategies as it could pertain to that item.
If you or your students have ever wondered about recycling, you may want to click
to see videos about recycling.
Common Core Standard: Write routinely over a variety of time frames and for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences; apply reading standards to support reflection and response to literature and nonfiction texts
Share this with students -- on April 26, 1986, workers at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant ran a test that went far wrong and resulted in an explosion that released massive amounts of radiation into the air. The radioactivity was 400 times more than that of the atomic bomb drop on Hiroshima during World War II. The number of deaths from that day is controversial. Perhaps fewer than 100 died immediately estimates of deaths that could ultimately result from the disaster are as high as 90,000. Nuclear power remains controversial and it still makes news with the recent earthquake in Japan and its effect on the nuclear power plant and potential for disaster. Ask students to go online to learn more about nuclear power. Then, ask them to find a story in the news about energy and to see if there are any connections.
Common Core Standard: make logical inferences from text
Holocaust Remembrance Day was April 23 this year. Ask your students if they are familiar with one of the best-known artifacts of the Holocaust-- the diary of Anne Frank. She was a young girl who hid with her family from the Nazis during World War II . She kept a journal during their time in hiding. Explain to students that during World War II, the Nazis were rounding up and imprisoning and killing Jewish people (and many others including Gypsies, Poles, homosexuals and more). Ultimately, the Nazis killed six million Jews (as well as millions of others) during the event known as the Holocaust. Anne’s family was Jewish and that is why, with the help of a friend, they hid in an attic. Eventually, the family was discovered and sent to concentration camps where Anne died, along with the rest of her family. The only survivor was her father who later found her diary, which was eventually published and is one of the most-read books in the world. Many of Anne’s words have been quoted. Among them is “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” Invite your students to find someone in the newspaper who is improving the world. They should write about the person they found and what that person is doing to make the world a better place. Students can click here to read more of Anne’s famous words.
Common Core Standard: summarize/analyze information presented in diverse media
Explain to students that on April 28, 1967, boxer Muhammad Ali refused to be inducted into the U.S. Army for religious reasons. For this action, he was stripped of his heavyweight champion boxing title. The U.S. was then fighting a war in Vietnam. Ali said, “I ain’t got no quarrel with those Vietcong.” He was convicted of draft evasion, sentenced to prison, and fined. He didn’t end up in prison, but he was banned from boxing for three years. Today the U.S. is fighting war in Afghanistan. How do your students think an athlete would be treated today for the same type of action? Can your students find any stories about the war in today’s news? What conclusions can they draw about the war, based on their findings?
Common Core Standard: drawing conclusions based on text
3. Share this bit of history with students -- on April 24, 1800, the
Library of Congress
was established as a legislative institution but now it is quite multi-purpose. It has a fascinating history. The library’s site is
. Invite students to work in small groups and skim today’s local news and to develop a list of categories into which most will fit, just as library books are categorized. What percentage of the stories is in each category?
Common Core Standard: become proficient with research
Some of what's coming up for May 2-6, 2016
LA: Explore "visual aids" that help readers
LA: Examining character attributes in the comics
M: Horse race math
SC: Does space matter?
SS/LA: May is Asian American Heritage Month
SS: Places in the News
Web 2.0 Tools Utilized, LInks to Resources
Read Alan Shepard, first man in space, Kent State, Law Day, use an online Library of Congress search tool
Write the News Lesson
Lessons written by Deborah Drezon Carroll. Carroll taught for ten years in Philadelphia, PA and is the author of two parenting books. She also coordinated the Newspaper in Education department of the Philadelphia Inquirer for 16 years.
Copyright Hot Topics Hot Serials. No portions may be distributed digitally without permission.
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