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Use the News
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From the Core
Page One Prime
Write the News Lesson
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Engage students with this week's news, events, and anniversaries.
March 3-7, 2014
For more than 30 years, newspapers have been partnering with local schools each year in March to celebrate the use of newspapers in the classroom. Sometimes referred to as “the living textbook,” newspapers continue to be useful for teaching many content areas across multiple grade levels. So, when you use the newspaper this week, you should know that you are part of a long tradition of creative teaching!
1. In honor of NIE Week, invite your students to choose a story they would use if they were teaching someone to read, using the newspaper.
Common Core Standard: using informational text
2. Explain to students that a simile is a literary device used to make a comparison, using the word “like” or something similar. An example is “Mazie ran like the wind,” meaning that she ran fast. Once you’ve explained the concept and asked students for other examples, put this example on the board. “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.” The expression is meant to describe the March weather coming in as winter and going out as spring. Invite students to find examples of simile or other metaphors in the newspaper. The Sports section is a good place to begin the search.
Common Core Standard: assess style of text
3. On March 3, 1931, the United States adopted “The Star Spangled Banner” as the national anthem. Ask your students to review the
and extract the themes in the song. Then have them skim today’s news to extract themes that might be woven into an anthem written today.
Common Core Standard: determine ideas or theme of text
4. With the vast array of resources at students’ disposal, the skill of synthesizing information, or integrating information from prior knowledge with a variety of different sources, is more important than ever. Students can learn strategies to help them synthesize using the content of any day’s newspaper. Begin by talking to students about how to read information actively rather than passively. Active reading involves thinking about or digesting what they read while they are reading. It may also involve taking notes as they read so that they are interacting with the content. Students can choose an interesting and dense newspaper article and use these strategies to synthesize the information:
*Begin by examining the structure for any elements that show separations in the content. Are there subheads, photos, graphics, maps, etc? If so, students should look carefully at those prior to reading. That will give the reader an initial idea of the key concepts.
*Read the first paragraph. Identify the topic sentence. Give students this hint: the topic sentence is not always the first sentence.
Identify any statements that lead to ideas that are coming later in the article.
Identify the summary statement of each paragraph or section.
After completing these steps, ask students to identify five key concepts in the article they chose and to restate those concepts in their own words. Mastery of that will demonstrate their ability to synthesize what they read. As a bonus, being able to restate concepts in their own words is great practice for avoiding plagiarism.
Common Core Standard: contrasting and synthesizing
1. On March 2, 1962, Wilt Chamberlain became the only NBA basketball player to score a hundred points in a game. He played for the Philadelphia Warriors. In that game, they were playing the New York Knicks in Hershey, PA. In honor of Wilt, have your students review the basketball statistics in today’s news. Have them compare the number of points scored by individual players to Wilt’s record.
Common Core Standard: write a statistical question that has variability in data
2. The 24®Game is a very popular math game that uses different numbers and math operations to reach the number 24. There are even tournaments to find the champs. Have students use the Cars for Sale ads to create their own newspaper game of 24. They can use the index of the e-edition to find the ads for used cars in the Classified section. Using only the numbers they find on one ad, can they somehow reach 24? For example if a used 2001 Honda Civic costs $4800 and it has 2 doors, they could divide 4800 by 2 and get 2400. If the ad says they can put $100 as a down payment to buy the car, they could divide the 2400 by 100 and get 24. Let them have fun playing E-News 24.
Common Core Standard: Multiply or divide to solve word problems involving multiplicative comparison
1. March is Expanding Girls’ Horizons in Science and Engineering Month. This international effort encourages girls to explore careers in science and technology. Have students check the Help Wanted ads to find jobs in those areas that might inspire girls and boys to study science.
Common Core Standard: write arguments to support claims
2. Introduce your students to …
who hated housework. She called it a “nerve twangling bore.” She had to do something, so, in 1984, she invented the
. Each room of Gabe’s house has a 10-inch square “Cleaning/ Drying/Heating/Cooling” apparatus in the middle of the ceiling. At the touch of a button, it sprays a powerful blast of soapy water over the room, then rinses and blow-dries the entire area. The rooms’ floors are sloped slightly so the extra water runs off. The breakable stuff is protected under glass. The dishes are cleaned, dried and kept in a cabinet, which is also a dishwasher; clothes are cleaned, dried and stored while hanging in a closet, which is also a combination washer-dryer. The sinks, tubs and toilets are self-cleaning and the bookshelves dust themselves. Gabe continued to perfect and live in her house for many years. Is there a chore your students don’t like? Can they find a creative way to solve that problem? Have them skim the newspaper to find an invention that made a household chore easier. They should imagine that the item was just invented and write a display ad to sell it. They can check the display ads in the newspaper to see how they are designed.
Common Core Standard: write explanatory text
3. Ask students to check the weather page and decide if March "came in like a lion."
Common Core Standard: write arguments to support claims
1. Students can go to
and type in their birth year to see what happened that year. Here’s a great activity to use with this site. Have students imagine that they are working for the company that manages this site. Their assignment is to use the information in the newspaper to write a chapter about what is happening now. If 20 years from now, someone were to go on this site and type in
, what would they see, based on today’s news? What’s big in politics, in movies and entertainment, in sports and in business?
Common Core Standard: write informational text
2. March is Women’s History Month. Begin by introducing the work of the people at the first
convention for women’s rights held in Seneca Falls, NY
in 1848. At that meeting the “Declaration of Sentiments” was drafted and signed by 68 women and 32 men. Modeled on the Declaration of Independence, the document demanded equal rights for women. Ask students to think about the audience for whom it was written. How do they think men of that time would react? What about women? After reading it, have students write two newspaper editorials responding to the argument of the Seneca Falls "Declaration of Sentiments," one rejecting it and the other agreeing with it. Before they complete that assignment, have them read the editorials in your newspaper to see how they are written.
Common Core Standard: writing persuasively
3. This is a wonderful
that will enable students to choose from a variety of counties and create a comparison between it and the U.S. Invite students to choose a country mentioned in today’s news and to put it into the tool to create a comparison. Then they can write a journal entry about how their lives would be different if they lived in that country, based on what they learned online.
4. Explain to students that since it was ratified, there have been 27 amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Those are changes to the original plan for the government. While many more have been proposed, only those 27 have been ratified. Challenge students draft what they hope would be the next change to the Constitution, based on today's news. Allow them to work in groups to skim the news and then to choose an issue that inspires a Constitutional change. They should
go online to read the amendments
to see how they are written before writing the one they hope would be next.
Common Core Standard: justifying conclusions
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.
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