GIVE YOUR CLASS ...
... NEWSPAPER ACTIVITIES!
Newspapers are a really useful resource for English teachers - they're cheap, disposable, constantly renewed, always topical, are mainly a written medium, have features which fit perfectly into several National Curriculum targets
|Reading: show understanding of the ways in which meaning and information are conveyed ... select and synthesise a range of information from a variety of sources ...|
|ICT: organise, refine and present information in different forms and styles for specific purposes and audiences ... select information needed for different purposes ...|
|Writing: appropriate choices of style in a variety of forms ... paragraphing and correct punctuation are used to make the sequence of events or ideas coherent and clear ...|
All of these can be easily worked on using newspapers either online or on paper and the following structured exercises can either stand alone or be a first stage towards examining real newspapers and ultimately writing your own.
|Linguistic change (3) is a topic which can be addressed while studying the Shakespeare and the pre-twentieth century texts at GCSE, but here is an example of non-literary change over 100 years.|
The language possibilities are endless - looking at form and structure, identifying fact and opinion, news and sensationalism, personalities and issues. Which papers appeal to which readers - how do they do so, what linguistic, persuasive and design tricks do they use. Comparing the treatment of the same story in different papers (1) is a classic task which can be made easier by choosing a suitable simple example at the first stage before trying it hot off the press.
|Writing in a variety of styles (2) is addressed in an exercise of reporting an incident (4), giving an eye-witness account (5) and also describing people appropriately (6).|
|Writing to a word or time limit (7) is useful practice and a challenge which many students rise to.|
|Proof reading (8) is both a competitive exercise and a necessary skill, not yet made redundant by modern spell checkers.|
|Try the following lessons suitable for Years 7-11 and ideal for mixed ability Year 9.|
|1. Sacked! Two newspaper reports compared.||5. Eye-witness Accounts|
|2. Newspaper Styles||6. Describing People|
|3. Change in the Cambridge Chronicle||7. Writing to a Word or Time limit|
|4. Report It!||8. Proof reading|
|Online newspaper resources:|
|BBC News||Excellent news service, searchable, many related articles.|
|Direct Gov||UK public services all in one place|
|The White House||(go to What's New for up to date news and archives of past news; go to Publications for Presidential Addresses and Press Releases)|
|Ananova||News service which can also be available on your mobile|
|The Paper Boy||(6173 newspapers from 150 countries)|
|British Media Online||All national and regional UK newspapers publishing online, plus news portals, magazines and TV / Radio news sites.|
Teachers with appropriate access to ICT resources might encourage students to produce either a desk-top published newspaper, taking part in one of several News Day activities arranged by national newspapers, or even produce an online multi-media newspaper - see the BBC news pages as an example.
These lessons are written by Duncan Grey