Author:
Lynn Ann Wiscount, Erin Halovanic, Vince Mariner
Subject:
Business and Communication, Journalism, English Language Arts, Language, Grammar and Vocabulary, Reading Informational Text, History, Life Science, Physical Science
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Level:
Lower Primary, Upper Primary
Grade:
2, 3, 4, 5
Tags:
  • ELA
  • History
  • Journalism
  • POWER Library
  • Powerlibrary
  • Primary Source
  • Writing
  • License:
    Creative Commons Attribution
    Language:
    English
    Media Formats:
    Text/HTML

    Education Standards

    Newspapers Past and Present

    Newspapers Past and Present

    Overview

    Students learn how newspapers got started, what components are necessary for creating a good newspaper, and what is included in the basic structure of a news article.  They will examine historical newspapers from several eras and then compare them to today's newspapers.  Students will then take on the role of a journalist and write a news article about a hot topic or current event.

     

    Lesson Objectives

    Students will be able to:

    • Discuss the history of newspapers.
    • Explain the different sections of a newspaper.
    • Dissect and understand the elements of an article.
    • Understand and use the 5 Ws and How.
    • Describe the Inverted Pyramid style of writing.
    • Compose a short newspaper article.

    Warm Up / Introduction

    Instructor Notes:

    The students will also find information on the history of newspapers in the POWER Library resources.

    Have the students participate in a discussion about how they get the news.  Are they using print, web, social media?  How many sources so they use? One, two, etc.  (This can also be done by using poll software or through a survey where you can project the results)  If done using electronic software, spend time going over the results and discussing why you ended up with those results.

    In addition to the front page, newspapers can have various sections.  Introduce each of the sections and what can be contained in each.  Sections include:

    • News (National, regional, local, community)
    • Politics, government (National, regional, local)
    • Editorial, opinion, editorial cartoons
    • Sports
    • Classified ads, help wanted, for sale, apartments for rent
    • Business, finance, markets
    • Entertainment, celebrity gossip
    • TV Listings, movies, comics, crosswords, horoscopes
    • Home improvement, food, recipes, budgeting, gardening
    • Travel, tourism
    • Announcements, community calendar, events
    • Society, obituaries, weddings, births
    • Crime reports
    • Health, education
    • Weather

    Have the students take a few minutes to decide which sections interest them and which do not.  Have them also figure out why they made that decision.  Have a group discussion on their decisions.   

    Activity Directions:

    • Newspapers have been around in America since 1690. The first publication was Publick Occurrences.  Using the resourses in the Resource Library, learn about the history of the printed news in America.
    • Discuss with your peers and instructor how they find out what is happening in the news.  Do they use print editions, digital editions, or does all their information come from social media?  How many sources are used? How do you tell if they are accurate?
    • Newspapers have a front page that contains all the current events and main stores that will capture the most attention. They also have numerous other sections that may be of interest to you.  These sections include:
      • News (National, regional, local, community)
      • Politics, government (National, regional, local)
      • Editorial, opinion, editorial cartoons
      • Sports
      • Classified ads, help wanted, for sale, apartments for rent
      • Business, finance, markets
      • Entertainment, celebrity gossip
      • TV Listings, movies, comics, crosswords, horoscopes
      • Home improvement, food, recipes, budgeting, gardening
      • Travel, tourism
      • Announcements, community calendar, events
      • Society, obituaries, weddings, births
      • Crime reports
      • Health, education
      • Weather
    • Take a few moments and determine which sections would interest you the most. How about the least? Why? 
    • Discuss with your peers and instructor why you decided on the sections you did. How many of your peers had similar interests?

     

       

      Research / Explore Activity

      Instructors Notes:

      Introduce the students to the vocabulary / elements of the front page of a newspaper.

      • Masthead / Nameplate - Name of newspaper printed in special type on the front of page.
      • Cover Story - Main story that is normally accompanied with an image or artwork. Found on the front page of the newspaper.
      • Standfirst - Short summay of newspaper story. Appears between the headline and the start of the story.
      • Teasers - Used to lead the reader to the articles on the inside pages. The best of the rest.
      • Byline - Name of writer / journalist that appears before the article.
      • Caption / Cutline - Descriptive information which appears with the image or chart. Used to describe the image or chart.
      • Headline / Banner - Very large title on the front page of the newspaper.
      • Lead - The first few sentences of a news story or article informing the reader the five Ws and sometimes how.
      • Article - A piece of writing about a topic or subject that is published in a newspaper.
      • Jumpline - Line telling a reader where the story is continued.
      • Index - An alphabetical table of contents for the newspaper.
      • Copy - News, opinion, or information published in newspapers or magazines.

      Have the students examine the front page of eight historical newspapers from the selection of web resources provided.   (Make sure they use 8 different newspapers and not simply different editions of the same paper).  For each item, ask students to document:

      • What is the name of the newspaper?
      • How much did the newspaper cost?
      • What was the year / date the newspaper was published?
      • How many stories are there?
      • How long are the articles? (One paragraph, several paragraphs, a few sentences)
      • Did they use different fonts for each of the articles?
      • Are there images / pictures?
      • How is the front page laid out?
      • Is there an index?  If yes, what sections does that paper have.
      • Do any of the articles have a jumpline?
      • What was the cover story for that day?

      Using the eight items they evaluated above, have the students compare the oldest and most recent front pages and record anything that is similar and anything that has changed over time. Have them record their findings on a Venn Diagram.

      Newspapers look quite different today than they did in the 1900s.   Have the students examine a current paper (can be local or national).  Ask students:

      • What is name of the newspaper?
      • How much is the newspaper?
      • Is it a local, regional, or national newspaper?
      • How many stories are there?
      • How long are the stories?
      • Did they use different fonts?
      • Are there images / pictures?
      • How is the front page laid out?
      • Is there a table of contents?  If yes, what sections does that paper have.

      The students should now compare the current paper with the Scranton Tribune from March 28, 1900. Record the differences and similarities of each using a Venn diagram.  Remember to consider the layout, font, photos, color, headings, and other items in your analysis.

      Activity Directions:

      • Look up the definition for the following elements / words as they relate to newspapers.
        • Masthead / Nameplate
        • Cover Story
        • Standfirst
        • Teasers
        • Byline
        • Caption / Cutline
        • Headline / Banner
        • Article
        • Jumpline
        • Index
        • Copy
      • Examine the front page of eight historical newspapers from the selection of web resources provided by your instructor.   (Make sure to use 8 different newspapers and not simply different editions of the same paper).  For each of the 8 items, document the following: 
        • What is the name of the newspaper?
        • How much did the newspaper cost?
        • What was the year / date the newspaper was published?
        • How many stories are there?
        • How long are the articles? (One paragraph, several paragraphs, a few sentences)
        • Did they use different fonts for each of the articles?
        • Are there images / pictures?
        • How is the front page laid out?
        • Is there an index?  If yes, what sections does that paper have.
        • Do any of the articles have a jumpline?
        • What was the cover story for that day?
      • Using the eight items you just evaluated, compare the oldest and most recent front pages and record anything that is similar and anything that has changed over time. Record your findings on the Venn Diagram graphic organizer.
      • Newspapers look quite different today than they did in the 1900s.   Using the current edition of a local or national newspaper document the following:
        • What is name of the newspaper?
        • How much is the newspaper?
        • Is it a local, regional, or national newspaper?
        • How many articles are there?
        • How long are the articles?
        • Did they use different fonts?
        • Are there images / pictures?
        • How is the front page laid out?
        • Are there any jumplines?
        • What is the cover story?
        • Is there a table of contents?  If yes, what sections does that paper have.
      • Compare the copy of today’s paper with the Scranton Tribune from March 28, 1900

       

        Reinforcement / Creation Activity

        Instructor Notes:

        The stories, called articles, contain specific elements. Students should understand these terms for this activity. Terms include:

        • Headline - Sums up the story. Normally a larger font. Often bolded.
        • Byline - Writer / journalist who wrote the article.
        • Placeline - Location or place where the story originated.
        • Lead - Normally includes the 5 Ws. Briefly provides the important information.
        • Body - Additional information. Divided into small paragraphs.
        • Facts - True statements included in the story.
        • Quotations - These normally come from witnesses or experts on the subject. Normally contained in quotation marks.

        Students should understand what the 5 Ws and How are and how they are used in writing articles.  They should evaluate an article and provide their information on the 5Ws and How Graphic Organizer.

        Students should also understand when they write articles, they are written in the inverted pyramid format.  Students should decompose an article, identifying items for each of the levels in the pyramid.

        Students should pick a topic or event to research.  After learning more about the topic, they will select one article and decompose it using the inverted pyramid.  The students will take on the role of a journalist and rewrite the article using their own words. When they are complete, they need to reflect on the following:

        • Did you make changes? Why?
        • Did you change any of the 5 Ws? Why?
        • Were there changes made to the details? Why?

        Students should also share their article with their peers for them  to locate the 5 Ws and How.

        Assessment: Students will be assessed using the Newspaper Article Rubric.

        Activity Directions:

        • Like the front page of a newspaper, each article contains specific elements.  The names of the elements are below.  Define them as they relate to news articles.
          • Headline
          • Byline
          • Placeline
          • Lead
          • Body
          • Facts
          • Quotations
        • The first paragraph of any article, called the lead, contains the essential information, and provides a hook to keep the reader interested.  This paragraph needs to be brief and it should contain the 5 Ws and How of the article.  The 5 Ws are who, what, where, when, why. Using the 5 Ws and How Graphic Organizer, decompose the lead paragraph of an article recording the appropriate information in each field.  Be prepared to present your findings to your peers.
        • When journalists compose an article, they use an inverted pyramid style of writing. (Inverted Pyramid Style of Writing Inforgraphic in Resource Library).  This pyramid contains three sections with the 5 Ws and How being part of the top section. Using the Newspaper Article Decomposition graphic organizer, decompose an article recording the appropriate information in each section.  Be prepared to present your findings to your peers.
        • Pick a topic or event to research.  After learning more about the topic, select one article and decompose it using the Newspaper Article Decomposition Graphic Organizer.  Now take on the role of a journalist and rewrite the same article using your own words.  When completed, reflect on the following:
        • Did you make changes? Why?
        • Did you change any of the 5 Ws? Why?
        • Were there changes made to the details? Why?
        • Exchange articles with a peer and decompose their article looking for the 5 Ws and How.

        The Newspaper Article Rubric will be used to assess your newspaper article.

         

        Reflection

        Instructor Reflection:

        Reflect on the lesson plan and document what worked for you, what did not work for you, and what you would change for the next time you utilize this lesson.

        Directions:

        Using the Lesson Reflection Worksheet, reflect on the following questions:

        • What have I learned about this topic?
        • What surprised me about this topic?
        • What interested me the most?
        • What did I find most difficult?