Lesson Plans

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Lesson #1


Grades 7 to 12

Language Arts, Journalism, Social Studies, History

This lesson provides step by step information for teachers to integrate online journalism into the classroom. Doing this lesson plan in association with SchoolNet News Network (SNN) http://www.snn-rdr.ca/snn gives the teacher and student online resource material, professional assistance and an online publishing outlet for student writing in a safe, structured environment.



 Writing a Newspaper Article  

 1.5 week

   Brainstorming story ideas

 1 day

   Intro to school journalism

 1 day

   Research articles

 2 days

   Write/revise articles

 3 days


Day 1
Start out your class telling students that they will be writing articles for an online newspaper - SchoolNet News Network (SNN Online) www.snn-rdr.ca/snn. They will each be responsible for one article, but may work in pairs to write two articles.

  • Teacher to review the SNN website prior to class
  • Brainstorm with the students on ideas for stories
  • Encourage students to include all facets of the teen life, school and its activities. Story ideas to have final approval by teacher.
  • Once list is finished, allow students to sign up for topics either individually or in pairs.

Assignment sheet
: Write down all the ideas presented and ask students to choose one. Write the students name next to the idea presented. If a student has another idea, write it down as their story with their name next to it.

Day 2
Pass out the SNN Writing Guide.

  • Review the sample news article by SNN Student Reporter
  • Review Assignment Sheet with students.
  • Explain what limitations there might be. In some cases, students may censor themselves too much, and you will need to explain that it is okay to take risks.
  • Ensure that there are different types of articles: news, opinion, profile, sports, entertainment, feature. Limit the number of feature articles. (See SNN Writing Guide)
  • Talk about how to write a newspaper article. Show students SNN's Newsroom site for students which will provide students with information on writing skills, various types of writing and research and reporting guidelines, using video and audio, and copyright information.
  • Talk with them about journalistic writing: that a 'lead' is the opening to their article and should hook the reader. Their article should answer the 5 W's: Who, What, When, Where, Why (and sometimes How). Tell them about the inverted pyramid. This means that articles should be written with the most important information first and the least important last. Encourage them to use the SNN site information to development journalistic writing skills.

Day 3

  • Get students to use the library, the internet, newspapers and television broadcasts as well as other resource to research their story idea. This gives them practice in research and adds substance to their article.
  • Read your students an article you have found from the internet or a newspaper/magazine that includes facts/statistics. Explore with them how the facts/stats support the article.
  • Ask them where they think the reporter found these facts/stats. Tell students they must try to find two or more facts or statistics to support their topic.

Day 4, 5

  • Continue researching and writing articles. Tell students articles will be due in two days.
  • Students can also include photos with their articles (.gif or .jpeg files)

Day 6, 7

  • Have students exchange their articles. Ask them to check that the 'lead' paragraph answers the 5 W's.
  • Ask them to answer the question, "Did this article 'hook' you into reading more? Why/ why not?"
  • Ask students to revise their articles if it is necessary.
  •  Publish articles in your school newspaper or submit to an online youth ezine.


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