Lesson Plan #13
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A Sense of Emptiness in the House
That Michael Built: Evaluating Journalistic Techniques in Reflecting
on the Career of Michael Jordan
Grades 7 to 12
Language Arts, Journalism, Social Studies
OVERVIEW OF LESSON PLAN
In this lesson, students investigate different journalistic techniques
used to add colour and new dimension to fact-based news stories.
Use the SchoolNet News Network's website: http://www.snn-rdr.ca/snn/
to assist students with learning about journalism skills and
to provide student and teacher interaction with other student/teachers
MATERIALS AND PREPARATION
1. WARM-UP/DO-NOW: In their journals, students
respond to the following question (written on the board prior
- What are different techniques that journalists could use
to make the story different or to add a new dimension to the
Students then share their responses, and the teacher writes
them on the board.
2. Distribute a highlighting marker or coloured pencil to
each student. Then, as a class, read The Bitter Chill in Chicago:
Any Future Without Jordan. While reading, students should
highlight only the facts about Michael Jordan's retirement that
are presented in the article. After finishing the article, students
share what they have highlighted, justifying why these are facts
essential to the story. Then, discuss the purpose of the non-
highlighted material (the bulk of the story). Why does the journalist
use so much non-factual information, and what does it add to
3. Read and discuss the article as a class a second
time, focussing on locating the use of the following journalistic
- Quotations. What quotations stating facts are included in
this story? What quotations expressing opinions are included?
How do these two different types of quotations add to the reader's
understanding of the story?
- Literary and historical references (such as metaphors for
the city of Chicago, famous writers such as Saul Bellow, Ann
Landers, Al Capone, Michael Jordan's restaurant, other "losing"
Chicago teams, and Michael Jordan's endorsements for McDonalds).
What does the writer expect the reader to know about Michael
Jordan and the city of Chicago? How does this seem to "personalize"
the story for the reader?
- Colourful language. What examples of descriptive language
can students find in the article? How does description add to
the tone of the article and to understanding how sad the people
of Chicago are to lose Michael Jordan as a Bulls player?
4. Students will do research through the internet, library,
newspapers and magazine on the career of Michael Jordan.
5. WRAP-UP/ HOMEWORK: Using the research
done by the students, each student writes a purely factual article
about Michael Jordan's retirement, using information from the
featured article as well as from any other information sources
that they choose. Students then write a one paragraph reflection
about the differences between this article and the article read
Their article should answer the 5 W's: Who, What, When, Where,
Why (and sometimes How). Use the inverted pyramid style which
means that articles should be written with the most important
information first and the least important last.
Students will be evaluated on in-class participation and their
- Write a colourful news story about a school event. Try to
use some of the journalistic techniques discussed in class and
to give your article an interesting slant on the facts. Send
your articles to SNN.
- Write a feature/ biography article for SNN on Michael Jordan,
focussing on his upbringing, his professional sports career,
and other projects in which he is involved.
- Write a persuasive essay/opinion article for SNN about the
roles of athletes as heroes in American society.
- Investigate the nature of celebrity endorsements for products.
What celebrity endorsements can you recall, and how do these
endorsements affect your view of the quality of the products?
Write an opinion article on endorsement for SNN.
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