Lesson Plan #18
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for offline reference.
Using Feature Writing to Illustrate
Grades 7 to 12
Language Arts, Journalism, Can be adapted to other courses
OVERVIEW OF LESSON PLAN
In this lesson, students examine places they have visited (historic
buildings and places) and bring those places/things to life.
By using SchoolNet News Network's website with this lesson students
learn information on writing/journalism skills and can interact
with students/teachers from across Canada. Finally, students
exchange their writings with each other and attempt to draw the
places their peers have described.
MATERIALS AND PREPARATION
- SNN Writing Guide (for
- Unlined paper (one sheet per student)
- Crayons, markers and coloured pencils
- Computers with access to the Internet
1. WARM-UP/DO-NOW: Students respond to the following
in their journals (written on the board prior to class):
- Think of a place that you have visited that you remember
in great detail.Then, free-write a description of it that is
so vivid that readers would be able to picture it in their minds'
eyes. Try to describe sights, sounds, smells, and other images
that come to mind. Without sharing their descriptions, discuss
how words can help paint a picture of a place. Where have students
read such vivid descriptions in the past? What images do students
recall as being particularly vivid?
2.Students discuss feature writing using SNN's Newsroom. They will then be asked to
do research on their structure/place using the internet, library,
newspapers and magazines.
Feature writing follows the basic guidelines for good
writing. But if you expect to hold your readers for 800-1,000
words or so (number of words normally used in feature writing)
you must make sure the writing is lively, specific and clear.
Start with a lede that captures your reader's attention. It could
be an anecdote you heard during the course of your research.
It could be a description of a person, place or thing that draws
the reader in and encourages them to learn more. It could a newsy
lede that highlights the point of the story. Move your story
along with descriptions of what happened, quotes from people
involved in the issue, and details that place the reader in the
midst of the action. Make sure your ending is meaningful. You
want to use your closing words to make an impact on your readers
and to tie the various strands of your story together. A powerful
quote can often make for a good ending. Or you may want to come
full circle and refer back to a word or an image you used in
your opening sentences.
3. They will write a descriptive/feature article using their
description and research making them as vivid as possible. 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.
4. In their articles, students might include figurative language
like similes, metaphors and personification that might help a
reader envision their place more clearly. Distribute a piece
of unlined paper to each student, and have them write a final
draft of their piece on one side of the paper.
5. Collect students' final drafts and redistribute them
around the class so that no one receives their own piece. Give
out crayons, coloured pencils and markers, and instruct students
to turn over the paper they receive and draw, as accurately and
quickly as they can, the place that is described in the piece
on the other side. After about fifteen minutes, collects the
drawings and, one by one, hold them up for the class to see,
without revealing the names of either writer or artist. The author
of the piece that inspired each drawing must identify the picture
that was created based on his or her writing and come up to claim
6. WRAP-UP/ HOMEWORK: Ask students to consider how
well their descriptions guided the artists' rendering. How could the
writing be improved so that an artist might see their place even more
clearly? Students then revise their descriptions a third time to present
to the class in the future. These articles make good feature/profile
stories and can be submitted to their own school newspaper or an online
youth magazine for publication.
Students will be evaluated based on three drafts of a descriptive
written piece, participation in class discussions, and participation
in a drawing exercise.
- Interview someone who has a job that seems especially challenging
or dangerous. Write ten questions you would like to ask him or
her, then take notes as you interview (you can also tape (audio
or video) your conversation. How does this job affect who this
person is and how he or she lives? Write a profile article about
the person and send it to SNN for publication online.
- Find a painting or drawing you admire that depicts a place
of some kind. Write a descriptive article of this place that
is as faithful to the artist's rendering as possible. How hard
was it to capture this picture in words? Compare and contrast
the benefits of different kinds of artistic depiction, from written
description to photography to abstract art and realistic painting.
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