Lesson Plan #21
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A Thesis Statement vs. a Lede
Grades 7 to 12
Language Arts, Journalism, Media Studies
OVERVIEW OF LESSON PLAN
In this lesson, teachers can encourage students to write leads
for news stories as a way to help them focus their writing and
summarize the premise of a particular piece of writing. SchoolNet
News Network (SNN)'s website http://www.snn-rdr.ca/snn works hand in
hand with this lesson by providing journalism writing tools for
teachers and students as well as a safe, structured environment
for publishing student writing.
MATERIALS AND PREPARATION
- SNN Writing Guide (for
- Copies of local or national newspapers
- Copies of text about The Lede
- Computers with access to the Internet
1. Discuss with the entire class what is a lede. Handout
copies of The Lede. Review with class SNN's
Newsroom site - information on different writing styles.
Discuss the similarities between a thesis statement and a lede.
When it comes to writing essays, it's good to start with a clear
focus and sense of where the essay is going. That's where the
thesis statement comes in. The thesis statement is that sentence
or two that spells out the focus and scope of your essay. You
can't deal with every aspect of a subject in the one essay. But
you can focus your essay on a very specific element and define
that in your thesis statement.
The Lead (lede)
In journalism, there's a similar concept called the lead (or
lede). In a single paragraph, a lead must summarize the basic
facts of a story and convey to a reader what you found out in
your reporting. The lead must also catch a reader's or listener's
attention and make them want to read the rest of your story.
2.Select a news story from SNN Editions section. Divide your
class into small groups.
Ask one half of each group to read the story and then come up
with a list of the 5W's that factor into this story. The 5 W's
of News are: Who, What, When, Where, Why (and sometimes How).
Once they have listed the main elements of the story, ask the
rest of the group to write an opening sentence (the lead) based
on the information they are given.
3. Give the students an opportunity to read their leads to
the class and then compare them to the lead from the original
story. Discuss the ways the various leads serve to focus the
story and introduce the main elements of the story to the audience.
4. Go to the SNN Wire for major newspapers online
and identify a story that's been covered by at least three of
them. Print each of the stories and isolate the 5W's in each
5. Then compare the leads of the stories. Does
each writer include the same information in their story? If so,
are the leads similar? The goal is to look at each story and
see if all of the reporters focussed on the same information
in their leads. If they didn't wind up with the same leads, is
there an obvious reason for this?.
Students will be assessed on in-class participation, group activities
and written leads.
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