Lesson Plans

Lesson Plan #24

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News Summaries for French Class:
For French immersion and French-speaking schools

Grades 7 to 12

Language Arts, Journalism, French

This lesson plan will encourage English and French students to fine tune their language skills in a journalistic format while learning more about journalistic writing and doing news summaries. Students in French immersion will take an article from the RDR website http://www.snn-rdr.ca/rdr, summarize and translate it while a student from a French-speaking school will summarize and translate an article from our SNN website http://www.snn-rdr.ca/snn.




1. Teachers review with students the SNN and RDR websites and discuss what is entailed in a news summary:

  • What does it mean to "summarize" something?
  • How can summaries of news articles be useful?
  • If you were assigned to write a summary of a news article, how would you go about doing so? Detail the steps you would take in summarizing your article.

Summaries should meet the following criteria:

  • Clearly states the focus of the article.
  • Includes enough relevant background information so that the reader will fully understand the new information.
  • Includes any new developments or information clearly.
  • Introduced by an interesting headline that offers the most important piece of information in the article.
  • Edited to be 100 words or less.
  • When writing a news article (even a summarize) you must use the 5W's of News: Who, What, When, Where, Why (and sometimes How). Use the inverted pyramid style. This means that articles should be written with the most important information first and the least important last. Use SNN's Writing Guide to show how a news article is done.

. Teachers can take the article from the RDR website. This exercise does not require students to be skilled at translation or to be fluent in French. It would simply help them develop their reading skills in French and test their comprehension of the material they have read. Since the text has been written by their peers, it may be more accessible and interesting to the students than textbook material and enhance the reading experience for them. After reading the article, the students would summarize it using the summary notes above. They would write their summary is both english and french.

3. HOMEWORK: Students select a news article from copies of a local or national French newspaper or online news website for links. Students first take notes organized into the categories "Background" and "New Information." Students then write a summary of the article using the information provided on doing summaries.

When news summaries are completed, students can share them in class. Students can also submit their summaries to SNN (english articles) and RDR (french articles).

Students will be assessed on in-class participation, summary of article provided and summary of article from newspaper.



  1. Students can interview a person they admire. This interview can be done on video or audio as well (check SNN's Newsroom site on how to do interviews and using video/audio). Write short profile article in French for their school newspaper or publish it in an online french-language youth magazine.



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