20 January 2013

The Fairy Tale News

Here is a secret...I originally did not want to be a teacher!  My undergraduate degree is actually in broadcast journalism and legal studies/conflict resolution.  Now both of these degrees do tend to come in handy in the classroom...especially that conflict resolution training!  But I also put my journalism background to good use in Writer’s Workshop during our informational genre study.

After we have spent most of the quarter looking at traditional information writing, I end with a study of the newspaper.  Since many students today don’t get to touch real paper newspapers, I bring in copies of the newspaper, and we examine the different sections.  I teach them about headlines and the five “W”’s.  We learn about how journalists use a different style of writing by giving all the important details right at the beginning.  We learn how journalists learn to write this way with a graphic organizer called the inverted pyramid. ReadWriteThink.org has excellent resources including an inverted pyramid and reporter’s guidelines to help you teach your students newspaper writing.
We then take our learning to create our own newspaper stories.  I model for the students by filling out an inverted pyramid for the nursery rhyme “Jack and Jill.”  We modernize the story a bit and add some additional details.  Jack is rushed to the hospital with a concussion.  Jill suffers minor injuries but will be ok.  Then I model how to transform the story into a real article.

Now is the students’ turn.  I have a pail filled with paper strips of different nursery rhymes or fairy tale titles...it depends on how many students I have in my class that year.  Because my gifted and special education students go out for writing instruction, this year I teach only 14 students writing, and we only needed to use nursery rhymes.  Each student will come and draw a slip and that is the article that student will write.  They get pretty creative and love to add in modern details.  This year’s boy-heavy writing class got really into adding injuries and some gory details.  Here is an example...
How you may wonder did we get this to look like a real newspaper clipping?  Well I found an awesome newspaper clipping generator.  My students loved that their writing looked like the “real” thing!  The students are excited to learn a new style of writing that they feel is used outside the four walls of our classroom.

Do you have a classroom newspaper?  What other non-traditional forms of writing do you teach your students?

1 comment:

  1. These are such great ideas! Thanks so much for sharing!! I LOVE the idea of using nursery rhymes, and especially the newspaper generator!

    Collaboration Cuties


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