Turning Literature into News

Grades: 
3, 4, 5

Students analyze the format and structure of newspaper articles. Then, they rewrite events from literature into news stories about acts of kindness.

Lesson Rating 
0
Duration 
PrintThree Forty-Five Minute Class Periods
Objectives 

The learner will:

  • distinguish between fact and opinion.
  • recognize that people see things from different perspectives.
  • identify philanthropic acts in literature.
  • write a news article about a kind deed using the informational format.
Materials 
  • Books with philanthropic content (see Bibliographical References)
  • Paper and pencil
  • Two editorials with opposing viewpoints (preferably on a local issue)
  • Example of an article that reports facts on an issue without opinion
  • A local newspaper including advertisement pages
  • Classroom guest—the person who writes the school newsletter
Bibliography 

Hazell, Rebecca. Heroines: Great Women through the Ages. New York: Abbeville Press, Inc., 1996. ISBN: 789202107
 

Madden, Don. The Wartville Wizard. Aladdin, 1993. ISBN: 0689716672
 

Yolen, Jane. Raising Yoder’s Barn. Little, Brown, 2002. ISBN: 0316075930
 

Any Clifford book

Instructions

Print
  1. Day One:Anticipatory Set:Read a sentence from a newspaper article or advertisement and ask the students to identify whether the sentence informs, gives an opinion, persuades or entertains. Repeat with several other sentences.

  2. Tell the students that the newspaper has these different roles (inform, entertain, persuade, etc.) The journalists who write for the papers have the responsibility to report facts without using opinions. (You may get into a discussion about the option of a reporter persuading as long as he/she lets the reader know that it is an opinion.)

  3. Before reading aloud two editorials with opposing viewpoints, tell the students that a newspaper has the responsibility to report facts in its articles, but it also allows people to express their points of view in the editorial pages. Tell them to listen to the editorials and be ready to compare the opinions on the issue being discussed. If possible, also read a factual article about the same issue. After reading, ask the students to identify the facts and opinions. Remind the students that a news article should be just facts—not opinions.

  4. In Day Two, the person who is responsible for writing the school or district newsletter will be in your class. Today the students may prepare questions for the guest, including the "who, what, where, why and when questions." Examples: Whom do you write about? What do you write about? What process do you go through? What are your main goals? Why do you write? Where do you get information? How do you keep your opinions out of your writing?

  5. Day Two:

  6. Welcome the person who is responsible for writing the school or district newsletter into your class. This person may talk about his/her work and news writing in general. Provide an opportunity for the students to ask their prepared questions.

  7. After the interview/presentation, the students write an article about the person or the job, including accurate details in a news article format. If necessary, teach the students how to write a topic sentence that attracts the readers’ attention.

  8. Students take their articles through the writing process, especially getting feedback from peers with the focus on improving the newspaper-style format.

  9. After evaluating the student work, send these completed articles to the person who visited the class. Make sure students know their final audience while they are writing.

  10. Day Three:

  11. Tell the students that yesterday they heard about the work of someone who provides a service to the school community. This person’s work makes our school a better place by informing the community about student activity. Tell the students that some people do things that make the community a better place but they don’t receive payment—they volunteer simply because they feel the service they provide is important for the community. Review the definition of philanthropy (giving or sharing time, talent and/or treasure for the common good). Ask students to brainstorm philanthropic people or projects in the school or local community. (You will come back to this list later, so save it.)

  12. Choose a book from the Bibliographical References to read aloud (or go to www.learningtogive.org for an annotated bibliography—see Resource Room). Tell the students that they are going to write about the person who was philanthropic in the story. Their writing will be in a newspaper article format. They should take notes while you are reading as if they are reporters. Tell them to write the five Ws on their paper and fill in the details as you read.

  13. After the story, the students write an article about the person or the philanthropic act, including accurate details in a news article format.

  14. Students take their articles through the writing process, especially getting feedback from peers with the focus on improving the newspaper-style format.

  15. After evaluating the student work, publish these completed articles in a newsletter with a title related to the story content. Make sure students know their final audience while they are writing.

  16. Variation: Assign each student a different book to read (or story within a series) so the newsletter has articles about different people/events.

Assessment 

Evaluate student writing using the following rubric. Give one point for each. Includes a topic sentence, Written as an informational article, Includes the five Ws, Information is accurate, Article is about a philanthropic act/person, Spelling, grammar and punctuation are grade-appropriate

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Define philanthropy as the giving and sharing of time, talent, or treasure intended for the common good.
    2. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.6 Explain why acting philanthropically is good for the community, state, nation, or world.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark E.4 Describe the characteristics of someone who helps others.
      2. Benchmark E.5 Identify one local citizen who has helped the community through giving and/or service.
    2. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark E.4 Demonstrate listening skills.
    3. Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark E.4 Analyze information to differentiate fact from opinion based on the investigation of issues related to the common good.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.4 Give an example of how citizens act for the common good.