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IMGALTTAG Volume IV: Newspapers: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow


Communicating the News…It’s Elementary!
Carolyn Davis

This curriculum unit will help students use the newspaper as the source of developing their writing and communication skills. It will assist in helping students become school newspaper reporters. If students are involved in the creation, formulation and publication of the school newspaper they are more likely to read it, submit articles for it and want to be an ongoing part of the school newspaper. This unit attempts to teach about newspaper history, the parts of a newspaper, getting the facts and publishing articles for a school newspaper.


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Turning Points in History
Judith Karavlan

Throughout this curriculum unit, standards are addressed in communication, citizenship and math. This is accomplished with the help of a national history competition. Across the country, more than half a million students each year make history come alive by creating imaginative exhibits, original performances, documentaries and papers through a program called National History Day. National History Day is an exciting way for students to study and learn about historical issues, ideas, people and events. Through this annual competition, students develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills that will help them manage and use information now and in the future.

Students will be encouraged to investigate turning points in history by exploring events such as wars, which have worldwide impact, or events such as natural disasters or the migration of a family, which affect fewer people. They may also choose to look at individuals whose ideas or actions have made a difference to those around them.


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Writing the Non-Fiction Narrative as Feature Story
Angela Mazza

If you teach writing, in either middle or high school, you can use this unit. It applies information gathering using both print and electronic media. This unit could also be helpful to a senior who is preparing a college essay about a personal experience or to a student who is writing oral history for a social studies class. I use this unit in journalism class as feature writing and in English class as a non-fiction narrative. I am always looking for ways that my students can develop their thinking skills through writing. This unit has each journalism student write a true story based on facts or real incidents that occurred in the lives of those subjects they choose to interview. In English class the student could write about an incident that happened to them.

Narrative and description are emphasized. Building a vocabulary that conveys sensory impressions and dialogue is tantamount to attaining this objective that will be used throughout their lives.

(Recommended for journalism electives, English composition classes grades 9-12 and social studies.)


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Exploring Your Backyard
Hannah McCarthy

This unit is designed to make students at the Middle School level more aware of the historic impact their neighborhood has had on history. The unit could be adapted for any class to show the historic background of their own neighborhood. It was also written keeping in mind various learning abilities and styles. The unit will enable the students to develop skills that they will be able to build on in the future.

This unit will spark interest in the students because the old news stories will be about the places that they see on a daily basis. Knowing the history of these places could help the students develop more of an ownership of where they live. One of the main resources the students are going to use is old newspaper articles. By letting the students discover the rich history of their neighborhood it could help them develop a sense of pride in their neighborhood. Many students do not see their neighborhoods as a special place or understand that they have a choice where to live.

There are four main objectives in this unit. One is to have the students develop research skills. The second is to have the students become more aware of the history of their neighborhood. The third is to introduce the students to using the newspaper as a resource. The fourth is to refine basic geography skills. Through the activities the students will be able to understand the objectives and satisfy them.


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What and Where is the News?
Michele McClendon

This is a journalism unit for 10th grade English classes. The culminating activity for each of my 10th grade English classes is to produce a newspaper using Microsoft Publisher. The unit provides a variety of activities and many opportunities to integrate reading, writing and speaking as part of the project. Many of the activities will be conducted in cooperative groups and will need computer technology to complete them. The series of activities that will lead to the culminating activity can be adapted to many grade levels. Sections of the unit can be separated and be adapted for different objectives. For example, part of the unit will provide the opportunity to have an authentic audience because some portions of the students’ research into their neighborhood will be placed on the school web site. This lesson could be used alone, with or without computer technology to teach students to write a report, learn interviewing skills, accuracy in reporting, and even something about libel. Other parts of the unit will involve reading newspapers on and off line. This part of the lesson can also be used alone to provide the basis for teaching the reading of non-fiction. In this unit students will write news reports, editorials, and literary non-fiction. Any one can be taught separately or as part of a project. This type of project in its entirety provides many avenues for students to demonstrate their ability to meet many reading, writing, and speaking standards in a standards based curriculum or meet many objectives in a literature based curriculum.


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Newsbreaks: Speaking Truth to Power
Margaret McMackin

My secondary students in eleventh and twelfth grades at a racially isolated African-American urban community high school in Pittsburgh PA have shown an abiding interest in the “search for truth”. This unit of curriculum will explore that search for truth through a variety of perspectives, cultural, historical, literary and journalistic, as students develop, refine, and strengthen their reading, writing, listening and speaking skills. The search for the “truth” through reading, writing, and interviewing will guide the day-to-day design of this curriculum unit as with an underlying thematic approach which focuses critical analysis on the Who, What, Why, When, Where, and How of the journalistic technique.


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News and Views
Donald Roberts

This curriculum supplements a current events activity. Each week my students summarize two news events (one national and one international) and present those written summaries orally to their classmates. “News and Views” will expand upon this attempt to make students more aware of both national and international news events. In the process they also will distinguish between opinion and fact when they examine editorials, political cartoons and letters to the editor. This curriculum unit is based upon a recognition that the current generation of students often knows little about the larger world in spite of the explosion in mass media coverage of events near and far.

“News and Views” is a curriculum project that provides a structured way for students to discuss current events while giving the opportunity for some in-depth reporting as well. It sets up a procedure to follow during the school year that gives clear guidelines to follow in selecting and then summarizing national and international news events. It also will cause students to examine the newspaper for more than just the facts in the news stories. They will use their newly acquired knowledge to complete weekly assignments. In addition students will work together in a collaborative effort on group research projects. Hopefully, the assigned routine of reading the newspaper will become a life-long habit.


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Chatham University
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IMGALTTAG Pittsburgh Teachers Institute
Jointly sponsored by Carnegie Mellon University, Chatham University and the Pittsburgh Public Schools.
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