In the News
- Grades: 6–8
- Unit Plan:
- Use technology to research the life and accomplishments of an important American figure.
- Write an anecdotal news account of an American hero based on biographical information.
- Write an expository essay based on online research.
- Complete the entire writing process: prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, publishing.
- Pencil and paper
- Lost Star or another Amelia Earhart biography
- Computer lab with Internet connection
- News Story Rubric (PDF)
Set Up and Prepare
- Copy the Rubric for each student
- Collect copies of Lost Star as a hard copy option for research on Earhart’s life.
- Schedule time in a computer lab at your school for your class for at least 3 class periods.
PART I – (2 Class Periods in Computer Lab)
Step 1: Introduce the lesson by having students log on to The Flight of Amelia Earhart. Have them begin with the timeline activity, surveying the events of Earhart’s life in its entirety. Instruct students to choose one event that intrigues them. This will be the event they cover in their newspaper article. Remind them about the purpose of an anecdote from Lesson One and that their article will cover a single event in Earhart’s life.
Step 2: Once they choose their event, have them browse the Internet, books, or encyclopedias to gather information on the specific event. Conduct a brief book talk about Lost Star. Provide several copies for research. During the next day or so, encourage students to gather additional resources from the school or public library and bring them to class.
Part II – (In Computer Lab)
Step 3: Introduce the Rubric printable to the students. Highlight key elements of the final draft. Review the writing assignment by having students visit The Flight of Amelia Earhart – Write a News Story.
Step 4: Allow time for students to write their rough draft of the newspaper article.
Step 5: When students complete their drafts, have each switch papers with a partner. Instruct them to proofread and help revise the articles as needed. You may want to make extra copies of the rubric and ask each student to give each article a preliminary grade. This is a good strategy to show students how successful their article is in meeting the assignment objectives.
Step 6: Allow students time to incorporate their peer's feedback and rewrite a final draft of the newspaper article. This may take two more class periods in addition to homework assignments.
Here’s the crucial part. All writers, including students, must be given an audience for their writing. Whether students share in small groups, with a partner, or on a prominent bulletin board, they must participate actively through the publishing stage.
Step 7: With students, decide on a creative way to publish the completed newspaper articles.
Step 8: Invite each student to write an expository essay on a famous woman in history. I would suggest that this be done independently in order for the students to demonstrate the transfer of learning. Students may use the Women Who Changed History Activity as a starting point for research.
Supporting All Learners
The opportunity to work with their peers offers every student the same chance for success.
Students may expand research to nonprint resources such as movies and films. Remind them to only use nonfiction resources from credible sources.
Suggest that students discuss their person to research with their families. Parents may also help students acquire resources for the research.
Use the rubrics from the newspaper article to gauge how well students grasped the concept of an anecdote. This will also reveal how students are able to complete the writing process, which will let the teacher know where to begin with the next writing lesson.
- Using the Rubric, evaluate the newspaper article.
- Observe participation during the research and writing process.