Tangerine Times, Pt I: Establishing and Drafting in Editorial Teams

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SWBAT create original newspaper articles detailing plot developments in the novel, Tangerine.

Big Idea

Extra! Extra! Writing newspaper articles helps isolate and unpack story events.

Latin Roots Warm Up

10 minutes

This is our daily warm up, wherein students work with two or three Latin roots per day.  The resource that I use to get my roots is Perfection Learning's Everyday Words from Classic Origins.
Every day, when the students arrive, I have two Latin roots on the SmartBoard.  Their job is to generate as many words as they can that contain the roots, and they try to guess what the root means.  After I give them about five minutes, we share words and I tell them what the root means.

The students compile these daily activities in their class journals.  After every twelve roots, they take a test on the roots themselves and a set of words that contains them.

Opening Question

5 minutes

This lesson begins with me asking the students:

What are the five W's of newspaper writing?

The students quickly come up with Who, What, When, Where, Why.

Then, I ask them: "What kind of article appears on the front page of a newspaper?"

We take a few minutes to talk about things that have been on the front page lately, and this inevitably launches into a discussion about why bad news tends to dominate the front page, and I explain the concept of "If it bleeds, it leads" to the students.

Working with the Ideas

30 minutes

After warming up and activating our prior knowledge about newspapers, I distribute six index cards to each group.  [For this lesson, my classroom is set up in five sets of six desks (essentially, creating tables for six.)]  The index cards are each a different color, and each set includes one of each of these: 

  1. Sports
  2. Headline News
  3. Schools
  4. Weather
  5. Crime Report
  6. Interview

I tell the students that their teams each comprise an editorial board for a newspaper in/around Tangerine County, Florida.  Their job is to create a newspaper of events from the novel, Tangerine.  They can choose to create a daily or weekly paper, and they can select any set of events from the novel, as long as they are linked in time.

Since the novel is essentially set up like a diary, students can isolate a set of dates to work with. 

The "rules" are that everyone has to write an article and create a graphic or advertisement for the paper.  Also, every person on the editorial board must read and approve each article.

For this first day, their tasks include: coming up with a name for their paper; isolating dates for the newspaper's "publication date"; deciding who is going to write which article; discussing and debriefing decisions about articles to avoid repetition; and drafting.

Looking Ahead

5 minutes

In the next work session, students will be reading each others articles, revising and typing up the articles.  Eventually, we will mock up a newspaper page "old fashioned style" and the students will print out and glue down their articles.

So, for "thinking" homework, I ask the students to consider if a resident of Tangerine would think that their newspaper is covering the most important news of the region, during their chosen time period.  Sometimes, a shift in perspective can clear up problems with decision-making.