We have already completed our letter writing unit and the kids have been exposed to writing letters to the editor. I've Got an Opinion to Share lesson plan This will be a different type of writing for the newspaper, but it's good to relate it to what they've already done with a newspaper. Additionally, we receive Time for Kids in our classroom each week. The style of writing is exactly what they'll be expected to use for their book report, so pointing out a few of the nonfiction examples in the current Time for Kids is an easy way to show them just what you're looking for.
Analyzing a Cover Story: Time for Kids is a nice way to be sure they're reading the entire news article, and this worksheet will definitely expose students to the most important parts. I let my kids work in pairs with this article. Here are some partners analyzing a cover story . They tend to complete it a bit faster when working together (the pairing must be a good one)! I know when they have a little bit of freedom it is sometimes a more productive experience.
Writing a Non-Fiction Narrative: Time for Kids is a graphic organizer from Time for Kids, so it blends in perfectly with all that was discussed in the warm up.
The kids are to select a news article from the Non-Fiction Narrative page. They draw and write about the event in the boxes provided on the Working on Non-Fiction Narrative graphic organizer which takes them through the experience in four steps (First, Next, Then, Finally) also good practice with sequencing. This activity will not only give them experience with writing a nonfiction narrative, but they will have to use their own information, as opposed to copying down the news story. Relating the non-fiction text to something in their own lives is excellent practice in associating text and summarizing. When they create their newspaper, they won't have a short article to draw from, but an entire book to condense. It has its benefits, although I'd argue that with only two lines on the organizer, they're not encouraged to write enough. Making an adjustment isn't really a big deal because the amount they'll do is made up in the next step. Student example #1...and...Student example #2
The actual activity is to read a non-fiction book and report on it through the creation of a front page newspaper article. Students will do this on their own time away from the classroom. The work they've done in the classroom in familiarizing themselves with non-fiction narratives and newspaper stories will be a benefit as they create their own!
Inviting the class to present all of their newspaper articles can be a bit time consuming so there are a few ways to go about it.
First, you can bite the bullet and require everyone to present their article. There is certainly a lot of information to be gained and it's always good practice to get in front of a live audience.
Second, you may just want to give everyone the opportunity to present, but also the chance to simply bring their book report straight to you. I've never had 100% of my class present something, if given the chance to opt out. This will probably bring your time spent down to about 30 minutes give or take. I often choose this route.
Third, put the kids into small groups and let them present to one another. This is a less threatening scenario for some students, and is also a fun way for them to share the information in a more private setting. If they aren't very proud of their work, for some reason, not being proud in front of four other kids isn't quite the big deal.
Fourth, put all of the news articles onto the kids' desks or on a back table, and give them the chance to pick them up and read them as they circle through. This is a rather fun option because it's different than the way we often do things and the kids enjoy moving at their own pace.