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Wanda Wunder
English Department chair
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Lesson Plans

Laying out the high school paper

Laying out the high school paper

Wanda Wunder of Ironwood Ridge High School in Tucson, Ariz.

Wanda Wunder
Ironwood Ridge High School
Tucson, Ariz.

Title: Laying out the high school paper


  • Students will practice the elements necessary to create a modular design layout.
  • Students will practice the skills necessary to evaluate effective layout and design.
  • Students will demonstrate communication skills through their layout and design.
  • Students, as part of a team, will create a five-column grid for an 11″” x 17″” tabloid.

Previous Learning:

Students will have completed a basic introduction to the course including journalism terminology and basic layout information prior to beginning this identification activity.


  • Using a cut and paste approach, students will review several publications and identify:
    • the story
    • the headline
    • photos and captions
    • subheads
    • graphics
    • pull quotes
    • sidebars
    • other design elements that may appear in individual choice articles.
  • Students will label each element and experiment with various layouts of their identified sections
  • Following the creation of several dummies, the students will share their creations with their individual study teams (groups of 5-6 students) and explain their decision-making process.
  • The teams will evaluate their team efforts using pp. 327-328 of "School Newspaper Adviser’s Survival Guide."
  • The teams will then use their practice efforts to create a modular layout for a team-designed publication.
  • The teams will then present their efforts to the entire class for a large group discussion/evaluation meeting.

Follow-Up Learning

  • Add advertising
  • Create a design display ad
  • Following several lessons in photography, the students will practice “”picturing the news””
  • Determine the layout goals for our publication

Materials needed

"School Newspaper Adviser’s Survival Guide"

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