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Lesson Plans


Jim McGonnell
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Lesson Plans

Curriculum for a Journalism Classroom




Curriculum for a Journalism Classroom

Jim McGonnell
Findlay High School
Findlay, Ohio

BENCHMARK: Week 1

TOPIC/UNIT: The story of journalism

TIMELine: 1 week

Indicators:

KNOW

Newsroom heroes, legends, folklore

Birth of journalism

Mass media

News in modern age

 

DO

Read excerpts from Twain, Bly, Hemingway

Take quiz to measure your JQ (Journalism Quotient)

Take “news attitude” survey


BENCHMARK: Week 2

TOPIC/UNIT: How newsrooms work

TIMELINE: 1 week

Indicators:

KNOW

What is news?

What readers want

How a story gets written

How news comes together

Who’s who in the newsroom

What it’s called

What it takes to be a reporter

DO

Take newsworthy quiz

Take “What’s news” survey

List stories you would run in a list of news outlets

Identify the parts of a story

Identify the parts of a page

Take reporter test and score self

Take a quiz over list of terms

 


BENCHMARK: Weeks 3-7

TOPIC/UNIT: Newswriting basics

TIMELINE: 5 weeks

Indicators:

KNOW

What is a fact

Five W’s

Inverted pyramid

Writing basic news leads

Beyond the basic news leads

Successful leads

After the lead

Story structure

Rewriting

Editing

Making deadlines

66 newswriting tips

 

 

DO

Read good and bad leads, choose best leads

Highlight opinionated words in stories

Identify the 5 W’s in a news lead

List the best possible leads for a variety of stories

Condense essential facts into an effective lead

Write your obituary

Organize and write 3 stories

Write a news brief

Unscramble the 5 W’s

Write a lead

Write a closer

Take editing quiz

Review deadline checklist

BENCHMARK: Weeks 8-9

TOPIC/UNIT: Newswriting style

TIMELINE: 2 weeks

Indicators:

KNOW

Stylebook

AP vs. Blue & Gold style

Copyreading marks

 

 

DO

Choose correct grammar, punctuation and style

Copyread several stories using copyreading marks

Take test

 


BENCHMARK: Weeks 10-12

TOPIC/UNIT: Reporting basics

TIMELINE: 3 weeks

Indicators:

KNOW

Where stories come from

Finding and using sources

Using the internet

Observation

Taking notes

Interviewing

Quotations

Attribution

Math for journalists

 

 

 

DO

Read 2 examples

List things wrong in list of quotes

Pick quotes you would use form a list of interviews

Pick several topics for stories and list your best sources for each

Decide which chart would be best for several story ideas

Write 2 stories using multiple sources

 

 


BENCHMARK: Week 13

TOPIC/UNIT: Indesign orientation

TIMELINE: 1 week

Indicators:

KNOW

Getting to know the work area

Setting up a document

Importing and editing text

 

 

 

DO

Take quick tour

Create a new document

Add guides to pages

Insert text, graphics

Wrap text around a graphic

Print page

 

 

 


BENCHMARK: Weeks 14-15

TOPIC/UNIT: Design basics

TIMELINE: 2 weeks

Indicators:

KNOW

Current trends

Parts of a page

Basic typography

Four basic elements

Headlines, text

Photos, cutlines

Drawing a dummy

 

 

 

 

DO

Design a news page dummy

Identify correct typography terms

Evaluate several page design examples

Complete an original news page design using desktop publishing

 

 


BENCHMARK: Weeks 16-17

TOPIC/UNIT: Desktop publishing

TIMELINE: 2 weeks

Indicators:

KNOW

Good design elements

Indesign basics

 

 

 

DO

Complete an original news page design using desktop publishing

 

 

 


BENCHMARK: Weeks 18-20

TOPIC/UNIT: Review writing

TIMELINE: 3 weeks

Indicators:

KNOW

Writing with a critical voice

Balance reporting and opinion

Know entertainment

Be aware of biases

 

 

 

DO

Listen to a CD write a review

Watch “Broken Glass” write a review

Watch new TV show write a review

 

 

 


BENCHMARK: Weeks 21-25

TOPIC/UNIT: Feature writing

TIMELINE: 5 weeks

Indicators:

KNOW

Common topics and formats

Generating story ideas

Feature style

Feature structures

Writing profiles

Enterprise projects

Investigative reporting

Package planning

Short-form alternatives

 

 

 

DO

Read 3 examples

List 25 story ideas

Write 2 personality profiles with at least 2 sources

Write a trend story with at least 3 sources

Write 2 human interest stories with at least 3 sources

Use a feature checklist to see if stories are complete

List at least 2 possible short-form alternatives

 

 

 

 

 

BENCHMARK: Week 26

TOPIC/UNIT: Story design

TIMELINE: 1 week

Indicators:

KNOW

Stories without art

Mug shots

Text shapes

One horizontal photo

One vertical photo

One dominant photo
Big vertical, small horizontal

One dominant photo
Big horizontal, small vertical

Two verticals

Two horizontals

 

 

 

 

DO

Design a feature page dummy

Evaluate several page design examples

 

 

 

 

BENCHMARK: Week 27-28

TOPIC/UNIT: Feature page design

TIMELINE: 2 weeks

Indicators:

KNOW

Good design elements

Indesign basics

 

 

 

DO

Complete an original feature page design using desktop publishing

 

 

 

 

 


BENCHMARK: Week 29

TOPIC/UNIT: Law and ethics

TIMELINE: 1 week

Indicators:

KNOW

Press rights and wrongs

Understanding libel

Copyright law

Censorship

Seven deadly sins

 

 

 

 

 

DO

Read the reporter’s guide to trouble and write how to avoid the various  examples

Take ethics survey

Identify libel in stories

Explain why you would “print it” or “pull it” from 7 examples

Test yourself using hypothetical situations, be ready to defend your answer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BENCHMARK: Weeks 30-31

TOPIC/UNIT: Editorial Writing

TIMELINE: 2 weeks

Indicators:

KNOW

Voice of the newspaper

Keep it tight, relevant

Take a stand

Attack issues, not problems

Commentary

 

 

 

 

 

DO

Read 2 examples

Write local or national editorial with at least 2 sources

Write school editorial with at least 2 sources

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BENCHMARK: Week 32

TOPIC/UNIT: Sports Writing

TIMELINE: 1 week

Indicators:

KNOW

Game story

Feature story

Columns

Conduct solid research

Alternative copy options

Know the sport

 

 

 

 

 

DO

Read 2 examples

Write school sports feature with at least 2 sources

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BENCHMARK: Week 33

TOPIC/UNIT: Headline Writing

TIMELINE: 1 week

Indicators:

KNOW

Advertise the news

Summarize facts

Styles

Action heads

Don’t editorialize

Primary, secondary headlines

Role in page design

Headline schedule and count

 

 

 

 

 

DO

Headline 2 Stories

Count headlines

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


BENCHMARK: Week 34

TOPIC/UNIT: Online reporting

TIMELINE: 1 week

Indicators:

KNOW

Online news differ from traditional print

Media convergence

Online storytelling

Writing for online media

Blog formats

Backpack journalist

 Future of news

 

 

 

 

 

DO

Compare different styles

Navigate an online news site and compare to your same morning paper

Identify parts of an online web page

Describe what a converged reporter will look like

Read a multiplatform reported sports story and discuss the differences

Read 2 blogs and list the similarities and differences

Write a chunk

Complete an online package planning guide

 

 

 


BENCHMARK: Weeks 35-36

TOPIC/UNIT: Student’s choice page design

TIMELINE: 2 weeks

Indicators:

KNOW

Good design elements

Desktop publishing skills

Indesign basics

 

 

 

 

 

DO

Complete an original front page, editorial page, entertainment page, feature page, or sports page design using desktop publishing

 

 

 

 

 



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