Use GollyGee Blocks to report a news event
News reporting requires a special kind of writing and presentation, emphasizing a concise summary of all the facts, a clear and direct writing style, and immediacy in the transmission of information. When pictures are used to aid in reporting, the pictures must also be clear, factual, and up-to-date. Every effort must be made to emphasize fact over opinion, although the same news story may be told in many different ways.
The headline for a newspaper story may serve as a summary of the entire article, or it may be just the introduction. Headlines should steer a balance between the clear presentation of facts and capturing the attention of the potential reader. Thus, the good headline is brief, eye-catching, and reflective of the article that follows.
Current newspapers or magazines with examples of clear writing should be available. Articles with different types of headlines and different kinds of photographs and illustrations, covering a range of topics, may be helpful.
The teacher presents examples of (age-appropriate) news stories or instructs students to bring such examples from home.
Class discussion revolves around what constitutes a well-written news story. Teachers of younger children may want to focus exclusively on headlines.
Students use the Blocks to illustrate a current news story; then, each student writes a news article, using the Blocks picture printout as an illustration. Older students may be asked to include a picture caption. Teachers of younger students may limit their students to writing headlines, rather than full-text articles. In that case, the ABC tools may be used.
Student news stories are evaluated in terms of the presentation of facts and the clarity of the writing style. Likewise, each Blocks picture is assessed for its clear depiction of the story and for the story caption (if included).
Headlines are assessed for their eye-catching quality, as well as for their balanced reflection of the news story.
Students are divided among several small groups, and each is assigned a different news story from a current daily paper. All major sections of the paper should be included, such as front page, sports, style or people, and local news. The resulting stories and Blocks pictures are printed out and put together or mounted on a display board to form a complete newspaper.
The students view a video in class on a current or past news story, such as the first walk on the moon. The students then use the Blocks to illustrate the event and write a story as though it were a current news story. Comparisons can be made in class of different approaches to the same story.
Students are assigned to interview another person (a fellow student, parent, or other) who was an eyewitness to a specific event. The student then writes up the interview and illustrates it with the Blocks.
In small groups, students use the Blocks to illustrate a current event and then brainstorm about different headlines for the same picture. Discussion should center on the use of sensationalism versus veracity in writing headlines. Older students may appreciate examples from current tabloids.
Students are assigned to report on news events at their school. The resulting stories and Blocks illustrations are put together to form a school newspaper.