Language Arts Activities 6-10
The following activities are from Newspapers Maintain the Brain: A Teacher’s Guide for Using the Newspaper to Enhance Basic Skills. The guide was produced by the Newspaper Association of America. Each activity is labeled to indicate approximate grade level. E = elementary, M = middle grades and S = secondary. You will probably find it easy to adapt the lessons to the ability level of your students.
The activities will help students improve their skills in reading and writing. These skills are among the ones they will practice: how to find the main idea, how to increase vocabulary, how to compare readings, how to form sentences, how to ask a good question and how to write a great summary. They will employ many critical thinking skills as they are required to interact with the authentic material found in the newspaper.
ACTIVITY 6 – MONTHLY MAGAZINE (E) (M)
Skill: Student uses a variety of reading materials to develop personal preferences in reading materials and locates and organizes written information. Tell students that they are in charge of planning a cover for an important monthly magazine. They can look through today’s paper for the five articles that they think would be best for their magazine. They will design the cover, including titles that will make people want to read the articles and pictures that will catch their attention.
ACTIVITY 7 – CHAT ROOMS (M) (S)
Skill: Student locates, organizes and interprets written information for a variety of purposes. Chat rooms are sites on the Internet where people can have conversations by typing messages that are sent immediately. Teens are now spending hours talking to each other in chat rooms. Have students look through the news in today’s newspaper for a story they might want to share with someone in a chat room. Have them write down exactly what they would say about the story.
ACTIVITY 8 – COMICS AND YOU (E) (M)
Skill: Student identifies details and uses information to construct meaning and make inferences. Have students look through the comic strips in today’s newspaper for a character who is most like them. They can make a list of the things they have in common with this comic character as well as the differences.
ACTIVITY 9 – FUN WITH NOUNS (E) (M)
Skill: Student correctly identifies parts of speech-nouns. Review the definition of a noun with your class. Then have them select a story from the front page of today’s newspaper and find the nouns. They can underline the people they find in red, the places in blue and the things in green. Then make a list of nouns you can find looking around your classroom.
ACTIVITY 10 – PICTURE STORIES (E)
Skill: Student organizes ideas and information for creative writing. The goal is to use pictures from the paper to tell a story. This activity gives students a chance to explore how photographs can tell stories. Have students look through the photos in today’s paper. Students then choose three photos and cut them out without captions. They can paste each picture on a separate sheet of paper and staple the sheets together in the order they will appear in the story. Finally, they should write out each story in the form of captions below each picture.