Monday, January 24, 2005

TKAM later, Journalism now

So I realized, with a slight twinge of panic, that I have really done very little to plan for the journalism class I will be teaching (part of that is because I haven't heard from my cooperating teacher whether or not the overall plan I proposed is approved or not), so I thought I would jot down a few ideas I have been having. I guess this is more for me then anything else, though I think if anyone is considering using any form of journalism in their classes, it might be helpful!

Some links that look really great:
High School Journalism
Journalism Education
Journalism Theme Page
Journalism Lesson Plans
HS Journalism--American Press Institute
Analyzing Photos and Graphics in HS Journalism
NewsHour Extra: To Report or Not to Report
Lesson Plans for High School Journalists
Professional Resources for Journalism Teachers
Literary Journalism (a college course's webpage)

OK, enough with the links. I think those will keep me busy for a good long while.

After meeting with one of my instructors, who teaches Journalism at a high school, I have decided that going with six two-week lessons might be a good plan. We would start with the easy stuff--reviews and opinions (letters to editor, etc.) and work our way up to creating our own newsmagazine. There would be a unit on hard news, a unit on photojournalism, etc. One of my classmates suggested that we put the newsmagazines up on the web instead of having them just simply print them out; if the high school has those resources, I definitely think that's a great idea!

I also plan to have both of my classes (Journalism and Language Arts 10B) do regular journal prompts. I think having them in the act of daily writing is great in so many ways--it teaches them that writing doesn't have to be perfect each time, it helps them learn their own style and ways of approaching ideas, and it helps foster discussion (among a million other reasons why I'm into the whole practice of daily writing) once their brains are warmed up. Thinking of meaningful questions is really important; I don't want my students to write for the sake of writing (though in theory that should be good too--it would turn the kids off from writing these entries and make them think it's a waste of time. We want to avoid those thoughts). Some of the first questions I want to ask them in the Journalism class:

What do you think might be elements of "good" writing for Journalists? What things occur in a piece of journalism that make you want to read more?

What types of stories interest you the most? Why do you think that is? Describe an example.

I want to get them thinking about what kinds of writing they might want to do for this huge trimester-long project. They can have a theme to their paper--their school, a hobby, their workplace, a cultural interest, a geopgraphical location, etc. I will bring in lots of examples of different newsmagazines to show them how specialized journals function and how things like The New York Times functions. (Which do you think is more effective? etc.)

Anyway, these are the thoughts I have while getting ready this morning... Now I must drive back to the Twin Cities from Winona... I have my first Research class this evening. It's the class that you take just before doing your final project (which I will hold off on until I get a job--don't want a Master's degree before the job, after all) and I think I might be the only one in the cohort that is doing it now. I just want to get it out of the way so I can be free to move to southern Minnesota, if that is where my path is taking me.

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