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Category ArchiveGreat Lessons

Interviewing (Part 1)

Shared by: Aaron Manfull

Who are you: I’m Aaron. This is my site. I’m generally overly-caffeinated. You can find out more than you want to know about me on Twitter @manfull.

Briefly describe the lesson you are sharing: If you went through the journalism program at Washington High School during Donna Manfull’s tenure (yep, that’s my mom) you knew this handout and lesson better than about any other one at the school. She created a great lesson for generating questions for for interviews. The concept is based off a 21-question format whereby questions are asked in an order that put the interviewer into the best possible position to get good information. Questions begin easy and become more difficult and open-ended as the interview goes on and the interviewee becomes more comfortable. I’ve done some very minor tweaking over the years to her handout so when you see this, assume 95% of it is hers and 5% of it is mine. Whatever the percentage is, she used it for years with her students (me included) and I’ve used it for 14 years with mine. This is definitely the money lesson in my arsenal and pays dividends long after it’s taught.

Download: Feel free to download the handout here.

Interviewing (Part 2)

Shared by: H. L. Hall

Who are you: I advised yearbook and newspaper at Kirkwood High School in Kirkwood, MO, before retiring in 1999. Since that time I served as executive director of the Tennessee High School Press Association for six years. Currently I am an adjunct instructor for Kent State University in its online master’s degree program, and I serve as chair of JEA’s Yearbook Adviser of the Year award.

Briefly describe the lesson you are sharing: Dig! Dig! Dig! (This handout has a great explanation of what HL is talking about and two exercises at the end to use this week in your class.

Download:Download the Dig! Dig! Dig! handout here.

Feature Writing

Shared by: Joe Humphrey

Who are you: I teach journalism at Hillsborough High School in Tampa, Fla. I’m president of the Florida Scholastic Press Association, a member of the JEA Certification Commission and a former reporter.

Briefly describe the lesson you are sharing: This single-period lecture uses detail-rich feature writing to help students understand how intense reporting can create more memorable stories. There’s a PowerPoint with about a dozen hyperlinked stories. The big “idea” out of this is to help students think beyond simply writing “the football story” and instead fleshing out a more intense focus.

Download: Here you can download a .zip file with a Powerpoint and referenced stories.

Short News Package

Shared by: Don Goble

Who are you: Don is in his 7th year teaching full-time at Ladue Horton Watkins High School in St. Louis, MO. Don serves as the Broadcast Technology Instructor, Co-Director of LHS-TV, and the Ladue School District Video Producer.

Briefly describe the lesson you are sharing: The Short News Package Directions: Plan, research, write, shoot and edit a :45 – :60 second short video news story focusing on and interviewing a C.O.O.L Character (Colorful. Outgoing. Lively. – “Everybody has a story to tell.

Download: Here you can download a .zip file with everything from instructions to a scoring guide.

Video/Non Linear Editing

Shared by: Matt Rasgorshek

Who are you: I am the video and online adviser at Westside High School in Omaha, NE.

Briefly describe the lesson you are sharing: Why using video and audio layers is like making a pizza. Your base layer is the dough, the 2nd layer is the sauce, etc.

Download: Here you can download a handout that describes what Matt does.

Student Press Law

Shared by: Kyle Phillips

Who are you: I’m a second year teacher and journalism adviser at George Washington High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I advise the Surveyor (newspaper), www.crwashsurveyor.com (web presence), and the Monument (yearbook).

Briefly describe the lesson you are sharing: This is just a basic lesson that covers all the basics kids need to know about the First Amendment and student press law before we begin any actual writing. Topics covered are: First Amendment, Tinker, Hazelwood, and student free expression laws- in my case Iowa’s. Information about these cases is built into the Prezi as well as ‘what would you do’ situations for the students to consider. I borrowed parts of this activity from my adviser, Jeff Morris, who got a lot of his materials from Jack Kennedy.

Download: Here is the link to the Prezi that Kyle uses for this lesson.

Organization, Motivation

Shared by: Jonathan Rogers

Who are you: Adviser, Iowa City High School

Briefly describe the lesson you are sharing: Internet Team Challenge – For this assignment the staff divided themselves into teams to compete for prizes based on the most hits, most posts, and creativity. “Sprinkles” of positive reinforcement work better than deadlines or negative grade consequences in my experience. Donuts go out to high hit winners on Monday and a pizza party usually happens at the end. It should be noted that this doesn’t happen every month. I go on the philosophy that everything works and nothing works. This happens probably two months out of the year to really get them jazzed. The rest of the time everyone is required to have one post a month on the internet, while the internet team shoots for ten posts a week with a minimum of five.

Download: Here is a 2-page instruction sheet Brian has shared.

Finding Story Ideas Through Observation

Shared by: Brian Wilson

Who are you: I advise the yearbook and newspaper at Waterford (MI) Kettering High School, as well as our newspaper’s website, murmurnews.com. I also teach AP Language and Composition.

Briefly describe the lesson you are sharing: In this one-class-period activity, students have an opportunity to observe what happens in a randomly selected spot somewhere in the school. They are instructed to take notes on what they see, hear, and smell. After 15 minutes, they report back to the room, write the beginning to a story based on their spot, and then share their stories with the class.

Download: Here is the instruction sheet Brian uses for an exercise with his newspaper and yearbook staffs. He says the exercise generates some great story ideas for both staffs.

Redesigning a newspaper lesson plan

Shared by: Valerie Kibler

Who are you: Harrisonburg High School, Harrisonburg, VA. (editors’s note: Val was the 2010 Dow Jones News Fund National High School Journalism Teacher of the Year)

Briefly describe the lesson you are sharing: Redesigning the newspaper at the end of each year.

Download: Here is a detailed sheet Valerie uses for the activity. It includes everything from the activity parts and points breakdown to names of useful materials and resources.

Reporting the news

Shared by: Jack Kennedy

Who are you: After 30 years advising newspaper and yearbook in high schools in Iowa and Colorado, I now torment college students along Colorado’s Front Range.

Briefly describe the lesson you are sharing: I have used this assignment as a sort of boot camp for beginning journalism students for nearly 20 years, and it usually came in the middle of the trimester when I taught at City High in Iowa City. To be asked to write five consecutive short news stories over a week is an eye-opener for the students, and I could quickly identify the “gunners” in the class. I am including a handout I created from the actual results of this assignment, all reported in January, 1997. Lots of things have changed since then, but the stories still read pretty much like they might have happened yesterday.

Download: Here is the handout Jack used to explain the assignment to his reporters. He has also included some sample stories that he received from this assignment.