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The Next 26: Great Lessons

This 26 is devoted to something a bit larger than a tip or bit of advice.

For this installment of the Next 26 I’d like to encourage advisers everywhere to share their best lesson — their ‘Money Lesson’ so to speak. I think we all feel really good about at least one lesson in our arsenals. This lesson may be one that’s an original, something we’ve borrowed, or something we have borrowed and tweaked a bit.

For this Next 26 I will showcase lessons from advisers around the country who are willing to share. I don’t care if this is your first year teaching or your 31st, we all have something to share in this collaborative environment.

I hope you follow along  to see what lessons are posted. I’m sure you’ll find some great ones you can use. I want you to be a part of it by submitting your own. I only want to put one lesson on here, so I’m hoping for some help from you all. This is a collaborative space so send the best you got my way and I’ll make sure to share it with the masses. There’s no such thing as ‘good enough.’ If you’re sharing it, I bet it’s great.

You share it. I pass it along.

You can submit your own lesson by clicking here and follow the directions.

The only thing I ask is that if you share, you give credit to someone else if the lesson is partly, or entirely, theirs. Likewise, if you find a lesson useful, please make sure to leave credits on the handouts and give credit to the originator if you share it. I’d hate to send The Next 26 Police out to knock on your door.  🙂

More than anything though, share this resource with a colleague near you. Use this spark, or one of the many others on this site, to start a dialogue with another adviser in your area.

Help yourself. Help others.

Lesson Twenty-Six

Lesson topic: Headline Writing/Tweet Composition
Shared by:  Starr Sackstein
Who are you: High school newspaper and journalism teacher (English too) at World Journalism Prep School in Flushing, NY
Briefly describe the lesson you are sharing: What can you say in 140 characters that would seduce an unlikely reader to slow down long enough to get engaged? Tweet your headlines to make them click your link or read your page.

Download: You can see the exercise Starr uses with her class here.

Lesson Twenty-Five

Lesson topic: Photo Feature Hunting
Shared by:  Dow Tate
Who are you: I’m the adviser for Harbinger Online, Harbinger and Hauberk, the news website, newspaper and yearbook at Shawnee Mission East High Scho0ol in Prairie Village.
Briefly describe the lesson you are sharing: We assigned photographers for spreads and stories for both newspaper and yearbook. But we always needed the other photos in different sections and now for web galleries and wild art photos.  So out of necessity was born this feature hunting exercise for photographers.

Download: You can find a deeper description of what he does with his photographers here and some ideas of weekly challenges and rules here.

Lesson Twenty-Four

Lesson topic: Social Media
Shared by:  Marina Hendricks
Who are you: I am senior manager of communications for the Newspaper Association of America in Arlington, Va. In a previous life, I ran a program for teen journalists sponsored by The Charleston Gazette in West Virginia and taught an introductory journalism course at a local university.
Briefly describe the lesson you are sharing: The “Social Media Toolbox,” available at hendricksproject.wordpress.com, features 16 lessons on social media plus related resources. The lessons can be used as a unit or individually, depending on the needs of students, advisers and school publication programs.

Download: You can find an overview for the lesson unit here or download it as a PDF.

Lesson Twenty-Three

Lesson topic: Brainstorming, Story Ideas, Newsgathering
Shared by:  Jesse McLean
Who are you: I’m a second-year adviser at Waterford Kettering High School in Waterford, Michigan. I advise WKHS-TV, a new broadcast news program at my school. I also student taught under Brian Wilson, where I co-advised the newspaper and yearbook during that time.
Briefly describe the lesson you are sharing: Sometimes the best story ideas come from places you don’t necessarily expect. For this lesson, I have my students fill out short responses for each square on this brainstorming sheet. My students are expected to fill out at least 16 of the 18 squares on the sheet in order to get full credit. They’ll come in with the sheet filled out and then they’ll sit in a circle and my executive producer will lead their discussion about all of their ideas for the majority of the hour. This lesson was inspired by former newspaper adviser at H.H. Dow High School, Betsy Pollard Rau.

Download: Jesse has shared the two pages of her double-sided handout she uses here.

Lesson Twenty-Two

Lesson topic: Photography, Observations, News/Feature gathering
Shared by:  Megan Ortiz
Who are you: A third-year adviser at Summer Creek High School in Houston. I advise the Odyssey newspaper and the Signature yearbook. (editor’s note full disclosure: she is also my sister and a former professional journalist who covered the NFL and NBA among other things)
Briefly describe the lesson you are sharing: Each year, students in my photojournalism classes are sent in pairs to various classrooms. They go with a partner and one camera. While one students shoots, the other sits, observes and takes notes. Partway through their allotted time, they switch so that both of them have time to shoot the photos. They help gather names and information they could utilize in captions and/or a story down the road. The accompanying handout is a guide to help get them thinking like a reporter – and a lot of times it sparks ideas for feature or news stories. They have to shoot photos of the teachers and the students, and they spend about 45 minutes in the classroom. The students are then able to download their photos, batch rename them in Bridge and caption the five they like the best. Yearbook is always looking at these photos to see what they can use, and sometimes they pop up in newspaper as well.

On a side note: Toward the end of the year, the best teacher photos are made into poster-sized color prints. The students in all of my classes write a personal essay about a teacher/principal/counselor who has impacted them. The photos are then put in the main hallway – along with the essay – during Teacher Appreciation Week. It ends up being a way for the students to thank their teachers for putting up with all their interruptions and requests during newspaper and yearbook production. The students love seeing their work up in the hall, and the teachers/principals read every word that is posted.

Download: Megan has shared the handout she uses with her class to track their work. Download it here.

Lesson Twenty-One

Lesson topic: Interviewing/Feature Leads
Shared by: Evelyn Lauer
Who are you: Second-year adviser of Niles West News (www.nileswestnews.org), the student-run website at Niles West High School in Skokie, IL. 2012 JEA Rising Star.
Briefly describe the lesson you are sharing: Before we talk about feature writing, we spend a lot of time reading great feature writing–focusing on details, observation, story-telling, and adding color. One essay that I have my students read is “The American Male at Age Ten” by Susan Orlean. (This is a long piece; we read an excerpt) Reading this piece leads into discussions about “everyone has a story.” I tell them: “You could literally walk in the halls right now and interview someone and tell his or her story. It doesn’t matter who they are or what they’ve done.”

To drive this point home, I have them interview a classmate. (We do this at the beginning of the semester, too, during our interview unit, but now their skills have developed and they are asking questions to write a feature, not a news story.) Based on a 10-minute interview, their task is to then write a feature lead, pretending they are writing a profile on their classmate.

Their goal: DON’T BORE ME! Your job, as a reporter/writer, is to make this person interesting. It’s all about asking the right questions, listening, and then telling a good story.

Download: Evelyn has shared the feature lead sample.

Lesson Twenty

Lesson topic: Quotations
Shared by: Allison Berryhill
Who are you: I teach English and journalism at Atlantic High School in Iowa.
Briefly describe the lesson you are sharing: This lesson invites students to inductively discover various types of quotations and their purposes.

Download: Allison has shared the handout and exercise she uses with her class. Download it here.

Lesson Nineteen

Lesson topic: Photojournalistic Images
Shared by: Eric Thomas
Who are you: Eric Thomas teaches publications at St. Teresa’s Academy in Kansas City, Missouri: the Dart print newspaper, DartNewsOnline website and the Teresian yearbook.  St. Teresa’s is an all-girls private Catholic high school founded in 1866.
Briefly describe the lesson you are sharing: Often as photography teachers we get hung up on the photo composition principles: leading lines, rule of thirds, framing, etc. Those categories don’t help students create photographs with photojournalistic content. In teaching photojournalism I try to lean back on all of the kinds of photographs that I tried to gather when I worked as a professional photojournalist and when I studied photojournalism. This lesson plan showcases the kind of images that I want my student photojournalists to bring back to the publications room.”

Source Materials: Here are the source materials Eric uses for this lesson:

Lesson Eighteen

Lesson topic: News Gathering
Shared by: Ann Visser
Who are you: I’m the self-proclaimed queen of Pella (Iowa) High School, which does not mean I’m the oldest, just the one who has been here the longest. Advising publications has truly been a gift in so many ways, and I’m excited to having been a part of the profession for almost 30 years.
Briefly describe the lesson you are sharing: Trying to get your students out and about to gather the news? Looking for a way to make sure that they are thinking about what is happening that goes above and beyond monthly beat sheets? This might be the answer, especially for those yearbook staffs who are doing weekly coverage.

Download: Here is the handout students use with this lesson.

Lesson Seventeen

Lesson topic: Observation and description
Shared by: Matthew Schott
Who are you: I’m the publications adviser at Francis Howell Central H.S. in St. Charles, Mo. where I advise the newspaper, yearbook and literary magazine and each of those publications digital component.
Briefly describe the lesson you are sharing: This is a one to two day lesson I teach a couple days into my unit on profile/feature writing. It focuses on getting reporters to observe what is going on around them and taking them past just simply looking at something and describing it. I usually tie this in to my unit on writing profiles.

Download: Here is a handout he uses with his class for this observation lesson.

Lesson Sixteen

Lesson topic: Social Media
Shared by: Beth Phillips
Who are you: I am assistant journalism adviser at Francis Howell North High School. This is my sixth year teaching my fourth year being involved with the journalism program.
Briefly describe the lesson you are sharing: Whether a student is starting their own social media account or working on a social media account for the school publication, they need to have a plan and focus. Here is a planning sheet and evaluation sheet for students to follow. Students should develop a plan and execute the plan for two weeks. After two weeks, they should evaluate the plan and keep what worked and change what didn’t. Hopefully, they will keep improving on their social media presence. Students will classify their posts into categories, and those categories were mooched from Sarah Nichols’ assignment “It is ok to be a follower.”

Download: Here is a handout she created to help develop a plan and another she created that will help evaluate the plan’s effectiveness.

Lesson Fifteen

Lesson topic: Writing for a modern audience
Shared by: Rod Satterthwaite
Who are you: I am the newspaper adviser at Dexter High School in Dexter, Mich. I also teach one journalism class a year as a part time faculty member at Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor.
Briefly describe the lesson you are sharing: This lesson looks at alternative ways to provide coverage to today’s increasingly distracted audience of reluctant readers. I’m not advocating dumbing things down. I am advocating looking at other ways of covering events apart from the 10 inch story.

Download: Here is the presentation Rod uses to teach this lesson and he has graciously included notes to accompany the presentation.

Lesson Fourteen

Lesson topic: News Writing
Shared by: Gary Lindsay
Who are you: After teaching for 40 years at Kennedy High in Cedar Rapids, I have recently retired and now work as JEA’s mentor for Iowa, and keep busy working on JEA committee work, and local organizations. This lesson was developed by several JEA members as part of the inaugural National Professional Learning Committee headed by Jim Streisel and Mark Newton. This great team can take the credit or blame. It does work though, and my students consistently said it taught them more than any other lesson I used.
Briefly describe the lesson you are sharing: This week-long lesson gives students a set of facts and quotes that can be used to develop a news story about an athlete who may have messed up. I know, it’s far fetched (I wish!). Students need to apply previously taught skills of news judgment, and as the lesson progresses they are introduced to lead writing, news story formats, effective sentence combining and journalism ethics. The unique thing about this assignment is, like real-world stories, the facts change as the week progresses. The lesson is all explained on the PDF handout, and I have attached a rubric for evaluating the stories in process. Email me for an editable ID document if you want to adapt it to your own school.

Download: Here is the PDF handout and accompanying rubric.

Lesson Thirteen

Lesson topic: Using Twitter to learn about from other journalists
Shared by: Coni C. Grebel, CJE
Who are you: I’m a veteran English teacher who became a journalism teacher by default — no one else on staff would take it. That was 10 years ago, and I cried when they told me I would teach journalism. The only thing I knew about a newspaper was how to read one. Now, I’d cry if they told me I couldn’t teach journalism — and I might just quit. It is the highlight of my day. I teach at Lee County High School where I advise the Panoptic, the PanopticOnline, and the Mag literary magazine. I also teach honors tenth grade world literature and composition, senior British lit and comp and advanced composition. Oh — and most important — I’m mom of three daughters and three sons-in-law and grandmother of 3 1/2 darling little boys.
Briefly describe the lesson you are sharing: When I started my Twitter account, the only accounts I followed were related to journalism or teaching journalism. I couldn’t believe that I was suddenly learning so much more and finding so many more resources from teachers across the country. I wanted my students to learn that Twitter was more than just telling your friends where you are and what you’re doing. That was the catalyst for this lesson. I wanted my students to see a productive use for Twitter, I wanted to see them forced to be concise in their writing, and I wanted to let them discover the pool of journalism resources available through social media. And while we were at it, I wanted to see the staff Twitter account spread increase followers. You’ll see that food served as the motivator for that aspect. The project lasted two weeks, but for most of my staff, the journalism Twitter accounts are still active, and I now hear them quoting advice from some noted journalism programs.Next year I will use this project in the fall and will probably refer back to it intermittently throughout the year.

Download: Here is the handout Coni uses with this assignment.

Lesson Twelve

Lesson topic: SLR Photography, Manual Shooting
Shared by: Mary Prichard
Who are you: CJE; Journalism instructor at North Kansas City High School; adviser of school newspaper “The Hornet’s Buzz” and yearbook “The Purgold”.
Briefly describe the lesson you are sharing: Before my beginning Photo students are allowed to physically get their hands on our dSLR yearbook/newspaper staff cameras, I require them to learn the manual shooting concepts of shutter speed, aperture, exposure, etc. Penn State University created a great SLR simulator website last year at http://photo.comm.psu.edu, and I created this straight-forward activity set of questions to go along with it. I personally like to have students work together on it in pairs, so they can explain and teach each other as they try to figure out all the questions. Then I break them into 6 groups and they have to use the website and “present” their answers for a specific section (DoF, focal length, white balance, ss, exposure, ISO) to the entire class. You can use the questions however you like — if you need help answering one, feel free to contact me.
Bonus camera simulator site links that photography teachers might find useful:

Download: Here is the handout Mary uses to go along with the Penn State site she references above.

Lesson Eleven

Lesson topic: Yearbook theme development
Shared by: Mitch Eden
Who are you: Kirkwood H.S. journalism adviser, proud father and husband, Duke basketball enthusiast and just giddy UNC did not make the Final Four.
Briefly describe the lesson you are sharing: On the heels of Valerie’s newspaper redesign lesson (which I have used the past decade–thanks, Valerie), here is a theme development assignment I use when the book is completed and a unit in my Journalism I class to expose the kids to magazine journalism. This was given to me when I began 16 years ago and I have modified it somewhat. Thanks to the person who shared and I apologize for not remembering.
Download: Here is the handout Mitch uses to explain the assignment to his students.

Lesson Ten

Lesson topic: 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.

Lesson Nine

Lesson topic: 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.

Lesson Eight

Lesson topic: 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.

Lesson Seven

Lesson topic: 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.

Lesson Six

Lesson topic: 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.

Lesson Five

Lesson topic: 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.

Lesson Four

Lesson topic: 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.

Lesson Three

Lesson topic: 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.

Lesson Two

Lesson topic: Interviewing
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.

Lesson One

Lesson topic: Interviewing
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.


4 thoughts on “The Next 26: Great Lessons

Great lessons on the Next26 « Journalism Guy's UpdatePosted on  4:29 pm - Mar 15, 2012

[…] always used since and have passed along to my subsequent student teachers. You can find the Next26 here. Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. Categories: Curriculum for the 21st Century […]

News writing | CHSPA Summer Adviser WorkshopPosted on  10:12 pm - Jan 28, 2013

[…] on TheNext 26: HERE (It’s # […]

Clemmie LaShaunPosted on  8:04 am - Aug 19, 2014

Thanks so much!! I have a new assignment this year as journalism teacher and I didn’t know where to start!!! Thanks for posting.

Advocacy Journalism – V2 | To Those Who Love to ReadPosted on  8:24 am - Dec 23, 2015

[…] http://thenext26.com/the-next-26-great-lessons […]

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