In your group of two-three, you will plan, write, and publish a newspaper that shows your understanding of the people and events of the novel To Kill a Mockingbird. In addition, you will practice your writing skills and learning new technology tools.
You are each reporters (or one of you may be the editor) for a local Maycomb newspaper, but not Mr. Underwood’s Maycomb Tribune. You will need to come up with your own newspaper name. Look to real newspapers as examples for your name.
All content in the newspaper must be true to the facts/details of the novel. Any characters or places you make up (such as a local diner), must be logical. As much as possible, use the real characters and setting from the novel. However, you are not merely summarizing the novel.
You are to follow journalism style for each element of your paper. We will be having short lessons on how to write a news story, an editorial, a letter to the editor and headlines. See the specific requirements below.
In addition to writing in a variety of journalism genres, you will also be learning a little about a desktop publishing program called InDesign, which is the kind of software that people working for real newspapers and magazines use.
You will use a supplied template (InDesign file) but you will create your own content to fit it. You can move things around, but the result should look like a newspaper, in columns, not like a poster or a collage. Your final document will be made into a pdf file to be featured on your websites. Please do not put your last names in your masthead.
Template: Go to my teacher Get folder and open the template. Be sure you save it somewhere in your H:drive, maybe in your CE9 folder. Only one person needs to do this.
Here are the directions for turning your InDesign file into a PDF for publishing on your blog.
|2 news stories||Additional news story|
|1 letter to the editor||Personality profile, a story about a person who deserves recognition for something he/she did.|
|Headlines for each story||Second letter to the editor|
|Bylines for each news story or personality profiile.||Obituary|
|Picture with captions (get from Web)||Comic strip (Only choose this option if your team has the skill to do it, meaning to draw, to scan and turn into a jpg image you can place into your InDesign file).|
|Masthead (list of your newspaper staff)|
|Flag (the name of your paper)|
|Folio (date and page number for page 2)|
|Choose one more item from options list →|
|Suggested events from the novel for your paper, just to get you started (you may use any significant events from the novel)|
|The Trial||Miss Maudie’s Fire|
|Sneaking a note to Boo Radley||Atticus shoots Tim Johnson|
|Aunt Alexandra hosts the ladies||Scout fights with Walter|
|Dill meets Dolphus Raymond||The pageant at school|
|The kids walk home from school||Mob visits courthouse|
|Jem reads to Mrs. Dubose||Scout meets Boo Radley|
Tips for success
- Choose partners who share your interest, enthusiasm, and willingness to work on this project. No more than three people allowed in a group.
- Begin with a planning session and make decisions about your newspaper. Look at the requirements list again to see what you need.
- Choose a person to take notes about what you have decided.
- Stay organized!!
- Divide the writing tasks, or find time to meet to write everything collaboratively.
- Set deadlines for yourselves. You will have to do some work outside of school. Use a usb drive to transfer documents. If you have graphic elements that need to be scanned, it’s your responsibility to have that done on time. There is a scanner in the library.
- Make a back up copy in case something happens and you lose your work.
- Make back up copies of your writing also, in Word.
- Decide whose computer you will use to save your InDesign document on.
- Remember, never share your log in and password with anyone, not even your group.
- There are all kinds of free tutorials on the Web for Adobe InDesign CS3 if you need extra help.
- Use the project rubric as a checklist..
Managing Photos for Your Newspaper Project
- About writing news stories from Ms. Hogue
- excellent tips from the Northern Star
- how to write an editorial
- editorials from The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Sheboygan Press You can also read editorials in actual paper newspapers in the library.
- Letters to the editor in The Sheboygan Press
- Tips on writing letters to the editor from the American Civil Liberties Union
- Simple letter to the editor guide
- Optional: peer review questions for your letter to the editor (make sure your work is good before you publish it) from ReadWriteThink
- Obituaries in the Sheboygan Press; This link goes to real obituaries. Treat them with respect and use them as models for what you might write.
Headlines are meant to do two things: draw attention to the story through eye-catching language and to summarize the main point of the story. All headlines need a present tense verb. Headlines should also give the reader some basic information: who, what, when, where, why and how. Not all of those, just the most important. In the example that follows you know who, what and why. That is probably enough to interest you in the story. Notice that only the first word and any proper nouns (Alaska) are capitalized. This is called Down Style and is preferred over capitalizing all words in headlines.
Example: Local couple’s essay wins them eight day cruise to Alaska
Letter to the Editor
Choose one of the following characters and write a letter to the editor of the Maycomb Tribune (Mr. Underwood) in your character’s voice. You’d need to choose an event from the novel that prompts you to write. Most people write letters to the editor when they have a problem with an issue that affects the community or when they want to praise the efforts of a community member. Letters to the editor express the writer’s opinion. While you do not need to cite the text in the same way you do for a literary analysis (using quotation marks, page numbers, etc.) for this post, you will need to make reference to events as if they actually happened. To best view the events of the novel from your character’s point of view, take Atticus’s advice and “consider things from his point of view. . . . and climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” After you choose your character, it is up to you to determine what he or she would most want to say? Remember, the letters are public for the citizens of Maycomb.
- Boo Radley
- Maudie Atkinson
- Bob Ewell
- Helen Robinson
- Tom Robinson
- Reverend Sykes
- Why the town’s treatment of Tom Robinson is not fair.
- Why no one in the town is willing to stand up against that treatment, even though they may think it is wrong.
- Why the town is unhappy with Atticus for defending Tom.
- Your reaction to Scout, Jem and Dill’s interaction with the lynch mob.
- The mystery of Boo Radley
- Comment on one of the many themes of the book:
- Loss of innocence
- Racial injustice
- Courage to stand up for one’s own beliefs
- Gender roles
- Education, especially Scout in school
- Choose any significant event/theme from the novel.
Presenting your project to the class:
The purpose of presenting your newspaper project to the class is to show off your hard work and to share your group’s perspective/interpretation of the novel. As it says in the rubric, all group members must share equally in presentation. You will be explaining why you chose the ideas/topics you presented in your paper. Your presentation should also reflect the pride your group has in your work. In other words, if you seem bored, unimpressed, apathetic, we will all think that you don’t care too much about your project. However, if you’ve put in a lot of good effort and learned some new skills, you should be proud of it. Be excited about what you’ve accomplished.
Project your newspaper on the screen.
- Hi, we’re ___, ___, and ___.
- Our paper is called ______. We chose that name because ______.
- Our first news story is about ______. We chose this event because ______. We wanted readers to understand ______. Our favorite part of this story is when/where we ______.
- Our second news story is about ______. We chose this event because ______. We wanted readers to understand ______. Our favorite part of this story is when/where we ______.
- Our letter to the editor is from ______ who is writing to ______ (complain, praise, etc. ) about ______. We chose this topic because we ______. We wanted readers to understand ______. Our favorite part of the letter is when/where ______.
- For our optional genre we chose to ______ because ______ (state the purpose you had for creating it). The best thing about this ______ is ______.
- Our strongest piece of writing for this project is ______ because ______.
- Finally, answer this question: How did creating this newspaper helped your group understand the novel better?
- Are there any questions? [Then wait a few seconds]. If there are, answer them.