Lesson Planning - Writing a newspaper report

Intermediate-level students

Lesson Aim

To develop the students' writing skills, specifically:

  • organising ideas
  • adopting an appropriate reporting style
  • using appropriate tenses and vocabulary.

Pre-task learning activities

What types of daily newspapers do we have in the UK?

What titles do you know? Which category do they fit in?

What sorts of people read these newspapers?

What newspapers do you read?

What sections can you find in many UK newspapers?

What sections do you like reading? Why?

Reading

Here is an article for you to read. The title is "George Michael found guilty".

Who is it about?

What do you think the report might be about?

Read the article.

George Michael driving offence
by Emily Dugan

George Michael was arrested semi-conscious in his car last year. A court heard yesterday that he had been driving with a cocktail of drugs in his system. The former Wham! singer was arrested on 1 October last year after he was found slumped at the wheel of his car in Central London.

Yesterday, the 43-year-old pleaded guilty to "tiredness and prescribed drugs" and also accepted that he had tested positive for illegal drugs.

Marijuana was also discovered in the tests but the prosecution does not believe it was to blame for his intoxication. However, he was cautioned for possessing it while driving.

His defence lawyer maintained that the condition of the singer was due to a sleeping drug. Since he first appeared in court, George Michael has publicly admitted to an addiction to prescription drugs. In a television interview he said the world would be a better place if more people smoked marijuana.

Although renowned for flouting the rules, Michael maintained a humble attitude in court. He told the District Judge Katherine Marshall, "I did something very stupid and I am very ashamed since doing it. I'm not used to defending myself in a position where I am ashamed of something."

Sentencing has been put back until 8 June. But the singer, who has sold 85 million singles and albums worldwide, is still booked to be playing the first concert at the new Wembley Stadium on 9 June - the day after his sentence is decided.

Questions

Were your predictions correct?

Where in a newspaper might we find this report?

Where was he arrested?

What was he charged with?

What did he lawyer say?

What word was used to describe Michael's attitude in court?

When will he be sentenced?

Language

Underline the verbs in the passage.

What are the main tenses in the passage? Why?

Task

  • Here is the heading of another newspaper report. This is an imaginary story.
  • The title of the story is Father in midnight dash.
  • Work in pairs and decide what the story might be about. List down a number of paragraph headings or main events.
  • Get together with another pair. Decide on an agreed set of events. Prepare a newspaper report with this headline.
  • Exchange your report with the report of another group. Check through the other group's report carefully in terms of organisation, vocabulary, tenses, punctuation and clarity.
  • Ask the students to find pictures or draw pictures to go with the report. Give them an A3 piece of paper so that they can arrange the page of their 'newspaper' in an appropriately clear way.
  • Pin the completed newspaper reports on the wall and let the students compare and contrast them.

Teacher's notes

Pre-task activities

What types of daily newspapers do we have in the UK? In the past, people used to divide the papers into broadsheet and ***** newspapers. However, today the newspapers are all produced in the smaller sizes. People today often divide newspapers into serious and red-top newspapers.

What titles do you know? Which category do they fit in? Guardian, Times, Independent, Telegraph, Sun, Daily Express, Daily Mirror etc. What sorts of people read these newspapers? Professional people tend to read the Guardian, Times, Independent and Telegraph.

Non-professional people tend to read the Sun, Daily Mirror and Daily Express.

What newspapers do you read?

What sections can you find in many UK newspapers? Get suggestions and list them on the board: They might include UK news, International news, Sport, Gossip, Adverts, Financial News, Gardening, Investing, colour supplement and they might also mention sections like G2. What sections do you like reading? Why? Encourage discussion.

Reading

Here is an article for you to read. The title is George Michael found guilty

Who is it about? Famous singer etc.

What do you think the report might be about? Encourage as many ideas as possible. List them on the board.

Read the newspaper article.

Questions

Encourage the students to discuss these questions as much as possible.

Were your predictions correct?

Where in a newspaper might we find this report? UK news in many newspapers. Front page of the Sun.

Where was he arrested? In his car, in London.

What was he charged with? Driving while under the influence of illegal drugs.

What did his lawyer say? He was affected by sleeping drugs/pills.

What word was used to describe Michael's attitude in court? humble

When will he be sentenced? 8th June, the day after the first concert at the new Wembley Stadium.

Language

Underline the verbs in the passage.

What are the main tenses in the passage? Why? Mainly Past Simple and Past Passive.

Task

The title can of course be changed to whatever a teacher feels is appropriate for their class.

An alternative with the task is to let the students work individually first of all, then in pairs and then in a group of 4. This would then require them to do lot of negotiating about the agreed content of the report. Ideally, a teacher would have done some work on the language of negotiation before this lesson.

Move around the room to support the students. Ensure that their report is divided into short clear paragraphs as in a newspaper. If a paragraph contain several sentences, the first sentence of each paragraph should indicate the topic for that paragraph (the 'topic' sentence).

Placing the 'newspapers' on the walls is a very good way both to encourage discussion and comparison as well as acting as an excellent completion for the lesson.


 

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