The Canadian Newspaper Association is thrilled to present classroom lessons for teachers. These lessons were designed so they could be used at any time of the year-as it suits the curriculum. The lessons were created by a teacher who previously worked at a newspaper-so she understands both.
We hope these plans assist you in your classroom and we welcome your feedback.
Canadian Newspaper Association
There are two things that are in short supply for classroom teachers – time and money.
I know because I’m an elementary teacher. The lesson plans on this website were developed in junior and intermediate classrooms out of necessity. This project began three months after I graduated from a faculty of education. With only three days to go before the start of the school year, I had landed a job teaching Grade 7 and 8 Language Arts.
I walked into a bare bones classroom. I didn’t know if I should jump for joy, or have a good cry. I think I did a little of both. Whatever resources had existed, were gone, no doubt the property of the previous teacher. Novels were dog-eared from too many hands, and there wasn’t enough of a book collection to organize Literature Circles, let alone a whole class study. The language textbooks on the shelf were 20 years out of date.
The way I figured it, the first week wasn’t going to be a problem. I had lined up ice-breaker activities and a quickie short story that would give me a good idea of reading and writing abilities. The challenges would come in weeks two, three and four until I could order and receive the supplies I needed.
I turned to what I knew – journalism. With 25 years of experience as a news reporter, magazine writer and book author, I knew my craft inside out. The skills I had learned on the job could be broken down and taught in a classroom, fulfilling the curriculum’s media literacy requirements.
On the first day of school I placed an order for 15 copies of a daily newspaper to be delivered over a six-week period. They arrived every morning at the school – a bundle to be unwrapped and explored. Mindful of budget restrictions, those 15 copies stretched across three classes of students. It was a huge hit with both readers and the non-readers.
So go ahead, explore the website, use the lessons and save your money for some other classroom necessity. Grade categories are just recommendations, with minor modifications you can jump from junior to intermediate and back again. Lessons come complete with step-by-step instructions, background notes, and marking schemes.
Lynne is currently a teacher with the Halton District School Board in Ontario. She is a former education reporter with The Toronto Star, and a co-author of Canadian Living’s family books, Growing with Your Child, Raising Great Kids and Understanding Your Teen. Her freelance articles have appeared in newspapers across Canada.