Introduction Getting Ready
Learning Circles Teachers' Guide
Open Circle Plan Projects Share Work Publish
Close Circle Overview


Ideas For Preparing Students for Participation
in a Computer Chronicles Learning Circle

Newspapers and Newswires

Show the front page of a local newspaper and ask students to identify its key features (i.e., headlines, table of contents, pictures, mastheads, etc.). Then, focus on a story written about a current event in a foreign country very far away from your own country. Ask students where they think the reporter was when he or she heard or saw the news and how the information was transformed into a written story and printed in the newspaper so quickly. Help your students think about how news and information travels from the source to the newsroom, to the printing presses, and finally to the public. Discuss the role of computer technology and telecommunications in transmitting written texts around the world. If you are unsure of the process, invite a guest speaker who can extend your ideas.


Field Trip Idea

Call the editor of your local community newspaper to see if you arrange for a field trip to the newspaper office. Have your students carefully examine the newspaper and think about how the editors decide what types of stories to print. Ask the newspaper editor to explain to your students how reporters are assigned to tasks and how editors make decisions about articles. Ask the editor to list the criteria he or she uses in evaluating articles.

Classroom Guest

Invite a reporter from a local newspaper to come to your classroom and talk to your students about their work. You might want to have students ask the reporter how he or she is assigned to a story. When can a reporter write about whatever they want and when must a reporter cover the story that was assigned. As you might want to ask if every story they write is published. Again they will want to understand the process. It often helps students to know that now everything that is written, ever by talented adults is published. This discussion may help prepare students for assignments that they will receive and the possibility that they work will not be chosen for publication by distant editors.

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Copyright © 1997, 2002, Margaret Riel