Archives for August 2010

Publications Writing Week 1: September 7-10


Welcome to Publications Writing!

Here are some of the notes and handouts from today.

Course Description and Outline

Tatanka K-W-L.

Writer Information Sheet

Due tomorrow:

1. Your Summer Yearbook assignment.

If you want to see examples of this assignment from students from previous years, take a look at the following links. Keep in mind that these are one of many right ways to do this assignment. Yours can and should be unique and fit your writing style.

Sample 1

Sample 2

Sample 3

Sample 4


As a class, we focused on the concept of theme today.

Publications Writing Notes: Day 1 – Theme

You took a look at a variety of books from around the state and country; public schools, private schools, middle schools, and high schools. The books had different standards of quality, but they all had one thing in common: Theme. You broke down the theme and presented it to the class. Your knowledge went toward helping you think about the homework for tonight.


If we had time, we got in to small groups with editors and working on getting your questions from our KWL sheet answered.


If you haven’t signed up for stories yet, please do so tonight. I want to have all stories assigned by Friday of this week.

We then workshopped your Summer Yearbook Theme assignments aloud in small groups. We read aloud frequently in this class, and there will never be an opportunity to “pass” on reading. Each small group will pick one member to read aloud to the entire class.


Once everyone has read, you will be working on creating a front and back cover for your Summer Yearbook. You will be graded on creativity, clarity, and the ability to portray the theme in an appropriate, attractive way. Your cover should reflect the theme of your book clearly. You will need to finish your cover by the middle of the block tomorrow.

Take a look at these examples from last year.


Your homework for tonight is to finish your summer yearbook cover and bring it to class tomorrow.


Right away, you shared your summer yearbook covers and we learned everyones name a little better. Let’s see if we can greet everyone by name on Monday next week. I think I’m at that point. Let’s all get there soon.

After that, we finished the theme assignment that we started on Tuesday and continued our conversation on Theme.

Next, we talked about Business Ads, how important they are to the book, and your role in selling them.

Your homework for tomorrow is to bring in the names and phone numbers of 8 businesses who may be interested in adversing in our yearbook. You don’t need to do anything else.

Finally, we reviewed the first few terms in the big Yearbook Terms presentation. A scaled back version of the presentation is below.

We have so much left to do! We’ll continue learning tomorrow.


We started the day by learning how to use Google Docs and talking about what to do with your advertising contacts.

Then, we moved to the Bison room where the Theme of the 2011 Tatanka was revealed to you. The editors and I did the best job we could to explain the significance and meaning of the theme to you. After that, you watched a video about creativity featuring DeWitt Jones from National Geographic.

Your homework for Monday is to update the Advertising Contact spreadsheet on Google Docs with your businesses and then sign up for eight business that you will be responsible for.

Journalism Week 1: September 7-10


Welcome to Journalism!

This can be a demanding, difficult class, but I really believe it will be the most fun you’ll have with a class all year.

Don’t forget your 10 interview questions and your message board registration for tomorrow.


Handouts from Day One.

Journalism Syllabus.

Staff Contract.

Writer Information Sheet.


Notes from Day 1

Interview Notes – We looked at Background Research and Personal Interviews today.

Stuff to do this week:

1. Bring in your signed Staff Contract.

2. Sign up for an account on the Message Board. Do not use your full name in your account. Customize your profile and then get posting! You’ll need to make 50 posts on the forum each term. That’s about one per day. About 30 will be taken care of with regular assignments, but the other 20 are up to you to make.

3. Bring your class materials – a notebook, (you’re going to want a large, empty one), a folder.


Welcome back to journalism!

Due today:

  • 10 interview questions.


After viewing some important reminders about how to do interviews, you had time to complete an interview with your partner today.

We will spend about 30 minutes of class doing interviews. You will get about 15 minutes to interview your partner using the interview questions you prepared for homework. Be sure to ask follow up questions to get full stories and to take plenty of good notes. You should leave your interviews with about 5 paragraph-long quotes. More is always better.


After you interview, take time to fully write out your longest quotes. They should be written word-for-word as your partner said them. You can type or handwrite these quotes.


Due Tomorrow:
A 300-400 word story about your partner. The majority of your grade is made up of how well you present your angle and how good your quotes are. You will be expected to write in Lead-Transition-Quote style, but that will not be a large factor in your grade. Make sure you focus on the correct aspects of this assignment.

Your story will be written in Lead-Transition-Quote format. Here are the notes we took on Lead Transition Quote Format.

This assignment can be handwritten or typed, but it is due at the start of the hour tomorrow.

If you want help with writing in Lead-Transition-Quote format, check out this guide. If you want, you can write your story right on the guide sheet!

If you missed the notes today, want to read the sample story, or if you need clarification, download the Lead Transition Quote Overheads or The Smart Board presentation on Lead Transition Quote Format (both include asample story).

If you get stuck, check out this Sample 1st day assignment from last semester.

For a full project description, download this, or just read on.

Due Tomorrow:

Write a 300-350 word story about the person you interviewed. The two things you are bing graded on are:

Angle – Your story must have a clear angle. You will focus on only a few key pieces of information about the person you are writing about. You don’t want to try to tell their whole story. Stories that have a unique angle presented in the first one or two paragraphs and carried throughout their story will receive full points.

Quotes – Your story must contain unique, story-telling quotes from your subject. Your quotes should be lengthy and contain evidence of a good interview. Make sure you write down what your subject says word-for-word during your interview and use those quotes in your story.

Your story can be typed or handwritten. It will be due at the start of class tomorrow.


Bring your stories that you wrote about your partner. You’ll be sharing them today.

During the first part of the hour, you’ll be getting together with the person you wrote about and another pair of students. You’ll read your story out loud to the group and then listen and critique other stories that are read aloud in your group. After that, one person from your group will share their story with the class.

The reason we read stories aloud in this class is to get used to accountability in your writing. You need to get used to other people reading and reacting to your writing because you’ll be putting your writing out for everyone in the school to read very soon. If you are embarrassed about your writing, that’s a sign that you could have done better. Work to a level where you would be confident with anyone reading what you wrote.


Next, we learned about what makes something newsworthy.

The presentation is below if you need to review or missed some notes.

After that, you toured the school and tried to find five story ideas in the hallways.


Due tomorrow:Bring in seven ideas for each section of the paper. The sections are as follows:

1. News
2. Sports
3. Features
4. Opinions
5. Arts and Entertainment

You should have at least seven ideas written down and ready by the time you walk in the door tomorrow. We had about seven minutes at the end of the block to discuss ideas and begin making a list.


We began the day by making a GIANT list of potential story assignments on the whiteboard. We came up with over 100 potential ideas.

This weekend, you need to sign up for the four stories you’d like to write about the most. You must sign up for your four choices by Saturday night at Midnight. I’ll assign stories by the end of the day on Sunday.

Sign up here.

Please follow the instructions in the sign up topic carefully.

Make sure you’re signed in and click “Reply.” Leave a post with:

  1. Your first name an last initial.
  2. The three or four stories you want to write about the most.
  3. Why you’d be great at writing about your story.
  4. If you want to work as a team with another students and who that student would be.

Next, we read the introduction Focus on Reporting as a whole class. If you missed today, you need to read the entire chapter, because we’ll be taking a short quiz on Monday at the start of class.

After we read the introduction, we divided in 12 groups. Each group was assigned a concept from the chapter to read, study, summarize, and illustrate. After that, each group presented their summary and illustration to the class.

The concepts you need to understand for Monday are:

  1. Theme
  2. Research
  3. Angle
  4. Focus
  5. Order
  6. Transition
  7. Clarity
  8. Accuracy
  9. Word Choice
  10. Description
  11. Interpretation
  12. Unity

Come back for examples from this year’s class.

Examples from last year’s Block 2 class.