NEWSPAPERS IN EDUCATION
conducted by the Times Herald, Olean, NY
A sampling of ideas
for using newspapers in your classroom
Note: These newspaper based activities can be adapted for a wide range of ages or grade levels. If you would like to receive free materials for a specific grade, project or topic, contact your NIE coordinator at 372-3121.
Click here to find web sites
offering a wide range of newspaper
activities for all grade levels and subjects
Elementary Language Arts
After reading a news article, draw a picture about what happened. Cut out the article and bring it to class along with the picture. Read the newspaper every night for a week. Look for new and unfamiliar words. Write them down and find the definition. Bring your list to class with your newly learned words and definitions and share your "word bank." Read a story about someone in the news you would like to know more about. Pretend you are going to interview that person and write questions you would ask. Bring your list of questions to class. Make a list of at least 15 descriptive words from advertisements in the newspaper. Then describe something, using as many of the words as you can. Bring your work to class.
Elementary Social Studies
Use the whole newspaper to find pictures or stories of five people who have different jobs. Paste each on paper and then write a description of their jobs as best you can. Include any training you think they had. Bring your project to class. Be artistic - make a collage of pictures from the newspaper of different kinds of jobs. Include words or advertisements too. Bring your work to class. From the newspaper advertisements, cut out items you would like to buy. Now, add up the cost of all of the items. Make a separate list of items you can afford to buy now and which ones you will have to save for. Can you think of a way to work for the items you want? Bring your work to class. Choose one page from the newspaper and try to come up with how many different jobs are involved in creating that one page. Bring your list to class.
Pretend you have $100 to spend on 10 items you like. Look through the newspaper advertisements and see if you can find 10 items to buy without going over $100. Make a list and bring to class. Look at the food ads in the newspaper and find items that sell by the pound. Write down how much it will cost to buy 3 pounds, 7 pounds and 9 pounds. Bring your answers to class. You have $100 to do the shopping for your family for one week. Using the food ads in the newspaper, "shop" for your food. Make meal plans for balanced, nutritious meals for the week. Bring your finished project to class. In the classified section of the newspaper, find acreage for sale. Divide the amount of acres by the total price to get the cost per acre. Do this with at least five different parcels of land. Bring your work to class.
More Fun for Elementary Students
From the newspaper, cut out pictures of various foods and put them into the four food groups. Bring your finished wok to class. Using the comics from the newspaper, cut apart the panels of a comic strip. Paste each panel on a piece of paper and number each panel in the correct order. At home or at school, mix them up and challenge someone to put them back in the right order. Using the sports section of the newspaper, underline all the verbs in a sports story. Write down the verbs and synonyms that could be used to replace each of the words. Bring your work to class. Read the opinion page in the newspaper. Circle the facts and put lines through the opinions. Bring your work to school. Read an article in the newspaper about something that happened in your community. How do you feel about it? Happy, angry, worried? Write your feelings down as a letter to the editor. Remember to back your opinion with facts. Find a pet for sale advertisement in the classified section of the newspaper. Write a story about what would happen if you brought the pet home. Using the newspaper, cut out words or pictures to complete the following sentences. I want ......., I like ......., I dislike ......., I have ......., I live.......Bring your work to class.
Junior High and Middle School Language Arts
Use the newspaper to look for unfamiliar words. When you have 20 words, define them and make a crossword puzzle. You may want to submit it to your school newspaper. Read the opinion page in the newspaper. Decide if the writer of each opinion logically constructed the piece or if it tends to be emotionally constructed. Give your reasons for your observations. Find two or three other classmates to help with this activity. Find an ad in the newspaper and write two television commercials for it. For one of them, use the same persuasion technique used in the newspaper ad. Find examples of several different ads in the newspaper that deal with the same product or service. Compare and contrast the ads in terms of layout, prices, claims, etc. Choose one in each category that you prefer and state your reasons why.
Junior High and Middle School Social Studies
Over several weeks, clip articles that deal with problems and/or issues facing our local or county government. Write an opinion based on the information you have gathered. You may want to contact an official or anyone else involved to gather facts. Study the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Look through the newspaper and find examples of as many rights as you can, either being upheld or not. Look through the newspaper and clip out many different examples of persuasion techniques used. Write down the effects each technique might have on the consumer. Write down which ads you like most/least and why. Read through the classified help wanted ads. What kind of skills do different kinds of jobs require? Find a job you would like. What kind of education would you need for that job?
Junior High and Middle School Math
Figure the square footage of your bedroom for the following: floor, walls and windows. Using the newspaper, find ads for paint, carpet and drapes. Determine how much you need and how much it will cost for each. What is the total cost? Can you find used carpet and drapes in the classified ads to save money? How much can you save? Look in the newspaper to find 20 ads and/or coupons that tell the regular price and the sale price of an item. Turn those into a math problem and find the percentage difference. Keep track of a sports team's travels by reading the sports section of the newspaper everyday for a month. (You may find distances between cities on some maps). Measure the distance between each city they visit. How many total miles did they travel? Using the newspaper, collect advertisements for products that were not available 20 years ago. Can you identify the scientific advances that have made this product possible? Find articles about potential dangerous household substances, such as bathroom cleaners, drain openers, over-the-counter medicinal supplies and the like. Make a chart of them, classify each substance as being acid or base, and lists the antidote needed if an accidental ingestion or overdose occurred.