K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

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Learning outcomes

Students will plan, write, revise and publish a sports article for a newspaper.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

12 days


  • Sports sections of recent newspapers
  • overhead projector
  • transparencies
  • pens and pencils
  • lined and unlined paper
  • folders to keep work together
  • copy of Graphic Organizer on a transparency
  • copy of scoring Rubric

Technology resources

Word Processing or Desktop publishing software


Discuss students’ favorite sports. What sports do they participate in? Watch on TV? Watch in person? Do they ever read about their favorite sport in a newspaper?


Day 1

  1. Tell students that they are going to become real sportswriters, and they are each going to write their own sports article. Tell them to start thinking about what they might like to write about.
  2. Choose an article of interest to your students from the daily sports page.
  3. Show students the graphic organizer on the overhead projector. Tell them that you are going to read the article from the newspaper to them, and that at the end they should be able to fill in the graphic organizer.
  4. Read the article to the class. As a group, fill in the boxes on the graphic organizer.
  5. If necessary, reread the article to find more information.
  6. Review the parts of a newspaper article. Have the students tell what questions a good news article answers.
  7. Tell students that they will be writing their own sports article during the next class, so they will need to think about at least 1 possible sports event or sports figure they could report on.

Day 2

  1. Review completed graphic organizer. Discuss the 6 critical questions.
  2. Place a clean transparency on the overhead. Tell each student to get out a clean unlined piece of paper.
  3. On your transparency, draw a circle in the middle. Inside the circle, write the topic of the article you will be writing.
  4. Have each student draw a circle on their paper. Have several students share what they will be writing about with the class. Each child writes their topic in their circle as the teacher circulates. Children that finish quickly may help another student. Do not move on until everyone has a topic.
  5. At the overhead, draw a box at the top of your transparency. Label it LEAD. Have the students do the same.
  6. Explain to students that the lead of an article is what makes the reader want to read the article. Help the students to discover that the word lead is like leader, and where do you find a leader? At the beginning or the front. The lead is the beginning of the article. Tell the students that the lead has to be something exciting to get the reader interested and let the reader know what the most important thing is in the article. Share some leads from the local newspaper, and discuss how the reporter made it exciting or interesting and how you knew what the article was about from the lead.
  7. Write your lead for your article on the overhead in the box marked LEAD. Have several students share how they will begin their article. Circulate as all students complete their lead. Again, do not go on until everyone is ready. Students who are finished quickly may help someone else.
  8. Choose two students to share their topic and lead with the class.

Day 3

  1. Review topic and lead. Then draw another box at the bottom of your transparency. Label it CONCLUSION. Tell the students that the conclusion of an article sums up the article and tells what it all means, or what will happen next. Share some examples of conclusions of articles from the sports page, and identify how the reporter tied everything together.
  2. Write the conclusion to your article on the overhead. Model for the students how you decided what to write.
  3. Have several students share what they are planning to write in their conclusions. Then have all students write conclusions while you assist individuals. Same procedure as Days 1 and 2 for those who finish early.
  4. Choose 2 students to share what they have written so far (topic, lead and conclusion).

Days 4-6

  1. Review completed organizer from Day 1 with students. Tell them that today they are going to begin an organizer like it, using the information that they want to include in their own article.
  2. Either have students copy the organizer on to unlined paper, or pass out blank copies of the organizer (master attached).
  3. Model for the students, using your own topic, how to fill in each box briefly, telling WHO the story is about, then giving two details about that person or group.
  4. Have several students share their WHO and details. Then have all students complete the WHO boxes while you assist. Follow same procedure as before for those who finish early.
  5. Continue as time allows, completing one set of boxes at a time. At the end of each class period, choose two students to share what they have so far. At the beginning of a new class period, review what you have done so far.

Days 7-9

  1. Share your completed organizer. Remind students that they also have a different organizer with their topic, lead and conclusion. Tell students that they are going to use these organizers to help them write their article.
  2. Model for the students how to copy their LEAD onto lined paper, skipping lines. Explain to students that they are skipping lines in case they want to make changes later.
  3. Monitor as all students do this.
  4. Model for the students how to turn the information in a set of boxes into a part of their article, using your organizer. As you include information from a box, model for the students how to check off that box, indicating that the information is in the article.
  5. Have several students share a sentence or two that they plan to write, indicating which set of boxes the information is from. Then assist students individually as they begin to write.
  6. Continue modeling and assisting until all information is included. At the end of each period, choose 2 students to share what they have written so far.

Day 10

  1. Share with students what you have written so far. You should have everything except your conclusion at this point.
  2. Model for the students how to copy their conclusion onto their paper. Once they have done this, tell them that their first draft is complete.
  3. Model for the students how to revise a paper. Ask them to help you to make your article better. Reread your paper out loud, pausing to allow students to make suggestions or to ask for help. Model how to cross out, insert and move text on the aper without recopying.
  4. Students conference with each other about the content of their papers. Remind them that at this point, spelling doesn’t count. This can be done in pairs, cooperative groups or in a whole group circle. Teacher should monitor and assist as needed.
  5. To conclude class, choose 2 students to share their work in progress.

Day 11

  1. Model for the students, using your own article, how to edit for a few specific things (example: Word Wall Words spelled correctly, capital letters as needed, and proper punctuation at the end of each sentence).
  2. Have the students self-edit their drafts. Monitor and assist as needed.
  3. As students complete their self-editing, they can come to the teacher for final editing. The teacher is the “Sports Editor” and has the right to decide on the headlines.
  4. At the end of class, have 2 students share their articles.

Day 12

  1. Take the class to the computer lab, if you have one. If not, this will have to be done in small groups or individually.
  2. Model for the students how to type their article into a word processing program.
  3. Have the students type in their articles.
  4. Model for the students how to use the Spell check function of their word processing program. Have them edit each other’s documents. Assist as needed.
  5. As the editor, it is your job to compile the newspaper. Publish the children’s work and distribute. They will love seeing their own byline!


Use the attached rubric to score the students’ writing. Then conference individually with the students about how they might improve their work. Students can then choose to rewrite the article for a higher grade.

Supplemental information


This unit was taught as part of a Saturday program for struggling students. The children rotated in small groups through three teachers, for about an hour in each room. One teacher taught sports-related math, for example the children shot baskets and then did fractions, decimals and probability using the data collected. In reading, they read Sports Illustrated for Kids articles about sports figures. For the writing part, you can have the students write individually or in pairs or threes, if they can agree on a topic.

  • Common Core State Standards
    • English Language Arts (2010)
      • Writing

        • Grade 5
          • 5.W.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly. 5.W.2.1 Introduce a topic clearly, provide a general observation and focus, and group related information logically; include formatting (e.g., headings),...
          • 5.W.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3 above.)
          • 5.W.5 With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.

North Carolina curriculum alignment

English Language Arts (2004)

Grade 5

  • Goal 4: The learner will apply strategies and skills to create oral, written, and visual texts.
    • Objective 4.05: Use a variety of preliminary strategies to plan and organize the writing and speaking task considering purpose, audience, and timeline.
    • Objective 4.06: Compose a draft that elaborates on major ideas and adheres to the topic by using an appropriate organizational pattern that accomplishes the purpose of the writing task and effectively communicates its content.
    • Objective 4.09: Produce work that follows the conventions of particular genres (e.g., clarification, essay, feature story, business letter).