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

LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

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This activity allows students to take their knowledge from previous lessons or research projects and turn it into a newspaper, modeled after the Mini-Page, to share with their classmates. It can be used to reinforce lessons in social studies, science, or other subjects, such as the “Women in US History: Research Lesson” lesson. It is best completed on the computer.

Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • produce a newspaper focused on student research.
  • write informative articles with requirements determined by the teacher.
  • identify and define important vocabulary words about their research topic.
  • create fun features related to their research topic.

Teacher planning

Time required

One week

Materials needed

Technology resources

  • Computer lab or individual student computers
  • Computer with internet connected to a multi-media projector

Handouts

Mini Page guidelines
Students follow these guidelines when creating their own Mini Page.
Open as PDF (211 KB, 1 page)
Mini Page template
Students use this template to create their own Mini Page. Note: Published Mini Pages have four pages. Student Mini Pages will have three pages.
Open as Microsoft Word document (197 KB, 3 pages)

Pre-activities

  • Students should have already completed a short research project and have access to their research materials.
  • Students should have experience writing informative texts (or other texts required by the teacher for this project). Alternatively, teachers could incorporate writing instruction into this activity.
  • This activity can be completed individually or as a group, allowing for differentiation, depending on how the research was conducted. The instructions are for individual work but can easily be altered.

Activities

Part one: Introduction to The Mini Page

  1. Introduce the activity by telling students that they will be using their research to create a newspaper modeled after The Mini Page.
  2. Project the Mini Page Guidelines for students to see, and pass out copies to students. Go over the guidelines and tell students that they will look at sample Mini Pages.
  3. Project one of the sample Mini Pages (Our Fragile Butterflies or Rosa Parks) for students to see, and show them the layout. Point out that the front page contains an informational article and pictures, and it is laid out in three columns. Tell students that when they make their Mini Page, the front page will have three columns and one picture. Their article on the first page will be an overview of their research, like the informational article on the front page of the sample.
  4. Project page two of the Political Parties Mini Page. Direct students’ attention to the vocabulary box on the left side, and explain that they can use this as a model for their Mini Page. Point out that the definitions use simple language and are easy to understand. Show students the other features on pages two and three, and tell them that they can look at these for ideas to get ideas for their features.
  5. Project page four of the sample page (Our Fragile Butterflies or Rosa Parks). Point out to students that the layout is similar to the first page. For the Rosa Parks page, point out that this article focuses on her life. For the Butterfly page, point out that this article focuses on the life stages of the butterfly. Tell students that article on the last page of their Mini Page should also focus on a specific aspect of their research.
  6. Project the Mini Page Template for students to see. Demonstrate how to type in the text boxes and insert pictures into the document. Depending on student experience, you may wish to have students sit at computers and try on their own or have a few students take turns demonstrating.

Part two: Brainstorming and drafting

  1. Depending on student ability, this part may take one or several lesson blocks.
  2. Make sure students have access to their research materials and notes. If you are including writing instruction, this would be the time to add it.
  3. Ask students to focus on their article for page one first, and provide students with brainstorming graphic organizers such as a flow chart or cluster/word web.
  4. You will need to decide or let students choose in what order you want students to work on pages two and three.
  5. Once students have completed drafts of their work and you have checked them over and/or they have completed peer editing, students may work on the computer.

Part three: Making a Mini Page on the computer

  1. Before students begin working on the computer, you may wish to review how to use the template, projecting this for students to see.
  2. You should also review any class procedures for saving and turning in work on the computer.
  3. Allow students to work on their Mini Pages, walking around the room to monitor and answer questions.
  4. When they are finished, allow students to share with their classmates.

Assessment

Check that all guidelines have been followed completely and accurately and that all information is correct. You may wish to create a rubric catered to your content specifications, using a tool such as Rubistar.

Supplemental information

Websites

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

        • Grade 5
          • 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.6 With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of two pages...

  • North Carolina Essential Standards
    • Information and Technology Skills (2010)
      • Grade 5

        • 5.TT.1 Use technology tools and skills to reinforce and extend classroom concepts and activities. 5.TT.1.1 Use a variety of technology tools to gather data and information (e.g., Web-based resources, e-books, online communication tools, etc.). 5.TT.1.2 Use...