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The News Behind the Story


  • Arts & Humanities
    --Language Arts


  • 6-8
  • 9-12

Brief Description

Students read a short story, then create a one-page newspaper depicting the facts of the fictional story as real-life events.

Transform students from passive readers to gritty journalists. In this lesson, students read a short story, then create a one-page newspaper depicting the facts of the fictional story as real-life events. Links to an online newspaper template as well as to a classic short story site are included.


Students will

  • identify such story elements as setting, character, plot, and motive.
  • apply understanding of story elements through writing of news articles.


short story, setting, plot, character, journalism, writing

Materials Needed

  • short stories (print or online)
  • word processing program
  • Internet access (optional)

Lesson Plan

Note: Before beginning the lesson, students should have a basic understanding of the following terms: plot, setting, character, and motive.

Begin the lesson by asking students what topics usually are covered in their local newspaper. Bring an issue of the paper into class for examination. Students probably will mention such topics as local, national, and international news, sports, crime, weather, entertainment, comics, and so on.

Arrange students into small groups of 3-4 students. Explain that each group is going to creating a one-page newspaper, with articles about news, sports, weather, and so on, and that each group member is going to write one article for the paper. The catch? Instead of covering events in their own community, students are going to write about a community depicted in a fictional short story.

Each group then should complete the following steps:

  • Select a short story and read it, either aloud or silently.
    Short stories might be selected from a print classroom or library resource or from an online resource, such as Classic Reader. Saki's The Open Window is a particularly good choice, for example, because of its high-interest, short length, and readability.
  • Discuss the story elements below, taking written notes (which will be submitted as group work).
    • Setting: Where and when the story takes place.
    • Plot: What happens at the beginning (exposition), middle (rising action, climax), and end (falling action, resolution) of the story.
    • Character: Who the important people in the story are, and what motivates them.
  • Decide what articles to include in the newspaper. Ideas for articles include
    • Crime: Write about a plot complication as if it was a crime or news event. Include interviews with eyewitnesses, police reports, and so on.
    • Personal Interest: Interview a character in the story about his or her life, hopes, concerns, and so on.
    • Sports/Weather/International Events: Write about other newsworthy people and/or events in the story.
  • Assign one article to each group member. Articles should be typed and be no longer than a paragraph or two (about 100 words).
  • Download and open Education World's Newsletter Format 1 template. Copy and paste all the group's articles into the template. (You might want to delete the calendar and replace it with a 4th article). Add titles and bylines, as well as clip art, photos, and so on, as time permits. Be sure additional elements are relevant to events in the story.
  • Print a copy of the newspaper for distribution or display.
  • Turn in notes from group discussion.

Provide class time for groups to share their newspapers with their classmates.


Students will be evaluated on

  • their understanding of story elements based on their group's notes.
  • the application of their knowledge of story elements as demonstrated in the articles.
  • their ability to work in groups and manage class time.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Lorrie Jackson

Last updated on 04/21/2017