Here are my two PDFs of the assignments and “tha rules.” This week we also played a game that I made up, that ended up being very cool. Just in case I get hit by a bus (the mere mention of which insures it won’t happen), I’ll write a little about it, so the knowledge will be kept somewhere other than my head.
If none of this makes sense, holler and I’ll try to explain better.
Who, What, When, Where and Why
Start with an explanation of the difference between news reporting and creative writing. Both tell a story, but news writing tries to be true, fair, balanced, accurate and honest.
Go around the room and point to a kid and ask for a “Who” next kid gives a “When” next kid gives a “where” until you have a sentence that’s “who, what, when, where and why”
Emphasize that these are for publication and should be “true” statements. The purpose isn’t to make a mad-libs style crazy story. Although it tends to fall into that from time to time.
Once you’ve been around the room a couple of times, change the rules for variations:
1) don’t point to them and tell them what to say. They have to remember what comes next.
Then, change the rules again:
2) Each kid gets to decide what “part of the story” he knows, and sometimes the why comes first, sometimes the what comes next, then the who, etc.
lecture: reporters don’t always get the story handed to them. They have to always think about what’s missing from what they’re being told. It usually comes from different sources and they have to knit the story together.
Finally – review the “briefs” as you have written them – Decide whether each is a “fact” or an “opinion.” Then, decide whether it’s “true” or “false” or partially true. Decide whether you’d have to find another source in order print it, or whether it could stand by itself.
Last little lesson – this is just the “lead” you would now fill the story out with details, and write a headline. Some headlines emphasize the who, some cover the what, some push the where. Write some headlines for one of your “stories” that skew the story a different way or another.
Read some of your falsehoods that could seem “true” if you just leave out that piece of the story.