Click on the module name to view its lessons, worksheets, and appendices.

Feature Writing (Profiles): Knowing Your Students


At the beginning of every school year, or even every semester, teachers need to get to know their students and students need to get to know other students in their class.  Here is an engaging way to do that while simultaneously teaching students how to participate in citizen journalism revolution---teach them to write personality features about people in their lives. Writing a personality feature is an engaging way to teach thinking skills and writing skills.



How to Search, Understanding Copyright, Credibility & Bias

The landscape of our knowledge is changing. "Google" is not only a search engine, it has become a verb meaning, essentially, "to search on the Internet." "Yahoo" no longer conjures images of Gulliver among noble horses and humanoid savages. Commercial search engines increasingly form the basis of our society's information-gathering.


Unfortunately, while students use the Internet to do research for classes, to look up themselves and their friends, and to compare cell-phones and game consoles, their understanding of the actual process of web search is often limited. What's more, even when students do find useful resources, they are too often unable to discern what is credible, what is biased, and what is legal for them to use (and in what way). In courses where online literacy is paramount, these shortcomings are especially problematic, but the value of understanding search extends well beyond the classroom.


The goal of this curriculum is to help students become critical consumers of information on the Internet. To accomplish this goal, the curriculum addresses search tools and skills, evaluating credibility and bias, and copyright issues. These three complementary skills are essential to modern technological and cultural literacy.


News Writing: Building a Case with Digital Footprints

For all its advantages as a tool for research and communication, the Internet can be a scary place, where every line of correspondence, every photo posting and every other digital footprint carries the risk of leaving a bad impression or — worse — exposing one to identity theft.  Whether you’re a public figure or a relatively private individual, your Web presence and activity can be both a huge opportunity and a frightening liability.

Building on the skills developed in the previous unit — on Web Search — students in this unit will examine the online presence of a public figure and then take the information gleaned from that research to construct hard-hitting questions they’ll use in a press conference with that person. 

Along the way, they’ll learn and employ basic journalistic skills as they prepare for and write their first real-time news stories, and they’ll examine their own Web presence, reflecting on the risks they are undertaking and the impressions they make when they venture online.  This module will take at least two weeks counting backward from the date of your scheduled press conference.


Review Writing: Writing Film & Restaurant Reviews

The American economy depends on consumption — people buying things — but that doesn’t mean that we should be consuming uncritically. The decisions that we make as consumers impact our quality of life and help shape the evolution of the market.

Providing guidance in that consumption is the job of the critic.  Whether it be in the performing arts (films, plays, concerts, CDs), fine arts (paintings, culinary arts (restaurants), or other products (computers, lawnmowers, housewares), the critic provides guidance, (one would hope) expert knowledge.  He or she writes persuasive essays to make the case for whether a product is worth the money, for how it ranks in comparison with other similar products.

This unit operates on the assumption that the role of the critic is not something that is high and mighty, not something that requires years of study.  Intelligent people — students — evaluating a product conscientiously can make students can effectively play the role of critic.  In doing so — in providing critical reviews for a real audience — the will have an opportunity to expand their research, writing and 21st century learning skills.

Building on the skills developed in the previous units students in this unit will exercise critical thinking skills as they evaluate several products, services or public spaces — a usually a restaurant) and a film — and write reviews suitable for publishing.





Use the dropdown menu to filter lessons by tags.