Making The Front Page - Sparking Student Motivation

This is my 15th year of teaching! Wow!! Sometimes I feel very old : )
For instance, when I think back to my first years of teaching and the major, I mean major, media unit I would teach was NEWSPAPERS!! I loved that unit! Headlines, captions, bylines, letters to the editor, editorials, comics, the 5 W's and the inverted pyramid.

But, times have changed and I no longer focus on newspapers for 4 weeks!! But this year I brought back a little bit of the good old days with an Olympic twist with this activity "I'm On the Front Page".

My students chose an Olympic sport that they would like to win the gold medal in. They wrote a few research question (to answer the 5W's) and researched a bit about the sport. They took their information and blended it with their own personal information and flair to write a newspaper story telling about their Olympic triumph.

I took a  picture of each of my students to add to their story. I took a Google image of the Olympic rings and projected it on our whiteboard. They stood in front wearing a medal, holding flags, posing like the winners that they are!

My students were really motivated to write these stories, starring themselves and incorporating what they had found in their research. So of course I am linking up with my very sweet friend, Joanne from Head Over Heels for Teaching.

If you want to try a similar activity - really your students could make the front page for a number of reasons - you can click here to get the pages I used with my students to plan their work. You could project anything on your whiteboard or add the picture to any background (the Oscars, football field, next to the Stanley Cup). The planning pages are pretty simple, it was really just a quick writing activity that we had loads of fun with. My students recorded questions (we brainstormed together) in the squares then used sticky notes to record the answers (either found on the internet or from their own thoughts).

Hope this writing activity motivates your students too!!


  1. How fun! My students would LOVE this activity - they have been Olympic-crazed ever since they started :) Thanks for sharing!

    Joy in the Journey

  2. How NEAT!! I adore this idea! I love teaching "news article" writing. {I have my BA in Journalism} I think the kids do such a great job with this genre of writing.

    Every Dec. I read The Gingerbread Baby, then have them write a news article about the escape and chaos this cookie creates. So much fun! {darn, I should've blogged about that}
    Thanks for the cute idea!

    Teaching Powered by Caffeine

  3. What a fantastic idea for motivating kids to research and write. Thanks for the idea, my kids would love something like this!

  4. AMC~
    Did a lot of them want to play hockey for Canada? :) This looks like a great way to blend informational text and personal connection. Thank you for sharing!
    Coffee Cups and Lesson Plans

  5. This is such a fun idea! I am sure your students had a blast with this writing. Thank you for sharing your (always awesome) ideas.

    Fit to be Fourth

  6. Seriously, how cute is this? I bet your students felt like superstars! Very motivating activity! You had me cracking up with your newspaper unit! Thanks for sharing and linking up!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  7. FUUUUUUUUUUUUN! I love this idea. I want a gold medal for shopping. Is shopping an Olympic Sport??? No?? Well, it should be. XO
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'


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