Analyzing a Newspaper: Editorials and News for ESOL Learners

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This lesson was written by 
KQED Education Network
Objectives 
Students will be able to identify and distinguish parts of newspapers: editorial section and news
Students will be able to differentiate between facts and opinions
Students will be able to recognize and produce the language of opinion
Students will be able to produce an editorial using the appropriate language
Procedure 

Activities-Day One: 1. News Story The teacher writes the topic of the news story on the board and elicits from the students all they know about the topic.
2. Teacher asks wh-questions in order to build schema about the topic. These questions are only meant to build schema and are not intended for an exhaustive discussion of the content. For example:
•    Who is _________? •    What do you know about ____________? •    Where _______________? •    How _________________? •    When _________________?
3. Students read the news article taking note of unknown vocabulary and references. The teacher elicits definitions from students. If no students can define a word or reference, the teacher will gloss the word to aid comprehension.
4. Teacher asks and writes on the board, four Basic Media Literacy Questions:
• • • •
What is the message? Who made it? Who is the target audience? How do you know? Why was it created?
5. Student groups of 3/4 decide on answers to these questions and report back. Teacher records the answers on the board. Example - Why was it created? Possible answer: to give information.
Activities-Day Two: 1. Editorial
Students read an editorial on the same topic as the news story. The teacher takes note of unknown vocabulary and references. The teacher elicits definitions from students. If no students can define a word or reference, the teacher will gloss the word to aid comprehension.
2. Teacher refers to the same four Basic Media Literacy Questions that are on the board:
• • • •
What is the message? Who made it? Who is the target audience? How do you know? Why was it created?
3. Student groups of 3/4 decide on answers to these questions and report back. Teacher records the answers on the board. Example - Why was it created? Possible answers: to give an opinion, make a judgment, convince the reader
4. Teacher writes on blackboard the word “Opinion” Teacher elicits definitions of:
1. Opinion 2. Judgment 3. Convince
Ask students what language the writer uses to convince readers, make judgments, give opinions. Teacher gives a sample answer, the introductory phrase, “I think.”
5. Students re-read the editorial scanning for language the writer uses to convince readers, make judgments, give opinions. Teacher writes students’ answers on blackboard.
Homework: Invite students to bring a copy of a newspaper to class.
Activities-Day Three:
1. Students scan their newspapers. The teacher asks in what sections of the newspaper they find news and where they find opinions. Students find the news pages and the opinion/ editorial page.
2. Students identify and underline language that shows opinion and as a class, make a list of words and phrases on the board.
3. Writing Activity Students in groups brainstorm current topics. Student groups write a one - paragraph editorial about a topic of their choice utilizing the language of opinion. The groups share their paragraphs. The class decides on the most convincing argument.

Notes 
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