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Assignment Ideas


back to top READING / LITERATURE

    Grades K - 3
  • Have the students cut out each letter of the alphabet from the newspaper and a picture of something that begins with that letter. Paste them on pages to make an "ABC" book.

  • Conduct a reading treasure hunt! Have students race to find such things as a word that begins with a consonant, a word with a silent "e," a word with double vowels, a word that describes, a plural word, etc.

  • Let the pupils cut pictures and words from the paper to make a collage which describes their appearance, interests, etc.

  • Have students cut out all the words they already know from the headlines and practice reading them to a partner. Then have them combine the words to make sentences.

  • Read the comics aloud to the class. Ask the pupils to raise their hands whenever they hear a word that is funny, angry, exciting, etc.

  • Have the students collect pictures from the paper of things that make sounds. As a group, identify them and classify them as pleasant or unpleasant, sounds of the city, home or school, etc.

    Grades 4 - 6
  • Conduct a front page treasure hunt. Call out a question such as "Who is the President meeting with this week?" or "What city was devastated by a hurricane?" Students skim to find the answers in a race.

  • Pick a headline. Ask the class to generate at least 5 questions about the topic before they read the article. Read it aloud and see how many were answered.

  • Find an interesting article and block out several key words. Duplicate it. Have the students write in the missing words using either context clues or a list printed on the board. They can find the actual article in the paper to check their work.

  • Let the students cut the comic strips into frames, scramble them and exchange with each other to reassemble in the correct sequence. Do the same with the words in headlines.

  • Direct the pupils to find a descriptive article with a good picture. They are to read it and write a summary in their own words. Exchange the summaries. The other student must find the matching picture.

  • Divide the class into groups. Each cuts out 10 articles, separates the headlines and mixes them up in a bag. Exchange the bags. The first group to correctly match all the articles with the headlines wins.

  • Instruct the students to read the first two paragraphs of an article. Use a green crayon to underline WHO the story is about, blue to underline WHAT happened, red for WHERE it happened and orange for WHEN it happened. Use black to circle any sentences that explain WHY or HOW.
    Grades 7 - 12
  • Have students search the newspaper for articles which prove or disprove generalizations such as: All teenagers are lazy; This city is a great place to live; Things couldn't be worse; Man is helpless against nature; Man is cruel; Man is kind; etc.

  • Have students label all the articles on a page according to whether they: Inform the reader, Interpret the news for the reader, Entertain the reader, or Influence the reader.

  • Generate a list of common themes in literature, such as love, hate, conflict, man vs. man, man vs. nature, man vs. himself, etc. Have students find a real-life example of each in a news article.

  • Help the class develop a rating system for news stories similiar to the movie rating guides. For example, AA=difficult, but interesting. Apply the ratings to all the articles on the front page. Discuss reasons for different opinions.

  • Have students read the editorials. Using different pen colors, have them underline the facts and opinions.

  • Have students select interesting news stories or comic strips. Identify the main elements of literature in them: plot,character, setting, action and theme.

  • Instruct students to look through the newspaper's advertisements and find one example of each of the following appeals: bandwagon, name-calling, testimonial, glittering generalities, plain folks, snobbery, etc.


back to top LANGUAGE ARTS / ORAL AND WRITTEN COMMUNICATION

    Grades K- 3
  • Have the students pick one photograph from the paper that makes them happy and one that makes them sad. Let them write, dictate or tell the class why.

  • Practice oral directions by asking the children to touch a long word, put a happy face above a nice picture, draw a star in the top left comer, cut out the last word in the top headline, trace the biggest picture in red, etc.

  • Read a "human interest" story aloud to the class. Have the children draw a picture to illustrate it. Encourage detail.

  • One of the first forms of writing was hieroglyphics. Select some simple major headlines and have students rewrite them as pictures. Exchange "translations."

  • Write ten simple words from the day's comics on the board. Deliberately misspell several. Have the students find the words and circle the ones you correctly spelled in red, the incorrect ones in blue.

  • Have the class look at the front page and circle all the commas in blue, periods in red, question marks in green and exclamation marks in orange. What color is used the most? Count to make sure.

  • Give the class a list of facial expressions such as surprise, anger, fear, disappointinent, happiness, etc. They must find photos that display as many of these feelings as possible and write one sentence for each describing what the person is feeling and why.

    Grades 4 - 6
  • Play "Pick-A-Plot." Cut out the names of characters, settings, objects, times, actions, etc. from the paper and put them in bags. Have students draw one item from each bag and use them as the basis for a creative story.

  • Conduct a Language Arts scavenger hunt! Give the class several minutes to race and find such things as three nouns, two adjectives, five action verbs, an interrogative sentence, etc.

  • Let students pick a favorite comic stip and rewrite it as a news story. Be sure they incorporate the 5 W's and draw an accompanying "photo."

  • Cut out articles and separate the headlines. Give them to the students to read and write their own headlines. Compare with the originals. Try this with the captions for news photos, too.

  • Have students cut out and mount comic strips which are written in all capital letters. Ask them to rewrite the dialogue using lower case letters where proper. They should write the correct rule for each capital letter that they keep and draw an arrow to it.

  • After selecting a topic from the front page, have students create a poem about it using only words clipped from the newspaper.

  • Let groups of students rewrite interesting news articles as skits and present them to the class.

  • Pick unusual pictures and have the students write four sentences about them: a statement, a question, an exclamation and a command.

    Grades 7 - 12
  • For an exercise in impromptu speaking, clip headlines and put them in a bag. Students must draw a headline and speak on that topic for one minute. Allow classmates to rate each speaker.

  • Have students make a language arts scrapbook. Tell them to write the basic rules of punctuation and then clipout sentences from news articles which demonstrate each rule. Do the same for spelling rules, parts of speech, etc.

  • Have the students select a comic strip character which they feel possesses admirable characteristics. They must write and present a speech nominating that character for a community award.

  • Ask the pupils to find a comic strip or cartoon which demonstrates each of the types of humor: slapstick, satire, irony, wit, pun. Try different subject areas too, such as politics, economics, social problems, etc.

  • Assign each student an article to study. After several minutes, collect the articles and have the students write a summary from memory. Redistribute the articles randomly and have the summaries read aloud. The student with the matching article claims the summary and edits it for the author by adding any missing information.

  • Have students imagine they are the main character of a novel they're currently reading. From that character's point of view, they must write a letter to the editor and Dear Abby, place a classified ad, write their own obituary, write a news article with accompanying "photo" and draw a political cartoon.

  • Using the thesaurus, have students rewrite an article to change its tone, making it emotional, simplistic, exaggerated, opposite, etc.

  • With the students, read several editorials pointing out their four typical parts: a question or concern, proof, conclusion and suggestion for reader action. Have students follow that format to write their own editorials. Encourage them to commend, condemn, inform, persuade, reflect or form a public opinion.

  • Have a student cut out a person's picture and tape it on the left side of a long strip of paper. Have the student pass the paper to the person on the right who must think of something for the character to say, write it in a balloon, and add a new picture below. The paper is passed to the next person on the right, who adds the response of the second character to the first and attaches a new picture. Continue until the paper is full with the last person writing a conclusion. The strip's dialogue and story must be cohesive.



back to top SOCIAL STUDIES

    Grades K - 3
  • Have students make a collage of words and pictures that show man's three basic needs: food, shelter and clothing.

  • Display two classroom charts titled "People Who Need Help" and "People Who Give Help." Have each student cut out people in news photos, come up and paste them on one of the charts and explain about them to the class.

  • Within 10 minutes, let the class compete as teams to circle as many geographical words and/or pictures as they can in the newspaper. Examples are: city, east, west, hill, ocean, river, mountain, country, etc.

  • History is the story of beginnings and endings. Ask the class to find examples of beginnings and endings in the newspaper, such as births and deaths, buildings being built and razed, money being earned and spent, etc. Label each item with a "B" or "E." Which is happending the most?

  • Play "Make A City." Paste pictures cut from the newspaper on large sheets of paper to create a drawing of an ideal city. Include houses, businesses, recreation areas, methods of transportation, services, etc. Then have the children write 10 laws people who live in their city must obey.

    Grades 4 - 6
  • Make a class "time capsule" in a paper bag. Have each student put in an item cut from the newspaper and explain to the class why he / she thinks it is the most representative of our lives today.

  • Have a country contest! Assign students foreign countries. Have them count the number of articles about that country in the paper and put the corresponding number of pins on that country on the classroom map. What country is the winning "hot spot?" Give students blank maps of the United States. Have them cut out the names of states, cities, geographical features, etc. from the paper and glue them in the correct locations on the map.

  • Have the pupils look through their text, select any historical event and rewrite it as a news article. Be sure they include the 5 W's, interviews, a "photo" they've drawn, etc. Exchange with other students, who must identify the event and possibly locate the corresponding page number in the text.

  • Give each student four envelopes and have them label them Northern Hemisphere, Southern Hemisphere, Western Hemisphere and Eastern Hemisphere. Have them cut out headlines about events in foreign countries and place them in the correct envelope.

  • Instruct the class to find the names of five world personalities. Have them write down the country each is from, what his/her job is, why that person's picture is in the paper and one question they'd like to ask that person. Do the same with national and local leaders.

  • Ask the class to look over the articles on the first two pages of each section of the paper. They should draw a star on articles about subjects they believe will be in their children's history books, put a circle around articles which most people will forget about in one year and put an "X" over any stories they think are not important to our world at all.
    Grades 7 - 12
  • Have the students report on what aliens could learn about earth's culture if today's newspaper were their only artifact. How would they describe our society's structure and institutions? Problems? Values? Accomplishments? Entertainment? Life forms? Communication/Transportation systems? Etc.

  • Make "Famous Flash Cards." Ask the students to cut out pictures of 10 prominent people and mount them on index cards with the identifying name OR a single clue to aid identification on the back. Use these in a variety of ways: quiz the class, let students quiz each other, or number the cards, post them around the room and have a contest to see who can identify the most pictures correctly in five minutes.

  • Generate a list of the major conflicts/themes that have run through history. Examples are: Minority vs. majority rights, foreign involvement vs. isolationism, violence vs. law and order, federalism vs. states' rights, conservation vs. development, etc. Have students find contemporary examples of these concepts in news articles.

  • President Franklin Roosevelt delivered his famous "Four Freedoms" speech before the U.S. entered WW II. They were "...freedom of speech and expression... freedom of every person to worship God in his own way... freedom from want... freedom from fear..." Have students collect several news articles which exemplify each of these goals.

  • Comic strips often stereotype individuals and groups, such as nagging housewives or unsophisticated farmers. Have students analyze strips to locate and describe examples of stereotyping.

  • Instruct students to find a political cartoon and identify the cartoonist, the symbols and their meaning, the caricatures and people they represent, the subject of the cartoon and the opinion that it expresses. Follow up with the assigrmient to create their own political cartoon.

  • The Constitution guarantees freedom of the press. Have students cut out articles which would not be allowed in countries which do not permit this freedom. Discuss.

  • Nearly every activity in American life is governed in some way by local, state, national or Constitutional law. Have the students list 20 subjects that are the main topics of articles in the day's paper. For each, ask them to list the type of law related to it. For example, auto accident: traffic laws, troop movements: Constitutional laws, air travel: FAA regulations.


back to topSCIENCE

    Grades K - 3
  • Pick a number of scientific topics such as machines, nature, weather, health, etc. Have the students make a collage about one or two of them using words and/or pictures clipped from the newspaper.

  • Using the same topics as above, challenge students to search the comics for examples of each one. Discuss how much science is a part of our daily lives.

  • More than 840,000 kinds of animals live throughout the world. See which student can find the most animals mentioned, drawn or photographed in the paper.

  • After telling the class what the five sense are, have them find one word and/or picture from the paper to illustrate each of them.

  • Read aloud to the class any articles about accidents, fires, etc. Have the students tell you all the safety procedures that would have prevented them.
    Grades 4 - 6
  • Conduct a science treasure hunt! Have students race to find as many words and pictures related to science as possible in five minutes.

  • Ask students to read the comics to find situations which defy scientific laws (e.g. talking animals, balloons carrying kids away, etc.).

  • Have students choose a science event in the news and write a science fiction story based on it.

  • Combine sports news with physiology. Have the students clip a photograph of an athlete in action. Tell them to label the muscles and joints the player is using.

  • Direct students to set up a chart labeled "Amphibians," "Reptiles," "Fish" and "Mammals." They should write a brief description of each classification and clip newspaper pictures to mount as examples of each.
    Grades 7 - 12
  • Look through the paper for advertisements for products and services that were not available 50 years ago. What scientific advancements made them possible?

  • Use the newspaper to learn about different forms of energy. Have each student list 20 items from the paper that relate in some way to either chemical, electrical, sound, heat, fire or mechanical energy. Let them exchange lists and identify what type of energy is involved.

  • Give students five minutes to find any examples of Newton's laws or other scientific, principles in the paper. For example, pictures of roof designs, bridges, barns, equipment which uses gravity, force or equilibrium, etc. could be used.

  • Instruct the class to clip newspaper pictures that illustrate "potential energy." Tell them to draw a picture showing that energy converted to "kinetic." For example, for a picture of a batter standing at the plate, the student would draw him swinging the bat or running.

  • Ask students to find an article about the "energy crisis." Ask what form of energy it's about, why that energy is necessary to modern living, how it is obtained, what world events are impacting its availability and how the students use it in their daily lives.

  • The newspaper is a chronicle of scientific discovery. Set up a chart labeled: Anthropology, Archaeology, Astronomy, Biology, Botany, Chemistry, Geology, Meteorology, Physics and Zoology. Have the students find news articles about recent developments in each field.

  • Let students clip science-related articles, write some questions about them and exchange them with each other to answer.


back to top MATHEMATICS

    Grades K - 3
  • Conduct a mathematics treasure hunt! Students can race to find a list of items such as the numbers from 1 to 10, two squares, five prices, a picture that shows more than 10 people, etc.

  • Let the class find and cut out the cardinal numbers 1 - 10 in the paper. Have them paste each on a separate sheet of paper. Then have them cut out a matching number of items pictured in the paper and paste them on the appropriate page. For example, 10 pictures of cars might be on the page for "10."

  • Create simple number sets. Each student cuts out pictures of objects or people who can make up a set. For example, S={pictures of buildings}. Have them paste the pictures in each set on paper and exchange. The other student must identify the set.

  • Have students locate 10 large numbers in the newspaper. Ask them to use a green crayon to circle the number in the 1's place, a blue crayon to circle the number in the 10's place, etc.

  • Use the cents-off coupons for a variety of math activities. Have students clip them out and arrange them according to their geometric size or value, make piles of even and odd amounts, add the total value of three coupons, figure out the number of days before they expire, etc.

  • Practice telling time. Give the class a sheet with several clock faces drawn on it. Have students find examples of time written in the articles. They should cut out the sentence where it appears, paste it next to the clock face and show that time by drawing the hands in the correct place.
    Grades 4 - 6
  • Conduct a math treasure hunt! Follow the directions given for Grades K-3, but adjust the list of items for your grade level. Have each class member pick a full page display ad. They should total the amount of money necessary to purchase everything on the page. Have a contest for the highest and lowest total. Bonus: Total all of the totals!

  • Have each student cut out l0 numbers and their labels from the paper (e.g. 112 points; 4 cars; 100,000 troops; etc.). Direct them to use the numbers to make up 5 word problems. Students can exchange the problems and solve.

  • Use the newspaper for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division drills. Have the class find and cut out numbers from 1-25 or higher. Put them in two bags. Pick a student to draw a number from each bag and perform whatever operation you direct. Divide the class into two teams for competition.

  • Let each pupil choose a city listed in the newspaper's weather report. Record the high temperature every day for the rest of the school year and keep a progressive total. See which total came the closest to the surface temperature of the sun.

  • Use the classified ads for some math fun. Have pupils find five ads each for one bedroom, two bedroom and three bedroom apartments. Instruct them to calculate the average cost of each and determine the difference between them. Ask them to count the number of apartments with pools or those which advertise "No Pets" and show the results in a chart. Try the same with pets and automobiles.
    Grades 7 - 12
  • Have the students use the newspaper's Help Wanted ads to find a job which interests them and which states a salary figure. Direct them to calculate the hourly, weekly, monthly and yearly pay. Use the ads for more advanced activities, such as figuring the ratio of telemarketing to secretarial jobs, etc. Use the cents-off coupons to practice math skills. For example, have students measure and calculate each coupon's perimeter and area, determine the total if 10 coupons were redeemed for their actual cash value, figure the percentage of food versus non-food coupons, etc.

  • Have students find examples of different kinds of graphs and charts. Have them label each one, explain its function and write 3 comprehension questions to be answered by a classmate.

  • Have students circle all the numbers they can find on the front page. They must use them to calculate the range, mean, median and mode.

  • After students locate several ads that offer credit terms, have them determine the total amount actually paid for the product under those terms. On a brighter side, have them skim the paper for bank ads and compute which bank would offer the most interest on a savings account of $1,000 held for three years.

  • If you can't beat 'em, join 'em! Have the class categorize the T.V. shows in the entertaimnent schedule into the following groups: educational, humorous, sports, informative, religious, children's, etc. Calculate the fractional part of the total T.V. schedule devoted to each type of show. Illustrate the results with a circle graph.

  • Use the daily sports coverage to have students calculate team standings, batting averages or earned run averages, convert football yardage to the metric system, etc.

  • Have students use the entire front section to measure and compute the percentage of a newspaper that is devoted to: hard news, editorial, advertising and features. Discuss the results.
back to top

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