SCHOOL REPORT LESSON PLANS

Students from St Benedict's School in Ealing getting ready for News Day

LESSON 5: NEWS DAY

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This lesson introduces students to the pressures of News Day and helps them to learn to work as a team to meet deadlines.

The idea is not to create the perfect bulletin, but to focus on team building and time management techniques.

OBJECTIVES

To gain an understanding of what is involved in a School Report News Day

To gain an understanding of working to a deadline

To develop team working skills

OVERVIEW AND RESOURCES (internet access required)
ACTIVITY APPROXIMATE DURATION

1. Video - School Report promo video

2 mins 42 secs plus discussion time

2. Activity - Practice News Day

50 mins

3. Quiz - Running a News Day

5 mins

ACTIVITIES

1 - Video: What is School Report News Day?

BBC News School Report explained

Watch an overview of what's involved in School Report.

It should give you an idea of what's involved and includes a short section on running a News Day.

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2 - Activity: Practice News Day

Introduction (2 mins)

Split the class into groups of ideally six pupils. In the next 50 minutes, each group's goal is to produce a news bulletin which includes three news reports, a sports report, an entertainment report and a weather report. Ideally each report should be about 20 seconds long - which is about 60 words or three sentences.

If you need to make the groups bigger you could appoint other roles - such as an editor (who will decide on the stories and read them through to check for errors) or a producer (who will put the stories in order of importance and also read them through to check for errors) or a presenter (who will read the bulletin out loud to the class). Check out our Top Tips section for a list of other possible roles.

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Editorial Meeting (8 mins)

Each group should quickly read through news websites or newspapers and decide the stories they want to cover. They should assign a reporter to each one and produce a bulletin for a School Report audience - students aged 11-16.

Remind students that it's safer to avoid covering stories about court cases, criminals and celebrity gossip - as you could end up breaking broadcasting laws - which can be very serious.

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Video: Writing News - Huw Edwards (5 mins)

BBC newsreader Huw Edwards explains the essentials of writing news.

BBC newsreader Huw Edwards explains the 3 C's of news writing: being Clear, Concise and Correct.

Writing scripts and news stories also means understanding that you need to get straight to the point! There's no point in having an amazing news story but leaving the most important fact to the last sentence!

You can recap the key points from the video with this accompanying worksheet, or read a transcript of the video:

PDF download Key points: Writing news[27.13]

PDF download Transcript: Writing news [22.90]

A Welsh language version of the video is also available, together with a transcript.

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Worksheet: Huw's Writing Top Tips

Replay the writing news video - including the information about making scripts Clear, Concise and Correct and including the 5 W's - What happened, When did it happen, Where did it happen, Who did it happen to and Why did it happen - and also How did it happen.

PDF download Worksheet: Huw Edwards' top tips on writing news [209.68]

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Writing the Reports (15 mins)

Remind students of Huw's top tips and get them to bear them in mind when writing their own reports. Remind them of the three C's of news writing - being clear, concise and correct and to make sure their reports are no longer than 60 words (about three sentences).

Once everyone in the group has finished their report, ask them to decide as a group which order the stories will go in and start to rehearse them by reading them out loud. Emphasise the important of rehearsing - the more you practice, the more confident you will be.

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Safe and Legal Check (5 mins)

Remind students that's it's their responsibility to check that everything they broadcast is safe and legal, and ask them to spend five minutes going through their reports.

Checklist:

  • Reports should be truthful and accurate
  • Spelling, grammar and punctuation should be correct
  • Reports MUST NOT break broadcasting law - libel, contempt of court and copyright are all serious issues and your school is responsible for the material it publishes as part of School Report. For that reason it is best to avoid stories about court cases, criminals and celebrity gossip.
  • Students should look out for children by only broadcasting the first name of anyone under 18 in their reports. If in doubt, leave surnames out!

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On Air (10 mins)

Each group now gets the chance to broadcast their bulletins. Remind them to be confident, look at the people they are talking to, to speak slowly and smile!

The other teams should make notes on:

  • The stories chosen
  • The order of the stories
  • The presentation - was it too fast or too slow? Could you understand what was said?
  • Things that went well and things that could be improved on

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Conclusions (5 mins)

As a class, discuss what you learnt from the exercise. What could have gone better? What would you do differently next time? What would you do if you have more time?

Remember you will have more time on News Day itself - but you will still have a deadline to meet!

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3 - Quiz: Running a News Day

Are you ready to take part in a News Day? See how much you know with this quiz, which also has several scenarios to test how you would react in different situations.

Pupils can take the above quiz online, either on this page or on a separate page which is easier to email and distribute at school; a low-tech alternative would be to print out this worksheet:

PDF download Quiz: Running a News Day[28.48]

PDF download Quiz + Answers: Running a News Day[36]

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For reference, teachers may like to look at previous years' lesson plans including 2012-14, 2009-11 and 2006-8.

This lesson has been approved by the BBC College of Journalism.

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