Novels In the News

I was cleaning up my computer and came across an activity I used last year for The Outsiders.


I created a cloze activity for students to report on Johnny and Ponyboy’s exploits…from the murder of Bob to saving the children in the church fire.

I provided enough prompting and left the key details up to the students.  I don’t know about your town, but in a small town like mine, the police log in the newspaper is big news.  If there’s one part of the paper you can bet kids know about and/or read…it’s the police logs.

I think there are many short stories and novels that would lend themselves to this type of activity. Right now I’ve got my eye on The Tell-Tale Heart. 

This activity is sparking some ideas for a whole newspaper on The Outsiders.  Students could write:

  • An editorial about if the Curtis boys should stay together
  • Personal ads written by Greasers or Socs
  • Comic strips depicting particular scenes (thinking of Cherry throwing Coke in Dally’s face)
  • Obituaries for Johnny, Dally, and Bob
  • Advertisements reflecting the cost of items back in 1967
  • Informational article on rodeos
  • Current events/trends of that time period (movie reviews, music, fashion)
  • A food/cooking section with recipes for chocolate cake and baloney sandwiches
  • Police log for the various crimes (slashing tires, Pony getting jumped, Dally and the robbery)

While my ideas are a little rough and in the early stages, I do think this could be a great culminating project. It could be assigned to groups, or each person in the class could have a responsibility and you could have one class paper.

You could also make it a weekly writing assignment focusing on different events/skills each week and at the end of the unit you would have all the parts to make a paper.

Skills that could be covered: comprehension, making inferences, summarizing, sequencing, research, expository writing, narrative writing, characterization.

This would also give students an opportunity to use Microsoft Publisher.

Any other thoughts or ideas on how to build this activity?

I would love to hear them!

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