Featuredarticles website

Drafting Your Feature Articleur Information

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Students will:
- choose one element of a feature article that they want to include in their own articles.
- write down what information they will need to create it.
- begin creating the element.

Gather students on the rug.  Make sure the charts that you have been working on are displayed for the children to see.  Explain that they have been reading feature articles for some time and that you have been recording the different elements they have seen.  Go back over your chart with the class and list, on another piece of chart paper, all the elements they noticed in the feature articles you read in class.  Go over each element to be sure students understand what they are.   These are some of the elements that can be found in feature articles: Charts, maps, lists, time lines, diagrams, graphs, recipes, bulleted information, pictures and more.

Look at the chart of student topics you have hanging in the classroom.  Choose one of the topics and ask the class to brainstorm what elements the student with this topic could include in his/her feature article.  Allow students to volunteer suggestions.   Do the same with two other topics.  This will start the kids thinking about their own topics. For example, if one of the topics is tricks in skateboarding, ask the class which feature article element this student might use.  Perhaps the student can draw a diagram of each trick.  Or maybe he can make a separate fact box with the names and descriptions of all the tricks. The students will come up with some good ideas. You might be surprised!
Students go back to their seats and look through the entries on their topics.  They should choose one of the elements that were discussed in the lesson to include in their feature article.  (You know your class best.  You can assign them to include two or more elements if you feel they are capable of producing them.)  Then, they write down what information they need in order to create it.  For example:

  • If a student  wanted to create a bar graph for an article on video games he would need to gather information on different video games and how many people like each one.  Or the student could find information on the web about the sales of a particular video game over the course of a month or two and produce a line graph to show increase or decline in sales. 
  • If a student  chooses to include a recipe for her own pizza in an article on the best pizza in town, she needs to find out the ingredients needed to make her pizza and how she goes about making it. 
  • If a student is writing a feature article on the history of baseball or the history of his school, he can take some of the important facts he collected and make a time line to include at the bottom of his published piece. 
  • If a student is writing about New York City and the wonderful tourist attractions, she can include a map of the area she is describing. 

The possibilities are endless.  The students need to be creative.  For this writing session the students write down the one element they want to include and where they are going to get information.  So the girl who needs a map of NYC should write in her notebook where she can gain access to maps of New York.  She also has to write whether she is going to draw her own map or find a map she is allowed to photocopy.   Finally, give them time to start creating these elements in class.   They should finish them for homework.

Writing Time: 30 - 45 minutes (You might need two writing sessions for this lesson.
Encourage students to use some of the interesting features they saw in the articles you have been reading and the articles they have been bringing in. 
Sit down at the table you chose for the day.  Look at the information the children have collected and make suggestions to students who don't know what to do with their information.  If the students have a lot of facts, suggest that they make a bulleted list for their article.  If students have various statistics, suggest that they create a graph.  A student reporting on paper airplanes can draw a diagram on how to fold one.  Motivate students to be creative.  Feature articles have a lot of flexibility when it comes to structure.
Assess students appropriately.

Students share which element they chose and how they are going to go about creating it.  As always, sharing this information out loud aids the students in the class who are unsure where to go with their information.

Similar articles:

1. https://education.nmsu.edu/category/milestones/featured-articles/

2. https://owl.english.purdue.edu/writinglab/awards


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