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July 16

African American journalist Ida B. Wells was born in 1862.

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African American journalist Ida B. Wells was born in 1862.

Grades 7 – 12
Calendar Activity Type Author & Text





In the post-Civil War era of the late 1800s, Ida B. Wells became a leader of the anti-lynching crusade, despite threats to her own safety. After working through college, Wells became a writer and part owner of a Memphis newspaper, where she was threatened for publishing articles critical of lynching. After moving to Chicago, she continued to speak out and write about southern lynchings and became a founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.




Ida B. Wells' work as a journalist provided a public forum for her crusade against lynchings and other violations of basic human rights. Have your students explore some of the ways that journalism has contributed to the advancement of human and civil rights causes around the world by spreading information and affecting public sentiment.

  • First, brainstorm a list of human rights issues from current events or from events you've studied in class.
  • Have students break into groups and select topics from the list. Each group should research their issue in depth, uncovering the facts on both sides of the issue, the names of people and places involved, and related images.
  • Using the current newspaper, examine the ways that journalists cover a story, including factual articles, editorials, and photojournalistic essays.
  • Finally, have each group create articles for a classroom newspaper using the ReadWriteThink Printing Press.

Publish the newspaper for the school or local community, and plan a trip to a local news office for students to share their work with and get career information from the editors there.





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Grades   3 – 5  |  Lesson Plan  |  Unit

Creating a Classroom Newspaper

Students write authentic newspaper stories, including learning about various aspects of newspapers, such as writing an article, online articles, newspaper reading habits, and layout and design techniques.


Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Imagine That! Playing with Genre through Newspapers and Short Stories

Students identify genre characteristics for short stories and newspaper articles then practice both genres by turning a short story into a news article and an article into a short story.


Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Recurring Lesson

Get the GIST: A Summarizing Strategy for Any Content Area

GIST is a summarizing technique that can be used in any content area. Students will learn and apply the strategy while doing online research and writing activities on news stories.


Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Persuading an Audience: Writing Effective Letters to the Editor

Students use persuasive writing and an understanding of the characteristics of letters to the editor to compose effective letters to the editor on topics of interest to them.