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Lesson Plan

Novel News: Broadcast Coverage of Character, Conflict, Resolution, and Setting

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Novel News: Broadcast Coverage of Character, Conflict, Resolution, and Setting

Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Five 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Traci Gardner

Traci Gardner

Blacksburg, Virginia


National Council of Teachers of English


Student Objectives

Session One

Session Two

Session Three

Session Four

Session Five

Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • explore the literary elements of character, conflict, resolution, and setting in a piece of fiction.

  • analyze a piece of fiction for highlights and significant passages.

  • compose original reactions to text, using readers theater.

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Session One

  1. Introduce the activity: to prepare segments for a news program based on incidents in the novel. Students will be responsible for props, costumes, and the content of their segments.

  2. Have students brainstorm the things that go into a news program. Write the list on the chart paper so that you can return to the list in later sessions. You can use the traditional "journalist's questions" to get discussion started:

    • Who appears on the news program?

    • What is covered on the news program?

    • Where are the programs taped?

    • When are the segments in the program shown (in what order)?

    • Why are the particular segments shown? Why were they chosen?

    • How do all the parts of the news program fit together?
  3. Once students have some basic information gathered, show one or more of the archived news programs. While they watch the shows, ask students to look for things they can add to their list.

  4. When the videos finish, give students a few minutes to jot down their notes on scrap paper.

  5. Return to your brainstorming list and add details that students gathered from watching the program. If you need to provide more scaffolding for the discussion, the Television Newscasts lesson plan from the Media Awareness Network lists questions that should provoke conversation.

  6. Conclude the session by mapping out jobs that will need to be done for every news segment. Invite students to identify the jobs that are included on their brainstormed list. There can be news anchors, investigative reporters, weather forecasters, and news analysts. In addition to the jobs seen on camera, students may add jobs such as the director, set designer, and camera operator.

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Session Two

  1. Review the assignment and the lists from the previous class. Share the Novel News Broadcast Segments Rubric and discuss the expectations and evaluation of the project.

  2. Drawing from the list, create a chart of the possible segments the groups can produce (e.g., investigative report, weather forecast, editorial commentary).

  3. Divide students into small groups. Each group will produce a news segment related to a novel they've all read. who have read the same book.

  4. Ask students to choose a kind of segment for their group to produce and the section (or sections) of the book that they'll draw on for their segment. Also encourage students to identify the jobs that they'll be doing.

  5. For the sections of the novel they've identified, ask students to create a list of characters involved, the conflict, its resolution (if there is one), and the setting.

  6. Using this short list, have students use the Literary Elements Mapping student interactive to gather facts and details about the sections of the novel related to their segment. They can complete the Literary Elements Map as many times as necessary (e.g., for multiple characters) to gather the research for their news segment. Remind students that they need to print out the Literary Elements Maps to save their information.

  7. Ask students to come to the next session ready to begin writing their segments. They should bring any materials they need to class—the novel they're writing about, Literary Elements Mapping printouts, and notes, as well as props and other material they may need for their segment.

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Session Three

  1. Review the project and answer any questions; then, give students the entire class period to write and practice their segments.

  2. Use Roy Peter Clark's If I Were a Carpenter: The Tools of the Writer to help students get started. Emphasize that the "rules" are simply guidelines, not absolutes.

  3. While students work, circulate among groups, providing assistance as needed. Use the resources listed in the Resources section to give students more detail on writing their stories.

  4. Ask students to come to the next session prepared to complete a "dress rehearsal" by the end of the class. Again, they should bring any materials they need to class—the novel they're writing about, Literary Elements Mapping printouts, notes, and props and material for their segment. For the rehearsal, students should have all props and significant materials, but they need not "dress" for the part.

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Session Four

  1. Review the project and answer any questions. Segment time for students: they should use half the class to finish any writing and practice sessions. The other half of the class should be used for their "dress rehearsal."

  2. While students work, circulate among groups, providing assistance as needed.

  3. Play the role of timekeeper as students work, letting them know when they need to shift from preparation to the dress rehearsal. Be sure to allow enough time at the end of class for students to discuss the results of their rehearsal and make any revisions to their scripts and plans.

  4. Ask students to come to the next class session prepared to perform their news segment for the rest of the class. They'll need all props, costumes, and any additional materials.

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Session Five

  1. Allow students a few minutes at the beginning of the class to make last-minute preparations, get into costumes, and assemble their props.

  2. (Optional) If you are going to videotape the segments, set up your video equipment and ensure that you're ready to film the events.

  3. If students are to write letters to the network as part of their assessment of this lesson, explain the writing task and suggest that they may take notes during the performances.

  4. Have each group perform their news segment, keeping strict watch of time to ensure that all groups have adequate time to share their work.

  5. Between segments, invite students to discuss what they've seen. This activity should be enjoyable for students; place the emphasis on positive feedback and reinforcement.

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  • The Novel News Broadcast Segments Rubric provides feedback categories on both the use of details and information from the novel and the staging and group work.

  • The best feedback on this lesson, however, will come from students themselves. The reaction to news segments and accompanying discussion should provide students with information on their segment's successfulness.

  • As part of the evaluation, each student can write a letter to the network expressing positive and/or negative reactions to the segments performed by other groups.

  • Even better, students can be asked to write personal reflective pieces on the segment that they have helped produce. Encourage students to reflect on the kind of segment they choose, the sections of the novel they used, their scriptwriting, and their use of staging and props.

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