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English Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.
Ministry of Education.

Write all about it

Students develop a piece of writing for a print or online publication.

Learning Outcomes | Teaching and Learning | Assessment and Evaluation | Printing Version

Writer: Phil Coogan, Brian Gillespie
Year level 11
Who are my learners and what do they already know? See  Planning Using Inquiry
School curriculum outcomes How your school’s principles, values, or priorities will be developed through this unit

Learning Outcomes

 (What do my students need to learn)

Curriculum achievement objectives (AOs) for:  

Processes and strategies

Integrate sources of information, processes, and strategies purposefully and confidently to identify, form, and express increasingly sophisticated ideas:

  • thinks critically about texts with understanding and confidence
  • creates a range of increasingly varied and complex texts by integrating sources of information and processing strategies

Purposes and audiences

Show a developed understanding of how to shape texts for different audiences and purposes

  • constructs a range of texts that demonstrate an understanding of purpose and audience through deliberate choice of content, language, and text form


Select, develop, and communicate connected ideas on a range of topics.

  • develops and communicates comprehensive ideas, information, and understandings

Language features

Select and use a range of language features appropriately for a variety of effects.

  • uses a wide range of text conventions, including grammatical and spelling conventions, appropriately, effectively, and with accuracy.


Organise texts, using a range of appropriate, effective structures.

  • organises and develops ideas and information for a particular purpose or effect, using the characteristics and conventions of a range of text forms.
Achievement Standard(s) aligned to AO(s) 1.5 Produce formal writing

Teaching and Learning

 (What do I need to know and do?)

1-2 related professional readings or links to relevant research

Effective Practices in Teaching Writing in NZ Secondary Schools 

Planning using Inquiry

English Teaching and Learning Guide 

NCEA Rules and Procedures

Learning task 1:

Learning intention(s)

Building understanding and familiarity with aspects of a newspaper.

KCs/ Principles/Values focus


Thinking-– categorise

Learning task 1

Building readership

To encourage a newspaper reading habit and to help you familiarise yourself with newspapers:

  1. Order a set of newspapers for the duration of the unit and/or read a selection of online newspapers including NZ papers. Spend the first minutes of each period reading and discussing them.
  2. Head up three columns with three purposes: "Informing", "Entertaining" and "Persuading". Referring to the papers, place each of the following under the appropriate heading:
    • news reports
    • letters to the editor
    • feature articles
    • crossword
    • editorial cartoon
    • editorial
    • display ads
    • sport reports
    • weather
    • comics
    • stock prices.
  3. Use this treasure hunt as an oral or written quiz to check on familiarity with newspaper features.
  4. Look at the layout of the front page of a paper. Identify the components in the front page resource.

Learning task 2:

Learning intention(s)

Exploring features of news journalism.

KCs/ Principles/Values focus


Thinking – look for patterns

Use language, symbols and texts – recognise and interpret

Learning task 2

Exploring the language and structure of news stories

  1. Use each of these resources to explore several aspects of print or online papers:
    • structure. Although news stories often adhere to the 5 Ws and an H structure, look for other approaches to telling a story.
    • language
    • lead story
  2. The whole truth? Use this resource to explore how the reporting of events can be treated in other ways - critical

Learning task 3:

Learning intention(s)

Understand .

KCs/ Principles/Values focus


Thinking – explore ideas; form judgements and conclusions

Use language, symbols and texts – express opinions

Learning task 3

Opinions in the newspaper

  1. The editorial cartoon
    Look over the editorial cartoons on the NZ Herald website for current cartoons together with archived cartoons from NZ's top cartoonists. Select several cartoons and talk about:
    • The issue or topic
    • The cartoonist’s ‘angle’ or point of view on an issue
    • The visual and verbal techniques used
  2. Letters to the Editor
    Look closely at letters which interest you by talk about.
    • the issue or topic
    • the writer's attitude to the issue
    • how the writer begins their letter
    • The points/arguments the writer makes in support of his/her opinion
    • How does the writer conclude? [such as a call for action? A question to leave the reader thinking? An emotive or ironic concluding statement?
  3. Writing a letter to the editor
    • Look in the newspaper at the guidelines published about submitting letters to the editor.
    • Brainstorm to establish a list of school and local community or national issues about which students feel strongly.
    • Draft a letter of about 200 words which outlines your point of view on one of these issues. Before writing a final draft, make sure you have the letter critiqued by a peer.
    • Write a final draft and submit your letter to the newspaper. Your letter could also be included in your class newspaper developed later in this unit.

Learning task 4:

Learning intention(s)

Developing a collaborative publication

KCs/ Principles/Values focus


Relate to others – work collaboratively

Use language, symbols and texts – use language to affect people’s understandings of events or issues

Learning task 4

  1. Creating your own newspaper

    In groups or as a class, produce a condensed newspaper - either a traditional print newspaper or an online paper. If you decide on the latter, read Weblines, the New York Times very thorough guide to the production of an online newspaper. 

    Your condensed paper will have two pages: one page will be the front page and include news stories - along with features from the front page resource. One page will be an opinion page and include an editorial, letters to the editor and possibly an editorial cartoon. Your target audience is Year 11 students.

  2. Writing news stories
    Each of you is to write an original news story based on a issue or event (such as an incident in your school or community, or a report on a sports or cultural event, profile of a student or teacher).
    Research your story
    Gather the information you will need to write your story by:
    interviewing people involved, witnesses, "experts" on the issue and other sources you can identify
    finding out any background information you can from your library, the internet, local newspapers.
    Writing your story
    keeping in mind the language and structure of new stories studied, write the first draft of your news story. Write at least 350 words.
    After completing a first draft, read your piece aloud to help identify parts of the writing that require reworking. Before writing a final version of your story, proof-read it to improve on technical accuracy.
    Packaging your story
    Include a photograph to accompany your story. In order to format and present your story and news pages in the most effective manner possible, note the tips in How to Train Editors Who Design.
  3. Publishing stories/newspapers

    You can also submit individual stories to online publications:  Tearaway Online

Assessment and Evaluation

 (What is the impact of my teaching and learning?)

Formative and/or Summative assessment task(s), including how will feedback be provided 1.5 Produce formal writing. 

Provision for identifying next learning steps for students who need:

  • further learning opportunities
  • increased challenge

This piece of writing should be an integrated part of the year’s writing programme. Refer to

English Teaching and Learning Guide 

Conditions of Assessment Guidelines for formal writing

Effective Practices in Teaching Writing in NZ Secondary Schools

 for more details.

Tools or ideas which, for example might be used to evaluate:

  • progress of the class and groups within it
  • student engagement

leading to :

  • changes to the sequence
  • addressing teacher learning needs
See  Planning using Inquiry

Printing this unit:

If you are not able to access the zipped files, please download the following individual files.

Published on: 18 Dec 2010