Just time to fit in another workshop for schools before Christmas.
It was, in fact, a return trip to Overleigh St Marys Primary School in Chester to run another media writing workshop for Key Stage 2 (KS2).
The focus this year was news (factual writing) vs. blogs (persuasive writing) and we based our stories around a space theme with the hook of Major Time Peake blasting off to the International Space Station (ISS) on December 15.
Amongst the topics we discussed:
What is news?
How to structure of news writing
How to use quotes
What is a blog post?
How to structure a blog post
How to research, not rant
By the end of the morning we had a Newsround-style opportunity to read out our stories with the final versions to go live on the school website shortly — check back for details.
What did you think of this story? Post your comments below.
Well, sort of. Last Thursday marked BBC School Report Day, the day designed by BBC Learning to help schoolchildren make their own news reports.
The project is aimed mainly at secondary schools but I joined a colleague at Horn’s Mill Primary School in Helsby to run a news-writing and media-literacy workshop for year six pupils [pictured above].
The day-long project took a cross-curriculum approach and was based around the class’ set text, King Kong.
The class worked in pairs to research, structure and write a series of news reports about New York City.
After the morning editorial conference, we draw up a news list [pictured below].
Here are some of things we talked about:
What do journalists do all day?
What makes news? How do we find news?
Why is direct speech important for writing articles?
How is it different to write stories in a media style?
What reflections and learning points did we get from the day?
Here are a selection of the comments from the learners on the day:
“I really enjoyed it. We discovered there are a lot of stages to writing a good story” – Oscar & Nathan
“It was fun. We found out how to use the who, what, where, when, why, how.” – Jess & Izzy
“I learnt about writing stories and that research is as important as writing.” – Billy & Amy
“It was interesting to meet a reporter and learn how to write a news report.” – Zak & Keira
* Do you have any tips for leading KS2 workshops? Share your views below.
I marked the day with a return trip to my old alma mater, Leeds University, to talk to the media students [pictured above] about going freelance and travel writing as part of the #LeedsMediaFutures series.
It was a sparky session, comprising both post- and undergraduates, with lots of good questions.
I’ve got a real soft spot for Leeds. My first ever published article was a review of a Mudhoney gig at Leeds University in 1992 and my time working for the Leeds Student newspaper helped me to build my portfolio of cuttings.
This in turn helped to secure me a place on a postgraduate journalism course in London back in 1994.
I’ll save the whole lecture for the Leeds group but here’s a glimpse of what I discussed, looking specifically at how to get started as a freelancer journalist:
The onus is on you, so do a good job. Stick to deadlines, word counts and follow the brief
Look for fresh angles and new ideas. Stand out as editors get some 50 pitches per day
Journalism is moving online, so build digital skills – leverage the strengths of the medium and build community
Start with what you know. Pick a publication you read regularly and look for regular sections to fill
Spin off angles on the same story for different publication
When you file your copy, follow up with a fresh new idea
And here are some of the comments from the group when I asked them to jot down some feedback after the lecture:
“I found that going freelance is being a jack of all trades; not just climbing the ladder but spreading your wings. It stretches your mind and challenges you to think differently.” – Evelyn Robinson (puravidastudent.com)
“Interesting points on how to pitch an idea and how to come up with a story if you are struggling. Would like to know if the blogosphere is already saturated?” – Rory Dormer (sunburntabroad.blogspot.co.uk)
“You were very honest and didn’t pretend you haven’t struggled at times with freelance work. I liked the way you shared tips or ideas that could help but that we hadn’t necessarily thought of ourselves.” – Lily Connagher