[IS.9 - For ELLs: Level 1]
Focus Question: Why do newspapers and magazines use bias and exaggeration?
In preparation, put the news story “Third Grade Boy Is a HERO!!!” (L-3-3-2_Newspaper Story.doc) on the overhead projector/document camera/ interactive whiteboard. Do not include “The Real Story” at this time.
Read the news story aloud. Ask students if they think any part of this story is exaggerated. [IS.10 - Struggling Learners] Underline in red marker any parts of the story that students think are exaggerated.
Then read aloud “The Real Story.” [IS.11 - Struggling Learners] Ask students to revisit “Third Grade Boy Is a HERO!!!” and see if they were right about which parts were exaggerated. Underline in blue marker the parts that have actually been exaggerated. Stress that the reporter hasn’t changed the facts of the story, but s/he has stretched the story to make it bigger and more exciting than it really was.
Ask, “Why do you think the news reporter would exaggerate a story like this?”
Have students discuss with a partner and share their reasons with the entire class. Lead students to the answer that exciting stories are more interesting to read.
Point out the following clues to exaggeration in an article:
- strong descriptive words (e.g., giant, terrified)
- superlative form of words (e.g., biggest, fastest, strongest)
In preparation, put the magazine article “Chocolate Is Good for You!” (L-3-3-2_Chocolate Is Good for You.doc) on the overhead projector/document camera/interactive whiteboard. Do not include “What This Article Doesn’t Tell You” for this part of the activity.
Read aloud the article “Chocolate Is Good for You!” Ask, “Do you really think that chocolate is good for you? Why or why not?” [IS.12 - Struggling Learners]
Have students share their answers with the class. Then show them “What This Article Doesn’t Tell You.” [IS.13 - Struggling Learners]
Discuss the examples of bias in the article. [IS.14 - Struggling Learners] Explain that the author has chosen to provide only the facts that s/he wanted readers to read. Say, “By not telling all the facts, the author is trying to persuade you to agree with him or her instead of making up your own mind.” [IS.15 - Struggling Learners]
Point out the following clues to bias in an article:
- presents only one side of something
- leaves out important information
- can cause misconceptions or misunderstandings
Have students look through newspapers and magazines for what they think is exaggeration or bias. News articles written for students are available at http://news.bbc.co.uk/cbbcnews/default.stm. [IS.16 - Struggling Learners] Encourage students to look at reviews and editorials to find obvious examples of exaggeration and bias.
Ask students to choose one article that they feel has an example of bias or exaggeration. Have them identify the example and explain why it was used. Allow students to share what they have found with a partner and discuss their thoughts. Encourage students to revise their ideas at this time if necessary. [IS.17 - Struggling Learners]
- Students who are ready to go beyond the standard may write their own exaggerated newspaper stories from events that are not really newsworthy. Some possible topics include the following:
o A kite is caught in a tree in the schoolyard.
o A bees’ nest is found on the playground.
o A student helps a younger child cross a busy street.
o A neighbor finds a missing dog in his backyard.
- Students who need additional opportunities for learning may create a list of words they might use to exaggerate stories, such as the following:
o words that make something seem bigger than it really is
o words that make something seem more exciting than it really is
o words that make something seem more dangerous than it really is
o words that make something seem smaller than it really is