Wildfires: Reporters on the Scene
Activity: Students use newspaper articles to learn more about the summer 2000 wildfires and about newspaper reporting. Students will discuss vivid language, opinion, and sensationalism. They will work on nouns, verbs, and punctuation. Students will also develop note-taking skills and experience role-play interviewing.
- Gather newspaper articles through an online search.
You may want to include Time for Kids and Ace Planet Kids News, cited
below. Also consider searching the online archives of a newspaper in
- Make several copies of each article and one overhead
of each, if possible.
- Divide the class into groups of two to three and
have them locate facts about wildfires. Divide the facts into different
categories, such as "Firefighting Methods" and "Effects of Wildfires".
Your students can use these facts to enrich their state charts on wildfires,
their writing, and even to design a game for the class to play.
- When your students read the articles, have them
underline examples of direct quotations. Who are the experts in the
article? Why do reporters use quotations?
- Ask students to underline adjectives, adverbs, and
other descriptive language. Have them look up any words that are unfamiliar.
Start keeping a list of descriptive phrases about wildfires. These words
will come in handy as students write their own news reports.
- Have your state groups work on composing their own
newspaper articles about the wildfires in their state. If possible, have students
contact experts who live in the state, such as forestry officials or fire prevention
- Students can also use role play to help them
imagine the details that will make their articles special and original. Have
different groups take on the roles of people who are affected in some way by wildfires.
For instance, forestry officials, smoke jumpers, and homeowners whose homes are endangered
all have different points of view. Give your students the chance to take on both the roles
of the reporter and of the interviewee.