The human character in the “Do Penguins Fly?” video clip missed the opportunity to witness the penguins in their act because he was not giving the penguins his full attention. Journalists are writers who report off of research and observations with the intent of informing others of the information they have discovered. The purpose of this writing assignment is to experience similar work through examining your surroundings and exploring multiple resources.

PRODUCT: 2-3 page newspaper article that is both informative and persuasive

DUE DATE: Monday, April 26

PROCESS: Step 1: This assignment will be completed individually. First, you must choose a topic you are interested in researching. The topic should be focused on some sort of event such as a baseball game, birthday party, or play. You may choose to write about an event that has occurred recently (within the past three months) or one that will be occurring soon.

Step 2: After choosing your topic, you will need to conduct primary research. You must conduct an interview with either a sponsor or a participant in the event. We will discuss how to write unbiased and relevant interview questions on Monday, April 12th. The Purdue OWL website is also a reliable resource for help with formulating fair questions.

Step 3: Compose a 2-3 page paper that illuminates the details of the event. You will want to consider the following questions while composing your piece: What is/was the event for? Who is/was involved? If it has already occurred, what was the outcome? If it hasn’t occurred, what is the expected outcome? How long did/will the event last? What is/was the location? Who would be interested in the event? You should also argue why I should or should not attend the event if it has not happened yet. If the event has already happened, argue why I should or should not have attended. Additionally, you will want to include at least one direct quote from the interview you conducted.
A note on style and audience: We will read examples of newspaper articles in class, and you will want to mimic the informative and persuasive styles of writing in your article as well. Additionally, you must consider your audience and write with knowledge of the plethora of people who read newspapers.
Step 4: Compose a Works Cited page that includes the interview you have conducted and any other outside resources (if you chose to use them). This should be written in MLA format. We will discuss the proper formats for MLA citations in class.

TIMELINE: Have each component of the project completed by the following dates:
Thursday, April 8th: Have the event and interviewee chosen (you will verbally report your ideas to me)
Wednesday, April 14th: Turn in a copy of your list of interview questions to me
Thursday, April 22nd: Come to class with a copy of your rough draft for peer review
Monday, April 26th: Final due date for the paper. 10% will be taken off for each late day.

- You may want to check out this website of online newspapers for examples of newspaper articles.
- This management website offers tips on conducting an interview and includes information about formulating questions.

You will be graded on a 100 point scale. Points will be divided as follows:
Scoring Guide

40-50 points
26-39 points
0-25 points
Student turned in all or most of the individual pieces of the project on time. He/she came to the peer review with 2-3 pages of a rough draft.
Student turned in some of the individual pieces of the project on time. He/she may have come to the peer review with fewer pages than the assignment required.
Student did not turn in most of the individual pieces of the project or did not do so on time. He or she may not have been prepared for the peer review day with a rough draft.
The student met the page requirement, answered all of the required questions in detail, and included an accurate Works Cited page. The informative/persuasive style of writing and the audience were taken into consideration.
The student met the page requirement, yet did not answer some of the required questions. The Works Cited page was included, but the formatting may not have been correct. The informative/persuasive style of writing and the audience were somewhat taken into consideration
Student did not meet the page requirement for the assignment or did not include a Works Cited page in MLA format. The paper did not answer most of the required research questions. The informative/persuasive style of writing and the audience were not taken into consideration.
Points Total
_ points / 100 points
Becoming a Part of the Media Assignment Rational

I have created this assignment for 11th grade English students with several intentions. First of all, I would like to help them become more aware of the media around them and how it affects their judgment. Having the skills to distinguish between biased and unbiased interview questions will help the students become more aware of the choices they make when searching for reliable research sources for future papers. All of the juniors are expected to write their first major research paper at the end of the semester, and I want to prepare my students for the biases that occur even within the academic world.

Additionally, this assignment will allow my students to experiment with primary research. All of the students must conduct a personal interview, and they must take great consideration of the questions they choose to ask. We will be discussing how to appropriately conduct an interview during the two week period in which this assignment must be completed. It is important for students to learn professional social skills, especially since they will be graduating and possibly starting jobs (or interviewing for college programs) within the next few years. The students will learn how to cite the personal interview in MLA style. Our discussion of proper MLA citations will prepare them for the research project that will take place at the end of the semester.

Furthermore, the students will have the opportunity to write in a genre that is often ignored in classrooms. The Georgia Performance Standards require students to “demonstrate competence in a variety of genres.” This assignment allows students to explore the newspaper genre and requires them to acknowledge the audience they are writing for. I want the students to feel comfortable writing expository pieces, and I would also like them to consider perspective when conducting their interviews. There is also a persuasive element in the paper that will help prepare the students for similar composition pieces.
I chose to introduce this assignment with the “Do Penguins Fly?” video clip because it I think it can be both humorous and eye-opening for students. They laugh at the fact that the photographer cannot seem to get a picture of the penguins. However, they also notice that the character misses the penguin performance because he is also focusing on an alternative task and is not paying close enough attention to his subjects.
Questions/examples/hypothetical situations:
- We will be reading examples of different newspapers in class. I plan on drawing from the school newspaper, a local newspaper, and a national newspaper.
- I plan on composing a calendar of school events occurring during the two weeks of the assignment to help the students generate ideas for their papers.
- I anticipate that the students will ask how to get in touch with interviewees who may not be accessible. Although I prefer that the interviews be conducted in person, I am willing to speak to students on an individual basis about completing interviews over the phone or over e-mail.
- The students may ask whether certain activities count as “events.” I am planning on being very open to their ideas. The paper does not necessarily have to be about a school event. Birthdays, weddings, ect. are also considered events.
- Students may be able to relate to events in the way they are posted on facebook. Although the website is not a source that can be used alone to explain the assignment (the assignment involves analysis, while facebook simply lists information), it could give the students ideas for information they will need to include to let their audience know specific information about the event.
Anticipated Challenges:
- I anticipate that some students may have difficulty getting in contact with their potential interviewees.
- The students may have trouble grasping the concept that they must consider their audience when writing the articles.
- The idea of forming an unbiased interview question may be challenging for students in this age group.
- There may not be enough information available about certain events to compose a 2-3 page paper.
Standards Addressed:
ELA11W2 The student demonstrates competence in a variety of genres.
The student produces narrative writing that applies polished narrative strategies acquired in previous grades, in other genres of writing such as reflective compositions, historical investigative reports, and literary analyses, by raising the level of critical thinking skills and rhetorical techniques.
The student produces expository (informational) writing to explain an idea or concept and/or convey information and ideas from primary and secondary sources accurately and coherently; the student:
a. Engages the interest of the reader.
b. Formulates a coherent thesis or controlling idea.
c. Coherently develops the controlling idea and/or supports the thesis by incorporating evidence from both primary and secondary sources, as applicable.
d. Conveys information and ideas from primary and secondary sources, when applicable, accurately and coherently.
e. Includes a variety of information on relevant perspectives, as applicable.
f. Maintains coherence by relating all topic sentences to the thesis or controlling idea, as applicable.
g. Structures ideas and arguments effectively in a sustained way and follows an organizational pattern appropriate to the purpose and intended audience of the essay.
h. Demonstrates an understanding of the elements of expository discourse (i.e., purpose, speaker, audience, form).
i. Incorporates elements of discourse from other writing genres into exposition.
j. Enhances meaning by employing rhetorical devices, including the use of parallelism, repetition, and analogy.
k. Uses language, point of view, characterization, style, and related elements effectively for specific rhetorical and aesthetic purposes.
l. Attains closure (i.e., by including a detailed summary of the main points, restating the thesis, generalizing the thesis or controlling idea for additional purposes, or employing a significant quotation that brings the argument in the composition together).
The student produces persuasive writing that clearly, logically, and purposefully applies persuasive writing strategies acquired in previous grades in other genres of writing and in a variety of writing situations such as expository compositions, historical investigative reports, and literary analysis, by raising the level of critical thinking skills and rhetorical techniques and the sophistication of the language and style.
The student produces technical writing that clearly, logically, and purposefully applies technical writing strategies acquired in previous grades in other genres of writing and in a variety of writing situations such as expository compositions, historical investigative reports, and literary analyses, by raising the level of critical thinking skills and rhetorical techniques and the sophistication of the language and style.
ELA11W3 The student uses research and technology to support writing. The student
a. Formulates clear research questions and utilizes appropriate research venues (i.e., library, electronic media, personal interview, survey) to locate and incorporate evidence from primary and secondary sources.
b. Uses supporting evidence from multiple sources to develop the main ideas within the body of a researched essay, a composition, or a technical document.
c. Synthesizes information from multiple sources and identifies complexities, discrepancies, and different perspectives found in a variety of media (i.e., almanacs, microfiche, news sources, in-depth field studies, speeches, journals, technical documents).
d. Integrates quotations and citations into a written text while maintaining the flow of ideas.
e. Uses appropriate conventions for documentation in the text, notes, and bibliographies by adhering to those in style manuals such as the Modern Language Association Handbook, The Chicago Manual of Style, Turabian, American Psychological Association, etc.
f. Uses systematic strategies to organize and record information (i.e., anecdotal scripting, annotated bibliographies).
g. Designs and publishes documents, using such aids as advanced publishing software and graphic programs.

ELA11W4 The student practices both timed and process writing and, when applicable, uses the writing process to develop, revise, and evaluate writing. The student
a. Plans and drafts independently and resourcefully.
b. Revises writing to improve the logic and coherence of the organization and controlling perspective.
c. Revises writing for specific audiences, purposes, and formality of the contexts.
d. Revises writing to sharpen the precision of word choice and achieve desired tone.
e. Revises text to highlight the individual voice and to improve sentence variety and style.
f. Edits writing to improve word choice, grammar, punctuation, etc.