ELA/Social Studies : Using Literature to Create a Historical Newscast

ELA/Social Studies : Using Literature to Create a Historical Newscast

Instructor Directions

Using Literature to Create a Historical Newscast


Subject Area: ELA and Social Studies (7th Grade)

Driving Question / ScenarioHow does an author use history in a fictional text? How can we compare fictional accounts of WWII to real accounts based on primary sources? How can we analyze and connect the interactions between individuals, events, and ideas in our informational readings and in our novel? Students will be participating in a WWII literature circle. Students will choose from pre-selected novels with varied viewpoints of WWII to read in a small group. Students will be reading in class each day and meeting with their literature circle 3 days a week to complete various discussions and assignments based on their novel. Students will be working with their social studies teacher to learn more about the various perspectives of WWII along with key figures, events, ideas from the era. Students will work with their social studies teacher to analyze related primary sources. At the end of the unit, students will create an informational newscast with their literature circle group to inform their peers about WWII using the perspective of their novel.
Project SummaryStudents will use the green screen to create a newscast in a small group based on the setting of a WWII literature circle novel. Students will first write their informational skit, create text features (charts, diagrams, photos w/ captions, etc) inside of their news presentations in order to teach the class about WWII from their novel's perspective and setting.
Estimated Time240 minutes or about 4-5 class periods
Materials / Resources
  • Literature circle novel
  • Ipad (or other recording device)
  • Microphone
  • Green Screen
  • Monitor to Present
  • Historical Documents/Primary Sources
Buildup to the ProjectStudents will have been given a general overview of the unit plan and will understand that this project will be a joint project between ELA and Social Studies. I will begin the unit by reviewing the elements of a story with students along with point of view and its role in understanding a novel. Students will begin by researching the setting of their novel in order to better understand what life was like during the time period for their character. As students complete the novel, students will meet 3 days a week to discuss various topics related to the book and about the historical connections to their novel. Students will work with their Social Studies teacher during this time to analyze primary documents directly related to their novel’s setting and characters in order to better study the interactions between their character/novel and actual historical events. Students will keep a folder of all materials from both classes so that their work stays in one place and can be referred back to as needed.
StandardsRL.7.9:  Compare and contrast a fictional portrayal of a time, place, or character and a historical account of the same period as a means of understanding how authors of fiction use history.RI.7.3: Analyze the interactions between individuals, events, and ideas in a text. RL.7.6: Analyze how an author develops and contrasts the perspectives of different characters in a text.
Project Outline
AskI will also ask the students about how and why an author uses history in a fictional text.
ImagineAs students are reading their novels, they will  imagine that they are news reporters or journalists whose job it is to record a daily report of key events taking place at this setting during WWII. Students will be keeping a daily log of their reports as they read and will share these in their literature circle groups.
PlanDuring this part of the project, I will ask students to research the setting of their novel. Research the location, the culture, the people, and important events during this time period. Students will begin to create a rough draft of the transcript for their news cast. Students will use the program Touch Cast to create a background, or setting.  Students will use their folders containing literature circle discussion notes and primary source documents to write the transcript and will use the collaboration station monitor to practice their newscast. Students will analyze the rubric and will map out their plan for backgrounds, text features, and the other elements as outlined by the rubric.
CreateStudents will use the technology above to record their newscast.  Students will equally participate in the development and the performance portions of the news cast. Students will then post their news show in the designated folder to be viewed by their peers.
ImproveStudents will be given a time to peer review where each group will have a designated reviewer from another group watch the recording of their skit. This reviewer will leave them feedback based on the rubric and students will be given another chance to make changes before submitting.
Closure / Student ReflectionsStudents will be able to reflect on their individual role in the project at the end of the unit when they are expected to view the other groups’ newscasts. After viewing their classmates' newscasts, students will then evaluate the effectiveness of their newscast/lesson using the rubric and will reflect on the creative process individually.
Possible Modifications / ExtensionsModifications: Each student could be assigned a specific role by the teacher for the newscast (reporter, witness, camera crew, prop designer, etc). Teachers could provide a sample transcript or a fill-in-the-blank script for struggling students. This could be modified to fit another historical event.Extensions: Students could complete an organizer while viewing each newscast and then write an essay about the various perspectives of WWII and the connections through the novels.


Pre/Post Test


  1. Which of the following is a primary source from WWII?
  1. The Book Thief published in 2004
  2. A newspaper article from the LA Times written December 8th, 1941
  3. A textbook chapter on WWII
  4. Code Talkers: A Novel of the Navajo Marines published in 2005


       2.  Which of the following statements below best describes the importance of the setting of a literary work?

               a.  The setting uses time and place to connect the characters, events, and ideas of a story. 

                      b.  The setting is the year that the author writes the book and can be found in the forward.

                      c.  The setting represents only the location in which the novel takes place and it has no real importance.

                      D. The setting is important because it explains more about the author’s background.


        3. Which of the following is not a main cause of WWII?

                     a. The Treaty of Versailles

                     b. The rise of the Nazi Party.

                     c.  Yellow Journalism

                     d.  Japanese Expansionism



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