1.)Distribute newspapers to pairs or small groups of students. Discuss the cover page of the newspaper including title, pictures, quotes, and all other parts of the front page.
2.)Explain to students to imagine they are journalists living in Alabama in the year of 1861. They are going to write articles about the decision Alabama made to secede from the Union. This is big news! It's going on the front page!
3.)Distribute Think-sheets for students to use to brainstorm and plan their articles. The teacher needs to thoroughly explain the purpose, audience, topic, and hook on this Think-sheet. Impress upon the students how important it is for a journalist to consider these aspects before writing. The teacher should display a partially completed Think-sheet on the overhead so students will have a model.
4.)After discussion of the model, students will begin planning their articles using the Think-sheet. They may use their textbooks or other available resources provided by the teacher. Before beginning the first draft of the article, the teacher should review and initial the Think-sheet to make sure students are on the right track. (Remind students that quotes by some of the delegates or people who were living in Alabama would really enhance the article. Also, remind them that journalists present the facts - they should try not to go include their own opinions.)
5.)After students have completed their articles and revised/edited with several peers, they can begin using the desktop publishing software to publish their articles in newspaper format. Remind them to brainstorm a creative name for their newspapers. They may add pictures either using clipart or they could even draw their own pictures (they should keep in mind not to use pictures that are too modern.)
6.)Let the students share their newspapers with the class and possibly other classes that are studying the Civil War.