Computer Skills Curriculum

Newspapers by Computer

Title: News Flash

Other Curriculum Objectives that can be addressed by this lesson plan
English Language Arts: 2.1, 2.3; Computer Skills: (Gr. 7) 1.1, 2.2; Information Skills 1.4, 1.5

Grade: 7

Competency 2.2: Describe the advantages of using computers to generate various types of productions.

Measure 2.2.1: Describe advantages of producing a school newspaper with a computer.

Materials Needed: Examples of various newspapers including ones from school (try to get one from elementary, middle, and secondary levels); chart paper, markers; computer, printer, and software for desktop publishing to produce newspaper (optional).

People Resources: Journalists from the local paper and/or field trip to local paper; journalists from the middle school newspaper.

Time: One session (30-40 minutes) in classroom; one visit to local newspaper (optional); additional time to produce newspaper (optional).

Terms: desktop publishing, editing, layout




    With the Students:

  • Tell students that they will be responsible for a short, group presentation of the advantages of using a computer to produce the school newspaper. To help them prepare, they will have guest speakers and a trip to the newspaper.
  • Ask students to prepare a short list of questions (2-4) to ask the guest journalists after the presentation and a short list of questions to ask newspaper professionals on the field trip.

    Teacher Preparation:

  • Arrange to have news journalists come to the classroom for a presentation and makes arrangements for a field trip to the local newspaper.
  • Divide students into cooperative teams of 4-5 students for group work.


  1. Divide the students into 4-5 person teams.
  2. Have students assign a recorder in the group to record the main ideas from the guest journalist's presentation. (Other roles may be assigned as necessary).
  3. Provide each group with an opportunity to ask group questions.
  4. Remind students to record pertinent information and provide an opportunity for them to ask questions during the field trip.
  5. Provide students with the opportunity to meet in their cooperative groups to discuss what they learned.
  6. Instruct student groups to make a list of the advantages of a newspaper created by the computer.

    Follow-up Activity/Extension:

  • Provide opportunities for students to design posters illustrating the advantages of using a computer for newspaper productions.
  • Have a class discussion on whether there are disadvantages to producing a newspaper using a computer.
  • Do a class newspaper on the computer (preferably with desktop publishing software).


Have students get into their assigned groups and prepare a 3-5 minute presentation of the advantages of using a computer to produce a school newspaper. Provide student groups the opportunity to present their oral reports.