Monthly Archives: September 2007

Meeting Tuesday After School

Attention:  The Beachcomber will be meeting after school in Room 416 on Tuesday, October 2. 


Post-write / Round Two

Please Do Now:

  1. Most of you have now successfully turned in your final draft of your first piece of journalistic writing.
  2. Answer the following question as a comment to this post:  What are your personal strengths in cultivating sources, gathering news, and writing student journalism?  What elements of journalism do you need to work on, and what would you like our next unit to focus on? 

Today students will:

  1. Review pages 32-48 of The Manual.
  2. Discuss good journalistic writing techniques (LA.B.2.4).
  3. Post 5 new article ideas to their blogs.

Tonight’s homework is:

  1. Review the facts and quotes in News Writing Handout 5.  Decide which facts are most important, which quotes are most salient, and write an 800 word mock news article as though you were a staff writer for The Rockville Rampage.  You can use either the inverted pyramid or the wineglass article structure.  Post the first draft to your blog by Tuesday.
  2. EXTRA CREDIT: In light of today’s lesson, revise your article one more time before our editorial staff gets to work on it.  Remember, the less work our editors have to put into your article, the better chance it will show up in the paper. 

Almost there!

Let’s revisit proper journalistic style:

  1. Everything should be in the third person:  No, “I, me, my, you, your, you’re, we, us, our” anywhere in the article unless you are quoting someone.
  2. Write as if you were assigned the story for the Miami Herald.  Try to forget for a minute that you are a student: No: “Here at Beach High, students here, this school, etc.”  Act as though you are an outsider looking in.
  3. Do not insert your opinion into the story.  The reader should not know how you feel about anything.  If you want to include a student’s perspective, quote a student – but do not ‘quote yourself’ by saying what you think.
  4. Do not be conversational with your reader.  Be formal, authoritative, detatched, official.  The rythm of the article should be, “Inform, quote, explain, inform, quote, explain.”
  5. Be precise: Names, positions and dates matter.
  6. Be succint: Do not try to impress the reader with your command of Shakespearean English.  Your goal is to inform, not confuse.

 Please Do Now:

  1. Alessia is getting closer to publishing her article.  How close are you?
  2. Read it at:
  3. Find 3 changes that you approve of, 3 more changes that she still needs to make, and submit them as a comment to this post.

Today, students will:

  1. Revisit proper journalistic style
  2. Peer edit each other’s work for proper journalistic style using J1 Peer Editing Groups 9.26.07 
  3. Find 3 changes that you approve, and 3 changes that are still needed before the article is ready for publication.  Submit them as comments to your groupmates’ posts.  Focus on proper journalistic style!
  4. If your groupmate has not made any changes since the last time you commented, submit the following comment to their post:  “Hey!  What do you think you are, perfect or something?  We all took the time to comment on your post and you didn’t even bother to read our feedback, did you?  Well, thanks for making my life easier since I don’t have to comment again, but I know yours is about to get harder since Mr. Weiss is grading us on the changes we make to our drafts!”
  5. Work on FINAL DRAFTS (LA.A.1.4)

Tonight’s homework is:

  1. Final drafts are due Friday

Deadline Approaching!


  1. Who wants to go to the 35th annual South Florida Journalism Day, sponsored by FIU and the FSPA?  It’s on Saturday, October 13 from 8 to 3:30.  Bring in $15 by Friday, or $25 on the day of the conference!
  2. Read the messages from our Sports and Opinion Editors in posts from last week!

 Please Do Now:

  1. Read the following draft article written by your peer, Alessia:
  2. This is one of the best researched articles to come out of this class (trust me, there are lots of other great ones, too).  However, it still needs a lot of work before we can print it (and so does your article, I bet).
  3. Give Alessia feedback on her article by submiting comments to this post.

Today, students will:

  1. Discuss proper journalistic style (LA.B.2.4)
  2. Help a peer revise her work using the “Track Changes” tool in Microsoft Word (LA.B.1.4)
  3. Begin final drafts

Tonight’s homework is:

  1. Complete your final draft for Wednesday’s class.

Sports Calendar

Aaron Groff, sports editor, here again.  Here is a link to the sports calendar.  Please go to the games that you are assigned – take pictures, interview fans and coaches, etc.  We need to get articles on these games in the paper.  If you have any questions or problems, email me at

When the teacher’s away… Don’t Play!

Alessia, Ms. Robins asked me to tell you that she has information for you in her office. Go see her right away!

Sorry guys,

I was called to a meeting at Coral Gables SHS at the very last second, so I won’t be in class today. I should be back in class on Monday, and I will read all of your first drafts over the weekend. I was really looking forward to seeing them today. I know you will treat my substitute with twice the respect you ordinarily give me – or else I will hear about it!

All of your work is still due today. You will be working in peer editing groups and beginning your second draft, which is due at the start of Monday’s class. I suggest you pay serious attention to your groupmates’ gentle nudges, and do your best to incorporate their comments into your revised draft. (J1 Peer Editing Groups 9.20.07)

 A note to peer editors: the phrase of the day is ‘constructive criticism.’ Both of the words in this phrase are equally imporant: Don’t tell someone they are failures in life just because they misspelled a word – but don’t be afraid to tell someone what they need to do to fix their stories just because you want to be nice. You’re not doing them or yourself any favors, because if you miss an error and their story doesn’t improve, you BOTH will be held responsible.

It’s fine to say, “Mr. Weiss is making me criticize, so I guess that you should work on ________.” Another way to look at the phrase ‘constructive criticism’ is to think of it as being ‘politely brutal’ – emphasis on polite, emphasis on brutal.

Please Do Now (15 minutes):

  1. Read the following article:
  2. Go to the “Forms” tab and download a “News and Features Postwrite” form. Fill out the form as if you were trying to help the writer with his story. Copy the filled out form and paste it as a comment to this post.   

Today, students will:

  1. Divide into peer editing groups (J1 Peer Editing Groups 9.20.07). Read the first draft of your groupmates’ stories on their blogs.
  2. Fill out a “News and Features Postwrite” form for each member of your peer editing group. Submit a completed form as a comment to their posts.
  3. Fill out a “Peer Editing” form for each member of your peer editing group. Submit a completed form as a comment to their posts.
  4. If you groupmate has not finished their first draft, copy and paste the following message as a comment to their most recent post: “Wow, ___________. I’m kind of hurt and offended that you disrespected our group like this and didn’t do your homework. How are we supposed to put a paper together if you don’t put in your fair share? If I were you, I’d be worried about my grade – didn’t Mr. Weiss say if we didn’t hand these in, we’d basically be failing his class? I suggest for your own good that you get all of your work done before he gets back on Monday!”
  5. Once you’ve completed your peer editing, read what your groupmates have posted on your blog and begin your second draft.

Tonight’s homework is:

  1. Completed second drafts are due when Monday’s class begins. All of your work must be handed in!!!

Press Conference Wrapup

Please Do Now:

  1. Read the following article:
  2. As a comment to this post, identify the news lead, the structure, and discuss the writer’s use of quotes and explanations. 

Today, students will:

  1. Fill out “Interview Notes and Quotes” forms for Dr. Sidener’s press conference. 
  2. Finish “News and Features Prewrite” forms (LA.B.1.4).
  3. Complete first drafts of their articles using the Inverted Pyramid and Wineglass structures (LA.B.1.4, LA.B.2.4).

Tonight’s homework is:

  1. Post a completed first draft to your blog by Thursday.