Description

This lesson plan allows learners to respond to stories from the New York Times, combining writing projects with beginner coding and web skills. By the end of this lesson, learners will have created their own web pages centered around current events.

Inspired by the New York Times Learning Blog, this teaching kit is designed to make it easy for teachers to bring technology into the classroom. It includes three activities that feature articles from the newspaper, related writing tasks and Mozilla Webmaker resources for teaching digital literacy.

High school students working with The New York Times (photo courtesy of Marissa Hazel)
You don't have to know anything about HTML or other computer languages -- Mozilla Webmaker makes it easy, and teachers and students can learn alongside each other. The three activities linked here can be also be done with a pen and paper, but include extension activities involving web page creation and coding skills as well.
This kit is a remix of an original first created by Sarah Gross and Jonathan Olsen

Learning objectives

With this kit, you will be able to:

  • Read newspaper articles and respond to them.
  • Explore coding languages like HTML and CSS, the basic building blocks of web pages
  • Work through the process of creating their own simple web pages
  • Explore the link between web literacy and media literacy
Learners will develop skills that include:
  • Critical thinking, media criticism and writing
  • Beginning web page design
  • An introduction to web languages like HTML and CSS
  • U.S. Common Core Standards: RI10, W3, W4, W5, WHST4, WHST6, WHST9

Target age range: these activities were originally developed for learners in grades 9 and 10 (aged 14 - 16), but can be also be adapted for older learners.

Approximate length: each of the three activities will take approximately 45 minutes to complete. They can be taught individually or separately.

What participants will make

Learners will create three web pages centered around current events drawm from New York Times articles. They will make and share:

  • a movie pitch
  • a web page about a cause they care about
  • a web page about their favorite things

Preparation

Students will require a pen or pencil and paper. Plus shared or individual access to a computer and web browser.

Review

Potential discussion questions:

  • How can newspapers and current events inspire you to try coding?
  • How do web skills like HTML and CSS connect to reading, writing and current events?