Laying Out the High School Paper

Wanda Wunder
Ironwood Ridge High School
Tucson, Arizona


  • Students will practice the elements necessary to create a modular design layout.
  • Students will practice the skills necessary to evaluate effective layout and design.
  • Students will demonstrate communication skills through their layout and design.
  • Students, as part of a team, will create a five-column grid for an 11″ x 17″ tabloid.

Previous Learning:
Students will have completed a basic introduction to the course including journalism terminology and basic layout information prior to beginning this identification activity.


  • Using a cut and paste approach, students will review several publications and identify:
    • the story
    • the headline
    • photos and captions
    • subheads
    • graphics
    • pull quotes
    • sidebars
    • other design elements that may appear in individual choice articles.
  • Students will label each element and experiment with various layouts of their identified sections.
  • Following the creation of several dummies, the students will share their creations with their individual study teams (groups of 5-6 students) and explain their decision-making process.
  • The teams will evaluate their team efforts using pp. 327-328 of “School Newspaper Adviser’s Survival Guide.”
  • The teams will then use their practice efforts to create a modular layout for a team-designed publication.
  • The teams will then present their efforts to the entire class for a large group discussion/evaluation meeting.

Follow-Up Learning

  • Add advertising.
  • Create a design display ad.
  • Following several lessons in photography, the students will practice “picturing the news.”
  • Determine the layout goals for our publication.

Materials needed
“School Newspaper Adviser’s Survival Guide”