Story Generators

Tom Varnum
Tyngsborough High School

Tyngsborough, Massachussetts

Overview and Rationale

  • Encourage students to read local/regional newspaper articles
  • Encourage them to connect international/national/regional stories to our school
  • Help them develop questions before interviews
  • Encourage them to work cooperatively on story preparation

Goals for Understanding

  • Develop news stories for the high school paper based on current issues in the local daily
  • Identify different sources for articles
  • Develop interviews questions for these sources


  • Each student needs a copy of a recent local daily newspaper (or website)
  • Daily Newspaper Story Generator Activity Handout (would need to be created by you)

Overviews and Timelines (Two 45 minute class periods)

First Class

  • Distribute handouts and papers
  • Cut out, read and summarize at least three different, non-sports articles which they can connect to our readers.
  • Explain how this article could be localized for our paper (write a possible lead)
  • Identify three different sources you would want to interview for this article
  • Write five leading (not yes/no) questions you would ask your sources to develop information for your article

Second Class

  • Bring completed assignment from first day
  • Break students into partners and have them exchange one of their “Generators” with their partner.
  • After reading their partner’s work, the student must come up with at least two other sources who should be interviewed for the possible article and write two more leading questions to be asked of the sources.
  • Re-assign partners and exchange different “Generators” until class ends
  • Homework and Long term assignment
  • Write an article generated from this assignment


  • “Generators” can count as homework/classwork assignments.
  • Grade articles as you would any article they write for the class.