Article Ideas for Middle and High School Journalism Students

I have been teaching Journalism for some time. I teach middle and high school aged students who are homeschooled as part of a homeschool co-op. We discuss writing styles, types of articles and basic article writing skills. We also produce newspapers. The students take pride in seeing their work in print. Here is a list of article ideas I have complied over the years. Hopefully, you will find something in this list to inspire your Journalism students.

ADVICE COLUMN

We have a box in the main meeting area for students to slip advice questions into during the day. We keep the identity of our Advice “giver” and secret, so that the writer can write freely without worry of someone coming up and arguing with their advice.

TOP TEN LIST

This one is just for fun. However, the students seem to enjoy it, so we include it in every issue. We brainstorm for a top ten question and then the students and I post the question on facebook pages, send out emails to friends a family, and ask people around us for their “vote”. One question we used was “Favorite 80’s song”. Another question was “Favorite Place to Eat”. We calculate and include the results for all to read.

PET SPOTLIGHT

It amazes me how proud middle and high school students are about their pets. They love to have a picture posted with reasons why their pet is so special. We decided to include one of these pet profiles in every issue. I rotate who will write the article. This gives each student a chance to try this style of writing.

TEACHER SPOTLIGHT

There are those few special teachers, loved by the students, and usually parents as well, that deserve recognition. Generally, the teacher does not want their picture in the article. We tend to treat this article as a interview with the questions in bold and the answers to follow. This allows the words of the teacher to be the real focus of the article.

HISTORY OF —

This is one of my favorites. I assigned this to one student last term and it went very well. Basically, it is researching the history of something. I asked the student to research the origin of sayings she hears her parents or grandparents say. She was able to track one saying down to the 1200’s. I also asked a student to research the origin of Mother’s Day and another student to find out the history of April Fool’s Day. We were always amazed to read the results. We even had a student take it upon herself to research the history of the smiley face.

GO GREEN

This is always a popular subject. I have new students every semester so I tend to “recycle” this topic once a term. I like for the student to include a “Tips on Going Green” section for publishing alongside the article. I also like for the writer to include dates for area recycling programs, such as the ones for hazardous waste.

POETRY

This section gives the students a chance to express their inner creative muse. I open this to all the student body. We include one poem an issue.

CAMP

Students love to write about their summer camp experiences. I make sure the camp contact information is included with the article, and always include a picture of the student at camp, or of the camp itself.

MYSTERY SPOT

I send the photographer out during class, while the hall is clear, to pick a random object in the common meeting areas and take a picture. We then crop it as close as possible and ask the student body if they can identify this object and where it is located.

This is just a sampling of what YOU could include in your newspaper. Brainstorm with your students and see what they are interested in seeing in the newspaper. Above all, have some fun. Try to not make it all work and no play. And, be sure to have a “staff party” at the end of the term to celebrate their accomplishments.