Creating a Newscast ESL Lesson

Newscast Set
Newscasts. ColorBlind Images / Blend Images / Getty Images

Media is an ever-present reality and one that students are intimately familiar with. As such, diving into the media landscape offers multiple avenues for interesting lessons that will hold students' attention. You can start by studying media-related words so that students are familiar with the basics. From there, lesson plans can revolve around anything from watching news videos on YouTube to publishing a class newspaper.

One activity that helps students cover a variety of media related themes is to have students create and act out a newscast. The larger the class, the more roles students can take on. Perhaps your class might even put up the final version online to share with friends and family.

Aim: Develop a working knowledge of vocabulary related to media

Activity: Creating a newscast

Level: Intermediate to advanced

Lesson Outline:

 

  • Study media-related vocabulary covering the basics of printed and broadcast video. This media-related vocabulary list is a good place to start.
  • Discuss different roles on news broadcasts including anchorpersons, weather and sports reporters. 
  • Compare and contrast printed and broadcast media and how they are currently used in our daily lives.
  • Watch a video on YouTube or on TV of a typical newscast together as a class. It's not necessary to watch an entire broadcast, five minutes is plenty. 
  • Watch the newscast a second time and ask students to take note of typical phrases used to introduce various reports and reporters, as well as make transitions.
  • Brainstorm a list of vocabulary used to introduce reports and make transition during a broadcast.
  • Read a transcript of a typical broadcast. I've included an easy version below, but advanced classes should be able to handle actual broadcast transcripts.
  • Break students up into small groups to script out a short newscast. One student should take on the role of anchorperson, one as the weatherperson, another as a sports reporter. For larger groups, add various reporters as required. For example, one group might have a gossip reporter from Hollywood, another group might have a reporter on assignment in China, etc. 
  • Students work together to write a short newscast.
  • Review students' scripts as needed and help out with transitional language.
  • Have students practice the newscast until they can act it out comfortably with little reference to the script. 
  • Enjoy the newscasts as a class. If it's really good, share the newscast online. 
  • Repeat the fun with this lesson on writing dramatic scripts as a class, or this lesson asking students to create a soap opera scene.

Example News Transcript

Anchorperson: Good evening and welcome to the local news. Tonight stories include the story of a boy and his dog, a look at improving employment figures, and a clip of the Timbers' win at soccer stadium last night. But first, let's check in on the weather. Tom, how's the weather looking?
Weather reporter: Thank you Linda. It's been a beautiful day today, hasn't it?

We had a high of 93 and a low of 74. The day started off with a few clouds, but we've had sunny skies since two o'clock. We can expect more of the same tomorrow. Over to you Linda.


Anchorperson: Thank you Tom, yes it's a wonderful time of the year. We're so lucky with our weather.
Weather reporter: That's right!


Anchorperson: Let's turn to a sweet story of a boy and his dog. Last night a dog was left in the parking lot sixty miles away from its home. The dog's owner, a boy of eight, tried everything to find Cindy. Yesterday, Cindy came home and scratched on the front door. John Smithers has more. John?
Reporter: Thank you Linda. Yes, little Tom Anders is a happy boy tonight. Cindy, as you can see is now playing in the backyard, arrived home after having come more than sixty miles to reunite with Tom.

 


Anchorperson: Thank you John. That's good news indeed! Now, let's check in with Anna for a look at last night's Timber's victory.
Sports reporter: Timber's hit it big last night. Beating the Sounders 3 - 1. Alessandro Vespucci scored the first two goals, followed by Kevin Brown's incredible header in the last minute. 


Anchorperson: Wow, that sounds exciting! Well, thank you everyone. This has been the evening news.