ACTIVITY INFORMATION

Recommended age group: 7–11
Time required: one 45–60 minute session
Equipment: The Power of storytelling activity sheets

ACTIVITY IDEA

  1. Recap on the outcomes from Lesson 1: who/what will be the focus of their story and how will it be told, as a newspaper article, website page, a storyboard for a film or a photo story, for example? Who will be the audiences for their stories?
  2. Talk about the concept of a citizen journalist specialising in raising awareness of, and advocating for changes in perception towards, disability. Share and discuss ideas and information from BBC School Report. You might also like to discuss specific journalistic styles for inspiration, such as How to write a match report and Reporting sport master class, reminding the children that whatever style they choose, they need to keep the focus on disability.
  3. In pairs, or small groups, carry out further research to locate and capture powerful information about their chosen subject that will make their audience sit up and take notice.
  4. Talk through the activity sheet and encourage the children to plan and note down the key elements of any powerful story – notably who the audience will be, what the main messages will be and how to get them across in a surprising/creative/thought-provoking way, strong, concise opening sentences and a clear structure with a 'final thought' at the end.
  5. Talk through the top tips on the sheets and encourage the children to make notes about their ideas.
  6. Get writing, storyboarding, recording, blogging! The choice is theirs, but whatever genre they choose to portray their story, and whatever/whoever is the main focus of their story, they should aim to celebrate the extraordinary achievements of ordinary people.
  7. The children's stories should have a powerful impact on as many people as possible to help challenge perceptions of disability. Discuss the different methods that journalists use to share their articles and perhaps choose a few examples of the children's work to share via your school website, newsletters, blogs, in assemblies and at events that involve parents and members of the wider community. Why not send a copy to the editor of your local paper or radio station – perhaps they might like to interview the writers? Your local MP should also be interested in the work you are doing to shift perceptions of disability through citizen journalism. You could also print and send your top stories home to parents.

Remember: The children's work must include a list of sources, acknowledging others' work that they have referred to or quoted.

Differentiation

  • Older/more able children will be able to carry out research more independently and will gain ideas and inspiration from BBC News School Report about how to become a proactive citizen journalist. The oldest/most able children could try the story writing tips on the BBC School Report PDF. They may be able to complete both planning sheets from and have a full draft of their story by the end of the lesson.
  • Younger/less able children will need support to talk through the guidance and planning sheets and more direction about the genre to use. They may also need more than one session to complete a draft of their story.

Extension

  • Talk about and begin to make an action plan with the children about how they could further develop their role as citizen journalists on the hunt for great stories related to the Paralympic Movement and the aims of National Paralympic Day. How do they think they could disseminate powerful stories that might have a real impact on the way disabled people are perceived and included in their local communities?
  • Find out about any local, regional or national events about which the children could create and disseminate stories, blogs, short films, audio files – even action-packed adventure stories.