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Reporting - Writing for Different Audiences

Name of Corresponding Unit Plan: War of 1812

Grade Level: 6-12

Common Core Standards
W.4.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.
a. Orient the reader by establishing a situation and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally.

Content Areas: Reading, Writing, Social Studies

Recommended Length/Duration: Two 45 minute class periods

Learning Goals: Students will identify the characteristics of writing for different audiences. Students will select the facts and style of writing appropriate for different audiences.

Description/Sequence:

  1. This activity should be embedded in a study of the Battle of Plattsburgh or another historic event. Students should have read or discussed multiple accounts of the event so that they are familiar enough to describe it in detail.
  2. Discuss the sequence of events that took place during the Battle of Plattsburgh. List the main events and names of key participants on the board.
  3. Discuss how different writers might emphasize different aspects of the battle depending upon who the intended audience is (e.g. newspaper readers, commanding officer, family member)
  4. Assign students in the class different roles for describing the battle.
    • Reporter for the Plattsburgh local newspaper
    • Commodore Macdonough to Secretary Jones
    • Commodore Macdonough to his wife
    • Captain Pringle to Admiral Yeo
    • Captain Pringle to his brother
    • A sailor aboard Saratoga to his mother
    • A sailor aboard Confiance to his mother
  5. Have students write an account of the battle from the point of view of their assigned role. Encourage them to assume the personality of their character and include as much detail as possible.
  6. Have students share their writing. Discuss how the pieces are similar or different.

Assessments: Assess compositions based on the provided report assessment rubric, or a standard writing rubric.

Materials/Resources: References about the Battle of Plattsburgh, Writing materials

Special Considerations: This activity can be adapted to any historic event.

Extensions: Students may want to use period paper and ink or publishing software to produce authentic looking documents. These documents could be displayed as a bulletin board for others to read.