Ms. Sirker's Class


Writing & Media Workshop

Curriculum Overview

Writing & Media Workshop fuses broadcast journalism, public speaking and video production in a curriculum designed to support student achievement in accordance with the Massachusetts framework for English Language Arts (ELA).   The ultimate goal of Writing and Media Workshop is to contextualize linguistic elements that then coalesce into an ultimate advancement of writing and speaking skills.  

Reid Middle School’s semester-long course in broadcast journalism and video production offers 6th, 7th and 8th grade students an opportunity to hone their news reporting skills using the talk show format to allow for opinion and debate.  The curriculum includes:

  • Print media research
  • Online research
  • Close reading techniques
  • Interview techniques
  • Structuring key ideas and details
  • Writing as a means of articulating thoughts and ideas
  • Verbally communicating thoughts, ideas and research results

Working in small groups, students generate their own news-based talk shows covering topics they find engaging and meaningful.  The Reid Middle School 8th grade curriculum culminates in a field trip to Pittsfield Community Television (PCTV) for the final exam.  There, students follow a tour of PCTV with an on-site rehearsal and a taping of their self-generated talk shows.  These talk shows are then broadcast on local public television. 

Writing & Media Workshop actively engages students in the learning process while improving:  

  • Higher order thinking skills
  • Literacy
  • Creative problem solving
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Interpersonal communication
  • Decision making skills
  • Team and group participation skills
  • Positive Life Choices

From the student perspective, Writing & Media Workshop is fun.  They enjoy performing research on an array of topics, writing “leads” and editorials for their news stories, practicing their on-camera techniques and learning how to use a camera.  From Ms. Sirker’s perspective, they are advancing their literacy skills by means of a curriculum within which 17 common core standards are embedded. 

Working with Massachusetts Common Core Standards for Effective Teaching Practice:  Teacher Rubric, embedded in the Writing & Media Workshop curriculum are the following Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts:  

Reading Standards for Informational Text
Literature, Key Ideas and Details: 1
Craft and Structure: 6

Writing Standards -- Text types and Purposes:  1.a, b, c, d, e

Production and Distribution of Writing
-- 4, 5, 6

Research to Build and Present Knowledge -- 7, 8

Speaking and Listening  -- Comprehension and Collaboration: 1a, 1b,

Presentation of Knowledge and ideas: 4, 5, 6