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Adding a new publication


Students will take notes on the pros/cons of different publication types, considerations and questions to answer, and how to market a new publication or new platform to an existing or new audience. Following this, students will read two case studies, one professional and one scholastic, about starting online publications. Finally, students will engage in a structured in-class debate about the merits of going online as a media organization.


  • Students will explain the pros/cons of different publication types, considerations and questions to answer when adding a new platform or a new publication and how to market a new or expanding publication.
  • Students will analyze and critique how a professional media organization and a student media organization went through their own process of adding a publication.
  • Students will determine what lessons can be learned from the two case studies in regards to adding a new publication and deciding whether or not to go online.
  • Students will evaluate a list of pros and cons for going online as a media organization and decide what they believe about the question, “Is it worth it for high school publications to go online?”
  • Students will effectively prepare for a structured in-class debate about the question, “Is it worth it for high school publications to go online?”
  • Students will effectively participate in a structured in-class debate about the question, “Is it worth it for high school publications to go online?” This includes discussion with a partner, a group of four and as a whole class.
  • Students will synthesize their thoughts about going online as a high school publication in a 500-word reflection, developing their ideas effectively and using proper spelling and grammar.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.2 Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.7 Analyze various accounts of a subject told in different mediums (e.g., a person’s life story in both print and multimedia), determining which details are emphasized in each account.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.1a Introduce precise claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that establishes clear relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.1b Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly, supplying evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level and concerns.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.1c Use words, phrases, and clauses to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships between claim(s) and reasons, between reasons and evidence, and between claim(s) and counterclaims.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.1d Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.1e Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3 above.)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9–10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1a Come to discussions prepared, having read and researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence from texts and other research on the topic or issue to stimulate a thoughtful, well-reasoned exchange of ideas.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1b Work with peers to set rules for collegial discussions and decision-making (e.g., informal consensus, taking votes on key issues, presentation of alternate views), clear goals and deadlines, and individual roles as needed.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1c Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that relate the current discussion to broader themes or larger ideas; actively incorporate others into the discussion; and clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1d Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarize points of agreement and disagreement, and, when warranted, qualify or justify their own views and understanding and make new connections in light of the evidence and reasoning presented.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.3 Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, identifying any fallacious reasoning or exaggerated or distorted evidence.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and task.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.6 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate. (See grades 9–10 Language standards 1 and 3 here for specific expectations.)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.


Three 60-70 minute classes


Slideshow: Adding a publication

Handout: Adding a publication slideshow notes

Handout: Adding a platform case studies

Handout: Adding a platform case study assignment

Rubric: Collaboration rubric

Handout: Debate: Is it worth it for high school publications to go online?

Case study rubric

Debate response rubric

Lesson step-by-step

Day 1

1. Introduction — 5 minutes

Engage students in an introductory discussion around the following questions:

  • What value is there in having multiple publications in a high school setting?
  • What value is there in having multiple platforms for a publication in a high school setting?

2. Slideshow — 25 minutes

Distribute the note-taking guide for the adding a platform slideshow, and go through the slideshow with students.

3. Individual brainstorming — 5 minutes

Direct students’ attention to the analysis chart on the back of the note-taking guide, giving them the opportunity to consider how each publication type might be beneficial, or not, in their own school context.

4. Case study analysis — 25 minutes

Distribute the case studies for Jacob Geiger and Rachel Lanter as students are finishing their analysis charts, giving them the rest of the class period to read the case studies and work on the analysis questions. Consider using the case study rubric to grade this work.

Day 2

1. Opening small-group discussion — 10-15 minutes

Place students in groups to discuss their reactions to and thoughts about Jacob and Rachel’s stories. Groups should develop a list of ideas, lessons or takeaways that can be gleaned from the case studies.

2. Large-group discussion — 15-20 minutes

Conduct a class discussion about the case studies to create a class list of lessons that can be learned from Jacob and Rachel’s stories. Then, shift to a discussion about the pros and cons of going online, centered on the following questions:

  • What are the benefits of going online? The drawbacks?
  • What questions did both Jacob and Rachel have to consider by going online?
  • How did Jacob and Rachel each market their online publications to build an audience?
  • Under what circumstances is it a good idea to go online?
  • Are there circumstances under which it would be a BAD idea to go online?

3. Material distribution and student response — 5-10 minutes
Distribute the materials for the in-class debate assignment, focused around the question, “Is it worth it for high school publications to go online?” Students should respond to the pre-reading questions first and then read through the arguments on both sides of the debate before going on to the preparation homework.

4. Work time — 20-40 minutes

Explain to students they will not be able to participate in the structured debate unless they complete their homework preparation in advance. Give students the rest of the class period to complete the preparation work; if any of it is incomplete, students should finish it for homework.

Day 3

1. Homework check — 5 minutes

Check students’ preparation homework and make sure they adequately prepared for the debate in advance. If not, they should spend the opening discussion period completing the preparation and will miss points for working in pairs and small groups.

2. Partner work — 10-15 minutes

Prompt students to find a partner and explain to them that they will need to be able to argue BOTH sides of the question with their partner. Partners should go through their preparation work to define the best arguments on both sides of the question and be prepared to argue either side with another partner pair.

3. Small group discussion — 8 minutes

Join each partner pair with another partner pair and prompt all pairs with their backs to the front of the room to argue YES for the debate. All pairs facing the front of the room should argue NO for the first round of the debate. Student groups should discuss the arguments on both sides of the question.

4. Partner switch — 8 minutes

Have the partner groups with their backs to the front of the room switch partners, so they are facing a new pair of students. For this round, all pairs with their backs to the front of the room should argue NO for the debate, and all pairs facing the front of the room should argue YES for the second round of the debate. Thus, all students need to consider the strongest evidence for both sides of the questions.

5. Prepping debate — 2 minutes

Explain to students they are now allowed to argue their own perspective for the main question. Tell students they are going to have an open debate for the rest of the class period that will require them to walk around. They will need to bring their preparation work with them.

6. Choosing a side — 2 minutes

Tell students everyone who believes that YES, it is worth it for high school publications to go online, should go to one side of the room, and everyone who believes that NO, it is NOT worth it for high school publications to go online, should go to the other side of the room.

7. Large group debate preparation and debate — all but the last 3 minutes of class time

Give each group a few minutes to determine their strongest arguments and to choose a spokesperson. Then, allow both sides to present their strongest arguments and open the floor for debate. If a student changes their mind during the debate, they should physically walk to the other side of the room and switch sides. There should be between 15 and 20 minutes left in the class period at this point. Allow debate to continue until there is a clear winner, but reserve some time to go over the follow-up assignment at the end of class.

8. Homework assignment — 3 minutes

Explain the follow-up assignment to students, that they should write 500 words to offer their perspective on the key question. You might cut the debate shorter and allow students time to write in class or simply expect them to complete the assignment for homework, depending on your context and discretion.