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Decorating/accessorizing your publication room


Students will research other media staffs around the country to see how they decorate and accessorize their publication rooms. They will interview other staff members and compile a wish list of items they would like to have in their room. Finally, they will decorate their space.


  • Students will interview peers from around the country.
  • Students will develop a wish-list and budget for decorating their publication room.
  • Students will decorate their space for the year.

Common Core State Standards

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.9-10.1d 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.9-10.2 Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source.
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.W.9-10.7 Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.8 Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the usefulness of each source in answering the research question; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.


Two 50-minute classes and 1-2 weeks for independent research


Slideshow: Decorating your classroom

Slideshow: Decorated publication rooms around the country

Access to computers/internet for research (1:1 if possible)

Presentation rubric

Lesson step-by-step

1. Building background — 10 minutes

Explain to students that today they’ll begin a research project to find how other high school media staffs around the country decorate the publication rooms where they spend so much of their time.  The purpose of doing this research is to see if you can create a more homey atmosphere that is conducive to excellent journalism.  Students will also create a “wish list” of things they would like to have in their room that could potentially be funded by the school system, parent support group etc.

Explain that students are going to find another school, make contact with the student editors at that school (possibly through their adviser), interview the student editors and/or advisers, create a list of fun/motivational activities those staffs do, and describe what the editors/advisers you interviewed feel are the pros and cons of those activities.  In a separate analysis, students will evaluate what they feel could work for our staff and what they believe will not work for our staff. (If you don’t want to do this step in this lesson, you could just use the attached PowerPoint as an example and let your brainstorming go from there)

2. Think-pair-share — 10 minutes

Next, pair up students in the class and ask them to create their dream list of things they would like to have in their journalism room. Pretend as if money is no object.

Things to get the ball rolling:

1. Computers: what kind? how many? wiring needed in your room? cabinetry or desks to support them? printers? document camera? multi-media projector?

2. Area for charging batteries

3. Supplemental materials: journalism library, current publications/magazines, exchange publications, etc.

4. Support equipment: cameras, scanners, flash drives, video equipment, camera cards, card readers, reporter’s notebooks

5. Desk equipment: editor’s area? section editors?

6. Mailbox system

7. Area for awards

8. Desk decorations

9.  School supplies

10. Area that can be locked up to hold expensive items

11. Area for food/snacks

12. Ways to personalize the space

3. Present — 30 minutes

Have each pair share the list they create (while the speaker talks – one writer can write on whiteboard all suggestions.) See what ideas all pairs have in common and discuss as a class what they feel would be best to include in their wish list.

4. Independent research — one week

Each student will be responsible for finding another similar publication staff from somewhere else in the country. (Use resources like the publications you exchange with; a list of similar publications that have won awards like Pacemakers, Gold Crowns, Gallup Awards; a list of high school publications found on, etc.)

Students should contact the adviser at the school they choose to make sure they are willing to be interviewed and have time to share info about how they decorate their space.  Students should also try to get contact information for the editors at the school they choose.

Students should develop a list of interview questions to prepare for their interview and decide how they will conduct the interview. It might be good to conduct a series of interviews so that some rapport can be developed between staff members.

As an end result, each student should create a list of things they have found in classrooms around the country. A written report should include what they like in those classrooms and why they want it in their classroom.

The written report should also include research that includes the cost of the item they would like to have.  If it is an expensive item (such as computers or software or photography equipment, make sure you have found the cost from multiple sources).

Finally, the written report should include a spreadsheet that prioritizes items you’d like to have and creates a potential budget for how you might fund these additions.

5. Pair presentations to class — 50 minutes

Each pair will present their research findings to the class by providing us all with a copy of the wish list/budget they have created.

6. Additional activities — optional, as needed

As a class, consolidate your wish list. Create a presentation that you could give to a group to try to get funding for the things you’d like to have for your classroom/program. As a staff, spend time in the summer, before or after school early in the year to decorate your space, to clean your space or to redecorate your space.