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Organizing trips to conventions, planning a jDay and jCamp


Students will develop a plan in cooperation with their adviser for attending a convention, organizing a jDay or jCamp.  When students are actively involved in the long and tedious planning process, there is more buy-in and commitment on their part when it comes to attending these events.  When students feel ownership, they are stronger advocates for these programs among their peers.


  • Students will interview an adult who has planned a similar event to the one they are planning to discuss the specific logistics about that event.
  • Students will examine the pros and cons of offering an additional journalism experience such as the one they are planning.
  • Students will develop a plan for a journalism event and will pitch their ideas to the class.

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.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.


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


Class set: Plans for organizing a trip to a convention, a jDay or jCamp (if you have one)

Class set: Project specifications handout

Access to computers 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 advisers around the country plan for taking their students to a journalism convention, organize jDays or jCamps.  The purpose of doing this research is to allow students to have input in and see the difficulty of planning such events.

Explain that students are going to find another school with an adviser who has planned such an event, make contact with that adviser, interview him or her, and create a list of things that he or she does to plan the event.  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.

(Hand out copy of materials you use now to plain for these types of events. Do all students realize this is the way you operate? What do they think is working well or not working well now?)

2. Small group discussion — 30 minutes

Next, divide students into three groups.

1. The first group of students will each individually develop a plan to travel to a workshop or convention.

2. The second group of students will each individually plan a local or state jDay to be held at your school.

3. The third group of students will each individually develop a plan to host a state-wide jCamp at your school during the coming summer months.

Give students the list of project specifications for their particular group (project specifications are in the folder associated with this lesson).

Students should brainstorm together ideas they have pertaining to their specific topics.  Using the list they generate and their individual ideas and creativity, they should be prepared to move on to creating their project proposal.

3. Quick debrief — 10 minutes

Groups will briefly discuss with the class the ideas they have generated in their small groups.

4. Independent research and project design — 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 the staff plans a similar event.  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.

Using the interview results and your own individual creative ideas, develop your project to pitch to the class.  Use any medium you feel comfortable with to design your presentation.

5. Individual presentations to class – 50 minutes

Each student will present his or her research findings to the class by describing briefly the results of his or her interviews, listing the pros and cons as reported by the students/advisers at that school, and then his or her proposed plan for an event.