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The A&E section


Students will learn the basics of how to plan and design an A&E section, including vocabulary and visual considerations. Students will create their own sections to include their stories.


  • Students will understand the difference between an A&E section and an opinion section.
  • Students will work in pairs to create their own A&E sections.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience.


50 minutes


Copies of A&E sections to show class

Handout: A&E section planner

Paper for sketching 

Lesson step-by-step

1. Building background — 10 minutes

As an introduction, explain that while reviews are a type of opinion writing, they often go on the Arts and Entertainment page or section. A&E pages focus on information about arts and entertainment readers can access in their community, which can include reviews for movies, books, video games, albums, restaurants, television shows, and so forth. This type of coverage also includes features on community members involved in the arts that are more geared towards giving the audience information than persuading them.

Distribute copies of A&E sections for students to examine. Discuss what sorts of stories, visuals and sidebars they have.

2. Planning in pairs — 15 minutes

Since two people seems to be enough to share ideas, but not so many they get in each other’s way, group into pairs to design their own A&E section. For this assignment, students will plan a section with two pages, and four stories (based on your page size, adjust to one page with three or four stories, but make sure the story number is larger than two, so students can brainstorm topics beyond the ones they already chose.)

Have students first determine what will go in their sections by completing the planning worksheet in their groups and deciding what other stories, sidebars and visual information they will include as well as their reviews.

3. Sketching the plan — 15 minutes

Demonstrate how to sketch layouts (even if they are not good at drawing). Students can use the following symbols to show what will go on their pages.

  • Box with an X = photo
  • XXXXXX (big) = headline (writing what will go where can be helpful, too)
  • xxxxxxx (smaller) = captions
  • Arrows point down, columns of text
  • When in doubt, label

Have the groups use paper with columns marked to sketch their designs.

4. Share sketches — 10 minutes

When students finish their sketches, have them share with the class. Use an exit card to evaluate students’ understanding with this question: “What was your most important consideration affecting your sketch when creating the A&E section plan?”