Of Mice and Men Newspaper Project

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Of Mice and Men Newspaper Project

BACKGROUND: You have read and studied the characters, themes, settings, and plot of John Steinbeck’s novel, Of Mice and Men and you have learned much about America in the 1930s during the Great Depression. You have also been practicing to write with clarity to make a point and to support your ideas with details while using proper grammar and spelling and punctuation.
TASK: You live in the Salinas River Valley in California during the 1930s. You have accepted a job as a journalist. The newspaper you now work for has assigned you and your team of reporters to create a four-page newspaper to tell the story of what has happened on the ranch in Soledad. You will go to Soledad and the ranch and study police reports in order to learn for the first time what has happened. You must interview area residents to learn about and then report about the people and events. You will create your newspaper as though the story is real-life. You will not be writing about a book, only real people – George Milton, Lennie Small, Candy _____, Slim _____, Curley ______, his wife, ______ ______, the boss, ______, etc.! Your group should give each person a full name if needed and name the ranch itself!
PROCEDURE: You will be placed in a group of four students. Each writer will be assigned a job number (1, 2, 3, or 4). Job One takes tasks A1, B1, C1 and D. Job Two takes tasks A2, B2, C2 and D. Job Three takes tasks A3, B3, C3 and D. Job Four takes tasks A4, B4, and C4 and D.

The tasks and the due dates are listed below:

  1. Spot news story: Due in class on ___________ - It must be typed in 12 pt. Please type this in MS Word first and then format into columns.

  2. Feature news story: Due in class on _____________ - It must be typed in 12 pt. font. Please type this in MS Word first and then format into columns.

  3. Creative piece: Due in class on __________________ - Typed and printed

  4. Advertisements: Due in class on _____________________– Completed and printed

Your completed pieces must all be brought to class and posted on Google Docs (with group members and teachers invited to work on them) on the above due dates. A hardcopy of these must be kept in your class group folder and left in class everyday for teacher review. Since you are working in a group, it is important to make every effort to be in class throughout this project.

The week of _________________ will be used to work in groups for the final layout to create the actual print newspaper. All pieces must be printed and handed in the week before!
PROJECT DUE DATE: Your completed newspaper will be turned in at the end of class on

_________ . Each day late will result in 10 points being deducted from the final grade for all group members!

JOBS: (Each group member chooses - 1, 2, 3, or 4 and completes A, B, C, and D)

  1. Spot News Stories (Each group member will do one - Minimum 500 words) Each article must begin with the five Ws- taken from police reports. Next include dialogue quoted from interviews of eyewitnesses, friends, or acquaintances of the characters to help to explain the story. (Remember, you are a reporter and learning from them what has happened as though this is real-life!)

  • Each article must have a headline (title) that will grab the reader’s attention. Each must also include the writer’s byline. Furthermore, each must include a graphic and/or photo and a caption (sentence) underneath explaining the picture.

  • Each article should also be first written as a five paragraph essay in MS Word and then formatted into two columns.

  1. Main Characters Headline Story- (include headline, byline and photo) Tell the full story of George and Lennie, their friendship and dream, and strengths and weaknesses (may include details about Candy and Slim). Quotations from your interviews of these characters and of those who knew them must be included.

  1. Antagonists Article- (include headline, byline and photo) Tell the full story of Curley and his wife; include their personality traits and examples of their contributions to the conflict(s); and interview other characters and local residents who knew them.

  1. Editorial- (include headline, byline and graphic) You are the editor of your newspaper and you must take a position on one of the topics provided (please see a teacher for this). Write a persuasive article speaking out on your chosen topic to the people of the Salinas River Valley. Take a position and urge your readers to make a change in the community.

  1. Book Review- (include headline, byline and graphic) Write a review of the book Of Mice and Men. Pretend that it was just published. Discuss how Steinbeck used the literary elements to make the book successful. Relate it to the people in Salinas who might read it. Tell whether or not you recommend it and explain why or why not. Remember: italicize the book title any time you use it!

  1. *If there is a 5th person, he/she will do The Other Guys. This should include an examination of Candy, Slim, Carlson, and Crooks- interview them to get an idea of their roles on the ranch, relationships, how they fit in, what their value is on the ranch, and what they value. Also, ask them how they fit in to what happened with George and Lennie.

  1. Feature News Story (Each group member will do one - Minimum 500 words) Each must have a title and a byline and a graphic (no caption needed).

    1. Advice Column- (include headline, byline and graphic) Have two of the characters each write a short letter to your advice column about the major problem they face in their lives (they should write with assumed names related to their problem). Write a response to each letter as the columnist with advice to help them solve their problem. Give yourself a pen name as the column title (“Ask Arty”)

    1. New Ending (Chapter Seven)- (include headline, byline, and graphic) In the style that Steinbeck used – naturalism, realism – write what you think happened after the book ended. Try opening your chapter with a description of the setting for this new chapter and how it looked, sounded, etc. Then, move into using dialogue to move the rest of the chapter along. Notice the way Steinbeck did this.

  • Need ideas? Did George go away from the ranch alone, or did he stay on the ranch with Slim? How did he feel about moving on without Lennie? Did he feel guilty like Candy did with his old dog, or did he feel secure that he did the right thing? Have him talk this out using dialogue between characters.

  • Be consistent to the characters! Be creative!

    1. Obituaries Column- (include headline, byline and graphic) Articles about Lennie and Curley’s wife’s death. *See assessment list to make sure to include certain required items in your articles.

    1. Sports Column- (include headline, byline and graphic) Create a sports column from the 1930s. You must have a national and a local section. For the national, research “sports 1930s.” Report on sports such as baseball, boxing, horseracing, or any others that would be of interest to the ranchers, ranch hands, or local people of the Salinas River Valley.

    1. *If there is a 5th person, he/she will do: People in the News- (include headline, byline and graphic). Create a social column from the 1930s (include local (Salinas, CA) and national or international celebrities of the time and update readers as to what they are doing.

  1. Creative Additions: Here you should be creative and colorful. This is the fun part!

    1. Advertisements - Create five original products or services which would be appropriate for people living in a ranch town in the Salinas Valley in the 1930s. Give your product or service a unique name. Then, create digitally or neatly by hand, five graphic advertisements to sell these products and services to the characters and townspeople of Salinas.

  • Each ad must use a different advertising technique of the types given to you in class.

  • The person who takes this job does have to make the three additional ads in task D; therefore, that person will be creating eight ads.

  • These must each be no larger than 3x5 inches.

    1. Comic Strips- Create two 4 - 5 cell comic strips related to characters, themes, and plot of the novel. (Irony works well here) Each must have a clever title and your byline. These should be based on political cartoons as described in class. These can be created digitally or very neatly hand drawn. All text must be typed! Websites provided in class.

    1. Crossword Puzzle- (No word searches) Create a crossword puzzle with across and down questions relating to the novel (must have at least 20 words total)—include an answer key. Add a graphic to make it eye catching! Have a headline and byline. Websites provided in class.

    1. Local Five Day Weather Forecast- (Salinas, CA) Include graphics, headline, byline & paragraph about the weather for the ranch hands. Check the local newspaper provided in class for examples. This weather should correspond appropriately to the date of your newspaper!

    1. *If there is a 5th person, he/she will do: Police Blotter- (Salinas, CA) Include graphics. This section will include short snippets of stories about local people who have been arrested. Include: name(s), age(s), how, and why each person was arrested. Have a headline and byline.

  1. Advertisements: Create three products or services that Salinas ranch workers would use or be interested in. Give each one a unique product name and create an advertisement to sell it (the group member assigned to Job One will be creating eight ads!).

  • To complete these you must use the advertising techniques, which will be taught in class and provided on the advertising handout.

Each newspaper MUST also include: (Examples will be shown in class. Group members will create these extra elements before and during layout week.)

  1. An original title with a colorful logo or graphic. Your group decides this together. It should reflect something about the story - be creative!!

  2. Date, volume, and number- under the title, which is relevant to the book’s setting (see samples for ideas)

  3. Index / Mast head- An index of the group members’ names (bold) with their job titles, article titles (in quotation marks), and the page numbers each article can be found on- placed on page one in the bottom right corner

    1. Example:

John Smith-

  • Main Character Headline Story- “George and Lennie: Frenemies?”- p 1

  • Advice Column- “Candy’s Corner”- p 2

  • Advertisements – list product names (in italics)

  1. Page numbers marked on each page- outside upper corner

  2. Headlines and bylines for each article

  3. Fill out all four pages with items creatively related to the story. Content, rather than “filler,” is important.


  • Exchange phone numbers (cell and home), e-mail addresses, and screen names on “Day-One” with all of your group members. You are responsible for turning in your own jobs, but you can and should help each other to edit and revise on Google Docs as you go along by utilizing the program’s comment bubbles.

  • Stay aware of, and follow, the calendar due dates! If you are absent, you must have your work submitted on Google Docs and by e-mail to group members. Keep in touch with group members!

  • Utilize Google Docs – All work must be posted, edited and revised on Google Docs by due dates along with a hard copy brought into class. Invites must be sent to group members as well as teachers. We will be monitoring your work on Google Docs – it is part of your grade.

  • SAVE EVERYTHING in multiple formats! Save all work here at school as well as at home and on Google Docs. Flash / USB drives should also be used to do this. Also, send work through the portal system (see Mrs. Goss for help). DO NOT DELETE your work until you have received your final grade on this project!

Day 1

Project assigned-

Preliminary work, models provided in class, etc.

HW- Show this packet to your parent(s)/guardian(s)

Day 2

Project assigned-

Preliminary work, models provided in class, etc.
Groups chosen
HW- Complete “Writing a Summary Lead”

Day 3

Begin writing

Editorial people meet with teacher
Book Review people meet with teacher

Day 4

Continue writing

HW- print out copy of rough draft for class tomorrow

Day 5

*Bring in copy of rough draft for

Mini Lessons


HW- Upload revised rough draft to Google Docs by Sun. night.

Note: two due dates next week

Day 6

Comment on group members’ Google Docs (part of grade)

Edit & revise your Part A & cont. work
HW- Print out final draft of Part A

Day 7

Begin to work on Feature News Story

* Spot News Story copy (A) due upon entry to class today
Update Part A on Google Docs

Day 8

Continue to work on articles

HW- Continue to work on article

Day 9

Continue to work on articles

HW- Upload complete rough draft of Part B to Google Docs by tonight, & print out hard copy to bring into class tomorrow.

Day 10

Comment on group members’ Google Docs (part of grade)

Hard copy of Part B due

Edit & revise your Part B & cont. work

* Feature News Story copy (B) due Tuesday.


HW- Print out final draft of Part B

*No School
Jewish holiday

Day 11

* Feature News Story copy (B) due upon entry to class.

Update Part B on Google Docs
Begin to work on parts C & D

Day 12
Continue to work on articles

Day 13
Continue to work on articles

HW- Parts C & D due tomorrow

Day 14

*Creative pieces (C & D) due by end of class today.

Day 15

Discussion of/

Intro to layout

Day 16

Begin to work on layout

*Do not glue anything down

After school help

Day 17

Continue to work on layout

*Do not glue anything down until you have layout approved!

Day 18

Finalize layout- begin to glue things down

After school help

Day 19

Finalized project- due at the end of the period today!

  • Any difficulties working within your group must be immediately reported to your teacher. File a Missing Work Report. Failure to do so will affect your group’s grade.

  • At the completion of the final project, each group member will file a Group Report detailing his/her own and other group members’ input and will reflect on his/her own strengths and weaknesses and those of the group.

  • You are expected to work in school and at home every night to complete all work. Have your work planned ahead to take full advantage of this resource.

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