Introducing News Writing with Trasketball

News articles are totally different than any other type of composition. When learning how to write news, it can be a challenge for students to switch gears. Ever since elementary school, students are taught how to write in a very specific way. Teachers emphasize the importance of things like:

  • elaborating to include more detail
  • embed quotes into paragraphs for smooth transitions
  • express creativity with varied vocabulary
  • persuade the reader with logical conclusions

But news writing is short and to the point, heavy on quotes, and does not include the writer’s opinion – ever.

Start with a game

A quick game of Trashketball is the perfect way to introduce the differences between traditional essay writing and crafting a news article.


Give students 10 minutes to make a list of EVERYTHING they know about writing – from the super easy and obvious things to the complex grammar rules they can remember.

Give them a few examples:

  • A period always goes at the end of the sentence.
  • Capitalize the first word of a sentence.
  • First person = “I” & second person = “You”
  • Elaborate to add more details


Have them crumple up their piece of paper into a snowball. Plop your trashcan in the front of the room and tell them to throw their ball into the trash.

They will be confused. This exercise illustrates that there are a a LOT of things about journalistic writing that are different than everything they’ve been taught in English class, and in your classroom it’s ok to “throw out” those concepts.

Such as:

  • Each quote gets it’s own paragraph.
  • Never elaborate. In journalism, we want just the facts.
  • We always write in third person.


Let them play!

Host a competition – who can get the most baskets? Then, have a quick “snowball” fight!

Also use this as an opportunity to grab some great action shots!

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