Topic Unit: Advocacy Journalism

Bored With Your Pretend Journalism Topic? Have Children Writing Real Advocacy Journalism Instead!

This half term we focused on the teaching of advocacy journalism. Advocacy journalism is when you advocate for something. It means you champion it, support it and try and stand up for it.

In our first week, we discussed this genre using our genre-booklets. To make the writing truly purposeful, the school contributed a charity grant fund worth £150 to a JustGiving page and invited the community to top this up, which in the end raised well over £300.

So, over half term, we asked the children to talk with their families and choose a local charity, organisation or cause that was worthwhile or important to them. They then had to research details of the charity and bring their information into school. They even had to phone up their charity on the phone to try and get a quote – some of them did remarkably well with this.

We explained that the grant money would be given away to three of the local charities the children decided to write about. Depending on the focus, each news article was placed into one of three groups:

  • Helping people,
  • Helping animals,
  • Helping the environment.

The articles were presented to a group of Year 6 pupils who were asked to determine which pieces were the most effective in: informing, persuading and providing a personal touch.

The three winning pieces received a share of the grant money.

Choosing A Charity

We were struck by the sheer variety and personal commitment to different local charities. We had originally proposed a list of charities the children could  potentially use but found, much to our surprise, this wasn’t necessary. A great many children were able to choose charities that they had been directly involved with or received help from. This was lovely and made writing the pieces even more genuine.

Our writing-study lessons were good but we also learnt what to do next time. 

As we always do when introducing a genre for the first time to the class, we wrote a couple of examples ourselves. I wrote about a local charity which supported my sister during her brain injury, whilst my colleague wrote about an animal sanctuary. In both cases, we interviewed someone connected to the charity; this was also a requirement for the children to do as part of their homework.

What became clear was that this was a multi-faceted genre. It required us (and therefore the children) to negotiate aspects of informing and persuading as well as recounting a small anecdote relating to the charity.

After looking at our examplar text, the children were shown a terrible example of what NOT to do when writing theirs. This was a worthwhile lesson as we could see some of the children’s plans were looking very similar to this examplar!

Our functional-grammar study focused on the use of direct quotation and modal verbs, but also ventured into discussion of moving between informing and persuading, formal and informal tone.

Below, we are pleased to share a variety of different articles from across the year group. These were produced by children in year 5 (9-10 years old).

If you have liked what you have read here and would like to read more about our approach to writing which we call ‘Real-World Literacy’, you can follow the link here. If you’d like to view our Genre-Booklets, you can follow this link.

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As always, thank you for reading and we hope you enjoy the articles!

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Chomp Is The Champ!

Chomp is a charity that provides a free healthy lunch and fun activities for children and their families, who struggle to eat well in the school holidays.

Chomp has been a life saver this winter! Great activities, friendly faces and fantastic foods. Through the winter, people have been volunteering for Chomp to give children and their families a nice warm meal and an exciting day.

There is more than 11,000 children in Brighton who find the school holidays difficult. Chomp has provided over 3,500 meals since Easter 2013, this has impacted over 150 families across Brighton. They guarantee an incredible day of excitement and a full stomach with a massive range of activities plus some fabulous food prepared on the day.

My family is actively involved through a church called One Church Brighton.

They are looking for fun people who can do all or any the following things during the school holidays: cook, serve food, fun craft activities, organise games, make tea and coffee and most importantly, be welcoming!

From Chomp, Kim said, “Without all the volunteers, Chomp would not be alive and wild… you may just donate 50p but it will make a big difference!”

Surely you don’t want children and their families to starve? So get involved with Chomp today!

There are three places in Brighton where you can get involved: St. Cuthmans, Whitehawk, St. Andrews, Moulsecoomb and One Church Brighton on Glouster Place.

Call: 01273694749 to get involved or email: chomp@onechurchbrighton.org

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Support Kitty In The City

Kitty In The City is a charity that takes in stray cats and ones that have been mistreated by their owners. The founder of the charity is a lady called Beverley.

The aim of the charity is to rescue abandoned cats and kittens in the city, to provide warm, refuge, veterinary care, food and lots of love until they are re-homed. It has been set up by volunteers; they have received no money or grants by the government and rely solely on donations from the public and fundraising. They have a monthly fair at a local church including: Tombola, cake sale etc. They are also supposed by a local veterinary surgery named Top Cat. They offer reduced rates for all the care and treatments that cats need. They also give the cats check ups to make sure they are fit and healthy.

There was once a cat that was mistreated by his owners. He wasn’t always fed and never received any love. For the first year of his life, he wasn’t even given a name.

I spoke to one of the nurses at Top Cat. She was called Charlotte. She said “Beverly is dedicated to caring for many cats, especially ones that are older or are overlooked for re-homing”.

In case you’re wondering what happened to the cat with no name, for the past nine years he’s been called Alfred and together with another cat called Doris, who was also rescued by Beverly, he has been a well loved part of my family. If you really are about animal welfare, please consider giving a monthly donation.

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Shouldn’t People With Disabilities Have The Same Opportunities

Whoopsadaisy is a charity which looks after children with cerebral palsy and other physical disabilities. Whoopsadaisy can be found at Preston Park, Brighton. This charity’s aim is to help children to live life as independently as possible. They are the only charity in East Sussex offering to help them prepare for tackling the challenges of everyday life.

There are other children there who might be in a wheelchair or have other phsyical disabilities. At Whoopsadaisy, children will either be trying to walk unaided or will be practicing using their legs and hands to strengthen their muscles.

When Ferris joined Whoopsadaisy (aged 18 months in 2009), he couldn’t sit or crawl unaided. He started going every week to Saturday school at Whoopsadaisy. He is now eight and can stand unaided and walk all by himself – this is incredibly hard to achieve – it took him seven years to achieve this goal!

It is very expensive to get a child’s place at Whoopsadaisy. It costs around £3,500 just for one year. When you donate money to Whoopsadaisy you can be guaranteed that you have helped a child in need.

If you would like to donate money to Whoopsadaisy, contact: Whoopsadaisy.org. Alternatively, you can help by doing fundraising events such as: golf days, marathons and lots more!

I decided to write about this charity because it is close to my heart. I see lots of children around I feel sorry for and just want to do my little bit to help.