Humanities Institute

The Living Newspapers Across the Disciplines Resource Guide

The Resource Guide is a compendium of lesson plans, handouts, unit descriptions, and sample scripts designed to help secondary school teachers lead their students through the research, writing, and performance of their own Living Newspapers. The guide introduces the three basic building blocks of the program — human rights research, critical reading and writing, and bringing stories to life through performance — providing multiple lesson plans for each phase. Designed as a flexible tool, the guide encourages teachers to pick and choose lesson plans and adapt activities that make the most sense for their specific teaching environments.

The writers of this guide — current and former high school teachers and UT Austin graduate students and faculty — have prepared this model with teachers in mind. We understand that teachers are pressured to meet standards and to demonstrate expertise in many areas. To this end, we have aligned all lesson plans with Texas state standards (TEKS) in social studies, English, or theater arts and provided strategies for evaluating student work.

To date, close to 120 Resource Guides have been disseminated to Central Texas teachers attending the Summer Teacher Workshop, as well as teachers and non-profit professionals around the United States who have expressed interest in the program. Following the pilot year of the Living Newspapers program (2006-7), program staff has been working to update and revise the Resource Guide. With the input of teachers who have implemented Living Newspaper units in their classrooms, the guide will become an even more accessible and effective tool for engaged human rights education in secondary schools.

Below are sample lesson plans, student handouts, and sample unit calendars from the current version of the over 200-page Resource Guide. Teachers try out these lesson plans at the annual Summer Teacher Workshop with the guidance of workshop facilitators and members of the Consultant Team, a cadre of graduate and professional students trained in Living Newspaper techniques. Feel free to download, adapt, and use these resources in your own classrooms. We welcome your feedback and suggestions!

If you would like to comment on these lesson plans or request a copy of the full Resource Guide, please contact Claire Canavan at the Humanities Institute at

Sample Lesson Plans from the Resource Guide:

Group Contract, p. 132 (Word, 45 KB)

Human Rights Research
Defining a Human Rights Issue, p. 59 (Word, 36 KB)
Picking a Topic, p. 62 (Word, 35 KB)
Refining a Topic, p. 64 (Word, 35 KB)

Creating a Living Newspaper Script
Body Map, p. 96 (Word, 46 KB)
Visual Mapping, p. 107 (Word, 47 KB)

Rehearsing for Performance
From Script to Performance: An Overview Lesson, p. 129 (Word, 43 KB)
Staging with Images, p. 145 (Word, 41 KB)

Sample Student Handouts:

The 5 W's of the Living Newspaper Project (Word, 32 KB)
Living Newspaper Project Student Work Log (Word, 41 KB)
Topics and Audiences Chart (Word, 56 KB)

Sample Living Newspaper Units:

Two-Week Unit with Emphasis on Writing (Word, 42 KB)
Two-Week Unit with Emphasis on Performance (Word, 38 KB)
Four-Week Unit with Emphasis on Research and Writing (Word, 50 KB)
Four-Week Unit with Emphasis on Performance (Word, 52 KB)
Six-Week Unit with Emphasis on Research, Writing, and Performance (Word, 65 KB)

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