How to Implement the Create a Headline Teaching Strategy in Your Classroom


By creating a concise headline to embody what they learned, learners must identify main ideas and patterns and then make a judgment about which of those ideas and trends are most important. Often the source or sources utilized in this activity shed light on underlying issues that influenced the events of a particular historical era.


  1. Review a Collection of Sources: Learners first read and examine a set of sources (i.e., documents, readings, images, or videos). As needed, you may want to present focus questions to guide learners’ examination. Remind learners that they must be looking for patterns across the documents.
  2. Compose a Headline: Learners are then asked to compose a headline based on the information and patterns contained in the sources that they just reviewed. The headline that learners create must be separate from titles from any of the resources they examined. Headlines also must contain both subjects and verbs and are usually no more than 12 words in length. You may ask learners to write a brief explanation of how they arrived at their headline.
  3. List Evidence: Below their headlines, have learners write three pieces of evidence they recorded from the resources they examined that support or explain their headline.
  4. Share Headlines: Learners must have an opportunity to share the headlines they created. Consider using a wraparound or a gallery walk to share the headlines.


  1. Utilize a Single Source: While the above activity asks learners to synthesize what they have learned using a variety of sources, you may instead ask learners to analyze a single source and create a headline for it. Have learners follow the steps above, eliminating Step 3 unless the source they’re examining is exceptionally long or complicated.
  2. Rethink Perspective: Also, or as a substitute to their original headline, you may ask learners to write a headline with a particular perspective in mind. For instance, if teaching the Reconstruction Era unit, you may ask learners to imagine they are writing a headline for a newspaper with a Radical Republican or Southern Democrat bias. If learners are doing this activity in addition to the original activity, ask them to consider the following question: How is their headline for this activity different from their original headline?
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