Journalism/The Tomahawk Talk

    Academic Year 2020-2021


    Teacher Name                                                                                   Contact Information

    Mrs. Darlene M. Jennings                                                                (850) 245-3700;  


    Description of Course/ Units of Study 

    Hello, and welcome to a new school year! The Tomahawk Talk is a student-produced newspaper, which serves as a learning laboratory for students interested in studying the field of journalism.  Reporting on school-related activities while examining issues of interest and importance to the student body is the primary objective reflected in the writing of the newspaper.


         Understanding accuracy, fairness, and above all, demonstrating a professional approach to subject matter covered in student reports is considered essential to the development of not only a quality newspaper, but also to the development of the novice journalist.


         Preserving journalistic integrity in the pursuit of knowledge is fundamental to the purpose of the newspaper.  Students in this setting should feel free to explore the many areas of journalism and to maximize their potential.


         The craft of journalism encompasses the art of writing, photography, layout, design and advertising.  Both creativity and critical thinking skills, which are incorporated into this field of study, will serve students for a lifetime.


    Class Materials - This information contains the materials that will be used throughout the year in this course.  Students are expected to come to class prepared and ready to learn. 

    • Binder and dividers or a notebook and folder(s) to keep notes and handouts organized 
    • College rule paper 
    • Flash Drive (may use for multiples classes; create a folder for Journalism) 
    • Clip board
    • Highlighters
    • Pens for notes and classwork (blue or black ink)]
    • Distance Learning- Computer and Internet (please contact our IT Department if you need a computer or help finding internet access)


    Class Expectations - FSUS students have a right to learn in a safe and respectful environment.  All students will be expected to adhere to attendance and behavior expectations in our FSUS Code of Conduct.  Please see our website for more information.  Specific rules for this class are as follows:

    Classroom Rules-

    • We show up on time and ready to learn 
    • We treat others with respect, so they know how to treat us
    • We are responsible for our actions, decisions, and our academics
    • We are ready to learn for the entire class period



    Google Classroom-- will be used frequently as a part of our class work. It is important that you join Google Classroom. If you are uncertain how to navigate Google Classroom, or you are new to this device, a parent tutorial is posted to the school’s website:




    Google Classroom  and Zoom join codes: Please go to FOCUS to retrieve Google Classroom and Zoom codes.


    Classroom Policies and Procedures

    Cell Phones/Wireless Devices - You must not photograph, audio, or video record adults or students at any time without their expressed consent. If you are recording an interview for an assignment or a story, you must tell your subject in advance that you will be recording the interview and get their consent in the recording. All photographed subjects must have a Media Consent form on file.  You must also make clear to the subject whether the recording or photographs will be published in The Tomahawk Talk, or if the material will be used as part of a class assignment.

                Cell phones will not be allowed to be used during class time unless the teacher permits.

                Cell phones are not to be charged using outlets or computers.

                Show respect for yourself, others, and property.


    Computer Use, Distance Learning and Digital Conferencing (i.e. Zoom)-


    Charge your computer every night.  It is expected that students come to school with a charged computer.

    1.     All pictures, avatars, backgrounds, and video capture will be school appropriate.  Students will be asked to remove any items or pictures that are disruptive to the learning environment and consequences may apply. 
    2.     When in a lesson or activity through an online conferencing tool, students must have their video on and actively participate in the activity.
    3. School dress code applies when in a learning environment such as Zoom or other conferencing tools.
    4. Even though students may not be engaged in the classroom face to face, the expectation is that students participate, engage, and learn as if in the classroom.  Limit distractions and create a quiet space for you to interact with students and teachers.
    5. As the teacher, I reserve the right to require students to remove distractions (i.e. food, background noise, background visuals)


    Grading -Students can log in to FOCUS to stay up-to-date on their performance in my class. Students are expected to work hard and apply themselves to the best of their ability. If you need help, ask immediately, not at the end of the grading period.



    Tests, Research Papers, Projects 40%                                               Classwork, Homework 20%

    Quizzes, Essays 30%                                                                      Bell Quizzes, Bell Work, Participation 10%

    **Extra credit is not given unless it is offered to the entire class.  There may be opportunities for an additional, optional grade, but the assignment will be graded the same as all other assignments.



    Written Work Policy

    • All written work must be completed in blue or black ink or typed.
    • Work must be neat and legible. Work that is not legible will not be accepted.
    • All reports must use the required heading. If you are missing this heading more than once, points will be deducted.
    • Work that is typed should be typed in Times New Roman, 12-point font; and double-spaced. Do not type work in bold font.


    Late Work- The work I assign is designed to 1) give you opportunities to practice the knowledge and skills we are learning and 2) give me a better sense of your current proficiency in those areas so that I can adjust my instruction as needed. For these reasons, it is critical that you complete assignments on time. Any work not turned in at the time it is due (with the exception of absences) is considered late. Work turned in after the due date, unless submitted due to an excused absence, will receive a maximum score of 70% until the unit test.  Late work will not be accepted after the unit test. 



    Make-up Work- Students who are not engaged in daily learning miss important lessons,  collaboration, skills practice, and other activities that build a student’s knowledge and expertise in the content. Our school make-up policy is designed to support students to make up the learning they missed, including all missed assignments and assessments, so that they do not fall behind academically.  

         Regardless of distance or in-school learning, all assignments are posted to Google Classroom by Monday of each week.  Students are responsible for checking their To-Do list and the teacher’s website for  what is due and should plan to attend any required or optional lessons or discussions.  Students will have two (2) school days, not including the day of return, for each excused class day they are absent to make up missed learning and assignments. Previously assigned work is due the day of return.  

         Work that is missing due to an unexcused absence is considered “late work.”

         Quarantined students without symptoms will be required to learn digitally.  Should a student become sick or develop symptoms that hinder their ability to participate in learning activities, a parent must submit a note to the attendance clerk for the absence to be considered excused.

         Students who have received In-School Suspension, Out-of-School Suspension, or placed on Administrative Leave will be expected to work on assignments during the time of his/her absence.  The student and family will work with FSUS Administration and faculty on a case-by-case

    basis to make sure that the student is receiving all classwork and assignments. Deadlines for completion will be given on a case by case basis.



    Your success in this class is important to me. If there are circumstances that may affect your

    performance in this class, please let me know as soon as possible so that we may work together to develop strategies for adapting assignments to meet both your needs and the requirements of the




    Student Journalists Have Firm Deadlines

    Students are responsible for setting up interviews with sources, writing interview questions prior to the interview, writing rough drafts per all reports, and producing a final copy.  The student reporter must also turn in photography assignments as they are assigned.  Please note: Students who do not keep interview appointments with news subjects, or who do not write their reports, damage the integrity of the entire staff.  Students who do not perform their assigned responsibilities will receive a zero with no opportunity provided for extra credit to improve their grade in the course.



    Tips for Success

    1. Be on time.
    2. Be prepared – have all materials needed.
    3. Manage time wisely.
    4. Organize your work – use note taking strategies and a planner.
    5. Complete your work in a timely manner.
    6. Check FOCUS weekly.
    7. Ask for help when needed.
    8. Read The Tomahawk Talk Handbook.
    9. Allow yourself to make mistakes and learn from them.
    10. Think positively! Let’s have a great year!




    (Scroll down).




    Please sign and return by Friday, August 21, 2020 the Acknowledgement of Reading the Journalism/The Tomahawk Talk Syllabus and Policies Form and the Florida State University Schools Academic Honesty Policy.


    Acknowledgement of Reading the Journalism/The Tomahawk Talk Syllabus and Policies Form

    For Mrs. Darlene M. Jennings’s class of 2020-2021



    The signatures below indicate that the Journalism/The Tomahawk Talk Syllabus and Policies have been read and understood by both the student and parent. It is the student’s responsibility to adhere to all classroom policies and to the policies listed in the Student Code of Conduct.


    Please fill out and sign the form below. Once completed, please turn this page to Mrs. Jennings no later than Friday, August 21, 2020. This counts as a homework assignment.


    Student’s printed name:  __________________________________________________


    Student’s Signature:       __________________________________________________


    Parent’s/Guardian’s printed name:  :  ________________________________________


    Parent’s/Guardian’s Signature: :  __________________________________________




     Florida State University Schools Academic Honesty Policy

    To be read, discussed, signed by parent and student, and returned to your teacher.

    We expect students to demonstrate honesty with peers, teachers and in schoolwork.  Acts of dishonesty include, but are not limited to:  lying, stealing, cheating and/or illegal use of photocopies or other technology.  Lying is the willful intent to mislead.  Stealing is the taking of any item without permission of the owner.  Any acts of dishonesty will not be tolerated.


    Acts that violate our Academic Honesty Policy include: 

    • Plagiarism (claiming another’s work as one’s own, copying another's homework, class work, or other assignment); students are required to sign a Plagiarism Policy Statement. 
    • Talking, using electronic devices during a test (unless explicitly permitted) or giving information to another student during a test.  
    • Allowing someone to copy one's work.   
    • Submitting work through the use of another person's password/login is considered dishonest behavior. Any assignments, work, or projects posted while using another student's login will be considered plagiarism.
    • Cheating (intentionally using or attempting to use unauthorized material, assistance, or study aids in any academic work). Cheating includes when a student copies another student’s work and then submits it as his or her own work.
    • Performing work or taking an examination for another student OR having another person perform work or take an examination.
    • Falsification and/or misrepresentation of data by submitting false data or sources.  
    • Computer crimes include damaging computer programs, hacking, constructing viruses, introducing viruses into a system, or copying programs.
    • Inappropriate use of email, discussion forums, or synchronous chat rooms


    Appropriate use of sources includes:

    • Direct quote-use of the author's words verbatim with quotation marks and correct documentation.
    • Paraphrase-use of the author's ideas in one's own words by changing sentence structure and using correct documentation.
    • Summary-use of the author's general ideas and correct documentation.
    • Multiple submission:  Submitting the same academic work (including oral presentations: such as PowerPoints, Prezi and other forms of visual media) for credit more than once is only acceptable with instructor permission. 

    It is the teacher's responsibility to provide instruction concerning documentation procedures (i.e. references, bibliographies, APA/MLA formats, etc). Ultimately, however, academic honesty is the student's responsibility. If plagiarism is not discovered during the writing process, but appears in the final product, the same penalties will apply.

    Parent(s) of students found being dishonest will be notified immediately. The student's teacher shall meet with the administration to determine disciplinary action. Counseling and a parent conference may be warranted.  In addition, if the final copy of the assignment contains a pattern of plagiarism, it will be subject to a zero. I understand that if the final copy of the assignment receives a zero for plagiarism, it must be rewritten correctly.


    Student name (Printed)___________________________  

    Student Signature _______________________________  Date:__________________

    Parent Signature ________________________________  Date: __________________


    Online Learning Plan- Weekly Unit Breakdown




    Teacher:  Darlene M. Jennings                          

    Week One

    Aug. 17-Aug.21

    Introduction to course, syllabus, handbooks, application process, Introduction to InDesign certification course.

     Begin InDesign, Module 1. 

    Week Two


    Daily interaction with InDesign course will continue until the staff is state certified in the on-line course;  review journalism news values; writing news/feature leads; review 2019-2020 FSPA critiques of The Tomahawk Talk. 

    Week Three

    Aug.31-Sept. 4

    Test on news values. Writing good interview questions.  View FSPA video on interviewing.  Setting up Zoom interviews. Explore Otter ai.

    Complete InDesign Module 1. Quiz on Module 1. 

    Week Four

    Sept. 7-Sept.11

    Staff meeting.  Bring five story ideas and ideas for corresponding photos for the stories.   Set up interviews.  First drafts of copy are due. Adding quotes to a story.   Desktop publishing.

    Week Five

    Sept.14-Sept 18

    First drafts of copy are due. Proofreading and revision.  Taking that  great photo. Photo assignment.  Planning pages.  Begin InDesign Module 2. 

    Week Six

    Sept. 21-Sept 25

    Newspaper and staff development. Layout and design newspaper.   Staff meetings.  Proofread and revise each section of the newspaper.

    Week Seven

    Sept. 28-Oct. 2

    Press Week.  First issue of the newspaper.  Newspaper critique. Newspaper and staff development. Staff meetings. Write questions for interviews and develop photo ideas. Complete InDesign Module 2.   Quiz on InDesign Module 2.


    Week Eight

    Oct. 5-Oct. 9


    Staff meetings.  Write questions for interviews. Set up interviews.    Begin InDesign Module 3.



    Week Nine

    Oct. 12-Oct. 16

    Ethics and The First Amendment.  Assign five-minute presentations. First drafts of copy are due.  End of first nine weeks.


     Week Ten

     Oct. 19-Oct. 23

    Issues in the media.  5-minute presentations.

    Complete InDesign Module 3. Quiz on InDesign Module 3.

    Week Eleven

     Oct. 26-Oct. 30

    Proofread and revise each section of the newspaper. . Design and layout pages.

    Begin InDesign Module 4.


     Week Twelve

     Nov 2-Nov. 6

    Press week. Second issue of the newspaper.  All copy is due.  Staff development. Newspaper critique.  Staff meetings.  Write questions for interviews.  Set up interviews.

     Week Thirteen

     Nov. 9-Nov. 13

    Staff meetings. Write questions for interviews.  Set up interviews.

    Complete InDesign Module 4. Quiz on Module 4. 

    Week Fourteen

     Nov. 16-Nov. 20

     Timed writings.  Stories are due in 35 minutes. First drafts are due.

    Week Fifteen

    Nov. 23-Nov.27


    Proofread and revise all copy.

    Writing that great headline. 

    Week Sixteen

    Nov. 30-Dec. 4

    Proofread and revise each section of the newspaper.  Review InDesign on-line course test materials.

    Week Seventeen

    Dec. 7-Dec. 11

    Press week. Third issue of the newspaper.  Revise all copy and layout pages. Final grades on copy and participation.  Critique newspaper.  

    Week Eighteen

    Dec. 14-Dec.18




    Semester Exams.