Download a free Teacher’s Guide for select issues of L.A. Youth

The teacher’s guide provides ideas for how to use each story in the newspaper in your classroom. It includes discussion questions for each story, as well as a detailed lesson plan written about one story in each issue.

• To download the Teacher’s Guide as a PDF, go to the Archives page on

Lesson plans using L.A. Youth articles

Understanding air pollution
Students will learn about air pollution, how it affects them and what they can do to help improve the air.

Learning to be true to yourself
Students will develop strategies to stay true to themselves when others disapprove.

How current interests influence career choices
Students will explore ways to connect their own interests to a possible future career.

Overcoming a fear
Students will examine why we have fears and what helps conquer them.

How our neighborhoods shape us
Students will examine how the neighborhood they live in influences their lives and their goals for the future.

Defining diversity
Students will come up with a definition of diversity and examine what they’ve done to meet diverse people, and how they’ve learned from them.

Why do we eat what we eat?
Students will examine what factors influence their diets and consider how they can change what they eat despite potential obstacles to a healthy diet.

What’s the census?
Students will learn how the census helps their communties.

How does our word choice affect people’s perceptions of us?
Students will examine how the words they use affect others’ perceptions of them and consider whether there are ever appropriate times to use profanity.

Why do students drop out of school?
Students will identify reasons that students drop out and how schools and teachers play a role in helping to keep students on track to graduate.

What to do with your money
Students will examine what they spend their money on and learn how to spend their money more wisely.

She does what? Breaking down gender stereotypes
By examining stereotypes about gender, students will learn to be more accepting of people who may not fit traditional male and female gender roles.

How can we improve our communities?
Examining how one’s neighborhood determines what the communities’ needs are and suggesting ways to make improvements.

How can we stop the violence?
Students will examine the violence in their communities and how it affects them, and suggest solutions for making their communities safer..

Thinking about which college is best for you
Students will examine the different factors they should consider when deciding what college is best for them to help meet their goals after high school.

How do you choose in an election?
Students will examine the important issues in the presidential election and determine where they stand, considering how the issues affect their lives, their community and the world.

Overcoming stereotypes
Examining our own assumptions about other people and groups will help us overcome them.

Dealing with distraction
How to recognize what activities are distracting you from reaching your goals.

Improving a school
How smaller classes and more discipline make a better learning environment.

Appreciating family traditions
Exploring family traditions to gain a better understanding of yourself.

Hateful words
A student describes the harassment he and other gay students faced at school and how he was able to make it stop.

What am I interested in pursuing as a career?
Understanding how the things around them influence students’ career interests.

What is our responsibility?
Helping students examine their role in helping the environment.

Is cheating the right answer?
Writing a persuasive essay on whether cheating is ever justified.

Where do you come from?
Paying tribute to the people who paved the way for our lives.

Getting informed
Developing students’ abilities to evaluate the credibility of online information sources.

Defining fairness
A look at the juvenile justice system

Applying to college
Tips for navigating a complicated process

Dealing with grief
How to cope when a friend dies

Thinking about learning
Students study how a different school organizes the educational process

Challenging yourself
Learning how to stretch yourself

Teaching about the First Amendment
These online resources can help

New attitudes toward mental illness
One boy shows he’s not a bad person—he just needs help with his illness

Learning about Islam
Analyzing one teen’s experience of defending her faith

How to write a good letter to the editor
Interesting analysis and persuasive arguments set good letters apart

Stereotypes about homelessness
Exploring why people become homeless can change our attitudes toward it

How do we form our opinions?
By examining our views of police, we learn how our opinions are shaped

Trying something new
It’s scary to try unfamiliar things, but sometimes it works out just fine

What could I be?
Analyzing how current skills and interests can develop into future careers

Ways to fight homophobia at your schools

Earthquake preparation
Acquiring knowledge about different ways to prepare for earthquakes

Exploring diversity
Finding ways to learn about our multi-cultural community

Defining success
A debate about success encourages critical thinking skills

To fight or not to fight
A debate about violence encourages critical thinking skills

How to write a good entertainment review
Developing descriptive writing techniques

Views on downloading
Developing persuasive writing techniques

Job-seeking strategies
Learning from other youth who have gotten jobs

Hispanic, Latino—what’s the right word?
An examination of the language used to categorize people

Chasing your dreams
A discussion of strategies for success

Grappling with war
A discussion of the conflict in Iraq.

Putting your best foot forward
A discussion of cover letters and resumes.

The gentle art of persuasion
Techniques for persuading different audiences.

Why do people gamble?
A discussion of addiction as a mental illness.

Learning to get along with classmates
A lesson plan based on “
My fight for respect” by Carlos Overstreet from the May-June 2002 issue of L.A. Youth, where the writer describes his struggle with bullying by intimidators at school and how he resolved his problems.

Dealing with name-calling
A lesson plan based on “I’m still the same guy” and “My weight was eating away at me” in the March-April 2002 issue of L.A. Youth, where teenagers describe how they feel about body image and weight loss.

Who serves time? Breaking down stereotypes of juvenile offenders
A lesson plan based on “Doing Time” in the January-February 2002 issue of L.A. Youth, in which a teenager describes his life inside juvenile hall and how he got there.

What if your friend smokes too much marijuana?
Help a friend with a drug problem requires a plan.

Internet resources for teaching about terrorism
Looking for ways to help your students understand the terrorist attacks and America’s military response? Here are a collection of resources on the Internet which we recommend.

Exploring the uses of art through Latino murals
A lesson plan based on a photo feature on local Latino murals in the September-October 2001 issue of L.A. Youth, in which Oscar Rodriguez visited four Los Angeles murals and described why he liked them. To see the photo essay.

Dealing with bullying
A lesson plan based on the article “Fighting my impulse to be a bully” in the May-June 2001 issue of L.A. Youth, in which Hamilton High student Daniel Clarke described how he used to be a bully, but his mom and a mentor helped him learn to control his temper.

Discussing hatred toward immigrants
A lesson plan to go with: “Fighting for respect” an article about the intolerance experienced by Korean immigrant Richard Kwon.

To protect and serve
Debating Police Misconduct and Reform
A lesson plan to go with a student’s article about the Rampart scandal in the Los Angeles police department

Sharing or stealing?
Debating the ethics of Napster, the online music sharing software

Through thick and thin
Examining the dynamics of friendships
A lesson plan to go with a student’s article about what happened when her best friend became anorexic

Opening eyes, changing minds
A lesson plan to go with an article about Mumia Abu-Jamal from the Sept.-Oct. 2000 issue of L.A. Youth

Coping with loss
Exploring ways to turn grief into hope
A lesson plan to go with a teen’s personal account of how her family was changed by her brother’s death

Real life or broken mirror?
Examining media representations of teenagers
A lesson plan to go with articles about media coverage of teen issues in the wake of the Columbine shooting

Is love supposed to hurt?
Discussing violence in relationships and ways to stop it
A lesson plan to go with an interview with a Los Angeles teenager whose boyfriend beat her

Talking tolerance
A lesson plan to go with articles about a new law protecting gay youth, and a gay student’s struggle to start a gay club at his school

Rights and responsibilities
Debating free speech, responsibility and censorship on campus
A lesson plan to go with an article about how an underground newspaper affected a Los Angeles high school

From crowded classrooms to broken streetlights:
Exploring ways to effect change in our communities
A lesson plan to go with an article about how a high school student’s government class wrote its own proposition.

More than words
Racism, identity, and the power of words
A lesson plan to go with an article about a young Asian woman’s experience of racism

Justice for all?
Debating the fairness of the juvenile justice system
A lesson plan to go with interviews with incarcerated youth and a judge in the wake of Prop. 21, which has made laws harsher for juveniles

Click here to read “Planning and Executing Major Investigations In High School Journalism,” a presentation given at the 2000 Journalism Education Association National Convention.