WebQuest: Tall Tale News

By Todd Sherman

Summer 2001


Introduction    Task    Process    Resources     Evaluation    Conclusion



    Today's headlines often read like larger-than-life stories.  Stories written in the mainstream press about our society are supposed to catch our attention, but they sometimes stretch the truth by manipulating facts and grab the reader with a misleading headline.  They are, in effect, modern-day Tall Tales.  In this WebQuest, you will be able to help the news in its effort to become a Tall Tale.






    Your assignment is to choose a news story from today's headlines and use it to create a four-paragraph Tall Tale.  You must follow a rubric and use alliteration and hyperbole in your story.  The result will be an exaggerated version of the news, complete with any imaginative elements you choose to create and include.






    1.  First, you must learn what a Tall Tale is and the characteristics of a good Tall Tale. To do that, and for some examples of American Tall Tales, click here.

    2.  Next, you will need the definition of alliteration, and hyperbole, and the rules of punctuation concerning quotation marks.

    3. Okay, now it is time to print a copy of the rubric and story guide for this assignment.  It is right here.

    4. Surf the web for stories.  You may browse newspapers from all over the world by clicking here.  You may choose a story from any country; however, it will be easier to write a story about the United States because the context is familiar.  For other newspapers (and sports stories), go to the Resources section.

    5.  If you are having trouble choosing a story, click here to read examples of Tall Tales newspapers have written for April Fool's Day issues.  Remember, the story you will create will contain the fabric of your chosen news story as a framework, but you may make up wild and wacky elements to turn it into a Tall Tale.

    6.  Do not forget to print your news story.  It must be turned in with your Tall Tale.

    7.  Begin to create your story using Microsoft Publisher.  Your final product must be typed, and must include either a picture or clip art.




    CNN -- CNN will give you comprehensive list of stories from today's news

    The New York Post -- This newspaper showcases scandalous, wild and weird news angles.

    The National Enquirer -- If you are looking for a story on celebrities, this is the site for you.    

    ESPN -- Did You Know? You cannot go wrong creating a Tall Tale from a sports story.   

    The Sun -- Britain's largest newspaper is a little weird, and sometimes hard to read.  But give it a try, and click on the "bizarre" link.   


Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Breaking story! I have just written a Tall Tale News story!




    Students will be evaluated on the following format:

        Printed news article -- 5

        Correct use of alliteration -- 5

        Correct use of hyperbole -- 5

        Correct use of quotations -- 5

        Clip art (or picture) in story -- 5

        Directions (following four-paragraph format) - 5

        Grammar (spelling, punctuation) -- 10

        Total -- 40 points






    When you complete this project, you will have an understanding of just how easy it is to twist and stretch facts to create an entertaining story.  Try turning another news story about a different subject (for example, if you wrote about politics this time, next time try sports, or the environment) into a Tall Tale. Or try the reverse -- read a Tall Tale and turn it into a news story using the 5 Ws (what, when, where, who and why).


                                                                            Hit Counter


   Questions or comments: shermant@dboone.k12.pa.us

         Todd Sherman

        Daniel Boone Middle School

        501 Chestnut St.

        Birdsboro, PA 19508


                                                                              Back to top