Issue 4.2 August 2022
In this mini-unit we’ll explore how two of the pieces in Write the World Review 4.2 express ideas related to stories—stories we’re told, stories we live, and stories we’ll tell later.
Please adapt, condense, or expand the following lesson ideas as you see fit, according to your class’s needs and your curricular goals. We hope you’ll reach out to our teacher liaison at Lori@WritetheWorld.com with any questions or suggestions, or to tell us how your class engaged with Write the World Review!
The following questions could work well for a class discussion, small group discussions, or written responses in the form of short essays or reflections.
Analyze the writer’s style in “Ahead of Time.” To what effect (or for what purpose) does the author use short sentences, sentence fragments, conjunctions to begin sentences, and repetition? How do these individual choices serve the piece overall (you might consider mood, tone, theme, etc…)?
In “Ahead of Time” the author ends the piece with a question: “Why not romanticize them ahead of time?” Discuss what the author might be implying with this question. For example, what are the potential relationships between memories, stories, and this idea of “romanticizing” a particular time in one’s life? Does this concept resonate with you or do you have a different viewpoint on how you might recall your middle school/high school years later in your life?
Identify examples of imagery and figurative language in “In the spider web” and consider the effect of this language on the piece as a whole. What concept or message about stories does the author cultivate with the image of a “spider web”?
“In the Spider Web” refers to stories others tell us; “Ahead of Time” refers to lived experiences that become our stories later. In what ways do stories shape our lives? How are the elements of a story—characters, setting, plot, conflict, mood, theme—reflected in our lives?
Reflection & Analysis:
First, write your own personal reflection of a memory from your life. Express your own voice and writing style. Then, write a separate paragraph analyzing how the passage of time has influenced that memory—are the details hazy? Has age and experience given you a new perspective on the event or your emotions related to that memory?
Next, write about a recent experience—something from the last week or two that is still relevant in your life or to your group of friends. Express your own voice and writing style. Finally, in a separate paragraph, predict how you’ll feel about this event later—are you tempted to romanticize it already? What do you think will be the lasting impression of this event in your mind and memory?
Oral History Project: Over time, through storytelling and singing, letters and journals, our family’s stories become our stories. And once in our possession, dear writers,, it’s our choice which family stories we cherish and share with our descendants. Young writers have the unique ability to record stories that they will want to read and share with others for years to come.
The Smithsonian Institute offers an extensive resource on oral history projects and how to go about writing an oral history. From conducting one or more interviews with relatives to gathering physical artifacts such as photographs, documents, and keepsakes, you can make an oral history project as simple or complex as you wish! The main idea is that the writer finds a way to respectfully listen, record, and preserve the story of another person.
For some examples of oral histories written by our young writers, read these pieces that were published in response to our Oral Histories prompt in 2021.