Ready for more? Try these slightly more ambitious community-based writing activities. Intermediate lessons are slightly more involved than introductory ones and take 2-5 days class time.
The Highlighted lessons below indicate lessons proven to work well for either introductory or intermediate applications.
- America Poem: This activity invites the instructor to share with students some examples of how other Americans have expressed their feelings about America through songs and poetry. Students then write their own poems to express their relationship with America.
- Anecdotes to Artifacts: This pre-reading activity for When Clay Sings encourages analytical thinking and appreciation for diversity. This method of inquiry transforms students’ interpretive abilities, challenging them to think more broadly about the meaning of a text. It also encourages both individual and group work through an interdisciplinary approach.
Communities at Work: This lesson is designed to encourage students to work as a community of learners to reach a goal. The lesson is designed to generate thought about different roles in a community, what obstacles prevent people from working together as a group and ways to help any community work successfully towards completion of a goal.
Future Artifacts: Students assume the role of archaeologists in the year 3001. Most history has been erased due to an aggressive computer virus in the early 2000s. Starting over, their challenge is to determine and explain the uses of the many artifacts left behind by the lost societies.
Imag(in)ing History Across Generations: This activity offers students a creative opportunity to reflect upon their own reaction to this tragedy as they craft a letter to their future grandchildren.
The Law: Your Rights and Responsibilities: Use this activity to introduce students to a study of the Bill of Rights, or simply to promote divergent thinking, problem solving, and provide basic knowledge of our First Amendment rights and responsibilities.
Making Meaning from the Past: Students use Ella Lyons autobiographical poem, "Where Im From" as the impetus to critically reflect on key images, memories, and events from their own lives and communities.
- The "Me" Exhibit: This activity encourages students to consider their own lives as history worth studying and acquaints them with the concept of authentic research. It works well as a "getting to know you" activity at the beginning of the semester and can lead to more developed writing activities.
- Poems of Place: How does a poet create a work that vividly conveys a sense of place? This lesson encourages students to discover the answer by their study of poems by Carl Sandburg, Mari Evans, and Jennifer Brown. The project culminates in the generation of original poems of place.
- Quilting Our Communities: This lesson allows students to share personal artifacts that emphasize the importance of place, history, and culture and to compile those individual memories into a classroom community quilt.
- Recovering Underexamined Histories: This exercise is a short piece of response-writing to Diane Glancy’s Pushing the Bear, whose central topic is the Cherokee Removal. Students respond online to a discussion board about a text that questions the lessons of the Removal in the nineteenth century.
- Something Important Happened Here! Often a physical place holds a sentimental spot in our histories and hearts. This assignment allows students to explore not only a part of their history, but also shows them that physical places have value and should be remembered.
- Step by Step: This math activity can serve as a writing prompt for students to express their personal feelings and attitudes about a significant place in their community.
- Student Photographs and Suburbia: Photographs play an important part in the overall memory of families, communities and of a particular time in history. This activity enables students to study the past and present condition of the communities where they live and encourages them to become knowledgeable and involved citizens.
- What a Garden Can Teach Us: Planting a garden can inspire an idea as significant as creating a community. A variety of communities can be transformed through the creation, observation, and preservation of a garden. The challenge is how to convince members of a community that it is essential and most likely rewarding.
- Writing Places: This assignment fuses creative writing, interviewing and researching skills for high school students. Reading poems of place by students and published writers begins the brainstorming process that leads to developing questions, image lists, and poem drafts. The blending of the classroom and local community is woven into final drafts of each student’s poetry of place.
- Writing to Focus Reading and to Imagine Researching: This lesson was designed to help us think about how to introduce others, unfamiliar with our program, to KCAC. We used a particular article from a local newspaper as a springboard for introducing program concepts, research approaches, and writing strategies.
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