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Writing Workshop Lesson Module


									Writing Workshop Session Module

                           Session Modules
                                        from the

                  DNHS Writing Workshop
                                  Conducted March, 2009

                              Prepared and Submitted by

                                     Ben Miller
                              US Peace Corps Volunteer

                                       on behalf of

                        Dasmariñas National High School - Main

Writing Workshop Session Module

Table of Contents

Introduction, Workshop Basics, Example Schedule ……………………………………….XPX

Session 1: General Topics I …..…………………………………………………………….XPX
    Mining for Gold: How to Begin – SAM Brooks

Session 2: Creative Writing I….……………………………………………………………XPX
    Fundamentals of Storytelling – Grant Tse

Session 3: Non-Fiction I ………...….………………………………………………………XPX
    Expository Writing Styles – Roger Chuang

Session 4: General Topics II ………………………………………………………………XPX
    Summary and Paraphrasing, Clarity and Brevity – Katie Kaskey

Session 5: Creative Writing II ...……………………………………………………………XPX
    Show Don’t Tell: Descriptive Writing – SAM Brooks

Session 6: Creative Writing III……..………………………………………………………XPX
    Characters – Grant Tse

Session 7: Non-Fiction I ...………………………………………….………………………XPX
    The Essay – Ben Miller

Session 8: Creative Writing IV …………………….………………………………………XPX
    Speak Your Mind: Poetry 101 – May Lynn Castillo

Session 9: General Topics III ………………………………………………………………XPX
    Revision and Rewriting – Ben Miller

Appendix A: Supplementary Materials ….…………………………………………………XPX

Writing Workshop Session Module


The lessons in this book were originally presented as a two-day writing workshop on March 19th and 20th at
Dasmariñas National High School – Main in Dasmariñas, Cavite by the United States Peace Corps Volunteers Ben
Miller, Grant Tse, SAM Brooks, Katie Kaskey, Roger Chuang, and May Lynn Castillo. Notes and setup of the
workshop is below. However, the lessons can also stand alone: while later lessons build on the skills of earlier ones,
they are for the most part abstract skills that the students already possess to some degree. So use what you want and
leave the rest.

Workshop Basics

We conducted this workshop for first through fourth year high school students who had shown interest. We accepted
the first 50 students to sign up with a teacher and then required them turn in a writing sample of any type. The
workshop lasted two days, from approximately 8am to 4pm with an hour lunch break. Sessions ranged from 1-2
hours in length.

Class Setup:
In the workshop we broke students up into six groups and assigned one of the volunteers to work with each group.
Depending on your group, you may have better luck skipping the group setup until the editing and rewriting part at
the end; most of the session activities can be done individually without much changes.

Students should bring:
     full size pad of lined paper (at least 30 sheets)
     manila folder to keep writing in
     ballpen or pencil
     spare ballpen and pencil
     colored pen (not black or blue. For peer editing)
     packed lunch or snacks (or give them time to buy a lunch)

Give them a few minutes at the start of the workshop to decorate their folder with their name, illustrations, or

Writing Workshop Session Module

Example Workshop Schedule:

Day 1                                                     Day 2

Time         Session                                      Time         Session
        8:00 Opening Program and Organization                     8:00 CW2: Characters and Beyond
        8:30                                                      8:30
             GT1: Mining for Gold: How to Begin                   9:00
        9:00 (Outlining, Planning, and Prewriting)                     CW3: Show Don't Tell - Descriptive
        9:30                                                      9:30 Writing
       10:00                                                     10:00
       10:30 CW1: Fundamentals of Storytelling                   10:30 NF2: The Essay
       11:00                                                     11:00
       11:30                                                     11:30 CW4: Poetry
       12:00 Lunch                                               12:00 Lunch
       12:30                                                     12:30
        1:00 NF1: Expository Writing Styles                       1:00 CW4: Poetry continued
        1:30                                                      1:30
        2:00                                                      2:00 Free Writing Time
             GT2: Summary and Paraphrasing, Clarity               2:30
        2:30 and Brevity                                          3:00
        3:00                                                           GT2: Grammar Topics, Critiquing,
        3:30                                                      3:30 Revision/Rewriting
        4:00 Free Writing                                         4:00
        4:30                                                      4:30 Wrap Up, Certificates

Writing Workshop                                                                         Session 1: How to Begin

                                             Session 1
                          How to Begin: Outlining, Planning and Prewriting
Time: 1-1.5 hours

 Students will create a web and use it to expand their story idea.
 Students will identify main ideas and events of a familiar story (fairy tale) and put them into outline format.
 Students will create an outline of one of their own story ideas.

 Half-sized sheets of manila paper for groups to write web outlines on, if students will do outlines in groups.



    Tell a story or a joke but do it out of order. Ask what was wrong with the story. Tell it again correctly; pointing
    out that the difference was in the planning which is done before you start telling the story. Other examples you
    could use are baking a cake or getting ready for a date. (15 minutes)

         Unplanned version:
         Yesterday my sister stuck her tongue out at me. She was at the kitchen table. I was taking care of her but
         she disappeared. We were watching TV. My mom came back and she was there. My sister doesn’t like to
         sit still and she is cute. I got pretty angry at her actually. I had told my mom she was gone and everything.

         Planned version:
         Yesterday I was supposed to take care of my little sister while my mom went to the market. My sister is
         cute as a button but she doesn’t like to sit still. After my mom left we were watching TV when I had to go
         to the CR. When I came back, my sister had disappeared. I called her name over and over but all I could
         hear was Chris Aquino selling toothpaste on TV. I looked everywhere with no luck. I was starting to get
         angry when I heard mom’s tricycle pulling up next to our house. I ran outside and told my mom what
         happened as she was gathering her things. ―Mom, she’s gone!‖ I said. ―Who is?‖ asked my mom as we
         walked in the door. I stopped and stood speechless in the doorway: my sister was sitting there at the kitchen
         table –with her tongue sticking out at me.

Lesson Proper:

    Activity 1: Do one or more examples of web building with the class. Use a familiar fairy tale to do a narrative
    story and/or a news report (about the events of the fairy tale). For the news story use the 5 W’s (who what
    where when why how etc…; use them as prompts for getting your web content, don’t simply fill them in), for a
    feature story use descriptions of setting, events, and character clues. After the class has finished the web,
    convert the web into a basic outline of the content of your piece. Let the class think about where they should put
    what –when do they put in character descriptions, describe setting, how do they order the events, etc… (20 min)

    Activity 2: Individually or in groups: give students a topic for a web. Unless you or students have strong
    preferences to start on another type of writing, have them write a short story based on one of the following
    titles: ―Lost Love‖ ―One Last Hope‖ ―The Final Hour‖. (Other options for topics: The Barangay Captain called
    an emergency meeting; a surprise at a beauty pageant; or an opinion piece on required school uniforms.) The
    individual/group will make a web using post it notes for each detail. Emphasize that this is a brainstorming web
    and not all details need to be used –students should not worry about whether their suggestion is ―good‖. (20

Writing Workshop                                                                         Session 1: How to Begin

   Activity 3: Using their group’s web, students begin making outlines individually, either for an informative
   article or a short story. They are to use the webs only as a guide and not feel constrained to all or any of those
   ideas. What is more important is that they are able to complete a coherent plan for a story and think about the
   structure and flow of ideas. Tell the students to use all 15 minutes and keep filling in and expanding their
   outline with details, further events, explanations, etc… (15 min)

Wrap up:

   Students share their experience and ideas (optional) and put their individual outlines in their portfolio. (5-10

Writing Workshop                                                          Session 2: Fundamentals of Storytelling

                                                 Session 2
                                         Fundamentals of Story Telling
Time: 1.5-2 hours

    Students will be able to identify major plot points (plot type, climax, resolution) for several familiar stories.
    Students will create a variety of rudimentary plots based off a simple scenario.
    Students will consider different aspects of setting through examination of a group member’s house.

    Visual aids with main points about plot and setting.



    What is a story? Something that is entertaining? Something that says something? A story is something said to
    anyone willing to listen. All a story needs is an audience. I want you all to be as open as possible during this
    seminar. Be bold, be confident… let your thoughts flow. When you’re mining for gold, you have dig up a lot of
    dirt first, right? Don’t be afraid to dig up dirt, don’t be afraid to have ideas that seem strange or silly or new or
    boring at first. They may be just the ones you’re looking for.

    Stories come in different forms. There are books, movies, songs, paintings… stories are experiences…. The
    forms are just the bridge from my mind to yours. Remember that words are just the bridge. Stories are just
    experiences—you are guiding someone through a dream… they have to see what you see, smell what you
    smell, and most importantly, they have to feel what they want to feel. The point of a joke is to make someone
    laugh. The point of a story is to make someone experience something.

    Pablo Picasso once said, ―Art is a lie that tells the truth.‖ You lie to distill the truth, to find it out in the world
    and put it together into something strong, moving, and undeniable.

    So, let’s practice lying.

    Activity 1: Play a game: I want you to go around and tell a story about yourself. Then groups decide if you are
    lying are telling the truth. You’re job is to make them guess wrong. <Give example from your life that students
    probably won’t believe>

    What happened there? Why are some stories easy to tell apart and why are some stories hard? The lies that are
    hard to tell from the truth are the ones with believable details. If one of you had talked about dancing with
    Britney Spears on the moon, everyone would know you were lying. Making the person believe in your fiction is
    paramount---people can tell when you’re faking it.

    Now what about the ones that you were thought were lies, but were the truth, like say mine? When you come to
    believe that they are true, in this case because I said so, you really want to know the details… now you’re
    interested. Even if you have an absurd, unrealistic world, if you make them believe, make them relate, they will
    want to know more.

        Important Point: Make it believable even if it’s not realistic.

Lesson Proper:


    Ok, now that everyone knows how to lie well, we can start talking about how to build your lies into stories. If
    you’ve ever told a lie in real life, you know it’s easy to get trapped and have to keep telling more and more so

Writing Workshop                                                     Session 2: Fundamentals of Storytelling

   that you don’t give the lie away. Stories are like that, but you get to plan everything out. When you are
   planning, there are three major things to think about: plot, setting, and characters. Today we are going to talk
   about plot and setting, we will cover characters tomorrow.

   Activity 2: Everyone take one piece of pad paper and divide it into 4 columns lengthwise. Take 3
   minutes and write down three of your favorite fiction books or movies in the first column. Leave
   several lines between each favorite. (see sup-2fund-1)

   PLOT — Everyone has heard of ―plot‖, right? It’s simply ―what happens‖, the events of the story.

   Plots can be classified into different types. Here are the most basic ones:

   1.   [wo]man vs. man
   2.   [wo]man vs. self
   3.   [wo]man vs. god/nature/supernatural

   Activity 2 (cont): Have students discuss the plots of some books or movies they have all seen or read.
   Then have them try and identify which of the three basic plots their favorite books or movies use and
   write it in the 2nd column, labeled “basic plot”.

   Usually these events happen in some kind order: nobody wants to read a story about knight that kills the dragon
   at the start of the story and then sits around and gets old and fat doing nothing for the rest of the book. So you
   start the story earlier and finish it right after he kills it and marries the princess.

   Conflict -> building -> climax -> resolution

   Generally it goes like this: A story has ―Rising Action‖ to so that you become interested and stay interested. It
   starts with some conflict or change that is interesting, and then builds –the problem gets bigger– until there is a
   final climax and the problem is solved or least some change has taken place.

    Rising action—plot thickens---classic star wars, Luke I am your father.
    Moby Dick: This man is chasing this whale… it his obsession.
           o Climax—―And he piled upon the whale's white hump, the sum of all the rage and hate felt by his
               whole race. If his chest had been a cannon, he would have shot his heart upon it." -Herman
               Melville, Moby Dick.
    Romeo and Juliet – situation. Two lovers, different worlds. They can’t bridge the gap, and they die. It takes
      their deaths to end the hate between their families.

   Two Notes About Plot:
   1) Should be surprising, but inevitable (there should be reasons why things happened a certain way)
   2) Change occurs –perhaps but not necessarily through conflict. Nobody wants a story in which nothing

   Activity 2 (cont): Have students write in the 3rd column, labeled “change/conflict”, what they see as the
   primary change or conflict that occurs in their favorite stories. E.g. man has to fight with other man, woman
   realizes she loves someone, the group is attacked by an alien. Then in the last column, labeled “resolution”,
   they must write how the change plays out at the end. E.g. he wins the fight and is champion; she gets married;
   they defeat the alien but nobody notices.

       Important Point: Remember that what is important is change, change people care about. Not every story
        is about conflict.

   Activity 3: Take five minutes and write down all the possible plots about an ant in your house. How can the ant
   conflict with itself (man vs self)? Or with other ants? (man vs man) Or with giant two legged colorful
   creatures? (man vs supernatural) What else could happen besides fighting? Share with your group. (10 min)

Writing Workshop                                                        Session 2: Fundamentals of Storytelling

     Setting can be a time: Past, present or future.
     It can be a place, real or not: Not only locations, but types of location---city, country, everywhere.
     It can also be a state of mind: We see the world through the eyes of the narrator. Is the world a happy place,
        a sad place?
    The world doesn’t have to make sense---it just needs to be consistent.
    To capture the essence of the setting, ask yourself: how is this world different or the same from the world you

    Say Harry Potter? What’s special about that setting? Yes the magic, but think of all the things that come with
    that. The whole universe is accounted for… they have new vocabulary, muggles, different magical ways of
    transportation, they have names for their NAT (OWLS), a school system, a type of government--- a history!!

    You are not just creating what is around the character---you create even the things the character doesn’t see or
    know... you’re creating existence.

    Sometimes the nuances are hard---and what it comes down is capturing the nuance of setting. The setting isn’t
    just little details that you mention offhandedly. Not every story that takes place in New York mentions the
    empire state building. But the setting reflects heavily on the characters and the plot. There certainly are fewer
    New York stories about clueless citizens than there are about street smart ones.

        Important Point: Setting is the time, the place, and/or the state of mind. It is not just details, it’s the world
         the characters live in, so it needs to be consistent.

    Activity 4: I want a story set in your household; pick one person in your group and fully realize his or her
    house. Make it so that the details you pick out make it so that it sounds different than other places.

    Remember, setting is not just the physical structure! Besides the number of rooms, color of the walls, furniture,
    lighting, windows, yard, street outside, etc… think about what time it is in the house, what do you hear or smell,
    who is there, what are they doing, how they are feeling, what are they worrying about? Are we seeing the house
    through someone’s eyes? Is the house normally like this? Does it remind you of anywhere else or is it unique?
    Why? (15 min)


    Explain art vs craft. (sup-2fund-2)

    Cliché writing… why is it bad?
    It brings you out of the dream… if becomes obvious that something is manufactured, if you’ve heard it before.
    You’re reminded of other stories you’ve read. Instead of being curious about the story it becomes boring and
    predictable. So don’t copy! Be original!

Writing Workshop                                                         Session 3: Expository Writing Styles

                                                  Session 3
                                          Expository Writing Styles
Time: 1-1.5 hours

Lesson Objective:
     After the lesson, students will understand the uses of different expository writing styles and be able to
        apply those styles to topics to make an outline.

Subject Matter:
    Expository Writing Styles: Cause & Effect, Problem & Solution, Pro & Con.

    Posters of example outlines for each style (sup-3ex-1 XPX)
    Example topics for students to choose appropriate approach (sup-3ex-2 XPX)



    Ask and let students give answers:
    1.) How many of you have ever had a problem?
    2.) How many of you have ever had a problem that was really hard to solve?
    3.) What did you do to try and solve the problem?

    Say: ―Sometimes when we have tough or complicated problems, or anything we want to think about that is
    complex, it can help to write it down. Around the world, when businesses, governments, scientists and many
    other people have problems, they use writing.‖

Lesson Proper:

    ―Why writing? Writing is a tool that can help us understand complex situations and relationships by breaking
    them down and by systematically considering them in different ways. Today we are going to talk about three
    styles of expository writing: Cause and Effect, Problem and Solution, and Pro and Con. The word ―expository‖
    comes from the word ―expose‖, which just means ―to show‖. So all these writing styles are trying to ―show‖
    something about a problem or on whatever the topic may be.‖

    The instructor should introduce the three types of expository writing styles in this lesson and how using a
    different style can offer various different results even while discussing the same topic.

    1.) As a class, make a web about global warming that will work with all three styles (so focus on: causes,
        negative effects, how they can be solved, and a comparison of the solutions)
    2.) Present outlines of the three formats. (see sup-3ex-1 XPX)

    Emphasize how different formats focus on different aspects of the issue and different writing styles can also be
    used in conjunction. These aren’t just writing styles, they are THINKING styles too.

    Activity 1: (20 minutes) As a class, show visual aid of different writing scenarios (sup-3ex-2 XPX) and have
    students individually write down which expository writing style would be most appropriate in each scenario.
    After they are finished, go through the answers as a class or in groups and see if and why students disagree. (not
    necessarily one right answer). Keep discussion moving along so as not to take too much time. Questions to
    touch on:
    1.) Which of the three formats is easiest or most straightforward?
    2.) How does cause & effect differ from problem & solution?
    3.) Was pro & con very different from the other two?

Writing Workshop                                                        Session 3: Expository Writing Styles

    Activity 2: (20 minutes) After the discussion, students can individually choose a topic –anything except global
    warming– that they will make a short outline about. They are to choose the style they will use, one that is
    appropriate to their topic.
             a. The outline should be formatted as if they were intending to write a short, unbiased paper on the

     Check the outline to see that they understood both the outlining process and the expository format they

     Information on expository writing
     Basic Outlining

Writing Workshop                                                                Session 4: Summary and Clarity

                                           Session 4
                           Summary and Paraphrasing, Clarity and Brevity

Time: 1-1.5 hours

Lesson Objectives:
     Students will be able to identify unclear and correct writing.
     Students will be able to find important content in a story or article.
     Students will be able to write clear, concise summaries of familiar writing.

    Big posters of stories to summarize



    Activity 1: Have a student come to the board. Have the class dictate a story (one they are making up on the
    spot) to the student at the chalkboard sentence by sentence, each group contributing one sentence. If needed,
    you can give the first sentence yourself (“It was a dark and stormy night.” “It was an average day until the
    phone rang.” “And then I heard him --I would recognize that laugh anywhere.”) This story will be your main
    material for the class.
        a. Keep the process moving along by allowing any other group to follow up after a group gives a
        b. The story should be 10-20 sentences long, so each group should contribute 2-3 times.
        c. Have the class read through the story out loud once.

Lesson Proper:

    Using the story the students wrote, have the class edit the story for clarity and brevity using the following rules.
    1.) Keep sentences simple
    2.) Be specific
    3.) Use words you know well

    Then have them summarize the story in 1-3 sentences using these steps:
    1.) Ask: What is important? What is the point?
    2.) Say it as clearly as possible
    3.) Once you have written your summary, ask yourself if anything can be taken out
    4.) Use the clear writing rules to do a final check of your summary.

    More practice: If there is time before the evaluation, have students write summaries of stories they know (like
    fairy tales) or that you provide for them, either as a class or in small groups so they can compare. (sup-4sum-1)


    1.) Have the students pick a movie they have all seen and write a one-sentence summary on their own. In their
        groups, and then as a class, have them choose the best summary of the movie.


Writing Workshop                                                                     Session 5: Descriptive Writing

                                                Session 5
                                    Show Don’t Tell: Descriptive Writing
Time: 1.5 hours

    Students will write a descriptive paragraph based on a photo or picture of a work of art.

    Set of 12+ Pictures
    Jar of Peanut Butter, Loaf of Bread, and Spoon (and Jam if you have some)



    Activity 1: Peanut Butter Sandwich Demo. Take out a bag with the peanut butter, bread, and spoon. Tell
    students that you want to make a peanut butter (and jelly) sandwich but you need them to tell you how. Call on
    them or allow anyone to yell out. Interpret their statements as literally as possible. (e.g. if the first thing they tell
    you is to put the peanut butter on the bread, set the jar of peanut butter on top of the loaf of bread) Watch out
    for oily peanut butter! Keep going until they have told you, in very specific detail, how to complete a sandwich.
    (10 min)

    Alternative Activity 1b: Facilitator tells students how to stand, describing positions of arms, legs, ect. First
    doing the pose with them then only giving the instructions. In pairs the students take turns telling the other how
    to stand, look (expressions). (10 min)

Lesson Proper:

    Facilitator introduces topic: the value of being able to describe things. (5-10 min) Bring a volunteer to the front
    of the room. Have the class call out descriptive terms about him/her. Or describe school or classroom if students
    are too shy. Go into detail.

    Things to keep in mind:
         Show, don’t tell.
                 o (help your audience see it for themselves)
                 o Engage senses.
         Use comparisons that connect the experience or the imagery to audience.
         Don’t use nice, wonderful, interesting, very. (be specific)
         Don’t go overboard.

    Activity 2: Pass out one picture per table. Group at each table (or individually) writes a descriptive paragraph
    about a picture. They may want to use web method from previous session. (20 min)

    After they have completed their paragraph have them write the descriptive words on the white board.
         No repeats.
         Most will probably be concrete descriptors like green tree, big building, and pretty woman.

    Activity 3: Discuss the importance of mood and setting in a story and after switching pictures among the tables
    have them write another paragraph adding more details. Students share within group and one volunteer per
    table can read their paragraph while showing picture. (15 min)

Writing Workshop                                                             Session 6: Characters and Beyond

                                              Session 6
                    Fundamentals of Storytelling, Part II: Characters and Beyond
Time: 1.5-2 hours

Lesson Objectives:
     Students will be familiar with relevant vocabulary.
     Students will be develop strategies for the fiction writing process.
     Students will be able to develop characters.

Subject Matter:
    Writing Fictional Characters, Symbolism, The Writing Process

    Poster of character vocabulary (sup-6char-1 XPX)
    Small strips of paper to write an idea on (1 per student)


Motivation: (―Just Do It‖)

    Ask students if they would rather write a story for their 5-year-old cousin or a speech for the next United
    Nations summit. Which is harder? Probably the speech. Why? Think about giving that speech. That fear right
    now is one of the worst enemies of writing. Disregard it. Just write. Let your thoughts flow—don’t worry about
    it not coming out perfect immediately the first time. When you’re mining for gold, you have to dig up a lot of

Lesson Proper:

    Activity 1: Have students write one (5 minutes) paragraph describing a person they hate.

    Now, have them make excuses for that person. Pretend they’re in love with this person, and you’re telling
    someone who hates them why they are like that. They can make it up. (another 5 minutes)

        Which game is more interesting, chess or checkers? Why? Chess, right? Because there are more
        possibilities. The pieces can move in different ways. One-dimensional characters--- these include perfect
        characters, or totally evil characters. They’re not believable. Each character has a different motivation, a
        history, the capacity for thought and change. When you meet a character later in the book.

        It’s kind of like real life. We all went our separate ways yesterday. But hundreds things happened to all of
        us. For all you know, someone in here fell in love yesterday. Maybe someone’s relatives died. Things
        happen, even if we don’t see them happen. We don’t have to see everything that happens to characters in a
        book, either.

        Remember your characters don’t exist in isolation. It’s a web—a tangled web. People have relationships
        (me to her, me to him, her to him, him to someone I don’t even know or see.) Beware biases. Look at your
        stories… do all your character relationships include one sex or only one age, for example?

    Introduce character types/vocabulary (sup-6char-1 XPX)

    Activity 2: The Idea of Truth

    Pass out slips of paper. Everyone write down anonymously, the most horrible thing you’ve ever thought. No
    names… just the idea. Something you would be ashamed to tell anyone else. I’ll put in something too. When you

Writing Workshop                                                            Session 6: Characters and Beyond

   were angry, when you just let yourself be a monster. It doesn’t mean you feel that way all the time. Just the
   deepest, darkest, blackest thing that has ever crossed your minds. (10 minutes)


       You see these black horrible thoughts? They are all true, but no one wants to talk about it them. Yet, I bet
       after hearing these things… everyone wants to know more. They’re interesting…they represent a place that
       we’ve all been before, but rarely—the outer limits of experience, of emotion. But yet this is the truth…we
       really thought them. Not only that… but these are things that move when you hear them.

       Search out the truths that people are afraid to admit to in your writing—those are often the things we need
       to say most. Not all of them are black and scary, some are embarrassing or simply hidden. Characters in
       your stories should experience the full range of human emotions and experiences, that’s what makes them
       believable and likable.

       David Foster Wallace, a famous contemporary writer (Infinite Jest if anyone wants to tackle a depressing
       1400 page novel) once said, fiction is about ―what it’s like to be a fucking human being.‖ It should make
       people ―feel less alone inside.‖ It’s about connecting individual truths, that is, finding what’s true for

   Further Thoughts on Fiction:

       Plot, setting, characters can interact in ways that tell more than ―what is happening‖ in the story.

       Symbolismitems, people, ideas, allegory… what does the apple symbolize in Adam and Eve… the

       When you use symbols, whether it be characters, things, or places… all of a sudden you can tell a story
       about IDEAS. The entire work of fiction becomes about something else.
        The Things They Carried.
               o Uses stories of individual soldiers in the Vietnam War to show there’re no happy endings in
                  war—the good don’t get rewarded… everyone is punished. Everyone just dies.
        Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
               o —a future about genetic engineering. You are engineered to be a certain thing.. there were
                  different classes .. the top class was made perfect. The bottom class were made stupid. You
                  were made to enjoy your job.
        1984 by George Orwell
               o ―remains the only book that has made me cry.‖ Future government makes all news..
                  everything that is written or true is thrown down the ―memory hole.‖ If you don’t bow down
                  to big brother, every friend and family member is a spy. Afraid to say how you feel.
        Noli Me Tangere
               o Uses the story of one man to explain the political and societal problems in the Philippines

   Activity 3: FREE WRITES – 3-5 minutes each (30-45 minutes)

   The following sentences are supposed to be help get you guys thinking. Write stories based on this. Just the first
   thing to come to mind. Don’t stop writing you only have three minutes. I’ll read the first one out and you write.
   1) She couldn’t believe him.
   2) He swore he would never come back here.
   3) When the fog lifted, everyone was gone.
   4) She found revenge to her liking.
   5) As everything she owned burned down around her, she knew what she had to go back for.
   6) It glimmered, in a place no one else knew about.
   7) He watched the blood run down the statue, seeping into the cracks.
   8) She had never been alone before.
   9) They slipped into his dream unnoticed.

Writing Workshop                                                         Session 6: Characters and Beyond

    10) She threw her hands up at the sky, screaming, ―Is anyone up there?‖

Writing Workshop                                                                             Session 7: The Essay

                                                    Session 7
                                                    The Essay
Time: 2-2.5 hours

    Students will be familiar with relevant vocabulary.
    Understand the theory and purpose of the essay format.
    Know the parts and structure of the essay well enough to identify them in a non-formal essay structure.
    Distinguish between good and bad thesis statements and write their own.
    Write a formal structured five-paragraph essay.
    Excerpt from ―Roundtable: The History of the Essay.‖ (sup-7ess-1)
    List of good and bad thesis statements and suggested improvements (sup-7ess-2)
    Essay parts and purposes ―puzzle‖
    Poster of essay parts and ―meta essay‖
    Copies of ―This I Believe‖ essays (one per group)



    Read, or have students read, the following excerpt from a panel discussion about essays. Try to keep it
    entertaining. (feel free to overact terribly, use a British accent, etc…)

        Rosenberg: We are tonight going to be talking about the art of essay. Gentlemen, I challenge any or all of
        you to give me the etymology of the word "essay."

        Kaminski: It's the French word "essayer," is it not? To try, to attempt, and it's Montaigne's term, if I'm not

        Rosenberg: True, but most French verbs derive from Latin verbs. "Essayer" comes from the Latin
        "exagium," which comes from "exagere," which means to weigh, to sift and winnow. Montaigne is the first
        significant modern or premodern essayist, is he not?

        Root: He's the father of the essay. As so many people have observed, it all begins with him and the idea of
        the personal voice, the idea of thinking about your ideas, what you feel, what your experience has been.

    Follow-up questions for students:
    1) Where does the word ―essay‖ come from? (the French word ―essayer‖, also the latin words exagium and
    2) What does that word mean? (―to try‖ or ―to attempt‖; the latin words mean ―to weigh, sift, or winnow)
    3) To try or to attempt what? (or weigh or sift what?) (to understand… ideas or concepts or relationships or
        anything, really)
    4) So, what is an ―essay‖?

Lesson Proper:

    Ask: what makes an essay different from other types of writing? (write answers on the board)
    1) Nonfiction
    2) More personal
    3) For a broad audience (i.e. anyone should be able to read and understand it, not just for other PhDs in your

Writing Workshop                                                                              Session 7: The Essay

   4) Not too long (formal/academic essays can be around a page or two, other types can be longer, 10-20 pages)

   Go over different essay types: students will be focusing on learning short academic style to practice
   1) academic (formal, 5 paragraph, standard for testing and secondary education)
   2) literary (can be more personal, usually longer, closer to a opinion news article, commonly in magazines)
   3) spectrum in between

   Parts of an Essay:

   Activity 1: Put up sup-7ess-1. On the board is the skeleton of an outline with 3 main headings (for intro, body,
   conclusion) with 3 sub-points each (for the contents of each part). Next to each main heading write the purpose
   of parts (but the parts should not yet be named).
   Now pass out the 12 strips of paper with different parts of the essay written on them to 12 random students.
   Have students raise their hands if they know where it goes and come tape it to the outline in the correct place.
   Follow the outline below, but note that the order of parts within the conclusion is somewhat flexible.
   1) Parts of an essay
        a) Introduction
             i) Hook
             ii) Leading statements
             iii) Thesis
        b) Body
             i) Topic Sentences
             ii) Supporting points
             iii) Transition sentences
        c) Conclusion
             i) Restatement of argument
             ii) Concluding statement
             iii) Implications of thesis
             iv) Restate your point and what it means/why it’s important
   Once the sections are in right places, talk quickly about the three sections. Points to cover:
    Intro-1 paragraph; Body-3 paragraphs; Conclusion-1 paragraph
    Thesis comes at end of introduction, most important sentence of the essay
    First sentence is important because it gives a first impression
    Body is the ―meat‖ of the essay, it’s where you explain your thesis and your reasoning, give evidence, and
        convince the reader your thesis is true.
    Transitions are important. Don’t just skip around, try to follow a logical sequence that the reader will
    The conclusion can be difficult, depending on your topic. Stay on topic and don’t introduce new ideas, but
        do show the reader what your thesis implies to them, yourself, or the broader world.
    ―end on some memorable thought, perhaps a quotation, or an interesting twist of logic, or some call to
        action. Is there something you want the reader to walk away and do? Let him or her know exactly what.‖ –
        one of the resource pages


   Say: The thesis is the main point or idea of your statement. It is the most important part of your paper. A thesis
   is like the accusation or charges at a trial –without it there is no point to having a trial, nothing to have a trial
   about. Everything at the trial is focused around those accusations: the evidence, the witnesses, the deliberations
   of the jury, they all base all of their thoughts and actions in relation to the accusations. Just like at a trial, a
   thesis must be: (For each statement, have students correct statement to make it fit the criteria.)
    something specific
             o Filipinos are happy. (What is ―happy‖? Is this true of every Filipino? If not, how much?)
    something you can prove or at least convince people is true.
             o J.K. Rowling didn’t mention it, but Harry Potter loved Kangaroos. (How do you know? How can
                  you prove this? Plus, who cares?)

Writing Workshop                                                                              Session 7: The Essay

       something that isn’t self-apparent or obvious.
              o Harry Potter is a wizard.
    Unlike at a trial, however, a thesis should not be a bare statistical fact (―Voldemort killed Harry Potter’s
    parents.‖). It should contain ideas and thinking, not simply a physical truth.
    Finally, a thesis should be something you find interesting or worth thinking about. Often a thesis can offer
    a new way of understanding facts, past events, or other information, like a poem, or a biography.

    Activity 2: Pass out copies or post (sup-7ess-2) and have students correct them on their own (15 minutes).
    Then go through them as a class (10 minutes). Ask what is wrong with the thesis and how it could be improved.
    Emphasize the fact that writing a thesis is a process and theses can and should be refined. So if their thesis is
    not perfect they can make it better. Or sometimes your thesis evolves with your paper.

    List of bad theses with *suggested corrections.

         1. Rizal is a famous Filipino who played an important role in the history of the Philippines.
         *Although Jose Rizal played a crucial role in the history of the Philippines, certain character traits make
         him unfit to be the Philippine national hero.

         2. Both Harry and Ron are both very brave heroes.
         *Harry and Ron’s heroism takes different forms not because they face different challenges, but because
         their approach to those challenges is different.

         3. Harry and Voldemort are connected against their will.
         *Harry’s connection to Voldemort is representative of his own internal struggle with himself.

         4. The characters of Harry Potter and Spiderman are good people.
         *Harry Potter and Spiderman are heroic not because of their abilities or powers, but of their acceptance of
         their heroic roles and responsibilities.

         5. Without imagery the story would be dull and boring. Imagery is what takes you to places when you read.
         *Imagery not only immerses the reader in Novel X but is used by the author to symbolize the inner struggle
         of the protagonist.

         6. Harry’s world not only believes in magic but actually uses it because it works.
         *While magic makes J.K. Rowling’s series exciting and unique, it removes it so far from reality that the
         lessons and values she presents fail to apply to most people’s lives.

    Activity 3: Break up into groups and have each group complete the missing section of an essay. (i.e. the group
    is given a body and conclusion and must write the introduction.)

         Sources and Resources: - ―How to Write an Essay – 10 Easy Steps‖ - Formulating a Thesis

          This is the first sentence and it must grab your attention in a way that generally introduces your topic.
These next few sentences lead in to your thesis by narrowing your topic down to your specific. That is the goal of
your introduction, to focus the reader’s thoughts down onto your specific topic. This final sentence in your
introduction is your thesis, the most important sentence in your paper because it contains your main point.
          This is the start of your body and this first sentence, the topic sentence in the first body paragraph,
summarizes the rest of this paragraph and links it back to the thesis. These next sentences support your topic
sentence with facts, evidence, or arguments. If you use arguments or information from other people –this is the place
to put them-- you need to quote or cite your sources. The last sentence here can pull your paragraph together, if
needed, or transition into the next paragraph by preparing the reader for your next idea or linking the two ideas in

Writing Workshop                                                                             Session 7: The Essay

―A word to the wise: the narrower (more specific, more focussed) your thesis is, the more likely it is that you will
write a good, sound, meaningful paper. Choosing the largest possible subject = writing the most superficial essay. If
your thesis does not force you to get into the poem up to your armpits, i.e., force you to quote specific passages and
explain them, you are in trouble.‖

Writing Workshop                                                                        Session 8: Poetry 101

                                                  Session 8
                                          Speak Your Mind: Poetry 101
Time: 2 hours

Session objectives:
    Dasmariñas National High School participants will be able to:
     Broaden their definition of poetry
     Create poetry both collaboratively and individually
     Experiment with a variety of writing techniques

    Poster with definition of poetry from Webster’s Dictionary (to be torn up)
    Poster with new definition of poetry
    Poster with ―Honeybees‖ by Paul Fleishmann


   So what is poetry? (put up sup-8poet-1)

    According to the Webster’s Dictionary, poetry is defined as:
        noun. Literary work in which special intensity is given to the expression of feelings and ideas by the
            use of distinctive style and rhythm; genre of literature

    (tear up definition poster, or at least take it down)

    Poetry Redefined
         Poetry is:
            Life. Art. Expression. You. Me. Music. Lyrics. Truth. A Mirror. A Moment. A lifetime. Honest.
            Raw. A dream. A nightmare. Anything. Everything. A voice. Fragmented thoughts. Crafting
            rhyme schemes out of thin air.
    ―How do you see it?‖

    May Lynn’s Tips:
        Keep it real.
        Keep it fresh.
        Evoke an emotion.

Lesson Proper:

    Activity 1: Found Poems

    1) In pairs, find a poster with a photograph. This will be your starting point.
    2) Look carefully at your photograph.
    3) In only a word or short phrase, write a description of the photograph.
    4) You cannot repeat what has already been written and you must write something down.
    5) When the teachers says ―switch,‖ rotate and move on to the next poster with your partner. Do this for
        several rotations.
    6) Finally, remain at this poster and observe your new photograph. Now, rearrange the words you have to
        create a poem for the photograph.
    7) Mag-share share kayo!

    Ideas to ponder:

Writing Workshop                                                                               Session 8: Poetry 101

   1) What do you see?
   2) What emotions do you feel?
   3) What is a clever way to describe what you see?

   Activity 2: Mirror Poems
   We will read “Honey Bees” and a student sample as an example of Mirror Poems.
   In pairs, students will create a dual-perspective poem, with individual and collective lines.
    Read ―Honeybees‖ by Paul Fleishman (sample mirror poem) (sup-8poet-2)


   Why do we need to use descriptive writing? How do we use it in poetry? Imagery!
   What is imagery?
   Visually descriptive or figurative language, especially in a literary work

   In plain English, it refers to using language that appeals to the five senses, which are:
   1) taste
   2) touch
   3) smell
   4) hearing
   5) sight

   Activity 3: Where I’m From Poems
   now it’s you’re turn to try… use imagery to recreate the feeling of your home and your heritage.
   Pass out or have students copy the “Where I’m From” poem template. (sup-8poet-4)

   do you wanna know what’s happening in my town?
   Songs are often poetry set to music.

   Some volunteers, please. Tell your audience ―where you’re from.‖

   How about a round of applause?

   more poetry exercises for you
   Today’s workshop aimed to get you thinking about poetry and begin experimenting with different styles. The
   poetry packet will provide you with more writing activities and ideas to continue experimenting with your
   creative writing.

   Presents para sa inyo. (pass out packet – sup-8poet-5)

Writing Workshop                                                              Session 9: Revision and Rewriting

                                                    Session 9
                                             Revision and Rewriting
Time: 1.5-2 hours

Lesson Objective:
     Students will practice the idea of ―constructive criticism‖ with their peers.
     Students will revise their fiction or nonfiction pieces using their own ideas and the feedback of their
     Students will experience writing as a continuous process.

Subject Matter:
    Final steps of the writing process.

    Students will need previous work, including a longer piece.


Note: Students should have at least one completed or substantial piece of writing for this session. If this is the final
session of a workshop, give students time to do some of their own writing either before this session or (ever better)
several times over the course of the workshop.


    Read this story:
        One afternoon two boys were walking through the forest when they heard a strange cry, shrill like a bird
        but somehow more human. They stopped still, and despite the heat of the day, the cry sent chills down their
        spines. They had never heard anything like it, and were terrified. It sounded like it came from a hollow tree
        up ahead. They advanced cautiously, eyes glued to the spot. Suddenly, the cry ripped through the air once
        more. The older boy bolted, scrambling back the way he had come. But the younger boy did not stop, he
        kept walking, slowly, deliberately, until he reached the log the noise had come from. Finally, he saw what
        was making the noise.

    Is this story done? (obviously not) What does it need? (an ending)

    Plants are essential for life without plants we is dead. People depends to plants for to eat. We eat fruits and
    vegetables not only rice also. I eat rice and fruit every day Saturday my mother will market and buy delicious
    fruits to my family. That why plants is good.

    Is this report on plants done? (no) Is it finished? (yes) Then why isn’t it done? (because it has lots of mistakes)
    When is a piece of writing ―done‖? When you get to the end? After you do a draft and then a final copy? When
    you get tired of writing? When your teacher says so? Never? (get student feedback)

Lesson Proper:

    A piece of writing is done when it works, and when it works depends on its purpose. A resume might never be
    finished—you might change it every time you apply for a new job. But a letter or a text to a friend might be
    finished as soon as you get to the end.

    In this lesson we are going to talk about what to do after you get to the end. The writing does not stop there –in
    many cases it’s barely begun.

    What to do after you get to the end:
     Read it again
     Read it out loud

Writing Workshop                                                            Session 9: Revision and Rewriting

      Have someone else read it
      Read it again the next day or the next week.

   When you are rereading your writing, check for several things:
    Misspellings
    Incorrect grammar
    Awkward sentences
          o reading aloud and waiting a day helps for this
    Smooth flow
          o It’s not uncommon to move around words, sentences, and even whole paragraphs when editing
               writing. Just make sure to check your grammar again afterward.

   Activity 1: Have students spend 10-15 minutes checking their own writing.

   Now students are going to read each other’s work.

   Say: Peer feedback, or having your classmates help you edit and improve your writing, is a good way to not
   only make your pieces of writing better, but also to become a better writer. But giving and asking for feedback
   is a powerful tool, and unhealthy feedback can hurt both the writing and the writer. Aside from simple grammar
   and spelling mistakes, you may be afraid to point out problems in a classmates writing. It’s important to
   understand that everyone is here in this class to become a better writer, and if you worry too much about other
   people’s feelings they may miss out on ways of becoming a stronger writer. In other words, how can we
   improve if we don’t know what to improve? And if you are the one being given feedback, don’t worry if your
   writing is not perfect. Nobody’s is.

   On the other hand, feedback can be given in many different ways, and some are often better than others. Start
   out by pointing out strengths—what you liked, what they did well. If there is something you didn’t like about
   the story, you can still state it in a positive way. For example, instead of saying ―that character was badly
   written‖, you can say ―I thought you could have added a bit more background to that character’s life in the
   story‖. Other tactics:
   *be specific, not vague. Sweeping generalizations about a piece of writing are rarely as helpful as a specific
   *describe real emotions or experiences you had during the reading (―I was surprised when you started talking
   about this topic in paragraph 4, because I didn’t see how it connected to paragraph 3. It confused me for a

   Even so, many people can be at a loss to provide helpful feedback even if they didn’t like the writing all that
   much, either because they are shy or because they can’t put a finger on why they didn’t like it. One way to get
   around this is for the writer to ask questions in such a way that the person giving feedback feels comfortable
   admitting they didn’t like parts. For example: ―Did you feel like Character X was believable? I had trouble
   writing him and I never felt entirely comfortable with his dialogue.‖

   For giving feedback:
   -worry about feelings of the writer but don’t let it stop you from telling them things they need to hear.

Writing Workshop                                                   Appendix A: Supplementary Materials

sup-2fund-1 (template; put up on board for students to copy)

Title                        Plot                         Change/Conflict        Resolution




Writing Workshop                                               Appendix A: Supplementary Materials

sup-2fund-2 (poster)

    Art                                             Craft
    Experience and earned. Truth, beauty, stuff.    Theory, Structure, grammar, technique, style
    This is the stuff that matters.                 voice
    Gift                                            Package

Writing Workshop                                                     Appendix A: Supplementary Materials

sup-3ex-1 (poster or handout)

Outline Examples for Different Expository Writing Formats

       Cause and Effect (format 1)
        Ex: Issues with Fossil Fuel Based Transportation
             o Introduction
             o Body
                      C1 -> E1
                                Fossil fuels will run out -> prices will rise, system will have to change in 20-50
                      C2 -> E2.1 and 2.2
                                Fossil fuels pollute -> health problems; global warming
                      C3 -> E3
                                Insufficient road capacity -> waste of time, productivity
                      Etc…
             o Conclusion
       Cause and Effect (format 2)
        Ex: Global Warming
             o Introduction
             o Body
                      C1, C2, C3 -> Issue
                                Factory production; destruction of forests; air and road transporation -> (rise in
                                   CO2 traps heat) -> Global Warming
                      Issue -> E1, E2, E3
                                Global Warming -> Ice caps melt and seas rise; Coral dies; weather patterns
                                   change and habitats destroyed
             o Conclusion
       Problem and Solution
        Ex: Global Warming
             o Introduction
             o Body
                      Problem
                                Explain why it’s bad (oceans rise, habitats destroyed)
                                Explain causes (rise in CO2 because of human emissions traps heat)
                      Solution
                                Explain one or more solution to problem (reduce emissions)
                                Discuss practicality, how solution can take place (need political will)
             o Conclusion
       Pro and Con
       Ex: Solutions to Global Warming
             o Introduction
                      Summarize why global warming is a problem and requires action
             o Body
                      Solution 1 Pros
                      Solution 1 Cons
                      Solution 2 Pros
                      Solution 2 Cons
             o Conclusion
                      Summarize important points and state best choice of action

Writing Workshop                                                       Appendix A: Supplementary Materials

sup-3ex-2 (handout or poster)
Basic scenarios in which groups can pick which would be the best writing style for each situation:

1. Your boss wants you to investigate why sales have been low for the past quarter so that marketing can come up
with solutions.
2. You and your fiancé have thought about trying to build a house but it might be better to rent for a while first.
3. Your farm is trying to decide whether to use chemical or organic fertilizers.
4. You are a medical laboratory testing a new drug.
5. The mayor has asked you to solve the traffic congestion problem in your city.
6. You are General Douglas MacArthur and you must decided whether to land in the Visayas or on Luzon as you
attempt to fight back the Japanese.
7. Many of your classmates are having trouble with the material in one of your classes, and your teacher asks for
ideas about what is wrong and what could be done differently.
8. You are a historian trying to figure out why the Philippine revolution of 1898 was unsuccessful.
9. You can’t decide between cheese and ube flavored ice cream.

Writing Workshop                                                         Appendix A: Supplementary Materials

sup-4sum-1 (stories to summarize; write large or pass out to students)

Writing Workshop                                                      Appendix A: Supplementary Materials

sup-6char-1 (poster)

Character Vocabulary (LOOK THIS UP ONLINE)

       Narrator: unreliable narrator
       Point-of-view character: The character from whose perspective (theme) the audience experiences the story.
        This is the character that represents the point of view the audience will empathize, or at the very least,
        sympathize with. Therefore this is the "Main" Character.
       Protagonist: The driver of the action of the story and therefore responsible for achieving the story's
        Objective Story Goal (the surface journey). In western storytelling tradition the Protagonist is usually the
        Main Character.
       Antagonist: The character that stands in opposition to the protagonist.
       Foil: The character that contrasts to the protagonist in a way that illuminates their personality or
       Static: A character who does not change very much during the story.
       Dynamic: A character who changes significantly during the story.
       Supporting character: A character that plays a part in the plot, but is not major.
       Minor character: A character who only has a small role in the plot

Writing Workshop                                                      Appendix A: Supplementary Materials


On one piece of manila paper or on the chalkboard, make an outline/chart like this:

The Essay

Section and Content:                | Purpose:
____________________________        |______________________________________________
1) ____________________             | Get people interested, give context and state your point
    a) ____________________         |
    b) ____________________         |
    c) ____________________         |______________________________________________
2) ____________________             | Support your point
    a) ____________________         |
    b) ____________________         |
    c) ____________________         |______________________________________________
3) ____________________             | Restate your point and say what it means or why it’s important
    a) ____________________         |
    b) ____________________         |
    c) ____________________         |______________________________________________

Make strips of paper that can be taped into position on the above blank outline. Write the following sections on them
and then shuffle the pile:

Introduction, Hook, Leading statements, Thesis, Body, Topic Sentences, Supporting points, Transition sentences,
Conclusion, Restatement of argument, Concluding statement, Implications of thesis

Writing Workshop                                                       Appendix A: Supplementary Materials

sup-7ess-2 (poster or handout)
List of bad theses.

    1.   Rizal is a famous Filipino who played an important role in the history of the Philippines.

    2.   Both Harry and Ron are both very brave heroes.

    3.   Harry and Voldemort are connected against their will.

    4.   The characters of Harry Potter and Spiderman are good people.

    5.   Without imagery the story would be dull and boring. Imagery is what takes you to places when you read.

    6.   Harry’s world not only believes in magic but actually uses it because it works.

Writing Workshop                                                        Appendix A: Supplementary Materials

sup-8poet-1 (poster)

Definition of Poetry from Webster’s Dictionary

Poetry - noun. Literary work in which special intensity is given to the expression of feelings and ideas by the use of
distinctive style and rhythm; genre of literature

Writing Workshop                                                     Appendix A: Supplementary Materials

sup-8poet-2 (poster or handout)

―Honeybees‖ by Paul Fleishman

Being a bee                             Being a bee
                                        is a joy
is a pain
                                        I am a queen.
I am a worker.
I’ll gladly explain.                    I’ll gladly explain.
                                        Upon rising, I’m fed
                                        By my royal attendants
I’m up at dawn, guarding
the hive’s narrow entrance
                                        I’m bathed
then I take out
the hive’s morning trash
                                        then I’m groomed.
Then I put in an hour
making wax,
without two minute’s time
to sit and relax.
                                        The rest of my day
                                        is quite simple set forth:
Then I might collect nectar
from the field
three miles north
                                        I lay eggs
Or perhaps I’m on
Larval detail.
                                        I’m loved and I’m lauded
                                        I’m outranked by none.
feeding grubs,
in their cells,
wishing I were still
helpless and pale.
Then I pack combs with
pollen – not my idea of fun.
                                        When I’ve done
                                        enough laying
Then weary I strive
                                        I retire
To patch any cracks
in the hive.
                                        for the rest of the day.
Then I build some new cells
slaving away at enlarging this Hell,
dreading the site of another sunrise,
wondering why we don’t all unionize.
Truly a bee’s is                        Truly a bee’s is
the worst                               the best
of all lives.                           of all lives.

Writing Workshop                                 Appendix A: Supplementary Materials

sup-8poet-3 (poster)

Sample ―where i’m from‖ poem:

―Where I’m From‖ by George Ella Lyon

I am from clothespins,
from Clorox and carbon-tetracholoride.
I am from the dirt under the back porch.
(Black, glistening
it tasted like beets.)
I am from the forsythia bush,
the Dutch elm
whose long gone limbs I remember
as if they were my own.

I’m from fudge and eyeglasses,
         From Imogene to Alafair.
I’m from the know-it-alls
         And the pass-it-ons,
from Perk up and Pipe down!
I’m from He restoreth my soul
with a cottonball lamb
and ten verses I can say myself.

I am from Artemus and Billie’s Branch,
fried corn and strong coffee.
From the finger my grandfather lost
to the auger
the eye my father shut to keep his sight.

Under my bed was a dress box
spilling old pictures,
a sift of lost faces
to drift beneath my dreams.
I am from the moments –
snapped before I budded –
leaf-fall from the family tree.

Writing Workshop                                                     Appendix A: Supplementary Materials

sup-8poet-4 (poster or handout)

The ―Where I’m From‖ Template

I am from _______ (specific ordinary item), from _______ (product name) and _______.
I am from the _______ (home description... adjective, adjective, sensory detail).
I am from the _______ (plant, flower, natural item), the _______ (plant, flower, natural detail)
I am from _______ (family tradition) and _______ (family trait), from _______ (name of family member) and
_______ (another family name) and _______ (family name).
I am from the _______ (description of family tendency) and _______ (another one).
From _______ (something you were told as a child) and _______ (another).
I am from (representation of religion, or lack of it). Further description.
I'm from _______ (place of birth and family ancestry), _______ (two food items representing your family).
From the _______ (specific family story about a specific person and detail), the _______ (another detail, and the
_______ (another detail about another family member).
I am from _______ (location of family pictures, mementos, archives and several more lines indicating their worth).

Writing Workshop        Appendix A: Supplementary Materials

Poetry Packet


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