Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Apocalypse is Approaching: A Lesson for Writer's Workshop

Download the free lesson on my Teachers Pay Teachers store!

Whenever Halloween time rolls around, I always find our Creative Writing club and classes looking for themed writing.  I, personally, cringe at the cliched themes for this time of year, but this time, I think we came across something pretty interesting...the apocalypse.

So a little bit about our club first.  My colleague Tara and I run The Ink (creative writing club).  We are a club that meets twice a month - once for a writing workshop lesson and a second time for an open mic night.  The club has been through several other formats and configurations, and we have found that this one works best for us.

So I thought I'd share with you, my loyal, faithful readers, the lesson plan we designed for our writing workshop this coming Thursday.  I've created a nice, clean, and FREE lesson plan with all docs that you can grab on my TpT Store - Mud and Ink..

Part 1 - The Mindmap Jigsaw Apocalypse

  • Divide your students into several groups.  Each group will receive a different "type" of apocalypse to brainstorm about. 
  • Distribute materials to the appropriate groups.  Instruct students to skim through the images, videos, and articles looking for language and images that spark their interest and might make its way into a piece of writing.  "Types" of apocalypse scenarios we brainstormed include:
    • Nuclear
    • Environmental/natural disaster
    • Personal (the "end" of my life as I know it - a breakup, graduating high school, etc.)
    • Zombie
    • Political
    • Biblical
    • Doomsday prophecies
  • Students should record their ideas in a mindmap format (or whatever other format you like)
Part 2 - Whole Group Mindmap:  Bringing the Jigsaw together
  • Bring your crew back together.
  • You, or a student leader, can direct a discussion where each group shares the type of apocalypse they studied.  
  • Take notes on the discussion in a giant mind map combining the ideas, language, and images presented by each group.
Part 3 - The Mentor Text
  • In creative writing, Tara and I have found it fundamental to start every writing task with a writing mentor (thank you Jeff Anderson!)
  • Distribute copies of a mentor text that you like.  The mentor can be thematically connected or stylistically connected to your lesson - whichever applies to what you want to teach!
  • We found this super cool poem from Scott Hightower called Apocalypse Soliloquy.  
  • Read and discuss the poem with your kiddos!
Part 4 - Writing Time
  • Using all of the brainstorming from the mindmaps and the mentor text, turn the kids loose.  Give them about 8-10 minutes to write on an idea or image that they feel strongly about from the day's worth of discussions.  If you're working with a group or reluctant writers (my group are all in a club for writing...they're my amazing word nerds, so there's no pulling teeth here!), send me a note and we can brainstorm some more specific directions! ;-)
  • SHARE!  Always ask your students to share.  We give snaps for lines we love when the students are reading.
  • Keep writing.  Keep writing.  Keep writing

I hope you give it a try!  Shoot me a tweet @misscordes324 or an email at amandacordes1@gmail.com and let me know how it goes!

Keep truckin, friends!


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