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Writing Assignments on Thought Provoking Quotes
Looking for a fun writing project for your high school class? Try a project analyzing and writing about thought-provoking quotes. This project is best when students sit in groups. This allows them to discuss the quotes with their peers and hear a variety of opinions about the meaning of each quote.
Begin the lesson by discussing some quotes together as a class. Then ask several students to share their opinions about the meanings of at least one quote. Also, discuss how each quote sends a message, and then ask students to write their own quote based on one of the quotes the class just discussed.
I usually use quotes that talk about finding joy and happiness, friends, love, the importance of kindness, the focus of a career in life, exploring the world, and other topics of interest. Use a wide range of topics for the quotes. This ensures that most students will find some quotes they are able to relate to.
Then move students into groups and either put some quotes on the blackboard or overhead or hand out Xeroxes of pages of quotes. Let student discuss the quotes in groups. Ask them to talk about whether or not they agree with the opinion presented in the quote.
Next students will write two paragraphs to describe what one of the quotes means to them and to describe if they agree with the opinion presented in the quote. Tell students to be specific and give an opinion about the meaning of the quote and stick with it.
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Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness you are able to give.
There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.
A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.
Friendship doubles joy and halves grief.
Happiness is a state of activity.
Nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own.
Pleasure in moderation relaxes and tempers the spirit.
Bless the good natured, for they bless everybody else.
Nine-tenths of wisdom consists in being wise in time.
My candle burns at both ends: it will not last the night; but ah, my foes, and oh, my friends –it gives a lovely light.
Edna St. Vincent Millay
Live with no time out.
Simone De Beauvoir
The most wasted day of all is that in which we have not laughed.
There are only two ways to live your life. One is though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.
I celebrate myself, and sing myself, I loaf and invite my soul.
We make a living from what we get. We make a life from what we give. What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world is immortal.
Not what you do, but how you do what you do, determines whether you are fulfilling your destiny.
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To assess student work on this project first give them a grade for participation in the class discussion about quotes. Then grade the writing assignment for clarity of thought and writing skill.
As a follow-up activity use the same quotes to help students learn to write dialogue. Tell them to write the quote at the start of the assignment and then write dialogue for two teenagers discussing the meaning of the quote or having an experience that relates to the quote. Tell students to be creative and create unique scenes with interesting dialogue.
Another idea for using the quotes includes writing a song inspired by the quote. Students could use the theme of the quote, a word or two from the quote or the tone of the quote to find inspiration for a song idea.
- Choosing Happiness: Keys to a Joyful Life by Alexandra Stoddard, 2002, HarperCollins Books, New York.