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Getting a Different Point of View About Literature
I was excited about teaching my favorite novel. I was the only one.
"So class what do you think?"
"This story sucks!" said Frank Neverread.
"Why?" I asked
"It just does."
"I don't know."
In fact, nobody knew. In frustration, I slammed a pencil into my skull, knocked myself out, and dreamed about Matlock. Matlock told me that using point of view activities when teaching about literature might help. "In court," he said, "We rely on eyewitness accounts. You could do a creative writing assignment and have students write an eyewitness account of an important event."
I woke up hours later, classroom empty. I saw some papers on my desk. At the top was written Creative Writing Assignment: An Eyewitness Account.
I now share my inspired lesson plan with you.
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Writing an Eyewitness Account
Assignment: Pretend you have just witnessed an important incident in a novel, play, or short story you have just finished. Write a journal entry describing your observations.
- Prewriting - Brainstorm a list of important events from the novel. Make note of memorable, vivid incidents. Some examples include Lennie getting blasted in the back of the head by George in Of Mice and Men, Frankenstein's monster strangling Frankenstein's bride, Julius Caesar getting slashed by conspirators, or the frog jumping contest in Mark Twain's "Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County."
- Prewriting - Choose a character that could provide an interesting viewpoint on the event. You may even wish to create a character not involved in the story.
- Prewriting - Outline cause and effect.
- Prewriting - Use first person point of view. Remember that you are a character in the story. you cannot read minds.
- Drafting - Use your cause and effect outline as a guide. Explain what happens in a logical manner. Use cause and effect transitions (because, therefore, as a result, consequently) to make your writing clear.
- Drafting - Add personal commentary. This is a journal/diary entry. It should include personal feelings and reactions to the event.
- Revising - Compare your account with the actual incident. Make sure the two are consistent.
- Revising - Add details. Your account should be believable. Details make it so.
- Revising - Make sure your version is in the proper sequence, is consistently told with first person point of view, has personal reactions, details, and clearly indicated causes and effects.
- Teaching experience.