Your High School English Class: Let Teens Learn to Write Using the Topic of Conflict

Conflict: Something Teens Know

Teenagers are often mired in conflict; it is a subject matter they often know too well. Their relationships are stormy due to the uncertainty of their futures and out of control egos and hormones. Their families may also be experiencing a lot of conflict. The divorce rate is high in today's world, and teenagers have to grapple with a lot of conflict going on at home.

Thus discussing and writing about conflict is good for students. It is cathartic and gives them a chance to discuss what they are experiencing in real life. Teenagers feel anger but they do not know how to handle it. Their conflicts tend to escalate as they do not have good negotiation skills or a well-honed ability to walk away from a bad relationship.

Implementing Articles about How to Handle Conflict

Start this lesson by sharing some articles about handling conflict in relationships and in business. Teenagers benefit greatly by reading about conflict resolution tips. They find the strategies discussed helpful and start to gain maturity by utilizing more discussion in their relationships and quelling turmoil as it arises. Pick articles to use that were written by psychologists, psychiatrists, or relationship experts.

Discuss Examples of Conflict

Ask for volunteers to discuss which tips from the articles seem helpful. Also ask if anyone has had to end a relationship due to excess conflict. Give the class time to analyze the existence of conflict in their lives. Ask students to write a phrase on the board about a specific conflict they have experienced.

Read the First Page of Stories about Conflict

Then give the class handouts consisting of the first page of several short stories that deal with conflicts. Ask them to read a few of them on their own quietly. Once they have had time to read, ask volunteers to read aloud the first paragraph of the story they found most interesting.

Analyze Literary Techniques

Discuss the literary techniques used in the first paragraphs. Is hyperbole used? Is foreshadowing used to predict future events in the story? Is imagery used? Discuss examples of any literary techniques. Also ask volunteers to predict the outcome of the story based on the conflict presented in the early part of the story.

Start Writing about Conflict

Ask students to brainstorm ideas for a story about conflict. Tell them to draw three circles on a blank sheet of paper. In one circle list at least two names for characters. In another circle list five details about the setting. In the third circle list several conflicts the characters are experiencing.

Peer Review of Story Idea

Circulate throughout the room and give students feedback about their ideas. Then ask the class to share their ideas with a partner. Discuss the story they are planning to write and ask the other student for feedback on their ideas.

Write the Introduction

Discuss the writing rubric that will be used to grade this assignment. Then instruct students to begin writing the introductory paragraph for a story about conflict. Instruct them that the characters should be introduced at the start of the story and so should the conflict they are experiencing. Tell students to create a three-paragraph introduction to a story about conflict.

Remind the class to use vivid language in their writing and to incorporate use of the literary devices they have been studying such as foreshadowing, imagery, hyperbole, and similes.

Assess Student Progress

Grade the student assignments via checking to see if they have followed the writing standards listed on the rubric. Also analyze the writing skill and the use of literary techniques. Ensure that the assignment is a full three paragraphs and includes the character names and a description of their conflict.