Tag Archives: Narrative

Education Vignettes (The Wire and Alexie)

Education Vignettes Guidelines

Education Vignettes Revision Workshop

Shared by Elizabeth Baldridge

For their first major writing assignment, students are asked to deliver snapshots of their educational experiences, like those bits we see in early episodes of The Wire (season 4) or in Sherman Alexie’s “Indian Education.” I’m also including here the revision workshop students complete after a peer evaluation workshop and peer evaluation letter.


Filed under Assignments

This I Believe Assignment Sequence

TIB Assignment Sequence

Rubric for TIB 3a 

Rubric for TIB 3b

Rubric for TIB 3c 

Shared by Karen Henderson

This assignment sequence we work on for about a month at the end of the semester. I use the This I Believe essays as models and ask students to write their own. I subsequently publish a hardbound book of student essays each year, which is my way of making the audience more authentic. Not every student chooses to be published, and it’s just an option not mandatory. The revision process comes from forcing them to think of the “one paper” as three separate papers, starting small, expanding, and then editing back. It does take quite a long time, but it allows me to model and scaffold learning, and the students do a lot of group work, so they see how their classmates’ papers come alive and become really nice writing. It’s a great way to end the semester, and I hope it changes their attitudes toward revision and group work.


Filed under Assignments

Narrative Collage

Narrative Collage

Worksheet for Indian Education

Student Samples

Shared by Jacque Wilson-Jordan

This is a narrative collage. I’ve used the assignment for years, and the students love it. In addition to the assignment sheet, there is a worksheet based on an analysis of Sherman Alexie’s “Indian Education” (from *The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven*) and two award-winning student models of the collage.

Leave a comment

Filed under Assignments

Six-credit Reading and Writing Course


Unit Project One — Education Autobiography

Unit Project Two — Placeography

Unit Project Three — Education Narrative

Unit Project Four — Argument

Unit Project 5 — I-Search

Shared by Jeremy Branstad

I follow a pretty traditional assignment sequence by transitioning from experience-based writing to source-based writing as the semester progresses. Students really seem to enjoy the placeography (unit 2), literacy narrative (unit 3) and i-search paper (unit 5) assignments. I’ll probably cut the fourth unit to make time for other things, maybe an audio essay, if I run the course again. I’m told that my assignments can look like a bit of a bear, at least in comparison to what students in my course levels at community colleges are sometimes assigned. I’m a pretty friendly person and I run safe, relaxed, and portfolio-based courses were students are encouraged to take risks, make mistakes, and grow.

Leave a comment

Filed under Whole-Course Packages

Name Game

The Name Game

Wach’s “What’s in a Name?

Shared by Sarah Alexander Tsai

By investigating the origins and meanings of their own names, students learn how to blend primary research (especially personal interviews) with focused personal narrative.  Since this fairly low-stakes assignment also functions nicely as a community builder, I like to assign it early on.  Recommended accompanying readings for this assignment are as follows:

  • Bonnie Wach’s “What’s in a Name?”
  • Tom Rosenberg’s “Changing My Name after Sixty Years”
  • Sandra Cisneros’ “My Name”


Filed under Assignments

The Egg Drop

The Egg Drop

Shared by Sarah Alderfer

With inspiration from/credit to Marissa Bailey

I use this activity to give students practice using descriptive and narrative techniques and to demonstrate how perspective affects the story being told.

Leave a comment

Filed under Activities

Four Visitors Unit

Descriptive Writing Chart

Four Visitors Assignment Sheet

Four Visitors Peer Review Sheet

Going Somewhere Sample

Questions for Going Somewhere

Shared by Jessica Weleski

I use this Four Visitors assignment at the beginning of the semester to help my students learn narrative structure and to allow them to have some fun with writing. As we lead up to the writing of the story, we talk about narrative structure and pacing, descriptive writing, and punctuation of dialogue (in preparation for punctuating research quotes). Since the story isn’t about the students’ own lives, I find that sometimes the peer review is a little less threatening. Each of the students in a peer review group can help envision ideas to make the characters of the story even more zany when they appear in the final draft.

Leave a comment

Filed under Assignments

Slow and Show

Slow and Show

Shared by Elizabeth Baldridge

This handout explains two important tools for good narrative writing:  pacing and showing (instead of just telling).

Leave a comment

Filed under Handouts