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A Chapter Book Writing Lesson from WritingFix
Focus Trait: VOICE Support Trait: IDEA DEVELOPMENT

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Students: Publish your writing to this prompt on-line

Teachers: Discuss how you used this lesson on-line

This Lesson's Title:

Death Personified
(or Life, Have a Seat...
We Need to Talk

creating an original poem based on a creative dialogue with an abstract idea or object

This lesson was built for WritingFix by Northern Nevada Writing Project Consultant Rob Stone during an AT&T-sponsored in-service class for teachers.

The intended "mentor text" to be used when teaching this on-line lesson is the chapter book The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Before writing, students should listen to and discuss the writing style of this book's author.

Check out The Book Thief at

If you are a Washoe County teacher, click here to search for this book at the county library.

Three-Sentence Overview of this Lesson:

In his poem, “Death Be Not Proud,” John Donne sits cold, arrogant Death down for a good ol’ fashioned talkin’to…but Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief gives death a much more compassionate and warm persona. After comparing and contrasting the message and tone of these two mentor texts, students will choose their own object or idea that needs something important said to it and write a poem full of voice and strong ideas. Using poetic devices such as personification, tone and metaphorical language, students will look at their topic (and themselves) in a different and deeper way and clearly convey that message to the reader of their poem.

6-Trait Overview for this Lesson:

This lesson’s focus trait is voice because student writers will develop and convey a strong tone or mood toward their topic. It is imperative that students choose something they care about for authentic voice to emerge from their poetry. Since the message being conveyed from writer to topic will drive the poetry, the support trait for this lesson is idea development. Students will focus on the unique, quality details of their topic which will be the basis of their dialogue with it.

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