An I-Pod Inspired Writing Lesson from WritingFix

Navigating WritingFix:

WritingFix Homepage

I-Pod Lesson Collection

Poetry Lesson Collection


Navigating this lesson:

Lesson & 6-Trait Overview

Student Instructions

Teacher Instructions & Lesson Resources

Student Writing Samples from this Lesson


On-line Publishing:

Publish your students' yestreday, today, tomorrow poems at our Ning!
(You must be a member of our "Writing Lesson of the Month" ning to post.)


Teacher's Guide:

Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow Poems

Comparing three songs with symbolic meanings about the past, present and future

This lesson was created by Northern Nevada Writing Project Consultant Rob Stone. If you're interested in using music in the classroom, you can join Rob's Music Inspires Writing! Ning.

This writing prompt inspired by

"Yesterday" originally sung by the Beatles, as well as two other songs.

Click here to do a Google search for the lyrics.

A note for teacher users: These lessons are posted so that you may borrow ideas from them, but our intention in providing this resource is not to give teachers a word-for-word script to follow. Please, use this lesson's big ideas but adapt everything else. And adapt it recklessly; that's how you become an authentic writing teacher.

Teacher Instructions & Lesson Resources:

Pre-step…before sharing the song List the concepts yesterday, today and tomorrow on the board or have the students write them down. As a class or in small groups quickly brainstorm words associated with each concept (i.e. tomorrow=goals, future, hope).

Talk about how each of the three words symbolically represents lots of bigger ideas and how the past, present and future are rich areas to explore human thoughts, feelings and experiences. See if the class can list 3-5 movies, books, children’s stories, historical events, songs, etc. that convey a message about the past, present or future. (i.e. Dead Poet’s Society - “Seize the Day, Carpe Diem”)

Step one…sharing the song and other inspiring media:  Play the three songs:

  • “Yesterday” by the Beatles (click here for a lyrics search)
  • Today” by the Smashing Pumpkins (click here for a lyrics search)
  • and “Tomorrow”, from the Annie Soundtrack (click here for a lyrics search)

Guide the students through filling out this graphic organizer. They will be exploring the symbolism used in each song and comparing it to their own ideas and experiences. Help them find effective idea development and word choice in each song since those are the focus and support traits for this lesson.

Step two…introducing student models of writing:  In small groups, have your students read and respond to any or all of the student models that come with this lesson.  The groups will certainly talk about the idea development, since it's the focus of the lesson, but y ou might prompt your students to talk about each model's word choice as well.

WritingFix Safely Publishes Students from Around the World! In 2008, we first began accepting students samples from teachers anywhere who use this lesson. Hundreds of new published students now go up at our site annually!

We're currently looking for student samples for other grade levels for this lesson!  Help us obtain some from your students, and we'll send you a free resource for your classroom!  Visit this lesson's student samples page for details.

Step three…thinking, talking, and pre-writing:  Once the students have interacted with the three concepts by exploring their own ideas and experiences as well as those represented in the songs, they will find a different perspective to represent in an original piece of writing. Have them choose a character from the novel you are reading, a historical figure you are studying or another applicable person depending on your discipline. The only guideline is that it is someone that has something important to say about their own past, present and future. Students will be trying to capture their perspective and relate it to the symbolic meanings discussed so far.

From Rob Stone: "I think great options come from people in transition (i.e. coming of age, pursuing a dream, facing a setback or challenge, etc.) Some ideas might include: George at the end of Of Mice and Men, Abraham Lincoln, Tom Joad in Grapes of Wrath, Julius Caesar as his life bleeds out of him, Atticus Finch just after the verdict is read, Macbeth, Martin Luther King, Jr., Romeo and Juliet, Call of the Wild, Diary of Anne Frank, the Founding Fathers, etc., etc., etc. The list is virtually endless as so much of history and literature reflects upon concepts like…learning from the past, seizing the present, embracing hope and change from the future. Something you are doing right now in your class applies to this lesson!"

Students can write about the perspective of their character using a variety of formats. Browse the "interactive button” on the student instructions page and see if there are any formats that you might recommend for your students.

To promote deeper thinking about the trait of idea development as they write, you might have your students use this idea development drafting sheet, which requires them to think specifically about idea development qualities before, during, and after writing.

Share Original Graphic Organizers (for Pre-Writing)
from Your Teaching Toolbox.

We share graphic organizers with our peers, we find them in books, and we think we should also be able to find tried-and-true ones online at WritingFix. This year, if you create an original graphic organizer (or adapt one of ours) when you teach this page's lesson, and post it, we might just end up publishing it directly here at WritingFix, and we will post it here, giving you full credit.

  • Original graphic organizers for specific lessons, like this one, can be submitted as an attachment at this link. Look for the "Reply to this Box" beneath the post. To be able to post, you will need to be a member of our free Writing Lesson of the Month Network.

Step four (revising with specific trait language):   To promote response and revision to rough draft writing, attach WritingFix's Revision and Response Post-it® Note-sized templates to your students' drafts.  Make sure the students rank their use of the trait-specific skills on the Post-it® Note-sized templates, which means they'll only have one "1" and one "5."   Have them commit to ideas for revision based on their Post-It rankings.  For more ideas on WritingFix's Revision & Response Post-it® Note-sized templates, click here.

Share Original Revision Techniques or
Adaptations from Your Toolbox.

Inspired by Barry Lane's Reviser's Toolbox, the WritingFix website encourages its teacher users to adapt our lessons, especially the tools of revision we have posted here. If you create an original revision tool (or adapt one of ours) when you teach this page's lesson, and post it, we might just end up publishing it directly here at WritingFix, and we will post it here, giving you full credit.

  • Original revision ideas from teacher users of WritingFix can be submitted through copy/paste or as an attachment at this link. Look for the "Reply to this Box" beneath the post. To be able to post, you will need to be a member of our free Writing Lesson of the Month Network.

Step five (editing for conventions):  After students apply their revision ideas to their drafts and re-write neatly, require them to find an editor.   If you've established a "Community of Editors" among your students, have each student exchange his/her paper with multiple peers.  With yellow high-lighters in hand, each peer reads for and highlights suspected errors for just one item from the Editing Post-it.  The "Community of Editors" idea is just one of dozens and dozens of inspiring ideas that is talked about in detail in the Northern Nevada Writing Project's Going Deep with 6 Trait Language Workbook for Teachers.

Step six (publishing for the portfolio): The goal of most lessons posted at WritingFix is that students end up with a piece of writing they like, and that their writing was taken through all steps of the writing process. After revising, invite your students to come back to this piece once more during an upcoming writer's workshop block.  The writing started with this lesson might become even more polished for final placement in the portfolio, or the big ideas being written about here might transform into a completely different piece of writing. Most likely, your students will enjoy creating an illustration for this writing as they ready to place final drafts in their portfolios.

Interested in publishing student work on-line? You might earn a free classroom resource from the NNWP! We invite teachers to teach this lesson completely, then share up to three of their students' best revised and edited samples at our ning's Publish Student Writers group.

To submit student samples for this page's lesson, click here. You won't be able to post unless you are a verified member of this site's Writing Lesson of the Month ning.

Learn more about The Beatles, The Smashing Pumpkins or the Musical Annie by clicking on their names!

WritingFix Homepage Lesson & 6-Trait Overview   Student Instructions
Teacher Instructions & Lesson Resources  Student Writing Samples

© WritingFix. All rights reserved.