|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.
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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
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