So far, you’ve read four personal history essays: “A Primer on the Punctuation of Heart Disease,” “The Chase,” “Me Talk Pretty,” and “The Other Education.”
On Thursday and Friday this week, you’ll work in your groups to discuss a few more personal history essays. Choose three essays from those listed below: two that you’ll read and discuss in your groups together and one that you will read and respond to on your own.
- “Difficult Girl” by Lena Dunham
- “Holding the T” by Tad Friend
- “Now We are Six” OR “Us and Them” by David Sedaris
- “Teacher Man” by Frank McCourt
- “I Am Not an Athlete” by Mindy Kaling
- “Just Walk On By” by Brent Staples
Each essay offers something different in terms of personal history. No matter which essay you choose to read—together or on your own—pay attention to the qualities of effective writing that each essay possesses. Notice the specific ways in which each writer approaches the Six Traits. How do they present their ideas? What types of content are included? How are the essays organized? How do the ideas unfold and why? Why this anecdote at this particular moment in the essay? How does the writer’s voice come through? How are the writer’s “fingerprints” all over this essay? How does the writer clarify ideas with specific choices in words? How do the sentences enliven the writer’s ideas? What does the essay sound like? Can you comment on its pacing? Its tone?
Although you’re only required to read and write about three of the essays, I would highly recommend reading all of them! After all, I hand-selected each one especially for you. 🙂 Not only is each one well-written, you never know which one might inspire you as you write your own personal history essay. Use the essays to garner ideas for your own.
WEDNESDAY, 2/3 | In your groups, preview the essays. Decide which essay you will read on Wednesday night for discussion in class on Thursday. Ditto for Friday’s class. Period 2: Blog/comments due Thursday by 11:59 p.m.
THURSDAY, 2/4 | Using the Six Traits as a guide, discuss your group’s first essay. Add to your annotations, take notes in your notebooks. Writing Conferences. HW: Type up a 1-2 paragraph analysis/reflection of one of the traits as it appears in the essay. Cite the text and discuss its effectiveness. Reflect on how you might use something the writer does in your own writing. Note: Do not print yet; you’ll add your analysis of essays 2 and 3 to this document over the weekend.
FRIDAY, 2/5 | Same as Thursday, but with your group’s second essay. Writing Conferences. HW: Also the same as Thursday; add your analysis to existing document.
WEEKEND, 2/6-2/7 | Choose a third essay and write up another analysis to add to the previous two. Turn this document in on Monday. DUE MONDAY: Typed Traits Analysis of three essays plus a “Down draft” of Personal History Essay (in notebook is fine). Period 1: Blog/comments due Monday by 11:59 p.m.
MONDAY, 2/8 | Collect Traits Analyses. In class: Focus on Organization Mini-Lessons
TUESDAY-WEDNESDAY, 2/9-2/10 | Vocab Quiz 8. Draft Personal History Essay in class. Writing conferences. Period 2: Blog/comments due Thursday by 11:59 p.m.
THURSDAY, 2/11 | Rough draft of your Personal History Essay due. Peer response groups in class.
FRIDAY, 2/12 | Introduce Anthology requirements; Brainstorm Synthesis Research Topic. HW: Revise Personal History Essay. Period 1: Blog/comments due Monday by 11:59 p.m.