One of the greatest hopes in every teacher's career is that you will get at least one student who really listens to you. They not only listen but they understand. They understand on a deeper level than most and they do something amazing with the knowledge they gain. I have had a few of these extraordinary students, one of whom I’d like to write about today. Day after day she listened to me chant, “Write, write, write!” She understood that I wanted each and every student to learn how to use words to advocate for themselves and others. She realized her potential as a great writer.
Over Christmas break she wrote me an email asking me to help her with her new year’s resolution. She wanted to write one short story every week. They would be rough drafts of course but every single week they would be delivered to my inbox and I would give her feedback. I also gave her the prompt at the beginning of each week. I collected these prompts from Writer’s Digest.com, teachers I admire, teachers’ blogs and websites, I take no credit for the prompts myself but I thought each week I might put a few out there and see which were your favorite. Try them out and let me know what you think. Please feel free to share your ideas and work here.
Week 1- At exactly midnight on New Year’s Eve you receive an email labeled “Open Immediately.” The really strange thing is that the email is apparently from your self at age 25. What does 25 year old you have to say to you now that is so important? Write a story about it:)
Week 2- A mad scientist captures you and tells you that he is about to change your life —he will heighten one of your senses, but it will make one of your other senses duller. It isn’t optional; he’s going to perform the surgery, but you get to choose which two senses.
Week 3 -Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "You must do the thing you think you cannot do." Write a narrative about a time when you did something you thought you could not do. Be sure to include specific details so that a reader can follow your story.
Week 4- You have made a very important discovery–one that will make you famous throughout the world. Write a story in which you tell about your discovery and how you made it.
Week 5- Write about a time you or someone else lost something important. What happened? How did everyone feel/act?
Week 6- Describe a time when you were ill or injured. What did that experience teach you about yourself and your life? Make sure to include the details of who was there and how they reacted.
Week 7- One day, while hanging out on the beach, you notice a boat slowly drifting to shore. It eventually lands near your spot. A person, draped in pirate clothes, yells to you from the boat, “I have a treasure map and I need help. Are you in?”
Week 8- Describe the most beautiful smile you've ever seen. Be sure to include where and when you saw it and describe the person and the reason they were smiling.
Week 9- You decide to run for president of your high school class only to find that your opponent is running a smear campaign about you, trying to make you look bad so people won't vote for you. Worse yet, your opponent has been telling everyone that he/she will drop a bombshell announcement, revealing your darkest secret, in front of the entire school during your first debate. The debate is here. Write the scene where the bombshell secret is announced and describe how you react to it—remember, the entire school is watching.
Week 10- Create a written snapshot of the moment in which you are living...for 15 minutes stop and listen until the silence is deafening...Look around you and notice every detail.. The stains on the walls or furniture, the labels on any boxes or bottles, stickers, magnets.