Mother's & Father's Day Writing Assignment for Teens - Room 213

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Mother's & Father's Day Writing Assignment for Teens

Elementary students get to make cards and crafts and gifts for their parents and guardians during this time of year.  Most mothers and fathers have a stash of these from their little darlings, but as their children grow older, the stash gets smaller.

Older students can make cards too; they still love to cut and paste and create.  Problem is, we often are short for time, especially at the end of a semester when that clock is ticking loudly in our ears.  So why not try an assignment that can tick off two boxes at once: inspire students to do something nice for their parents/guardians and work on their ELA skills at the same time?

I read an article on the internet this morning and, while it's too late for mother's day, students could use it for father's day -- or even a post-mother's day assignment.

The article, in The Washington Post is called "The kitchen effort that Mom will love and won’t cost you a dime". (Now, we're going to ignore the sexist overtones of this concept, and focus on the multi-genre, multi-skill nature of this idea).  The article is an example of expository writing, and Bonnie S. Benwick, the author, uses question-ing, parallelism and quotes from authority, all things we want our students to master.

Here is how I would use the it:

1. Have students read the article and ask them to identify the author's purpose and the techniques she uses to achieve the purpose.  I'd ask them to notice what the writer does, and hope that they identify the techniques I mentioned above.

2. Get students to brainstorm some things they could do to help out a parent or guardian.  Then, they would write a draft for a short expository piece like Benwick's.  I would also ask them to incorporate some of the techniques used in her article.

3. Finally, I would ask them to turn their draft into a multi-genre good copy: along with fine-tuning their writing, they will set it up like the mentor text, with photos (or videos) and links to related ideas.   For example, they might find a youtube video on how to spread mulch or how to cook a certain meal.  They could include links to recipes they think a parent might enjoy, or books they would like to read.
They should also quote an authority, and illustrate their understanding of how to embed quotes properly. If you want to add another ELA skill to this assignment, you could have them present their final copy to the class, or even better, have them report back to the class, explaining how they actually did the task for their loved one.

I'm excited to try this out, not only because it looks fun, but also because it will be a good practice opportunity for my students who will be doing a major multi-genre project at the end of the semester.

Do you have a favourite activity that you use with your teens for mother's or father's day? Please share in the comments!

1 comment

  1. What do you do for mother's or father's day in your secondary classroom?


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