Beyond IQ

Writing to Promote Change

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Instructor: Hosanna Patience
5-10 students
Suggested Age Ranges: 13+ years old
Meets: Monday at 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm Eastern Time


How did John Steinbeck affect change? What about Malala Yousafzai after she was shot? Can literature be used to speak to those issues that matter most to us? Students will answer these questions and more as they read short stories, poetry, essays and blogs.  Students will then write works of literature that voice their issues. The focus of these classes is not on following any political ideology, but on fostering change as we work to speak against that which we fear.

Class Outline:

Week 1: What Matters and Why?

Students will begin thinking about what is important to them and discuss their justification for why, then they will explore the young voices of today, including Greta Thunberg, Emma Gonzalez, Xiuhtezcatl Roske-Martine, Payla Jangid, and “Mari” Copeny.

Week 2: Poetry

Maya Angelou, “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings”

Blas De Luna, “Bent to the Earth”

Martin Niemöller, “First They Came for the Jews”

Joseph Bruchac, “Steel”

Week 3: Poetry Writing

Students will explore poetry techniques, then work on writing a poem about an issue to which they want to put attention.

Week 4: Autobiographical Works

Malala Yousafzai, from I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban 

David Foster Wallace, “Consider The Lobster

Week 5: Autobiographical Writing

Students will explore essay writing and memoir techniques using autobiographical detail and write about an issue to which they want to put attention.

Week 6:  Fiction

Excerpt from John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath

Shauna Singh Baldwin “Montreal 1962”

Week 7: Fiction Writing

Students will explore writing techniques, including setting, POV, plotting, and tension, characters, and more, and then work on writing a short story.

Week 8: Work on Final Publication: Writing to Promote Change.

A book of final student writing will be printed.

Register for Writing to Promote Change here!

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