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If the shoe fits, write about it

November 3, 2011

If you are looking for ways to inspire your middle school writers, look no further than today’s fantastic featured lesson.

The lesson was inspired by the Harper Lee quote, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it” (from To Kill a Mockingbird) and was designed to inspire students to think about perspective.

As students walked into Mrs. DeFor’s English classroom, they found that a shoe had been placed on each one of their desks.Students journaled about the shoe’s appearance and created a fictitious owner. The following day, they created a narrative with the shoe owner as the main character.

The lesson is not only great fun but a superb way to help some students move from concrete to abstract in their thinking and in their writing. It can also teach all students a trick for finding inspiration as a writer.

Students who need more help might have a sheet with clear choices (Is your character a man or a woman? What does your character do for a living? Is he a cook, a plumber, an insurance salesman, a crook, a teacher, a garbage man, or an artist?) to circle or to use as a tool for brainstorming. This exercise would also work well with students working as partners.

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