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Spend a Day in My Shoes: Exploring the Role of Perspective in Narrative
|Grades||9 – 12|
|Lesson Plan Type||Standard Lesson|
|Estimated Time||Three 50-minute sessions|
In To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus explains to Scout that "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" (36). Make this advice more literal by inviting students to imagine spending a day in someone else's shoes in this writing activity. Students examine a variety of shoes and envision what the owner would look like, such as their appearance, actions, etc. They then write a narrative, telling the story of a day in the shoe owner’s life. While this lesson plan uses the quotation from To Kill a Mockingbird as a springboard and ties nicely to discussions of the novel, it can be completed even if students are not currently reading the book.
Interactive Circle Plot Diagram: Use this online tool to plan out the sequence of events in a piece of narrative writing.
Creative writing may not be your first choice when you think of ways to encourage students to explore the themes in their readings; however, by embracing the opportunity for students to think and write imaginatively about the issues introduced in their readings, teachers move beyond the typical expository, analytical reactions to text in ways that engage students. As Christian Knoeller explains, "By guiding students to explore a work in specific ways, teachers can support interpretation and criticism. As such, imaginative response provides an instructional strategy that ultimately contributes to more insightful formal analysis" (43).
Knoeller, Christian. "Imaginative Response: Teaching Literature through Creative Writing." English Journal 92.5 (May 2003): 42-48.
Adapted from: Dana, Kimberly A. 1996. "Walking in Someone Else's Shoes," Ideas Plus, Book 14. pp. 22-24. Urbana, IL: NCTE.