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Tim O'Brien in the Classroom: "This too is true: Stories can save us"
|Grades||9 – 12|
Many students, even those who claim to dislike stories of war or violence, are drawn to the writing of Tim O’Brien, especially The Things They Carried. The mysteries and “gray areas” O’Brien explores make his work a perfect addition to units on the fiction of the Vietnam War, first-person narrative, modern stories and novels, war stories, story cycles, and unconventional narrative structures.
As part of the NCTE High School Literature Series, Tim O’Brien in the Classroom focuses on opportunities for classroom discussion and writing assignments, including lessons, open-ended prompts, and student writing samples. By teaching Tim O’Brien’s works, you can not only make connections with other material in the literary canon, but also initiate broader discussions with your students about the reliability of memory, the purpose of storytelling, and the origins of fiction.
Grades 9 – 12 | Calendar Activity |  October 1
After reading O’Brien’s story “A True War Story” from The Things They Carried, students choose a powerful event from their own lives and map it using the Timeline Tool. They then create a fictional version of this event.
Grades K – 12 | Calendar Activity |  October 20
Students examine the different ways that they write and think about the role writing plays in life.