The Miracle Worker
A writing assignment
This paper which I call the Most Difficult Class paper, is used as a writing
assignment before the class begins reading 'The Miracle Worker.' The
writing composition focus is on organization, and other writing traits. The
content is designed to help them empathize, perhaps in a small way, with
Helen Keller in overcoming her handicaps. I wanted to find a controllable
way to discuss handicaps in students' lives without creating problems by
bringing up an unexpected serious problem in some student's life.
I also wanted them to become aware of how they overcame the handicap
and the abilities they had gained or were gaining. The following directions
are for the pre-writing activities.
1. Have the class contribute to a list of their most difficult classes
(that they have completed.) [I make a list of these classes on the board,
or a large sheet of paper as the students state them. I ask each student
to participate. Don't be surprised if some students list your class as
their most difficult class.]
2. After the list is completed give the class the following questions to
write down: (Have them leave space for the answers and have them
write on 2-3 at a time so they won't be distracted by the breadth of
the questions and go to the most familiar and not explore the others.)
a. What was so difficult about the class?
b. Who was involved in the situation? (Not just
those causing the situation.)
c. Where was the school? Where was the room in
the school? Where were you in the room?
d. How did the situation end? What things did
you try in order to end the situation? [Sometimes the situation ends
simply by the class ending, or their dropping the class
or their doing their homework, or their being quiet in class, etc.]
e. What did you learn from the situation?
f. What "handicaps" did you have about the
situation that you don't have now? [Perhaps the handicap was shyness,
or lack of desire to work, or not asking an adult for help, i.e. the teacher
for help, or a counselor to get out of a bad class situation.]
Once the students have written out their answers to these questions, as
a pre-writing exercise, I hand out the following form as directions for writing
the paper. Sometimes I include a 'writing traits' sheet to be filled out as they
write the rough and final drafts.
The Most Difficult Class Paper
Write a paper with an introduction, body, and
conclusion. The rough draft should be written in
pencil and the final draft in ink. Write on one side
of the sheet, skipping lines. The paper should be at
least two pages. Staple this sheet to the top, next the
final draft and staple the rough draft to the bottom.
NOTE: If you do a Writing Traits sheet with this paper,
staple that below the rough draft.
"As I think back on my years in school the
most difficult class I had was ______. It
was difficult because _______."
Who was involved in the situation? (Not
just those causing the situation.)
Where was the school? Where was the
room in the school? Where were you in
How did the situation end? What things
did you try in order to end the situation?
What did you learn from the situation?
What "handicaps" did you have about the
situation that you don't have now?
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