Alternative Approach

Select a news or magazine article, editorial, blog, or letter to the editor in which a writer’s solution to a problem is morally or ethically unacceptable to you. Write an essay in which you argue against the writer’s position and offer a more reasonable and acceptable alternative approach or solution to the problem.

(Hint: try a parody in the style of Jonathan Swift)

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Survival in Film

View at least two movies that focus on World War II. List three specific events that deal with survival in a war setting. What survival strategies do these movie characters use? Are there any lessons to be learned from these movies.

Alternatively, view the movie Jaws. How does this movie deal with survival. What other movies have you enjoyed that also deal with the theme of survival?

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Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Floating Lanterns XII
On August sixth every year
the seven rivers of Hiroshima
are filled with lanterns
Painted with the names of the
fathers, mothers, and sisters
they float on their way to the sea

Almost there, pushed back
flame snuffed out
Darkly coming back in pieces
Tossed by ocean waves

That time, years past
these same rivers were filled
With the corpses of those
fathers, mothers, and sisters
— Poem by Iri Maruki and Toshi Maruki
Translated by Nancy Hunter and Yasuo Ishikawa

Research the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by answering these questions:

  • What led to the decision to drop the atomic bombs?
  • What was the strategic objective of these actions?
  • What judgements have historians made about these events?
  • What other questions do you have about Hiroshima or Nagasaki?

Find descriptions, photos, or videos clips of the aftermath of the bombings. Using the information you have researched, write your own poem about the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

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Fiction

Fiction writers: You’re stuck in an elevator with an intriguing stranger. Write this scene. Non-fiction writers: You’re stuck in an elevator with a person from your past. Write this scene.

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DIY Radio

Create a radio diary.

Anyone can make a radio diary. Try your hand at making radio. Whether you’re interviewing a neighbor, or a grandparent, or someone you’ve never met, a microphone is a passport into their lives. If you or someone in your community has a story to tell, get a microphone, a recorder, a pair of headphones, and get started.

The Teen Reporter Handbook has been used in schools across the United States, as well as in Russia, Israel, South Africa, and even in a journalism training program in Southern Afghanistan.

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Environmental Disaster

Write about an environmental disaster that you have either witnessed or heard about recently in the news.

First jot down notes on a blank page under three headings: “Land,” “Air,” and “Water.” Now draw on these notes to classify, in an essay, the effects of the disaster in each of your three categories. Do not withhold frightening or gross information, for it will show the reader the importance of your subject. In your second draft add more sense images and sharpen your transitions. Read your final draft aloud to someone keeping enough eye contact to judge which passages have the strongest effect.

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Wake Up

Write down the first sight, sound, smell, and sensation you experienced on waking up today. Pick the one you’re most drawn to, and write. (For a bigger challenge, pick the one you’re least drawn to.)

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Contemporary Caves

Write an essay in which you apply Plato’s allegory of the cave to a contemporary social situation or problem using either a subject-by-subject or part-by-part approach for your comparison. Consider in what ways this comparison clarifies the situation or problem, and suggest what conclusions may be drawn from your comparison.

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Three

Today’s prompt is all about trios, triptychs, and other things that come in three parts.

Ready to roll? All you need to do is…

  • Write a new post on your iBlog in response to the prompt.

Need more ideas? Not sure what to write around Three? We’re here to help:

  • Write about the three objects, books, songs, people, or places that best tell the story of the past year in your life.
  • Share a photo that makes great use of the rule of thirds. (Or, as an alternative, go for an image that showcases three subjects, whether they’re human, inanimate, or something else.)
  • Haiku famously call for three verses. Write a few (maybe… three?) about something you saw on your last walk.
  • Publish a short story or a piece of memoir composed of three sections or vignettes.
  • Think about where you were — geographically, mentally, academically, or any other way — three years ago. What’s the biggest change you’ve gone through during that period?
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Plinky Prompt

You have three hundred words to justify the deletion from time, space and memory a person, place or thing. Failure to convince will result in it being infinitely cloned and paraded on a billboard in front of your home forevermore.

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Dreams

The psychiatrist Carl Jung believed that dreams often express our most hidden desires and fears – parts of ourselves that we do not want to or are too afraid to acknowledge when we are awake. He claimed that these neglected, or repressed, aspects of our personality often manifest themselves in dreams in the form of a relentless pursuer.

How does this theory apply to a protagonist from a text you have studied?

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Looking at Masks

Masks have been worn in many different cultures over the centuries. No matter what culture or time period it is from, the visual impact of a mask is often dramatic. Even though you might know very little about the cultural or historical significance of a mask, you can still understand a great deal about it by considering its effect on you.

  1. Brainstorm a list of masks that people wear. Consider masks worn to protect as well as masks worn to disguise. How do you feel when you encounter someone wearing a mask? Does your reaction depend on the situation? Explain your response.
  2. Brainstorm a list of movies, songs, plays, short stories, comics, and television programs featuring characters that wear masks. Why do the characters wear masks? How does the mask affect your perception of the character?
  3. Write about your own experience wearing masks. On what occasions have you worn masks? Did wearing a mask affect your actions and feelings?

African Masks: Baule Mask - This type of Baule mask is known as a Goli mask. It is used in dances during harvest festivals, in processions to honour distinguished visitors and at the funerals of important figures.

Jacque Plante's original goalie mask

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Urban Dialogue

Imagine you are sitting on a very crowded public city bus. The large and aggressive-seeming person next to you keeps demanding in an obnoxious was that you move over to make more room, You can’t move over and there is nowhere else to sit or stand in the bus. Write the dialogue that might take place in those circumstances.

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Too Wrapped Up in Your Own Problems

Describe an occasion when something terrible happened to someone close to you (a family member or a friend), but you have been too wrapped up in your own problems to think about that person’s troubles. What was your first reaction to the other person’s bad news? How did you behave toward him or her? In the future, would you try to deal with similar situations any differently? If so, how?

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