Narrative Essay: Obituary

OVERVIEW OF THE ASSIGNMENT

It may seem unusual to assign students to write their own obituary, but writing these brief narrative essays offers an opportunity for self-reflection. It is also a good way to practice writing a paragraph and using description. Finally, having students read one another's obituaries is an excellent way for students to get to know one another.


OBJECTIVES
  • To practice the elements of a paragraph
  • To practice description
  • To learn to write a brief narrative

ADVICE FOR THE INSTRUCTOR
  • THE BENEFITS OF THIS ASSIGNMENT:  
    • This is a novel way for students to introduce themselves to the instructor and to the class. When these are written and shared near the beginning of the semester, they are a wonderful icebreaker that rely on writing.
  • THE CHALLENGES OF THIS ASSIGNMENT:  
    • Obviously, it is a bit macabre to write one's own obituary!
  • TIP:
    • Consider having students post their obituaries online and write responses to each other.
    • Here's an interesting story about how an obituary can represent the importance of good journalism. It could be useful to discuss credibility.


ACTIVITIES

Step 1:  Read sample obituaries in the newspaper and discuss the elements of an obituary.
Be sure to emphasize that a good obituary should exhibit the elements of a strong paragraph.

Step 2: Students write their own obituaries.

Step 3: Students read and respond to one another's obituaries.
This can be a good way to start using peer review or to get students comfortable with sharing their writing.


HANDOUTS FOR OBITUARY UNIT

There is one attachment below:
  1. Obituary assignment
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Bridget Robin Pool,
May 10, 2011, 6:08 PM
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