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Want to get your students writing better, thinking deeper, and learning to enjoy the writing process?
With everything from reading response handouts to engaging bell ringers, from a literary analysis essay to a creative poetry project, this resource will help your classes to explore Wiesel’s powerful memoir on multiple levels with the variety of writing options.
When you teach Night by Elie Wiesel with this resource you will:
Here's what you'll get when you buy this resource:
First, there is a mini lesson on writing six-word memoirs. This would make a great introduction to your unit on the book, or you could fit it in during the unit when you need a break. This kind of super-micro narrative writing fits especially well with a unit on Night as Wiesel condensed the book from a text that was originally 800 or so pages. In all, you’ll need one or two class periods for this low-key assignment.
Next, there are 58 bellringer prompts. I love starting each class with a quick five-minute freewrite. It’s a great way to get students focused and thinking about the themes of the day, and a calming routine that aids in classroom management. I’ve included a guide for students who are not familiar with the freewriting process.
The third option included here are exercises for incorporating poetry writing into your students’ exploration of Wiesel’s haunting story. These are great activities to try during classes when you want to switch things up or take a break from the norm—or when you want your classes to engage with the language of the text on a deeper level.
The fourth kind of writing is reading responses. These are also a kind of write-to-learn assignment. I have included two ways of breaking down this writing for students and a guide on how I use them. I have found that the steps that I outline in these handouts are incredibly helpful in getting students to move beyond plot summary or simply relating a book to personal experience.
The next option for a writing assessment tasks students with taking one or more of the their ideas from the reading logs and turning it into an evidence-based essay. I have included step by step instructions for that assignment as well. This is a more challenging assignment than the others, but if students utilize the scaffolding, they should find success with their writing. This essay is one that students should complete after reading the book.
The next option for writing a piece based on the ideas and themes of the book is a comparative essay. I suggest having students complete this assignment over two class periods—with one day to complete the graphic organizer and one to write the essay. In order to complete this assignment, they’ll have to read other texts that they can compare with the themes of the book.
The final element in this resource is a poem writing project, based on Night. For this assignment, students will write a poem or a series of poems inspired by Elie Wiesel’s memoir, in the voice of one of the characters from the story, and based on evidence collected from the text. In addition to the poems, they will need five quotes that back up the ideas or views of the poems as well as a short explanation of their poems. They can use the quotes or words from the quotes in their poems if they like. They should also use poetic elements to convey the ideas in their poems to a reader. I have found that this assignment makes for an innovative summative assessment that is easy and fun to grade.
The prompts, guides, handouts, rubrics, and suggestions here are based on sixteen years of teaching writing to all levels of high school. It’s not easy to take students through a writing assignment or to get them to improve their skills, but with the right tools, it can be done.