How could I have known...
by Lauren K. Alleyne
Photo by Erica Cavanagh
Workshop Title: How
Say, “Describe a personal loss – whatever that means to you – that came by surprise. How did you feel in that moment? How did you react?” Then discuss.
Read “How could I have known I would need to remember your laughter,” by Lauren K. Alleyne. When you’re done, briefly discuss the speaker’s response to her friend’s passing. What different emotions did she express?
Say, “Come up with a list of emotions that you felt upon your loss. Your loss can be something material or something deeply personal, whatever you feel most comfortable with.” Then give them a few minutes to brainstorm.
Ask your students to compose a poem similar in sentiment to “How could I have known I would need to remember your laughter,” by Lauren K. Alleyne in which they describe their response to a personal loss.
When the students are done, have them share their responses with one another.
Area of Focus: Tone
If your students are not familiar with the concept of tone or tonal shifts, go through the introductory lesson.
Start by watching the following video (or at least part of it). In the clip, members of the British public, as well as tourists and Londoners respond to first hearing news of the death of Queen Elizabeth II. As your students are watching, have them pay attention to the types of emotions these people express upon hearing the news. Briefly discuss.
Read “How could I have known I would need to remember your laughter,” by Lauren K. Alleyne. As your students are reading, simply ask them to pay attention to the various tones of the piece and the way the speaker reacts to her friend’s death.
Have your students open the following document and go over the assignment with them. In the assignment, your students are going to “annotate” the poem by only using emojis to track the various tones throughout the poem. Before your students begin, make sure that they choose emojis that BEST reflect the speaker’s response, not necessarily just a simple smiley or sad face. They literally have thousands to choose from! Then give your students time to work.
When your students are done, have them share their responses with the rest of the class.
If time permits, share the exemplar essay.
- Death / Grief
- Health / Health Care / Illness
- Figurative Language
- Death or Dying