Each student will write a personal narrative about a difficult experience that required the student to develop certain inner resources.
What You Need
- writing supplies
What to Do
- Ask students to define the word “suffer.” Write their definitions on the board. Have them list types of experiences kids have had or could have that involve suffering. These may include the following situations:
- a prolonged illness or injury
- a difficult relationship with an adult (coach, teacher, parent)
- loneliness (ongoing, or from being a new student)
- losing a friend
- getting in trouble and being punished
- being “different”
- economic hardship (such as homelessness)
- Discuss how these situations might have felt. How did the students cope? Were there any “silver linings” to these hardships? What can be learned by surviving a difficult experience?
- Have the students write personal narratives about a time when each of them had to endure a difficult situation. They should describe the situation in detail, explaining if and how it was resolved. They should also reflect on what they learned about themselves in the process. What inner resources did they develop or discover?
- Students can share the narratives with their writing response groups.
- Invite a panel of survivors into class to discuss their experiences.
- Have each student write a fictitious journal entry imagining how an adolescent during a historical period of intense suffering (slavery, the Holocaust, any war, and so forth) might have described this experience.
- In advisory groups, talk about ways in which early adolescents can help alleviate the suffering of others (talking through problems, helping out, doing community service, and so forth).