Elaine Hostetler suggests a
middle school novel on "death and
dying," Zindel's "Begonia for Miss Applebaum."
Garnet McQuitty who teaches 11th grade spends several weeks reading from Edgar Lee Masters Spoon River Anthology. If you are not familiar with it, it is a collection of poems in the form of epitaphs of the people who lived in the town of Spoon River.
You can find several stories on the internet. Just follow these links.
Death in America (Alvina Part One)
Kids stories on Death
A Collective Poem
Written by the Eighth Grade
Class Of 2002
When I hear the word death, chills go down my spine
The fear of death is harsh
When I hear the word death, I feel shocked and angry
If death were a color, it would be black
I think that when you die you go to heaven
I think that dying is a part of life; it has to happen to everyone
I mostly think about cold weather.
Is there an afterlife?
I picture death as the beginning of something new
When someone dies they are reborn a different person
Death scares me because Iím afraid of losing the ones I love
I picture the after world as peaceful and full of surprise.
No one can ever get over s
omeone that has died
Death is so many things, Death is just a hateful word!
I think saying good-bye is hard, but not saying good-bye is harder
I think that death sucks
Not living any more, pushing up daisies
Write a letter to the person who gave us the tour of the cemetery. You need to include what you learned, enjoyed, and was surprised about. Be sure to follow the proper letter form
We also use obituaries writing to have a little fun. For extra
credit the students are allowed to write them
for cartoon figures. This idea came from Mad Magazine.
You may read some from the magazine and some sample student works by clicking here.
Here lies my teacher, old Miss Blass-
I was the smartest kid in her Class!
Here lies my pet, a dog named Rover,
When hit by a car, his life was over.
A baseball bat and ball used often
Are buried with Michael in his coffin.
The baby sitter we drove insane
Was killed when hit with Jeremy's train.
Old Mr. Crow, the village baker,
Just got back from the undertaker.
While sitting her sleeping in a paper sack,
I got run over on the railroad track.
Here lies my friend, a gal from the South.
She died when she tried to put her foot in her mouth.
They are also given some serious ones to read. Examples of these are:
In memory of
Beneath This Stone
A lump of Clay
Lies Arabella Young
Who on the 11th Day
Began to Hold
YOU WILL FIND AS YOU LOOK BACK UPON,
YOUR LIFE THAT THE MOMENTS THAT STAND OUT,
THE MOMENTS WHEN YOU HAVE REALLY LIVED,
ARE THE MOMENTS WHEN YOU HAVE
DONE THINGS IN THE SPIRIT OF LOVE.
(You may find more interesting epitaphs on some of the cemetery links that are posted)
They are also given a paper that has a tombstone on it, and are asked to make one for themselves. The "rules" are
1) There has to be the same number of syllables in both lines.
2) They have to put their name in it.
3) The end of the lines must rhyme.
We hang the finished ones out in the hall (The hall becomes a virtual cemetery) for the rest of the school to view. The students also get a few extra credit points it they make epitaphs for staff members in the school.
Once the students get to the cemetery they are very aware of interesting epitaphs and go in search of them.
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