Quickwrite: Life During Wartime

I create these directions.
Clear. Step-by-step.
Then before kids arrive
I give it a try.
Always my mantra
I give it a try, too.

I circle…
grave sites
sound of gunfire
used to it now.
This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco
This ain’t no fooling around.

I circle…
I sleep…I work…
Heard about Houston?
(inside my head, I add to list, Ukraine)
blend in with the crowd
We make a pretty good team
The burning keeps me alive

Then my QuickWrite:
This song, written in the 1970s
seems to foreshadow 2022
I watched the news again last night.
I saw the destruction caused by weapons
Creating more and more grave sites
I heard the gunfire
I hate that we are getting used to it
It is no kind of party.

Yet, I hear the work of the Red Cross
I hope
I hear the talk of negotiations
I hope
Though I just want to blend in
I know teamwork is needed
My thoughts, my jots are burning.
With teamwork,
The burning keeps them alive.

This is my quickwrite lesson with 8th graders today who are in a Dystopian Reading Unit
Here’s what some of my student’s wrote:

This song makes me think about my Dystopian novel, Among the Hidden. One of the verses says, “You ought to know not to stand by the window”. In my novel, Luke is not able to do downstairs or even go in the kitchen. Luke has to stay up in his room all day and all night doing nothing. He looks through the vent and sees the world go by and he isn’t allowed to do anything.

“To the receiver” makes me think about my book, The Giver.

Some of these phrases make me think of my book (Among the Hidden). For example, it says “know not to stand my the window.” In my book, the main character is not allowed to stand or look out the window because people might see him and his whole family might get in trouble.

“loaded with weapons” makes me think of Ulraine because they are going through a war right now. Another thing is when it says, “a place where nobody knows” makes me think of a Dystopian World.

“This makes me think of my book (Maze Runner) because nobody has time to do anything. Every person has their own job and they can’t take time to help others to survive.

This song reminds me of a Dystopian environment. This song is saying they are running away from something. The song also says that using phone lines and computers are illegal. Makes me think that the government doesn’t allow the use of electronics.

8 thoughts on “Quickwrite: Life During Wartime

  1. margaretsmn says:

    This is very powerful for just a “quick” write. So many emotions. So much to ponder. I love that you end with hope.


    • sallydonnelly11 says:

      Thanks Fran. I read-aloud my response during our share and suddenly I was in tears. I think I’m holding lots of emotions inside but writing allows a release of sorts. I returned and added a few of my student responses at the end.


    • franmccrackin says:

      WOW. First of all, to have a dystopian reading unit! I have been reading a lot of adult dystopian novels in recent years, but I didnt think of it for school… And I love how your quickwrite verses include your intention and also your creation. The image of burning unites both.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. pfornale says:

    Powerful. I remember well the Talking Heads song, and I, too, teach eighth-grade English. I enjoy our whole-class reading of The Giver, and the students always impress me with their interest in and grasp of the concept of dystopia. Your students’ samples demonstrate the relevance and value of their reading. Incidentally, you have a skill for verse.


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