After reading several Newsweek “Favorite Mistake” columns, we wrote about some favorite mistakes of our own:
“There was nothing positive about this. My head lowered. My stomach sank. What had I done?“ Julius recalls an incident involving the family pet and auto repair.
“I can’t remember what happened next, only my father coming in with a bowl of water, him yelling, and the unbearable stench of smoke.” Microwave mishaps befall Mara and Yasmine.
“As if things can’t get any worse…they do.” Read Vayda’s account of signing up for P.E.
“My hands were shaking and my heart was pounding so hard that I could hear it.” Rachel shares a story of anxiety.
“There I was lying flat on the ground— eyes widened as if the world had just flashed before them—and for me, it had.” Learn why Vivian was so upset.
“The whole thing seemed like it was in slow motion.” Caitlyn narrowly avoids disaster.
Note that the Newsweek columns are based on interviews, written in first person but by a third party who had talked with the man or woman who had actually had the experience.
In class, we discussed how our favorite mistakes would be different: ours would be personal narratives, written in first person by the student who had had the experience. For this assignment, our goal would be to show the event in more detail than the news magazine columns had, in a way that the reader could feel what the writer had felt.
Leave us your comments and let us know how we did!
“Mistakes are painful when they happen, but years later a collection of mistakes is what is called experience.” — Denis Waitley
Making mistakes can be frustrating, but we can grow from them.
Newsweek magazine has a regular column called “My Favorite Mistake” in which people of note are invited to tell about mistakes they are glad they have made because the mistakes taught them valuable lessons or gave them insight they wouldn’t otherwise have. In class, we’ve read about the favorite mistakes of violinist Joshua Bell and Congressman Jason Chaffetz.
Now it’s our turn to write personal narratives about our favorite mistakes and what we learned from the experiences. Perhaps some of those essays will appear in our blogs.
Do you have a favorite mistake? What did it teach you?
Students in second and third period classes prepared for writing their first drafts of a personal narrative by zooming in on a scene, capturing details for the reader. Imagery creates the experience through sight, sound, and sensation, evoking a mood so that the reader feels what the writer felt.
Here are some examples of student bloggers playing with language to create powerful images: