Summer Promptastic: Learning in Unexpected Ways

Ah, the summer! As students shift into their summer experiences, challenge them to keep growing and learning. This month’s prompt ideas focus on learning in unexpected ways—particularly from unexpected people.

  • Martin
    One of our favorite prompts is on the story “Martin” by Nick Vaca. In this story, a young boy mistakenly assumes that a newcomer, Martin, is better fed and wealthier than he is and thus feels justified to treat him with disdain. But the young boy discovers the truth about Martin, likely changing him forever. Students are asked to consider what the protagonist learns from his experience. Your students will realize that we we cannot judge others because rarely do we know the whole story. See the full prompt.

    Further this lesson of not making hasty judgments about others. These pieces ask students to see the ways in which our assumptions about the world and others can keep us from growing, learning, and connecting:
    • The Lunch Date, a short film (in black and white, so warn the students!), shows us how we often see the world and others with blinders on.
    • Malcolm Gladwell’s discussion of how we make snap judgments reveals that sometimes these judgments are right on, and sometimes they miss the mark completely.
    • Proving the Stereotypes Wrong, a short, student-made PSA about the many stereotypes teens encounter, helps students consider the many ways they are judged.
  • Expect the Unexpected
    Another way to consider the many things we learn from others is to ask students to narrate an encounter of their own. “Expect the Unexpected” allows students to reflect. This very open-ended prompt allows for a lot of uses. One way to use this prompt is to ask students to narrate a time when they learned something unexpected from someone they know. Why were they surprised to learn from this person and what has this experience taught them? See the full prompt.

All of these Revision Assistant prompts offer students an opportunity to receive custom holistic and targeted feedback, helping them improve as writers and critical thinkers.

Related Links:
Promptastic: Promoting Critical Thinking

Promptastic: Promoting More Thoughtful and Polished Drafts