Posts Tagged ‘creative writing’

World War II Writing Assignment

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

world-war-II-writing-assignment

Each of my kids wrote a summary of World War II for their Modern History Notebooks. I told them that they needed to include the following topics:

  • Hitler
  • The Holocaust
  • The cause of World War II
  • How the U.S. entered the war
  • How World War II ended

As long as they included these major topics, they could write the report in whatever style they wanted. Here is an example:

World War II Writing Assignment

At the end of World War I, the Versailles Treaty was ridiculously hard on Germany. It asked for so much money that Germany’s government printed more money, which led to inflation. Hitler told everyone he could make things better. He said would get rid of the terrible Versailles Treaty, kill every last Jew for no reason, and take over the world!!! Muuahahahaha!!! Hitler was so evil that the entire world was appalled. Everyone hated Hitler, except Germans, who were brainwashed against the Jews anyway, and liked the sound of ruling the world.

First, Germany broke the Versailles Treaty by putting soldiers in the Rhineland. Britain protested. Then Germany took over Austria and threatened to take over Sudetenland. A big meeting took place where Hitler was told he could take over Sudetenland, but nothing else. He promised to do what they said, then promptly broke his promise and took over the rest of Czechoslovakia. Germany made a non aggression pact with Russia, then took over Poland. Britain and France finally declared war on Germany. But Germany used planes and tanks to capture Luxembourg, Norway, the Netherlands, France, and Belgium. Great Britain was the only nation left. It held its own for over a year. Then Germany attacked Russia, breaking the non aggression pact.

The Germans were always murdering Jews by bringing them to concentration camps. The weak were killed immediately, and the strong were worked to death. All this became known as the Holocaust. This was justified by the idiotic reasoning that the Germans were “a more highly evolved race” and Jews were inferior. The Japanese also taught that they were “more highly evolved” so it made sense to rule the world. So they captured a whole bunch of islands.

Then the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, infuriating all of the United States, who finally entered the war. As a result, the U.S. made so many war things, it gave a whole lot of jobs to people who desperately needed them, pulling us out of the Great Depression.

Bombing raids were when airplanes flew over a city, and they dropped bombs on it. Some bombs exploded; some bombs burst into flames. During the night, people everywhere turned off the lights so enemy bombers couldn’t see where the city was.

Operation Torch, Operation Husky, and Operation Overlord were successful invasions by the Allies. The Battle of the Bulge was a big victory. The United States used a leapfrog strategy to recapture islands from the Japanese. Then the atomic bomb was invented.

The United States told Japan to surrender, but they didn’t. So the U.S. flattened Hiroshima, which killed more than 138,000 people, including civilians. The Japanese government didn’t believe this would ever happen again, so they still wouldn’t surrender. But then the U.S. dropped another atomic bomb on Nagasaki. Then Japan finally surrendered, and the war was over.

Charlie Chaplin Creative Writing Assignment

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

charlie-chaplin-creative-writing

While studying the 1920’s, two of my children wanted to do Charlie Chaplin projects. We all watched several silent Charlie Chaplin movies, and my kids loved the humor and the corny editing of these early movies. My 13-year-old son Stephen wanted to do a creative writing assignment about this famous actor to include in his Modern History binder. Another one of my sons decided that he wanted to make a black-and-white Charlie Chaplin short movie, and whenever he does that, we will put it into the Unit Study Treasure Vault.

Here is Stephen’s description of Charlie Chaplin and his silent movies:

Charlie Chaplin Creative Writing Assignment

Charlie Chaplin was the king of slapstick comedy (sorrowfully, not the Three Stooges) in the period known as the Roaring Twenties. He starred in those old-fashioned black-and-white silent films, which weren’t all that silent because of some crazy guy banging out an ancient tune on a weather-beaten old piano.

Our clumsy clod sported a fake-looking mustache and black bowler hat. He also wore a waistcoat and baggy trousers. He was very sensitive about his hat’s position on his head and was constantly adjusting it.

Those silent films were always without any talking whatsoever (I have no idea how the audience could put up with it) and staged most of the time in a random town or house somewhere. In one of them, Charlie was so poor he had to resort to thievery to get money. In that movie he hid an alarm clock in his pants (the last place I would want to put an alarm clock), and it started ringing. He jumped around like my aunt Betsy when her socks are on fire, trying to extingui—I mean silence—the alarm clock (weren’t there snooze buttons back then?)

Another movie was made during the end of WWI which was criticizing and making fun of the trench warfare. In it he pretended to be a tree as he was spying out the enemy lines. He was a good tree. When a German soldier went to get wood, he immediately went for the Charlie Tree. The tree whacked the soldier on the head whenever he turned his back, eventually knocking him out cold (reminds me of my half cousin). His friends came and saw him lying there, and soon they too were lying on top of him.

In the trenches he had a varied assortment of odds and ends he took with him, including a mousetrap and cheese. The other soldiers in the trench constantly got their fingers stuck in it. On the first night the trenches got flooded, and they had to sleep face-deep in dirty, ice-cold water. As Charlie was rubbing some life into his feet when he woke up, he accidentally grabbed someone else’s foot and started rubbing it. Naturally the foot in question woke up its owner in a very grumpy mood.

In a different movie, Charlie was working in a factory when the manager and some weird dudes walked up with this crazy contraption which consisted of a large rotating disc with soup, some cubed food, a napkin strapped to a fat horseshoe, and corn-on-the-cob on a spinning arm. They chose Charlie as their first target and shoved him into it. Then they turned it on. It first lifted the soup bowl and poured some into his mouth. Then it lowered, and the napkin was rubbed across his face. The disc then turned a quarter-turn, and the plate with the cubed stuff was lifted. Then an arm pushed the stuff into his mouth as the plate spun slowly. The napkin cleaned him off and malfunctioned. It started to massage his face quicker, and quicker, until it was a blur. They managed to turn it off, fix it, and restart it. It failed again, and this time they couldn’t fix it. It went out of control and caught fire (don’t ask me where the fire came from). In the end Charlie was released, and the contraption was thrown away.

Charlie Chaplin was the best of the best in his time. Nowadays there are better actors, but back then he was a rarity. Editing must have just been invented when he was around, and pretty basic editing at that (like speeding up and cutting-and-pasting). That added a bit more humor to this already funny guy.

Civil War Letter

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

civil-war-letter

My 11-year-old son wrote a Civil War letter as a writing assignment for his Civil War Binder. I read many Civil War letters to my kids to get a flavor for what would be going through the mind of a Civil War soldier. While studying Civil War letters, I came across a poignant letter. (You can read it here.)

My son chose a specific battle so that he would be able to make reference to finding Lee’s secret orders:

September 18, 1862

From J. Mitchell

To my loving wife,

I am writing this in a hospital tent, for I was shot in my right arm. So I will be writing this with my weak hand. We are at a river called Antietam Creek, and it was the bloodiest battle I have ever seen. I reported that twenty-five thousand at least died here, including my friend of whom we are all acquainted. It was gruesome watching him fall from that tree. He was a sniper, and he had shot at least a dozen enemy soldiers in the front lines. I also reported that you could walk across the battlefield on the bodies of the dead without touching the ground.

My night watch wasn’t good either. If anyone came by, I would say, “Stop,” three times. If he didn’t stop, I would shoot because it meant that he might be an enemy scout or spy. I couldn’t see very well, but if the soldiers were friendly, they would stop.

One time I was nearly hit when a cannonball whistled past my head and made a tree fall on a few of the soldiers in our ranks. It came as a complete surprise. One of those cannonballs could go right though you, killing you and the person behind you.

Guess what I found five days ago? Three cigars wrapped in paper. My friend and I delightedly picked them up and sat down under a tree, for my feet were hurting. Suddenly I found a message on the paper I was about to throw away. It was Lee’s orders for his next attack! I can’t tell you how exited I was when I showed it to General McClellan. Before, we didn’t know where Lee was; now, we knew exactly what his battle strategy was!

What a battle it was! I had to hide behind the bodies of the dead to survive, making barricades out of them! After the battle I saw a dead soldier hanging on a fence with fifty-seven bullets in his body. Some soldiers must have tried to hide behind him to survive but failed, for I found dead bodies behind him, too. It was a gruesome sight.

Hope you’re doing better back home. Best wishes to the kids,

J. Mitchell

Uncle Tom’s Cabin: A Humorous Summary

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

uncle-tom's-cabin-a-humorous-summaryMy 12-year-old son wanted to write a humorous summary of Uncle Tom’s Cabin as one of his writing assignments for his Civil War Binder. He really did a creative job, bringing in details from the story with irony and sarcasm:

Let’s say you were teleported to the time of slavery in America and turned black. Before you knew it, you would find yourself in a horse-drawn cart along with other black people meandering along a muddy road with hairy, stinky, muddy, rough white guys driving or stirring up a ruckus. You would go to a storehouse—the kind that one would keep furniture or animals in—where you would wait. Occasionally you would see other black people singing a tuneless song or just moaning and groaning on a pile of hay.

After a few days, the man in charge (who would be white) would take you out in the blazing sun and put you and the others on auction. People would bid for you as if you were a piece of furniture or art, and they would come up to you and look at your teeth to see how healthy you were and at your muscles to see how strong you were just like one would do with horses. Eventually you would be sold to a bullet-headed man named Simon Legree.

He would take you and others down a very rough road to a cotton plantation far south. The house looked vaguely like it was once a beautiful house, but it had been unimaginably mistreated. Then he would unload you all, and three or four ferocious dogs would come bounding up to you, barking and growling for all they’re worth. Legree would warn you that you were gonna be torn to pieces by the dogs if you tried to run away. You would immediately be set to work in the cotton fields along with the others that he bought, under the will of Legree’s two slave masters, Simbo and Quimbo, who were both so degraded they were like beasts.

At the end of the day, you would wait in line to grind your share of corn in the small hand mill. The stronger slaves would push the weaker ones out of the way so they would get to grind first. You would help some of the weaker women to grind their corn, so you would be last. After you ate (the meal only consisted of ground corn mixed with water baked over an open fire), you would go to your allotted shack, which was literally only one tiny room with a dirt floor and a blanket spread out.

The next day at dawn you would be forced up by either Simbo or Quimbo and set to work in the fields. You would occasionally take some cotton from your bag and put it in someone else’s bag to help them. If you were caught doing that, you would be whipped and set back to work. The days would turn into weeks and weeks into months and months into years, and you would work from dawn to dusk nonstop with only one meal a day. You would be so tired you could hardly work, but you managed to bring in a full load of cotton every time.

Then you would tell a slave girl named Cassy that she shouldn’t murder Legree to get away. Instead, she should dress up as a ghost and hide in the garret and scare him to death. She should pretend to run away, making sure she passed by the window, then go into the nearby swamp so they would have to assemble a search party. After doing that, you tell her to go into the stream and wade back to the house and stay in the “haunted” garret for months, then run away.

When she does that, it works. She and her friend successfully run away to Canada. Meanwhile, Legree beats you to death.

If you enjoyed this summary of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, you will love all the history activities inside the Unit Study Treasure Vault!

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