freedom writer

Freedom Writer/Poetry

IP study work

5 credits


Sticky Notes: Write a sticky note for every 3-4 entries with a brief explanation of what is going on so far.

Journals: Write a paragraph for each journal entry. Stay on topic and elaborate as much as possible with examples when needed.

Vocabulary: Define the term and use in a sentence of your making.

Violence chart: Keep a chart of all of the violent acts the students see in their lives. Explain how their environment and life circumstance affect who they are. List the character, event and impact of event in the chart.

Quizzes: Answer all questions with details to support answers.

Tests: Answer all questions with details. Essays must be include an introduction, supporting paragraphs and a conclusion.

Journal #1: Do you think people should be labeled? Why is this harmful?

Vocabulary #1:






Read Pages 1-17.

Journal #2:

Ms. Grunwell is frustrated by the labels given to her students. Put yourself in her shoes. What could she have done in the first days of school to show her students that she didn’t believe in those labels?

Journal #3:

In Diary entry #2, a student describes how strictly segregated the high school quad is at lunchtime. Do you see this in your school? Can people move from group to group without problems? Explain.

Violence Chart: Begin to add to the chart at least 3 events, the events that happened so far, the characters involved and impact of these events.

Journal #4:

During Diary #3 one writer is jumped by five other students. Why did they go after her? Why does she vow to get revenge on these five even though they are “just like” her?

Vocabulary #2





Read pages 18-29


Choose 2 characters you have meet so far and tell about them. What type of person are they? What are they doing and what do you think will happen to them in the future? Make some predictions based off what you read so far.

Give at least three things Ms.Grunwell does for her students. Tell your opinion of how you think she is doing so far? Will she survive?

Journal #5:

The writer describes witnessing the death of a friend. Examine how this death affects the way the Freedom Writer feels about people and life. What other changes might someone experience after the loss of someone close?

Violence chart: Fill in additional events that have happened. You should add at least three. Again explain who, what and how it impacted their lives.

Vocabulary #3:





Read pages 30-46

Journal #6:

In one entry, a group of people who are present during an accidental shooting change the crime scene and make it look like a suicide. Why did they do this? Have you or someone you know ever chosen to change a version of events rather than tell the truth?

Quiz #2

  1. How did Ms. Grunwell teach Romeo and Juliet? Give details and tell how the students reacted to this method? How did it change students thoughts about their lives?
  2. How did the museum of Tolerance impact the students.

Vocabulary #4







Read Pages 47-63

Journal #7:

One of the diary entries a student has lost everything that matters but then finds hope in returning to Ms. G’s class and his classmates. Think of a person in your life who symbolizes the same hope Ms. G. and her students offered this student. Explain what that person means to you.

Violence chart: Add at least three more events to this chart, include the name of person, event and impact.

Journal #8:

In Diary 25, this freedom Writer explains a portion of what life is like for someone living with a chronic illness. Through all of the complications of the illness, this student wants nothing more than to return to school and Ms. Grunwell’s class. Write to explain why returning to the routine is so important to this student? How do you do with routines?

Read pages 64-76

Vocabulary #5







Journal #8:

Many people are judged for different reasons. One Writer describes a time where he suffered discrimination because of the way he was dressed. Think about how other people react to your own appearance. Describe a time when you or someone you know was treated differently from others because of what they were wearing.

Quiz #3:

  1. How does Ms. G. use The Diary of Anne Frank as a teaching tool? What lesson do the students learn from this book? What did you learn from reading this section? Provide good details and enough information to make your answer strong.
  2. What obstacles has Ms. Grunwell faced as a teacher in the year and a half she has been teaching these students? Provide at least 3 and elaborate by giving examples.

Vocabulary #6








Read pages 77-94

Violence chart: Add at least three more events to this chart, include the name of person, event and impact.

Journal #9:

How did Ms. G. and her students manage to get Zlata to their school? Explain what they did and why it was important.

Read pages 95-107

Quiz #4

  1. Zlata spent some time with Ms. G’s students. How did this go and explain how she changed many students thinking.
  2. What did the students do for Zlata’s country?
  3. Junior year is about to start and what good news to the students get?
  4. How will this impact their lives? Provide at least three examples of why this is a positive thing for the students.

Vocabulary #7







Read pages 108-123

Journal #10:

One student in Diary #55 feels “No one really understood what I was feeling. They were so caught up in what they thought about me that they didn’t really care.” Reflect on a time when you felt misunderstood. Write to explain why others did not understand you. What did you or could you do to help them have a better picture of who you were?

Read Pages 123-136

Violence chart: Add at least three more events to this chart, include the name of person, event and impact.

Journal #11:

Define Self-reliant- How does this word get used throughout this section? Give examples of when students feel they were self-reliant or not.

Journal #12:

In Diary 60, the young man offers John Tu a ride to his car. How does this turn out for him? What does he learn about this man and how does it change his thinking?

Read 137-154

Journal #13:

Ms. G. gave a new assignment of creating journals of their own life events. Give at least 2 examples of how the editing of these journal entries changed the lives of the person doing the editing? How does it help to know others have suffered like you? Explain.

Violence chart: Add at least three more events to this chart, include the name of person, event and impact.

Read pages 155-175

Journal #14:

What field trip did the students take? How did this impact them overall? Provide details from some of the diary entries.

Read pages 176-191

Quiz #5:

  1. In junior year what are three important events that helped change lives of Ms. G’s students?
  2. Name one outside source that influenced the students lives and tell why.
  3. Why is staying together as a group so critical to most of the students? Explain why you think it is important and helpful to their success.
  4. What is your opinion so far of Ms. G? Explain.

Vocabulary #8







Read pages 192-220

Journal #15:

This Freedom Writer shares her plans to become the first Latina Secretary of Education. Think about all that need to be done in the world. What “first” would you like to claim for yourself? How can you set yourself on the course to succeed in this goal?

Read pages 220-233

Violence chart: Add at least three more events to this chart, include the name of person, event and impact.

Journal #16

What is the reason some students will go to New York? Explain what happens and give some details of the trip.

Read pages 234-253

Journal #17:

What are Ms. G’s. plans for senior year for her students. Why do you think this is an important topic, especially for these students? Explain.

Read pages 254-277

Journal #18:

Why is being published a big deal? How do you think this will help them in the future? Explain how you would feel if you got something published.

Create a coat of arms. There is a template included in the packet. Be sure to make this nice and add color and pictures to your final piece.

Final Test:

Short answers: Answer the following questions in complete sentences and provide good details.

  1. Using your violence chart, describe the different types of violence that the Freedom Writers encounter during their lives. How has their environment and life circumstances affected who they are?
  2. In their freshman year, Erin Grunwell spends a good deal of time discussing tolerance, choosing selections about gang violence, portraying the Montagues and the Capulets as “OG’s” in Romeo and Juliet, and bringing real life situations like the Oklahoma City Bombing and Proposition 187 into the classroom. She even takes the students to the Museum of Tolerance. How does the sequence of events in the course lead students to make a “toast of change”?
  3. Think of some of the issues these teens face in their everyday life. Choose 3 of the issues and explain how they impacted the lives of the characters. How did they overcome these issues to make their life positive in the end? Give some details.
  4. The Freedom Writer explains the importance of the quotation “history repeats itself.”Think of the tools and experiences the Freedom Writers have gained. Describe whether or not they have the resources to break the cycles of which they are a part. Think of a cycle you are a part of. What will it take for you to break that cycle?
  5. Choose 3 characters that have played a part in this story. Describe who they are, what their issues are and how they managed to change their life with the influence of Ms. Grunwell.

Essay: Read the essay handout and do 2 essays not one. Choose two topics that you can relate to and write a 5 paragraph essay for each topic.

Poetry Unit

Write the following poems and put together in a booklet.

  1. Cinquain Poem: Following instructions write 2 Cinquain Poems.
  2. Diamante Poems: Following instructions write 2 Diamante Poems.
  3. Ability Poem: Write a poem that starts with a word like Ability is, Friendship is, Love is, etc. and write at least 8 lines to make a poem.
  4. Write 2 Acrostic poem: Each line begins with a letter in the word the poem is about.

Fall Spring

Falling Spreads

Around Petunias

Lovely Roses

Leaves In



5. Choose two song lyrics, school appropriate and tell what the lyrics mean to you.

6. Find two poems written by others that you like. Why do you like them?

7. Write two Haiku Poems: This should be a brief description of a vivid thought or observation on nature. It is usually about 17 syllables in three unrhymed lines (5-7-5).

Poppy petals fall

Softly quietly


When they are ready

Put it together nicely to turn in.

Violence Chart

Violent act Character’s involved Results

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