Paired Epitaphs: The Classroom Graveyard

Having recently read parts of Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology, students in Ms. Bartscherer’s English 10P class were given the challenge of creating their own collection of epitaphs. Working initially in pairs, students were asked to create a pair of vivid, believable characters with inter-related stories that would be compelling to others. As part of the creation of that character, students would incorporate artwork, a theme song, a symbolic prop and a back story.

With the characters created, students were asked to write a free verse poetic epitaph that included several literary devices (e.g., poetic comparisons, parallel structure, allusion, alliteration, rhetorical question) as well as a cross-reference to the character being created by one’s partner.

In turn, each pair of students then joined with another pair in order to create a more fully developed “plot” that incorporated all four characters. Additionally, students would create “headstones” on which to mount the epitaphs that had been created. Each group then presented their characters to the rest of the class.

Photos of some of the presentations are included below. One group of students produced a movie, which can be viewed below:

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