Plant story resource for use in writing classes:
The following plant story assignment was devised by Kathleen Gutierrez at the University of California, Berkeley, for use in a lower-division composition course tailored toward environmental humanities. She kindly shared it with us.
What’s your plant story?
Please write a 500-word story on a plant that has had some significance in your life. Consider writing from personal experience. The response can be written in the first-person, in the third-person, or from the plant’s perspective. Approach the task with imagination.
You can review some of the writing prompts on the Herbaria 3.0 website to help get you thinking.
After the students completed the stories:
We revisited their plant stories as my students built their micro-level and macro-level revision skills. They read each other’s pieces and offered feedback during peer revision activities.
My students’ final task for the semester required that they submit their finalized piece to Herbaria 3.0. I shared information on the project, showed them a couple of writing samples that you had posted previously, and encouraged their path to their very first online publications. They had their laptops handy on the last day of instruction, and as a class we did final readings of some of their pieces and submitted as a group.
This exercise was especially important given the themes of the course. After spending a semester engaged in how others write of the environment, my students had an opportunity to share their own take on the environmental humanities.