Responding to Hurricane Matthew


How’s that for personification? Show this to your group to spark a discussion around this figurative language concept.

Savannah recently survived Hurricane Matthew, a category 2 storm that left many of us without power and some of us flooded with trees through our roofs. It’s guaranteed that your kids have something to say about this storm that caused us all to wonder what would become of Savannah in the pitch-black, screaming night.

I encourage you to be responsive to this event and include it in your workshop next week.Your kids need to write and talk about it. Writing is a powerful way to process, and this can be a moment where your young writers can reclaim their sense of power in a wild week that made many feel helpless.

We’re in luck that we are either teaching figurative language (Weds, Thurs, Fri groups) or quick-draw drafting (Mon, Tues groups).

Some ideas for bringing this into your workshop:

  • Read writing inspired by hurricanes or storms. Try one of these “Six Shorts to Read During a Hurricane” from The New Yorker or read Hatteras Calling by (Savannahian) Conrad Aiken.  Another option comes from writing fellow Carter Boyd’s suggestion of 1 Dead in the Attic, a collection of essays by a New Orleans Times-Picayune journalist written in the months following Katrina.
    • Remember to pick out craft as you discuss. Where do you see figurative language? Personification of the storm? Revealing, specific details?
  • Writing prompt re: personification: Imagine Hurricane Matthew is a person at your door. Describe the scene. [What does he want? What does he sound/look/feel like? How do you feel? What do you do?]
  • Writing prompt re: personal narrative: Tell your hurricane story.
    • [What really happened to you? Your home? Your loved ones? Savannah?]
  • Writing prompt re: rewriting the script: What could have happened during Hurricane Matthew? What do you wish happened? Anything is possible.
  • Writing prompt re: personification: Imagine you are a hurricane. [Where would you go? What would you do? What could you see/eat/feel?]
  • Writing prompt re: form–dramatic writing/dialogue: Pretend you are a weather caster reporting on the storm as it approaches, reaches Savannah, and leaves. Use dialogue and stage direction to show your experience.

Be sure to leave time for sharing at the end. This will be an important part of the process. Remember that everyone will have different experiences, and no one’s “wrong” in their perception of this storm. Their stories matter.


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