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Advanced Composition
Index Cards as a Writing Tool

May 5 and 6, 2004


Writer Anne Lamott in her book, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, on index cards: “I have index cards and pens all over the house—by the bed, in the bathroom, in the kitchen, by the phones, and I have them in the glove compartment of my car. I carry one with me in my back pocket when I take my dog for a walk.”


Using Index Cards as a Writing Tool

One of the things that Lamott does with her cards is to write down the details when she sees “something lovely or strange or for any reason worth remembering.”

As you know, our school will be replaced in 2007 by a new school to be built at the east end of the school property. As a result, the old school will become a memory (personally, I spent 5 years here as a student and have worked a further 17 years in this building).

Today, students will each take an index card with them and find one thing about this school (either inside or outside) to write down and bring back to the classroom for discussion. Try to find something interesting!

Let’s get started! The teacher will give you each a card to record your observation. Remember to be quiet when outside other classrooms in session. You have 10 minutes to find something interesting and return.

Homework Assignment

Which details about our old school were most interesting to you?

Write a paragraph that includes three of the observations made in today’s class.

Make sure to give a solid topic sentence, use good transitions, and write an effective conclusion.

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