Write about your life with ‘Sunday Routine’

Featured column: Sunday routine

Sunday Routine is a weekly series that profiles “New Yorkers of Interest” and how they spend a typical Sunday. These routines — which can include going to church and spending time with family or meeting friends and binge-watching TV — are as diverse as the people who have them.

In this lesson, we invite you to use this column as a template for writing about your own life. What do you do on a typical Sunday? What do these activities say about you? You’ll read the routines of several New Yorkers, then write one, charting your day from waking up to going to bed.

Ideas for teachers: Use this writing activity to get to know your students at the start of the school year. Or use it to introduce a unit on personal or narrative writing. See our full narrative writing unit here.

Start by responding to our writing prompt, “What’s your Sunday routine?”

What do you do on a typical Sunday? Where are you going? Who do you spend time with?

As you read, annotate and take notes on what you notice about how these pieces are written. Here are some questions to consider:

1. Take a look at the headings of the columns you read. What formula do they follow?

2. What is the structure of this column? Consider how it starts, how it’s organized, how it’s formatted, etc. Name at least three of its defining characteristics.

3. Look carefully at the introductory paragraphs of each Sunday routine. What is the purpose of this section? From whose perspective is it written? What type of information is included?

4. Now look at the routine itself. How is it formatted? From whose perspective is it written? Approximately how many activities are included? What type of information does each description contain?

5. What themes do writers write about in their routines? Name at least four. (For example, in “How an Artisanal Donut Maker Spends Her Sundays,” Kimberly Camara writes that she spends time with her mother and brother on Sundays, so the theme would be “family.”)

6. Pick one activity from each routine that has intrigued you. What did you find interesting, entertaining or memorable about this activity and the author’s description of it?

seven. Finally, consider the language and style used by the writers. How would you describe the tone of each routine you read? How would you describe the tone of this column in general?

Now it’s your turn. Create your own Sunday routine based on a typical Sunday in your life. (Your Sundays may have changed during the pandemic and that’s okay. As the editors do in many of the profiles you read, feel free to also write about the things you were doing before Covid and the how these activities have changed.)

Your Sunday routine should be formatted like the columns you read and include:

  • A title, written in the style of the column.

  • A few introductory paragraphs that give your reader an idea of ​​who you are.

  • A routine that starts from the moment you wake up in the morning until you go to bed at night. Aim for eight to ten activities.

  • Take it a step further by adding photographs or illustrations of your Sunday.

Once you’re done, reflect on the assignment: what was it like writing about your own life? How has your writing style changed with this genre? What did you learn about yourself? What might others learn about you by reading your Sunday routine?


Learn more about today’s lesson here and find all of our daily lessons in this column.

Scott R. Banks