Zombie invasion activity motivates student writing

Do you have what it takes to survive a zombie invasion? Seventh grade students at Gainesville Middle School were challenged to answer this question in an activity that got students excited to write, interact, and have fun.

It’s the year 2028, and overnight, a strange event has caused a third of the world’s population to become zombies. On the fifth day of the zombie invasion, stores are closed and the primary form of communication is social media, which includes reports of a safe camp located in Clarksville, Tennessee.

Using critical thinking skills, communication and teamwork, the students planned the 681-mile journey to the safe camp. They were allowed to take 10 items from a list of survival supplies including water, food, mobile phones and a first aid kit. Individually, the students kept a diary describing the team’s decision-making process.

The activity objectives encouraged the use of real-world skills. Mary Ruth Spencer, language arts teacher, explained: “We wanted the students to talk, listen, read and write, but while interacting we wanted them to use the art of negotiation to achieve group goals. . »

Classwork has become the talk of the school. Spencer shared, “Reluctant writers were excited about this project, and we even heard students talking about it among themselves in school hallways.”

Clara Charlton, a seventh-grade student, teamed up with three other students. They chose an RV as their mode of transportation, and she was the driver. After driving all night, they arrived safe and sound at a gas station, where they spent the day. According to his diary, that night, as they were preparing to leave, they discovered a flat tire on the motorhome. Their problems were compounded when a post on social media warned of zombies being spotted about a quarter mile from their location.

Clara writes in her diary: “There are about 10 zombies. We could take one, but 10 it’s going to be hard unless we can distract them. I’ll get back to you later if I’m not zombified.

Student journals were scored on using correct grammar, figurative language, and following steps in the writing process. Their communication during group decision-making discussions also factored into their rating.

Scott R. Banks