Invisible Work

by Kwoya Fagin Maples

Photo by Robert Farley

Writing Workshop

Workshop Title: Mentors

Step 1

Ask your students, “Who are some of your “mentors” in life beside your English teacher? Who, as the poet puts it, “tended for you in the night,” or looked out for you as you were growing up? What lessons do you still remember from them?” Briefly discuss.

Step 2

Read “Invisible Work” by Kwoya Fagin Maples. When you’re done, briefly discuss the speaker’s feelings toward the people in the poem? What lessons does she carry with her today? How have they shaped her?

Step 3

Say, “Think about some of the people in your life who have impacted you. Think of the “invisible work” they have done and how they have shaped who you are. Jot down as many memories as you can.” Then give your students a few minutes to brainstorm.

Step 4

Ask your students to compose a poem similar in sentiment to “Invisible Work” by Kwoya Fagin Maples in which they pay homage to the mentors in their life and the lessons they have left with them.

Step 5

When the students are done, have them share their responses with one another.

The full presentation may be found HERE.

Analytical Lesson

Area of Focus: Various

Step 1

This lesson allows students to analyze various concepts and skills, so it is recommended that you have covered several of the “standalone” lessons before assigning this one.

Step 2

Start by projecting and reading the following passage from Charlotte’s Web by EB White:

  • “She never moved again. Next day, as the Ferris wheel was being taken apart and the race horses were being loaded into vans and the entertainers were packing up their belongings and driving away in their trailers, Charlotte died. The Fair Grounds were soon deserted. The sheds and buildings were empty and forlorn. The infield was littered with bottles and trash. Nobody, of the hundreds of people that had visited the Fair, knew that a grey spider had played the most important part of all. No one was with her when she died.”

Step 3

Briefly discuss the passage. What renders it “emotional” or “sad”?

Step 4

Now project and read the following, revised version from an AI Chatbot.

  • “There was no further movement from her. By the time the dismantling of the Ferris wheel began the next day, and the race horses were loaded for transport, entertainers were packing their things, and trailers hauled them away, Charlotte was no longer alive. The Fairgrounds quickly became vacant. The empty structures looked sad and abandoned. Discarded bottles and wrappers littered the infield. Of the countless visitors who enjoyed the Fair, none were aware that a small, gray spider had played a significant role. Charlotte passed away alone.”

Step 5

Discuss the differences between the two. Why or how is the AI-generated translation less “emotionally potent or rich”?

Step 6

Share what the AI had to say about their modifications to the text.

Step 7

Read “Invisible Work” by Kwoya Fagin Maples. As you are reading aloud, ask your students to pay attention to the general tone, mood, and emotion of the piece.

Step 8

Ask your students to open the following document and go over the instructions with them. In this assignment, your students are going to read an “AI-modified” version of the piece and discuss how the revisions/edits render the text less emotionally potent or rich. When you’ve gone over the directions, give your students time to work.

Step 9

When your students are done, ask them to briefly share their insights with the rest of the class. In what ways was the AI-generated piece “inferior” to the original?

Step 10

Finally, show your students the AI’s Chatbots’s justification for their revisions and modifications to the poem.

Lesson Details

Lesson Info


  • Various


  • Aging
  • Appreciation
  • Children / Youth
  • Family
  • Friendship
  • Home / Homelessness
  • Joy
  • Love
  • Parenting

Literary Tags

  • Diction
  • Figurative Language
  • Imagery
  • Selection of Detail
  • Structure
  • Structure (Line Breaks)
  • Structure (Syntax)
  • Tone