Lately I Am Trying

by Sanna Wani

Photo by Hamzah Amin

Writing Workshop

Workshop Title: Trying

Step 1

Ask your students, “What’s a lesson that your pet has taught you? How? And why?” Discuss.

Step 2

Read “Lately I am Trying” by Sanna Wani. When you’re done, briefly discuss the speaker’s relationship with her pet. What was it like? What has her dog taught her about life in general?

Step 3

Say, “Take a few minutes to think of the lessons your pet – or just pets in general – has taught you. Try to jot down as many specifics as you can.” Then give them time to brainstorm.

Step 4

Have your students compose a poem similar in sentiment to “Lately I am Trying” in which they discuss the lessons a pet has taught them at some point in their lives.

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 asking your students the following question: “What do pets teach us about life?” Ask your students to provide specific, personal examples if possible.

Step 3

Read “Lately I Am Trying” by Sanna Wani. As your students are reading, have them pay attention to the lesson(s) the speaker learns from her pet. Then briefly discuss.

Step 4

Ask your students to open the following document and go over the instructions with them. In this assignment, your students are going to choose four lines from the poem they find the most significant to the poem’s purpose. Then they will rank each of their four choices from 1 to 4. Give your students time to work on the assignment.

Step 5

When your students are done, have them share their responses with the rest of the class.

Step 6

If time permits, share the exemplar essay with them.

Lesson Details

Lesson Info


  • Various


  • Aging
  • Appreciation
  • Children / Youth
  • Community / Culture
  • Death / Grief
  • Family
  • Friendship

Literary Tags

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