by L. Renée

Writing Workshop

Workshop Title: Mend

Step 1

Ask your students, “What is an act that you always associate with one of your parents (or other parental unit)? Like, for example, did your father always play golf? Did your mother always crochet?” Briefly discuss.

Step 2

Read “Mend” by L. Renée. When you’re done, briefly discuss the act of sewing and the associations the speaker makes with her mother. What did her mother’s sewing mean to her?

Step 3

Say, “Reflect on the one “act” that you associate most closely with one of your parents (or other parental units). Think of the reasons why you immediately make this association? Write down as many details as you can, i.e. the sights, sounds, tastes, etc.” Then give your students a few minutes to brainstorm.

Step 4

Ask your students to compose a poem similar in sentiment to “Mend” in which they reflect upon that one “act” they most commonly associate with one of their parents (or other parental unit).

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: Diction

Step 1

If your students are not familiar with the concept of “diction,” go through the introductory lesson.

Step 2

Ask your students to take out a piece of scrap paper for a quick write. Then read the following prompt:

  • “Pretend it is 100 years from now. You are tasked with describing a typical day in the life of your mother, father, or other parental unit. Now choose one moment from that day. Try to think of something – an activity, for example – that they would most likely find themselves doing on a ‘typical day in their life.’ Describe it in as much detail as possible. What are they doing? Are they baking? Are they reading? Are they kickboxing? What are the sights, sounds, tastes, etc. you associate with that moment? Take 5-10 minutes to jot down your thoughts.”

Step 3

Have your students briefly share. As they are sharing, ask them how that moment reflects something larger about their parents/parental units. What qualities of this person does this specific moment evoke?

Step 4

Read “Mend” by L. Renée. As you are reading, ask your students to pay particular attention to the meanings the speaker attributes to her mother’s sewing.

Step 5

When you’re done, ask your students to pick one word from the text that best captures the speaker’s feelings toward her mother. When one person has responded, ask the other students to choose another word from the text that pairs well with the initial response. Then ask your students why the two words “pair well” together. How do they work with one another to produce a larger effect?

Step 6

Ask your students to open the following document and go over the instructions with them. In this assignment, your students are going to choose specific words from the text, pair them together, and determine how they work in tandem with one another to evoke the speaker’s feelings toward her mother. When you’ve gone over the directions, give your students time to work.

Step 7

When you are done, have your students share their responses with one another.

Lesson Details

Lesson Info


  • Diction


  • Appreciation
  • Children / Youth
  • Family
  • Joy
  • Love
  • Parenting

Literary Tags

  • Diction
  • Figurative Language
  • Imagery
  • Selection of Detail
  • Tone