Though most of our relationships with stories are based on entertainment (movies, novels, video games), stories can be--and are--much more powerful and meaningful than simple entertainment. Stories can do more than simply distract us from day-to-day stresses: they can shape the way we think and alter the way see the world. Stories come from myriad places and fulfill diverse purposes.
Sometimes stories are true (non-fiction), and sometimes they're totally made-up (non-fiction), but most often, they're a bit of a mix. Authors oftentimes will use something real that happened to them or another real situation and then change the names, setting, or make up some of the story's details to make it more understandable or enjoyable to the reader--while preserving the most important truths or elements of the real-life scenario. There are also stories (even whole novels) that begin not with a real-word situation, but rather just an idea that the author wants to get across to readers. In those cases, the events and the characters of the stories aren't necessarily based on real people and events; they're just tools that the author uses to help readers understand the idea.
So, over the next week, we will read a number of stories that help us understand how stories are told and why people tell them. Then, we will move into writing our own stories: stories based on actual people and events or stories that help us communicate an important idea or value.
Please see the class calendar for this week's specific assignments. You can also find the class calendar by double-clicking the "Eighth Graders" tab above.