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As students finish coming up with stories I ask them to share one of their boxes on the board. This keeps the students who are finished early busy for a little while longer, and helps the struggling students get some ideas from their classmates.
Once students have finished filling in their boxes we look at the composite of six students on the board and treat it as one student.
I then talk to students about the similarities and differences between different boxes and ask for suggestions to combine like stories.
Students are beginning to understand how these six boxes could become a resource for many stories, which could turn into personal statements. Stories they did not think were all that relevant or important take on the potential of significance. The story about dirt bikes? A story about perseverance. The one about helping a stranded motorist: an example of personal character. The point here is that students are skimming through their rolodex of memories and pulling stories they think represent then as they are. And they aren't stopping to ponder, they are merely writing down short events or episodes as they think of them.
We then look at the handout which offers suggestions for writing personal statements. We discuss the do's and don'ts and then I ask the students to partner up and share their boxes with each other. Then I ask them make suggestions as to which stories to write about or to combine into other stories.