This unit was created by Jessica Lopez, a high school school teacher in Gulfport, MS, as part of the 2021-2022 Pulitzer Center Teacher Fellowship program. It is designed for facilitation across approximately three weeks with 75-minute class periods on each day.

For more units created by Pulitzer Center Teacher Fellows in this cohort, click here.


By the end of the unit, the student will be able to…

  • Cite specific details from the text that support how an author organizes a text.
  • Discuss how an author develops a central idea over the course of a text.
  • Analyze how an author intentionally unfolds a series of events 
  • Determine an author’s point of view in a text and analyze how an author uses rhetoric to advance the purpose or point of view.
  • Identify the specific characteristics found in a narrative essay.
  • Write a narrative essay or memoir from another person’s perspective.

Unit Overview:

This unit will focus on reviewing modes of writing, identifying specific components of a narrative essay, and practicing narrative writing in an untimed format. Students will analyze news stories, autobiographies and nonfiction texts focused on the experiences of individuals who have been forced to migrate throughout the world, and then practice the skills of storytelling and empathy-building by creating narrative essays that take the perspectives of the migrants whose stories they analyzed. Throughout the unit, students reflect on how narrative essays and underreported news stories can challenge bias and stereotypes. They also evaluate the way that writers can apply various writing techniques and structures to convey narratives that challenge “single stories” about groups of people and cultivate empathy.

NOTE: This unit will be taught after reviewing the different writing modes and will be part of a semester focusing on international voices. This unit is also written to be taught after students read the book Born a Crime by Trevor Noah, but it includes modifications for students who have not read that book.

Performance Task:

Students will research, brainstorm, write, and revise a narrative essay written from a cultural perspective that is different from their own. The essay should use details from the informative texts explored and researched in the unit. The essay should also demonstrate mastery of the narrative writing techniques explored throughout the unit. The following rubric provided for the Mississippi state writing assessments will be used to grade the essay: MAAP Writing Rubric

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Migration and Refugees

Migration and Refugees
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