"Letting Go of Worry" Student Writing Lesson

What is one worry you’d like to throw away? What would you replace your worry with, and what would you—and possibly those around you— gain by not having that worry in your life?
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Photo by Charlotte Gonzalez, Flickr.

In the YES! online article Life After Worry, Akaya Windwood shares that worrying never changed the outcome of whatever she worried about. She discovers that when she replaces worry with trust she can be more present for her sister who has MS. And her friends, co-workers, and family find her more clear-headed, creative, and strong.

Students will use Akaya Windwood’s article to write about a worry they would like to throw away, and what they might gain by replacing worry with something more worthwhile.

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YES! Magazine Article and Writing Prompt

Read the article: Life After Worry by Akaya Windwood.

Writing Prompt: Think of the things you worry about. What is one worry you’d like to throw away? What would you replace your worry with, and what would you—and possibly those around you— gain by not having that worry in your life?

 

Writing Guidelines

The writing guidelines below are intended to be just that—a guide. Please adapt to fit your curriculum.

  • Provide an original essay title
  • Reference the article
  • Limit the essay to no more than 700 words
  • Pay attention to grammar and organization
  • Be original. provide personal examples and insights
  • Demonstrate clarity of content and ideas

This writing exercise meets several Common Core State Standards for grades 6-12, including W. 9-10.3 and W. 9-10.14 for Writing, and RI. 9-10 and RI. 9-10.2 for Reading: Informational Text.*

*This standard applies to other grade levels. "9-10" is used as an examples.

Evaluation Rubric

 

Sample Essays 

The essays below were selected as winners for the Winter 2015 Student Writing Competition. Please use them as sample essays or mentor text. The ideas, structure, and writing style of these essays may provide inspiration for your own students' writing—and an excellent platform for analysis and discussion.

 

Fearless Future by Leah Berkowitz, Grade 8

Read Leah's essay about replacing worry with bravery.

 

Doctor's Orders by Rechanne Waddell, Grade 12

Read Rechanne's essay about the impact that worry has on her and her family.

 

Blessing In Disguise by Noah Schultz, Portland State University

Read Noah's essay about the role that worry has in his relationship with his father.

 

The Stress of Safety Pins by Melanie Fox, Grade 12

Read Melanie's essay about how a person's worries can define them, for better or for worse. 

 

To Be Determined by Carolina Mendez, Grade 12

Read Carolina's essay about how letting go of worry helped her deal with the effects of Vitiligo, an autoimmune disease affecting skin pigmentation.

 

I'm Only 12 by Margaret O'Neil, Grade 6

Read Margaret's essay about replacing her worry with gratitude.

 

Response from author Akaya Windwood to student essay winners. 

 

We Want to Hear From You! 

How do you see this lesson fitting in your curriculum? Already tried it? Tell us—and other teachers—how the lesson worked for you and your students

Please leave your comments below, including what grade you teach.

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