“Eating Together” Student Writing Lesson

Does it matter who you eat with and how often you eat together?

The YES! Magazine article, “You Are Who You Eat With” by Katherine Gustafson is a story about why the people you choose to eat with, and how often you eat together, is important in these hectic times.

Students will use Katherine’ Gustafson’s story to write about their family’s daily eating rituals and how these foster a sense of togetherness.

Download this lesson in a PDF

YES! Article and Writing Prompt

Read the article: “You Are Who You Eat With” by Katherine Gustafson.

Writing Prompt: Does it matter who you eat with, and how often you eat together?

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 example.

Evaluation Rubric

Sample Essays 

The essays below were selected as winners for the Spring 2012 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.

Dinner Table Matters by Kate LeBlanc, Grade 7

Read Kate’s essay about how the dinner table is where her family shares stories about their day—and where she learned the names of all the U.S. presidents!

Family Bonding: From Tabletops to Laptops by Clara Lincoln, Grade 11

Read Clara’s essay about the support she gets from eating together at her dad’s dinner table—and around a laptop at her mom’s. 

Brothers Around the Table by Willis Reed, Edmonds Community College

Read Willis’ essay about how dinners at the fire station are the cornerstone of brotherhood and working together. 

Dinner at My House by Hanna Walker, Grade 8

Read Hanna’s essay about how eating dinner together improved communications between her parents and her, and helped her little brother calm down.

Response from author Katherine Gustafson to the student winners acknowledging that there is no one way to practice and enjoy a family meal and that the key is to foster a sense of togetherness.

We Want to Hear From You!

How do you see this lesson fitting in your curriculum? Already tried it? Share with 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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