Topic outline

  • General

    * * * This I Believe * * *

    Writing a Creative Personal Essay

    This course is based on the high school curriculum from

    tony hawk link

    Click on the picture above to hear the whole essay.
    This is the type of essay you will be writing!

  • Topic 1

    blog wordle

    1. Create a Blog

    You will create a blog of your own (using to be used for all assignments in this class.

    Watch the video and/or download the instructions for help. Both links are below.

  • Topic 2

    2. What is a Personal Essay?

    While many types of writing are personal, they are not all personal essays.

    Different types of essays depend on the purpose of the writer. In this lesson, we will think about WHY an author writes, and how that makes a difference in what type of essay, article, or story the author chooses to write.

    Click on the link below titled "Personal Writing vs. Transactive Writing" and use the arrows to guide you through the information.

    When you have finished and feel you understand the information, complete the "Identifying Purpose Quiz" posted below. Feel free to use your notes to help with the quiz -- you should easily get 100%!

  • Topic 3

    3. Writing Prompts

    You will choose one writing prompt to write about on your blog. For a reminder on how to post to your blog, go back to Section 1 and review the video or paper instructions.

    Click the link below and see the 6 different writing prompts.

    Remember, you are writing personal essays, so you should be focusing on your own belief or insight.

  • Topic 4

    4. Seeing is Believing

  • Topic 5

    blah 5. Quotations to Consider “blah

    Many of our beliefs come from wise words we have heard from others: our parents; our grandparents; our aunts and uncles; our teachers; our friends. In this section, you will be reading and listening to other people's quotations to help you identify what you believe about your own life.

    Think back to some of the "words of wisdom" you have heard in your life that have affected what you believe. You could interview your parents or other significant people in your life; ask them, "What is the most important message or belief you have for me as I become an adult and move forward with my own life?"

    Now, review the quotes linked below for more beliefs.

    From the quotes you heard from the significant people in your life, plus the quotes you read, choose 3 different sayings that you have found to be true in your own life. Post these three sayings on your blog. Then, write a minimum of 100 words about one of these sayings. This writing can be any type of writing -- a reflection, a story, a series of questions.

  • Topic 6

    6. Lessons Learned

    Truth and belief are often hard to define.Sometimes it is easier to think of lessons we have learned to understand what we believe. In this section, you will read about what others have learned and think about lessons that you have learned in your own life.

  • Topic 7

    thisibelieve logo

    7. Exploring Sample Essays

    In this section, you will go to the "This I Believe" website and listen to at least 3 of the 5 chosen essays (linked below). You will then explore some essays on your own and choose one to share. You should post a link to your chosen essay on your blog and write one paragraph (minimum 50 words) about why you think this is a good essay.

    Keep in mind some of the elements that make a good personal essay:

    • it is about a subject the writer cares strongly about

    • the author makes the reader relate to the subject, even if the reader has never experienced it before

    • the author is able to relate his/her small personal experience to the bigger world and back again

    • the author uses many specific details to help the reader relate to the experiences and emotions being described

    • the author uses all senses to describe his/her experiences: sight, sound, taste, smell, touch

    • when finished reading, the reader is able to summarize the main idea of what the author believes
  • Topic 8

    8. Great Beginnings

    Getting started is one of the hardest things about writing.

    • How do authors get going on what they choose to write about?
    • And how do they hook the reader into wanting to read more?
    • How do storytellers get listeners to keep listening?

    In this section, we are going to look at great beginnings and learn some strategies to hook your audience into reading or listening to your "This I Believe" essay.

  • Topic 9


    9. Time to Write!

    You have now worked multiple times on coming up with ideas about personal essays. Check out your blog and see how many different things you have created!

    Now, it is time to write a rough draft of your "This I Believe" essay. You will work with your instructor directly on your rough draft, second draft and final draft.

    But, before you start, carefully read the tips and instructions in the guide below. It will really help you get started and do the job right. If you're ever looking for inspiration, listen to a few more essays on There is also a feed on the right side of this course moodle that is constantly updated with new essays from

  • Topic 10


    10. Time to Record!

    Just like the writers you've heard on the radio version of "This I Believe," you are going to record your own voice reading your final essay. Once you have completed your final essay and uploaded it, you may begin work on recording it.

    This is your final assignment. Once it is uploaded, you have successfully completed this course!

    To record an audio file, you will use a software called Audacity. If you do not have a copy of Audacity on your computer, you can download it for free at the Audacity website. Click here to download the free software.

    Once you have the Audacity software, watch the tutorial below for how to record your essay and how to save it and upload it to this moodle.

  • Topic 11


    The links below will download files detailing the standards taught in this lesson for the state of Minnesota in Language Arts and in Technology.