Imitation Writing

Imitation writing is taking the work of a 'master' writer and using the structure and patterns as a form to learn and work from. I often use poetry and song lyrics to learn from. An example is how I would use the song This Land is Your Land to think and write from while using prior knowledge and research skills. I would recommend the use of Idea Books to log research ideas.

This Land is Your Land
Imitation Writing

The students would be regularly singing the song in the classroom. They would include student developed motions to 'act out' the song while singing.

  • The students would create a songbook with the original lyrics.
  • The students would rewrite the song as:
    This school is your school,
    This (name of school) is my (name of school),...
  • The students would develop a webbing (Thinking Map - Circle Map) and word bank of all the significant places in and around the school. They would build on the list of places with specific features of each of the places. An example of the writing could be:
    from the cafeteria,
    to the playground,
    from the smell of pizza,
    to the shouts of joy,
    This school was made for you and me.
  • They can then continue this pattern with important places in the city and rewrite as:
    This city is your city,
    This (name of city) is your (name of city),
    etc.
This Land is Your Land
by Woody Guthrie

This land is your land,
This land is my land,
from California
to the New York island,
from the redwood forest
to the Gulf Stream waters,
This land was made
for you and me.

As I went walking that ribbon of highway,
I saw above me that endless skyway,
I saw below me that golden valley—
This land was made for you and me.

I roamed and rambled, and I followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands to her diamond deserts.
All around me a voice was sounding,
This land was made for you and me.

When the sun comes shining, then I was strolling,
And the wheat fields waving, and the dust clouds rolling.
A voice was chanting as the fog was lifting,
This land was made for you and me.
Student example:
This Pass is Our Pass

This pass is your pass
This pass is my pass
From the Banning park
to Cabazon.
From the swing that we sit on at the park
to the big Cabazon stores.
This pass was made for you and me.

This pass is your pass
This pass is my pass
From the Cabazon dinosaur store
to the Banning firemen's house.
From the toys in the dinosaur store
to the people who put out fires.
This pass was made for you and me.

Plai Xiong - age eight


Robert Price - 66 First Place #3 - Brooklyn, NY 11231 - 718.855.8548
fax: 718.855.8574 - www.eggplant.org - robert@eggplant.org

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art by ashley james