Paper 2

Alternative Styles Writing Assignment

Your assignment is to select one of these “alternative” types of writing. Your paper can be about any topic of your choice and can be serious or humorous. In order to be successful with this style of writing, a student needs to develop a clear, distinct voice.


W.11-12.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

W.11-12.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

W.11-12.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience.

L.11-12.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

  • Choice 1: It’s All My Mother’s Fault

To practice the alternate styles techniques you just learned, your assignment is to write a piece called “It’s All My Mother’s Fault.” Of course, you can substitute in your father, brother, sister, or grandparent if you want.  Some students even write about both parents or their dog. The intention here is to have fun while practicing these techniques.  This is NOT intended to be a piece where you are hurtful to anyone.  


  • Choice 2: Short Short/Flash Fiction

This is an extremely short piece of fiction with several distinctive elements including:

  1. Simple–every detail counts
  2. Usually character driven
  3. 1 setting
  4. Usually 1-2 characters
  5. Occurs in the middle of things.  
  6. Little if any resolution; this open-ended conclusion is one of the most important elements of a short short.
  7. Often a trick or twist at the end
  8. Title is often important–often adds a critical detail
  9. Very little background information is provided


  • Choice 3: This I Believe

This I Believe is based on a 1950s radio program of the same name, hosted by acclaimed journalist Edward R. Murrow. Each day, Americans gathered by their radios to hear compelling essays from the likes of Eleanor Roosevelt, Jackie Robinson, Helen Keller, and Harry Truman as well as corporate leaders, cab drivers, scientists, and secretaries—anyone able to distill into a few minutes the guiding principles by which they lived. These essayists’ words brought comfort and inspiration to a country worried about the Cold War, McCarthyism, and racial division.

In reviving This I Believe, executive producer Dan Gediman said, “The goal is not to persuade Americans to agree on the same beliefs. Rather, the hope is to encourage people to begin the much more difficult task of developing respect for beliefs different from their own.”

This I Believe offers a simple, if difficult invitation: Write a few hundred words expressing the core principles that guide your life–your personal credo.

Examples (by Theme)

Draft DUE For Teacher Conference: TBD
1 ½ – 2 pages

4 underlined and labeled grammar skills (plus brush strokes already mastered)

2 labeled Alternative Styles

1 formal conference

2 peer edits