Afghanistan Women Writers Project: Reading to Identify Author's Purpose (Day 2 of 2)

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SWBAT determine author's purpose by reading Afghan women's writers' memoirs, taking notes, and teaching.

Big Idea

Afghan women tell their stories in a powerful online collaborative,; our students respond with focused empathy and insight!

Introduction to Lesson

Day 2.  The purpose of today's lesson is to allow students the chance to execute the cooperative task that was laid out in yesterday's lesson.  Students have already been exposed to the Afghan Women's Writers Project, and they were intrigued and gripped by what they read: war, poverty, and voting. 

Group Task sources.  Today, they will finish the lesson by reading three printed sources from the site, these dating back to 2010.  These sources encompass three important  themes: widows, education, and forgiveness.  As I mentioned in the lesson plan yesterday, we are using  mastery pairs, which means that each student has a jigsawed part, which amounts to a separate letter for each student.  After each student has prepared his or her section, he or she will sit with another student from a different group who has the same section; they help each other prepare notes on the author's purpose (RI.9-10.6) and other aspects of the readings outlined in the comprehension questions and grid.  The purpose of the mastery pairs is to help each student prepare to have complete information and the confidence to teach their group about the letter that they read.  This is of prime importance because the base group share out that follows is a key moment to practice active listening (SL.9-10.1) and notetaking. 

Groups Read Printed Memoirs for Author's Purpose

20 minutes

Three Sources.  I have selected three purchased/curated sources of memoir from the website through my research on, but you could just as soon go straight to the Afghan Women's Writers Project website and find three of your own choosing that are freely available, depending on the maturity level and interests of your students (alternatively, you could purchase the materials from Choices, which really is great!).  

The three that I have selected are Rahela (2010), Mina (2011), and Yalda (2010).  These three memoirs deal with war, poverty, and voting, respectively.  Now, though, on the wesite, I see that there are additional topics such as forgiveness, widows, women in business, and education; all of these come from oral storytelling that has been captured by the AWWP group and preserved for others to read.  


Jigsawed.  I will have students break into groups of three, each student selecting ONE memoir, and I will ask them to respond to the following questions individually (with an out-of-group peer support), then do the 4th question together.

1.) Who is the author of the memoir?

2.) What experiences do they relate?  How do these experiences compare with what we have learned thus far in reading the Kite Runner and other sources? 

3.) What is the point of view of the author?  Why do you think she is writing (RI.9-10.6)?  

I will impress it upon the students that it is their responsibility to teach their group about the memoir assigned to them; in addition, I will have each student prepare for this teaching by comparing notes with a "mastery pair," that is, another student who has been assigned the same memoir but from a different group.  The use of master pairs takes a little more time, but it ensures that the student will be ready to add more to their group by teaching them in a focused and deliberate way. 



Source A

Source B

Source C

Question 1






Question 2






Question 3






Question 4






And Integrated: The three group members take turns teaching one another about the selected narratives, and they take notes on each other's work by actively listening and taking notes down (not copying each other's responses). 

4.) What do the three selections as a group tell us about the experiences of women in Afghanistan? 


Follow-up Discusion

10 minutes

Processing Discussion.  We will spend the remainder of the class reviewing the students' responses to the three readings (SL.9-10.1).  I will ask them some processing questions such as the following:

1.) What did you learn from your group members, and what were thoughtful responses to the topic (SL.9-10.4)?

2.) Taken together, how do the three narratives help focus on similar issues?  

3.) Why do you think this story is important to be told?  

4.) Who needs to hear about it?

5.) How would you get the word out to your fellow classmates?  To our community?

6.) To lawmakers?  To the United Nations?  

7.) Whom do you think is already doing work in this  area to support women's voices?   


I will also ask about CL.  Finally, since today's lesson was heavily imbued with Cooperative Learning, I will ask do a wee bit of group processing:

8.) How did the mastery pairs help prepare you?  Any suggestions for improving mastery pairs? 

9.) How about your jigsaw, do you think that you understanding all three sections (thumbs up/down)?