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Grade: Senior
Subject: Literature

#3777. "Autobiography" by Franklin

Literature, level: Senior
Posted Sat Jul 29 10:12:07 PDT 2006 by Julie Rine (jar1@minerva.stark.k12.oh.us).
Minerva High School, Minerva, Ohio USA
Materials Required: copies of "Autobiography", chart (4 squares high, 6 square across)
Activity Time: one day in class, one week outside class
Concepts Taught: applying literature to "real life"

The excerpt from "Autobiography" by Franklin which is in our textbook deals with his attempts to perfect himself. He chooses 13 areas of his life from Order to Temperance in which he strives for perfection, keeping track on a chart of the days he is successful and the days he "blows it" (to use modern language). I create a chart for the kids and assign them to choose three areas of their life they feel they need to improve, and assign them to keep track of their progress for five days. The goals must be concrete enough to measure...such as No smoking, or No cussing, or Do homework before 9:00, or Go to bed by 10pm. They complete the chart and then write a paragraph detailing their experience.
This isn't exactly the process that Franklin used, but it gives the kids an idea of how hard it is to perfect oneself and consequently, how ironic (funny) it is that Franklin thought he could do it with a little organization and a plan.