After reading Early American literature, my students noticed that
the Puritans only wrote about their experiences after getting on
"the boat", and wondered why they didn't write about anything interesting.
We discussed this for almost a whole class period, and I explained to them
how overwhelmed the Puritans were with the new world, and that they wanted
to convince others how wonderful it was. They were writing to teach others
the lessons they had learned, and they used the standard Plain style.
The assignment for that night: Write a letter home to your family as a member
of the first group of people to land on and settle Mars. You've just arrived on
this new land--write home, telling the family about the trip, the landscape, the
natives, and your future plans. Keep it as Plain as possible, don't draw elaborate
pictures, but describe everything as if this is what God intended for you.
The kids loved this one--it gave them a chance to use their imaginations and
to write about something they would like, while imitating a tough style of writing.
This exercise made the Puritan unit much more fun...