Writer Robert Kroetsch, an Officer of the Order of Canada, was known for using unreliable narrators in his novels.  Just when you thought you could put your confidence in the third person narrator, he’d throw in a comment, an opinion, or a contradiction to let you know the reliability of the narrator should be brought into question.

As kids, we received advice all the time from adults and older kids.  Of course, we’ve learned that, just like the narrator in a Robert Kroetsch novel, not everything we hear is terribly reliable.  This is especially  true when an older kid gives advice to a younger one about a new school, a teacher, or a new grade.

In this COW Writing Challenge, students have an opportunity to use their imaginations and give outrageously unreliable advice to their avatar.  The writing prompt is: “The most important thing you have to know about . . .”  Students can give advice on:

–what school is like.

–what their grade is like.

–the best way to do household chores.

–how to earn extra spending money.

–or any other advice they can think of!

The bonus words that pop up periodically should spark the writers’ imaginations in creating outrageously unreliable advice for their avatar and general audience.

Here’s an example of really bad advice:

The most important thing you have to know about . . . getting household chores done quickly is to find stray animals.  For example, if you have dishes to wash, find a stray dog that’s really hungry and take him into the kitchen.  Lay the dirty plates out on the floor and let the dog lick the plates clean.  Just put them in the cupboards, and you’re done the dishes before you know it!  

As for laundry, if you can find a goat, your job is pretty much taken care of.  All you have to do is turn the goat loose in the laundry room and the dirty laundry will be gone in no time!  Just be sure to check back and make sure the goat doesn’t start eating the rest of the laundry room!

When it comes to mowing the lawn . . .

Take our advice . . . This will be a really fun writing challenge for your students!  Honestly!