Stories from Today's Afghanistan


In reading The Breadwinner, by Deborah Ellis, you have experienced what life was like under Taliban rule before the U.S. intervention in 2001.  While the character Parvana is fictional, Ellis based her story on actual events she personally witnessed and stories that individuals told her as she traveled throughout Afghanistan. Now it’s your turn to create a fictitious character, but your setting is Afghanistan today--2008.  You will explore what it is like to live in Afghanistan after the U.S. intervention and efforts to rebuild the country.


Defining Task
Seeking Information
Locating and Accessing
Using Information


Step #1: Defining Task

Create a fictional autobiography about life in Afghanistan today. 



What do you already know about Afghanistan today?  What will you need to know before you can write a story?  Work with your group to brainstorm questions you need to ask before you begin researching!




Evaluating questions: Please review the class questions and select 8-10 questions that will be the most helpful to your story.


STEP #2: Seeking Information

What resources will answer your questions?  Choose from the following:



Review your questions from step #1 and choose the best resources to answer your questions.  (Remember, if we’re focusing on Afghanistan today, what resources will be the most current?)


EVALUATING INFORMATION QUALITY: If using websites from the internet, please ask:

STEP #3: Locating and Accessing

Once you select your resources, you will need to locate the information within these sources:

STEP #4: Using Information

What is the best way to manage your information so you can use it to write your story later?  How will you keep up with your sources for your bibliography?  See Ms. Bray or Ms. Pals for some examples.  As a class, choose the best "note-taking organizer" for this project!


Remember: while taking notes, you need to summarize, paraphrase, or quote.  If you need help, click here!


How will you give full credit to your sources and avoid plagiarism?  To create a citation, you may use EasyBib.

STEP #5: Synthesizing

Now we must bring together all our questions and information (and your imagination!).  Here are some suggestions before you begin writing:

STEP #6: Evaluating

As you know, many writers struggle to create exciting stories that people will want to read.  How will you know if you have been successful?  What questions, tools, and resources could help us know we have reached our potential?




Barely Meets

Does Not Meet

(40 pts)

My paper brings the character living in Kabul in 2008 alive and maintains a consistent focus.  I used our research questions to creatively and realistically describe her/his experiences and values; I included relevant, historically accurate details based on current research from 5 sources.

My paper reveals my character living in Kabul in 2008 and maintains focus.  I used our research questions to describe his/her experiences and values. My story describes a day in her/his life; most or all details are historically accurate based on research from 5 sources.

The time & place my character lived is clear, but his/her experiences are more like a list than a story or journal; my story lacks focus and is unrealistic.  Some details may be historically inaccurate or based on dated research materials from less than 5 sources.



I tell the reader when and where my story is set but make no attempt to include historically accurate facts or details.  It lacks focus and is unrealistic. I used research from less than 3 sources.



40                             36

35                             32

31                               28


Organization (20 pts)

My autobiography has a strong lead that sets the stage, a developed middle with an obvious climax, and a satisfying ending, all in an order that makes sense and flows. Both the exposition and resolution fit the writer’s ideas and purpose. 

I have a strong lead, developed middle with a climax, and a satisfying ending, all in an order that makes sense.

Both the exposition and resolution fit the writer’s ideas and purpose. 

I have a beginning, middle and end in logical order.  Either the exposition or resolution fits the writer’s ideas and purpose.

My writing is aimless and disorganized; it is probably confusing to a reader.


20                              18

17                       16               

15                            14


(20 pts)

My paper has personality & shows how my character thinks and feels.

I use carefully crafted words and phrases which are from the appropriate region and for my intended audience.  Figurative language and other stylistic devices are used to enhance my story. My sentences are clear and the structure is varied. 


My paper has some personality & at times shows how my character thinks and feels.  I use some creative word choices and generally good language, but some parts may be routine or not for my intended audience. An attempt to include figurative language and stylistic devices is made.

Some of my sentences are varied in structure.


My tone is OK but at times my paper lacks personality and does not show the character’s thoughts or feelings to my audience. The words I use are acceptable but ordinary creating a flat and dull voice. I should try to use more expressive words.  Little attempt to include figurative language or stylistic devices is made.  I need to vary my sentence structure throughout the story.

My story has a Flat tone and dull, boring language.  Word choice  and stylistic devices are simple, ordinary, and/or repetitive; there is little variation in sentence length and structure.  Little or no attention is given to my audience.



20                       18

17               16               

15                             14


(20 pts)

I took risks in sentence structure and complexity. I chose the best sentence formation to convey my meaning.  I made some errors in my draft but these were corrected in my final edit. 

I made some errors, perhaps by taking risks and using interesting words or sentences.  I usually chose the best sentence formation to convey my meaning.

My spelling is correct on common words. Some errors in grammar and punctuation. Little risks were taken in sentence formation and structure.


Frequent errors are distracting.


20                              18

17                     16               

15                           14




Georgia Learning Standards (GPS) included in this cross-curricular writing project:


English Language Arts Standards


ELA7W1 The student produces writing that establishes an appropriate organizational

structure, sets a context and engages the reader, maintains a coherent

focus throughout, and provides a satisfying closure. The student

a. Selects a focus, an organizational structure, and a point of view based on purpose,

genre expectations, audience, length, and format requirements.

b. Writes texts of a length appropriate to address the topic or tell the story.

c. Uses traditional structures for conveying information (e.g., chronological

order, cause and effect, similarity and difference, and posing and answering a


d. Uses appropriate structures to ensure coherence (e.g., transition elements).

e. Supports statements and claims with anecdotes, descriptions, facts and statistics,

and specific examples.


ELA7W2 The student demonstrates competence in a variety of genres.

The student produces a narrative (fictional, personal, experiential) that:

a. Engages readers by establishing and developing a plot, setting, and point of

view that are appropriate to the story (e.g., varied beginnings, standard plot

line, cohesive devices, and a sharpened focus).

b. Creates an organizing structure appropriate to purpose, audience, and context.

c. Develops characters using standard methods of characterization.

d. Includes sensory details and concrete language to develop plot, setting, and

character (e.g., vivid verbs, descriptive adjectives, and varied sentence structures).

e. Excludes extraneous details and inconsistencies.

f. Uses a range of strategies (e.g., suspense, figurative language, dialogue, expanded

vocabulary, flashback, movement, gestures, expressions, tone, and mood).

g. Provides a sense of closure to the writing.


ELA7W3 The student uses research and technology to support writing. The student

a. Identifies topics, asks and evaluates questions, and develops ideas leading to inquiry, investigation, and research.

b. Gives credit for both quoted and paraphrased information in a bibliography by using a consistent and sanctioned format and methodology for citations.

c. Includes researched information in different types of products (e.g., compositions, multimedia presentations, graphic organizers, projects, etc.).

d. Documents sources.

e. Uses electronic media to locate relevant information.


ELA7W4 The student consistently uses the writing process to develop, revise,

and evaluate writing. The student

a. Plans and drafts independently and resourcefully.

b. Uses strategies of note taking, outlining, and summarizing to impose structure on composition drafts.

c. Revises manuscripts to improve the organization and consistency of ideas within and between paragraphs.

d. Edits writing to improve word choice after checking the precision of the





Geographic Understandings SS7G5 The student will locate selected features in Southwestern Asia (Middle East).

                        b. Locate on a world and regional political-physical map the nations of Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey.


SS7G6 The student will discuss environmental issues across Southwest Asia (Middle East).

                        a. Explain how water pollution and the unequal distribution of water impacts irrigation and drinking water.


SS7G7 The student will explain the impact of location, climate, physical characteristics, Distribution of natural resources and population distribution on Southwest Asia (Middle East).

                        b. Describe how the deserts and rivers of Southwest Asia (Middle East) have affected the population in terms of where people live, the type of work they do, and how they travel.


SS7G8 The student will describe the diverse cultures of the people who live in Southwest Asia (Middle East).

                        a. Explain the differences between an ethnic group and a religious group.

                        e. Evaluate how the literacy rate affects the standard of living.