The Things They Carried Essay Topics

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

One way to help students navigate stories is to ask them to respond in writing. This lesson explains how to use essay questions in the classroom, and provides essay topic ideas related to the study of the novel The Things They Carried.

Using Essay Questions in the Classroom

As teachers, we have an arsenal of methods used to determine student understanding. We create assessments ranging from small check-ins to broader, high-level application of concepts, and use them daily. This way, we know what students understand, which of our teaching methods are working, and are able to modify content and give students grades. We call this formative and summative assessment.

One way to determine a student's understanding of a book is to ask students to write an essay on a specific topic related to the text. In order to answer essay-type questions, students need to have a high-level understanding of the text and the ability to produce the essay. What does this look like?

To answer essay questions, students first need to be able to organize their thoughts and come up with a thesis statement. This stance or statement answers the essay question, or topic, clearly and concisely with a focused answer. The student then goes on to provide evidence to support the thesis, often citing the book or referencing others who have written on the same topic. Finally, students conclude the essay, wrapping things up and restating thoughts. This way, teachers have a clear idea of what a student understands.

Essay Topics for The Things They Carried

The novel The Things They Carried takes a hard look at the life of soldiers during the Vietnam War. Use these essay topics to determine student understanding.

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