sols_6My students are reading the infamous NY Times restaurant review of Guy Frieri’s new place. The best part? The dude reviews the restaurant using only questions — and TONS of hyperbolic phrases!! I’m having my students review a product using similar techniques. So, I thought I’d try it out today as practice for my lesson with classes on Thursday.


Do NOT Check With Your Physician First

Weight-loss gurus, do you talk to each other? Do you ever laugh at how your words impact the fatties in your community? Do you imagine them getting their only exercise running around from store to store to buy the latest “new thing” you’ve endorsed? Is there a back room somewhere that you gather in? When you’re there, do you generate a list of ways to confuse the masses? Seriously, how many times a week should we eat bread? Or drink red wine? Oh, now I can’t have bananas? Really…you’re going to change your minds again?

Do you realize how expensive eating healthy is? Or how much it costs to join a decent gym? And, if a client is in need of some one-on-one assistance, can the price please be higher than a week at Walt Disney World? How many times a week should we exercise now? Can it be only twenty minutes? NO? How about thirty? You don’t care now, as long as we do something? Are you kidding me?

When was the last time you actually ate what you suggested in you newest book? Did it taste like the paste you ate in first grade? Or the crunchy, bug-filled dirt you licked on a double-dog-dare when you were ten? Are you trying to get back at your mother for making you sit at the table until you cleaned your plate? How else should we interpret the tasteless stew of slimy salmon that you insist will raise our metabolisms?

Is anyone else confused?


Here’s what I’ve learned from this ten minute exercise: Writing only questions is HARD!! I’m not sure I have a clear structure either. And I definitely need a second draft because my questions lack the hyperbole that I so love in the Times’ piece. I can see that I did just a smidge when talking about paste and dirt, though. This is good for my students to know because they think I can get it right the first time (even though I tell them daily that I don’t).

I think this is why writing “beside them,” as Penny Kittle would say, is so important. And I’m hearing Katie Wood Ray tell me to use this piece — just this little bit– to create the writing lessons that my students need to know:

  • Writers question everything
  • But sometimes the questions don’t come easy
  • Writers draft and reread and revise and reread and draft some more
  • Writers look to their mentors and model things they like or want to try
  • Writers use different techniques to show disapproval (important in this piece because the reviewer REALLY didn’t like that restaurant

I’m sure I can find some other mini-lessons from this piece, but these get me thinking. Anyone have other ideas?