This activity is related to BRAINSTORMING activities.
It involves generating a series of topics that could tell an audience something
important about ourselves. Again, it is also designed to help students FOCUS
their topics instead of trying to tell their entire life stories -- a task that's nearly impossible
in a short essay, even for students who feel their lives have been uneventful.
This fear can be a stumbling block in this activity, but this is a good opportunity
to remind them that even an ordinary incident can be retold in an exciting way.
The activity involves making a timeline with points they choose from their lives, and then freewriting
about those points to see which might make a useful topic. It allows them some room to
explore potential topics before having to commit to one, and thus alleviates some pressure
for nervous writers.