Origin Stories Assignment

Origin Stories Assignment

Rough Draft Due September 7th via InSite

Final Draft Due September 12th via InSite


Faculty and students associated with WISE history CHIS 201WS, U.S., Africa, and the World; and English CENG 105WS courses.


To teach critical reading and writing skills, and to practice using the technology.


This assignment is designed to help you

  1. understand the process of critical reading,
  2. demonstrate annotation skills,
  3. explore the connections between story-telling, geography, climate, culture, economics, politics, race, class, and gender; and
  4. use the technology.


  1. Read and view texts on the internet:
  2. Think about the stories you have looked at so far.  Consider, what is an origin story?  If you had to write an origin story for yourself, what would it be?  What elements would stand metaphorically for your own identity and origins?
  1. Begin with an understanding of the whole.  You cannot decide upon specifics until you have an overall concept of the idea you wish to represent.  Hint:  Begin with something to represent you–an animal, an element, a type of weather, etc.  Then expand from there.
  2. Do NOT retell the story of your life.  You include some specifics, but most of this must be a very general concept of who you are and what you stand for.  Your story must be influenced by the geography and climate of the region where you originate.  This will not be obvious.  You must create clues in the text–for example, certain types of plants, discussion of rainfall, depiction of earthquakes or large storms, etc. and allow the reader to make some educated guesses from the information provided.
  3. Finally, use a lot of “show don’t tell.”  Don’t tell me your story, show me!!


The first page of your paper should have your name, class time, e-mail, and e-portfolio address in the upper left-hand corner.  The title of the paper should be centered on the page in a headline font.  Use 12 point font, double space, and indent every paragraph.  Include your Google image of the area where you think the story might have taken place.  Do not double-double space between paragraphs. All citations and bibliographic information should be in CMS format (notes/bibliography style).

Grading Rubric for the Origin Stories Paper

Assignment Value: 100 Points

Use of Language
90-100 A Document satisfies audience expectations. Paper provides specific clues in the story and uses good “show-don’t-tell.” Paper is 2-3 pages long, includes name, class meeting time.  Paper is double spaced, 12 point font, and may contain other media links/ pictures. Style, tone, and expression appropriate for college-level writing; diction well chosen; syntax and mechanics virtually error-free.
80-90 B Document only partially responds to audience expectations. Paper tells too much and shows too little. Occasional errors and/or oversights in page formatting. Style and tone suitable for college-level writing; syntax and mechanics have minor errors;  diction appropriate in most instances.
70-80 C Paper lacks specificity or is too narrow or broad for audience and purpose.  Too much time is spent telling and not showing. Frequent deviations from page requirements. Style and tone fall short of college-level standards; distracting usage, diction, and mechanical errors.
60-70 D Paper does not address assignment or meet audience needs.  Paper is simply a retelling of life and contains significant imagery. Formatting is of mixed styles or inconsistently used. Minor issues of plagiarism are present. Little resemblance to college-level writing in most respects.
50-60 F Story missing or inadequate.  Paper tells life story and does not follow directions. Formatting is careless or lacking.  Major plagiarism may be present. Frequent errors inhibit clarity and meaning.

5 responses

  1. […] Here is the link to my list of Origin Stories Websites for you to choose from for your paper, and the link for the Origin Stories Assignment. […]

  2. Im not entirely sure i understand the assignment, Are we writing an origin story? Can we use an origin story we’ve read as a format or sort-of layout for ours?

    1. B”H

      Yes, you are writing an origin story for yourself. You can certainly get some ideas from existing origin stories (but just some ideas–work on making yours your own! Have some fun.

      Dr. K

  3. I don’t think I have an e-portfolio could you possibly tell me how do I create one to include on my first page.

    1. B”H


      You have an e-portfolio. It is your WordPress blog. You will find the link to the left of this page.

      Dr. K

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