Exploring The FOG MACHINE: Middle School Classrooms


This visit to the Meridian Freedom Project—a summer and after-school program in Meridian, MS that reincarnates the 1964 Freedom Schools—illustrates possibilities for exploring The FOG MACHINE with middle school students.

Students entering 6th, 7th, and 8th grades in the fall brainstormed responses to the prompt: “I have a dream that one day…” Discussion compared their dreams to those of actual 1964 Meridian Freedom School students and fictional students depicted in The FOG MACHINE.

Anna Stephenson, Director of the Meridian Freedom Project,
accepts a copy of
The FOG MACHINE for the MFP library.

Morning meeting at the Meridian Freedom Project concludes with
freedom songs.



Through presentation and discussion, participants compared the process taught in rhetoric to the process for writing a good story.

The Meridian Freedom Project’s rhetoric process calls for using language such as: claim, proof, impact. We related this to one of the commandments for effective fiction writing: Show, don’t Tell. We then rewrote passages from The FOG MACHINE from “showing” to “telling.”

During brainstorming from the prompt “I have a dream that one day…” Mr. Tyler Smith’s 6th-grade rhetoric students shared dreams of becoming mayor and a doctor, especially to help the homeless.

Many dreams in Ms. Jermesha Haywood’s 8th-grade rhetoric class were the same as dreams expressed by students 50 years ago. "New" dreams included: equal pay and job opportunities for women, a cleaner earth, and no more bullying.


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