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September 18: Similes September 18, 2014

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1. When students arrived, they wrote down as many examples of cliché similes as they could. I then told students to never use these similes again! (Unless they were trying to be funny.)

2. We then watched a video about Odyssey of the Mind for the Media Center.

3. We then took some notes on Similes on this handout: W2 Similes.

4. Students then worked on identifying the tenor and vehicle of some example sentences.

5. We also came up with a million different things that are quiet to come up with some more exciting similes with significant vehicles.

HW: None!

September 17: Writing Foreshadowing September 17, 2014

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1. We watched the final skits of Little Red.

2. Students then had time to write a scene from their memoirs using foreshadowing. In later periods, Ms. Garvoille shared some of the awesome foreshadowing she found in Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, which she read during the 8th grade Read-a-thon during her planning periods.

HW: Finish writing your foreshadowing scene. This should be at least a page long.

September 16: Foreshadowing Skits September 16, 2014

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Today, to review foreshadowing, we did some activities surrounding the story of Little Red Riding Hood.

1. When students walked in, they drew a card with a number. They had to write a paragraph of foreshadowing using the technique on their notes that matched that number.

2. We gathered in small groups to share.

3. We shared out the best example from each group.

4. Students then had 15 minutes to meet with their color group to prepare a skit using as much foreshadowing as possible. One person was even in charge of sound effects. It was a fun day!

HW: None. 

September 15: Foreshadowing September 15, 2014

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1. Students turned in their writing revisions today. We also answered the “Post-Workshop Question.”

2. We discussed and reviewed examples and uses of foreshadowing. Here are the notes you can download: Foreshadowing Notes (W7).

HW: None

September 11 and 12: Dialogue Writing and Writer’s Workshops! September 12, 2014

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Sorry about the posting delay! A Publishing Club pre-meeting combined with terrible, terrible sickness made for a delinquent poster!

Thursday, September 11:

1. Students took an open-note dialogue quiz (which will count as classwork). Here it is: Dialogue Practice.

2. Then, students wrote another scene from their memoir. The only requirement was that they include some dialogue (but not too much!).

HW: Finish writing your dialogue scene.

Absentees: Download Dialogue Practice and complete it with the help of your Dialogue Notes. Turn it in when you return. Write one more scene from your memoir using some dialogue.

Friday, September 12:

Workshop Day!

1. Students answered questions 1-3 on this sheet about their dialogue scene: Writer’s Workshop Cover Sheet.

2. Then, students learned how a Writer’s Workshop, well, works. Here are our procedures (W6): Memoir Workshop Guidelines. We modeled the process with a piece Ms. Garvoille wrote.

3. Finally, students had time to workshop their own pieces. If you didn’t have time to get feedback from your group, don’t worry. We’ll have more time during the next workshop. This weekend, read your piece aloud to a family member, and they can tell you some plusses and deltas!

HW: Revise your dialogue piece for Monday. It must be typed and printed OR handwritten in blue or black ink, every other line. The revision requirements are on the back of W6. If you need Ms. G. to print your piece, you need to write her a formal email requesting this and you need to attach your document. If you email it before midnight on Sunday AND you get a response back by 7:00 am on Monday, you know that you will have it printed for you. (If you don’t get an email back, it means you didn’t spell my name right in the email!)

Absentees: Download Memoir Workshop Guidelines and the Writer’s Workshop Cover Sheet. Follow the procedures to answer the questions and read your dialogue piece to a friend or relative, looking for feedback. Bring in your rough draft and the revision when you return.

worked with their writer’s workshop groups

September 10: Wordy Wednesday! and Dialogue September 10, 2014

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1. Students took notes on vocab words through #8 (exo). They also received feedback on the sentences they wrote with SAT words last class. We also turned in our character descriptions.

2. We reviewed dialogue rules on this sheet: Dialogue Notes / Indirect Dialogue.

HW: None!

September 9: Characterization September 9, 2014

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1. Warm-up. We either played the Show, Not Tell game on whiteboard, or students described a face projected on the whiteboard in order to convey an attitude.

2. Notes on Characterization. Students received W5 (not available online, since it has an amazing drawing on it — if you need it, get a copy from me). We took notes on three ways to use indirect characterization (DAD):

Dialogue: What they say (their vocabulary, their dialect)

Action: What they do. Actions speak louder than words.

Description: What they look like, walk like, sound like, talk like

Think of indirect characterization in literature like people-watching at SouthPoint (or wherever you go to watch the crowds). You can tell a lot about a person by just observing them. It’s fun to try to pinpoint what someone’s personality is like based on how they walk. Likewise, in literature, we read about characters and enjoy trying to figure them out.

3. Examples of Indirect Characterization. We looked at one example of indirect characterization together, underlining the loaded words that communicated more about the character than just his looks. We then figured out what the author was secretly trying to tell us about the character. Then, in pairs, students read another example of indirect characterization, also figuring out the secret the author was communicating.

4. Character Piece Prewriting. Students chose a person who appears in one of the parts of their memoir. They wrote down that person’s name. Then, they wrote down how they feel about the person. Finally, students wrote down physical descriptions of the person’s face that could hint at the secret they want to communicate to the reader.

HW: Write a description of your character, slanting your characterization to show your feelings toward them. This should be between 1/2 page and 1 page long. It can either be a story that includes a description or a description to add into a different part of your memoir. Due tomorrow.

September 8: Why detail? September 8, 2014

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1. As they walked in, students picked up a copy of “The Power of Detail”  from Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones. After reading “The Power of Detail,” students wrote down a sentence they responded most strongly to. Then, we wrote for 5 minutes about what that sentence means and how it relates to their own writing. Then, we snaked around the room, sharing the sentence we picked and talked to our partners about why we chose it.

2. Group discussion: How does this reading help us write our own memoirs?

3. Next, students quickly answered five questions in their notebooks to get them to think about the power of details to communicate feeling:

1.What is the saddest make and model of a car?
2.What is the most depressing flower?
3.What is the happiest tree?
4.What is the most adventurous writing utensil?
5.What is the most romantic cereal?

Then, we shared our answers, marveling at the specificity we could come up with!

4. To review slanted imagery, students received a practice sheet to help them edit a piece for slanted imagery. I don’t have an electronic copy of this right now, but there are extra copies in the classroom! This was collected for a classwork grade.

5. We briefly reviewed “Don’t Marry the Fly,” which explains that while detail is important, it’s also key to pick the right details to match your story and your mood.

HW: None

Absentees: If you are in Honors, you need to turn in your “Memory and Imagination” annotations. Be sure to write on the paper that you were absent on 9/8. Click the link to read “The Power of Detail” and write to the prompts in #1 in your notebook or a separate sheet of paper. Complete #3. Pick up the imagery practice sheet from me at school to complete for homework. Finally, read “Don’t Marry the Fly.”

September 6: Truth in Memoir September 6, 2014

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1. Truth in memoir. Students wrote for two minutes to the prompt, “What percentage of a memoir needs to be true? How much fiction is okay in a memoir?”

2. Students then put their name on a sticky note and placed themselves on a continuum of where a memoir belongs in veracity from “fiction” to “newspaper article,” from 0% truth to 100% truth. 

3. We watched two clips of videos related to how much of a memoir needs to be 100% factually accurate. First we watched Michael Moore talk about his memoir Here Comes Trouble with Stephen Colbert (start at 3:24). Then, we watched an interview with James Frey, author of A Million Little PiecesHere are some segments of that interview with Larry King (watch it all). As we watched, students took notes on the key phrases each memoirist said. After watching, students wrote for one minute to this prompt: James Frey says he stands by the “essential truth” of his memoir, even though there were embellishments and differences. How much of your memoir will be “truth” verses “essential truth”? We discussed our thoughts on truth. My goal here is to encourage students to be bold in their stories. When they don’t remember something it’s okay to invent, as long as you are being true to your experience.

 

4. Reading “Memory and Imagination” by Patricia Hampel. We began reading this short memoir in class as a group and in pairs. As students listened, they added annotations. To annotate well, write in the margin doing a variety of things:

Summarize each paragraph in a few words

Connections: make them between the text and your life, the videos we watched, or other texts you’ve read

Opinions: write your own down in the margin

Pose questions: about anything you don’t understand

Examine Patterns: anything that’s repeated is important — think about repeated words, ideas, or events

Here is the notes sheet we used for SCOPE: Close Reading and Annotation.

Then, as they finished reading, they summarized each paragraph in the margin of the reading in a phrase or two.

5. Change your position on the continuum, if desired. At the end of class, students reevaluated their thoughts on what percentage of memoir should be true. 

 

HW: Honors ONLY – Finish reading and annotating “Memory and Imagination.”

 

September 4: Slanted Imagery September 4, 2014

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Today we added depth to our imagery skills by slanting our description to match our moods.

1. Students first filled out a questionnaire about their grouping preferences. If you were gone, download it here and fill it out: Grouping Preferences.

2. Next, students underlined imagery connected to the five senses in their homework from last night. We shared a sentence of taste, touch, hear, smell, and see.

3. Then, students received W3: Slanted Imagery examples / Slanted Imagery Graphic Organizer.

4. We then discussed how we would describe our desks if A) we loved school, or B) we didn’t like school. It’s still the same desk — we’re just describing it differently. Love school? It’s cool and smooth, an almond color, with a crisp sound when you rap it. Don’t like school? It’s hard and cold, plasticy beige, with fake wood grain. Same desk — different descriptions. The description matches your feeling. That’s slanted imagery!

5. Next, we examined Thomas Cole’s “The Oxbow.” Students filled out their graphic organizer (the back of W3) based on the picture in small groups. Then, volunteers came up to elicit and write down what the class said.

6. Then, we wrote a two-minute description of the scene from either the positive or the negative point of view using as many words from that side of the chart as possible.

7. Finally, students got to choose what to do for homework. Choice 1: I don’t quite feel like I’ve mastered imagery, so I’m going to revise my imagery writing I did for today to include more slanted imagery and more action from the scene. Choice 2: I feel like I’ve really got a handle on this imagery thing, so I’m going to write another scene from my memoir using lots of slanted imagery.

HW: See #7. Due tomorrow. This should be 1-2 pages long (though you may always write more in the memoir unit!)

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