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September 18: A Day September 18, 2012

Posted by garvoille in Uncategorized.
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Hopefully, everyone is safe and sound back home, sheltered from the raging, tornado-warning weather! Here’s what we did today before the weather hit:

1A

1. Five-minute freewrite.

2. Characterization choice. Students got out L4: Characterization Prewriting. On that page, we wrote the name of a person who may appear in our memoir and our attitude toward or feelings about that person.

3. Characterization practice. Then, students looked at a slide showing four faces:

Students chose one face and chose one of the following attitudes: jealous, worried, caring, depressed. Then, students did a focused freewrite for five minutes describing the person’s face in order to reveal the writer’s attitude.

Example: (upper-left; jealous) Too-smooth, too-white skin stretches across arrestingly porcelain cheeks. Icy blue eyes look out over lids that seem to droop in condescension. Those garish red cheeks put on a good show, as do her blushing lips curved into a sinuous smile. She’s too perfectly blonde, like some unwanted child of Goldilocks.

or

(upper-left; caring) Her high cheekbones are beginning to show her to be a beauty, but she still holds her childishness. The warmed tip of an ear peeks out through tawny hair. Along her temples it curls ever-so-slightly. Deep blue pools shine out at me.

We shared our descriptions.

4. Characterization Prewriting. Returning to L4, students took the same approach to describing someone in their own life, first using the prewriting, and then moving onto notebook paper. Students should write one complete paragraph describing the face of this person in their life, using word choice to show their attitude toward the person. Due on Thursday.

5. Dialogue eavesdropping. At the end of class, we watched five minutes of the fifteen-minute film The Intimacy of Strangers by Eva Weber, featured at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. Watch some of it by clicking here! As we watched, we tried to write down as many fragments of conversation as we could hear. This exercise will help us write more realistic dialogue in our memoirs. We realized that many people repeat words, interrupt themselves, and use slang.

6. Dialogue writing. Students then tried to imagine a scene of dialogue that may occur in their memoirs. They wrote the script of the dialogue. (like this: Me: C’mon, Dad! Let’s –– let’s go!  Dad: Okay, okay. I’m just, just . . . etc.) This should be about 1/2 page long. We will add punctuation on Thursday.

HW: Finish writing your dialogue script and your description of a person’s face who may appear in your memoir (if you didn’t finish in class). For the description, use your prewriting sheet (L4) to help you. You must write this on a separate sheet of paper in complete sentences; it will be anywhere from 1/3 page long to a whole page. Longer is fine. Communicate your attitude about the character without directly telling us. Just use the description of the face to hint at the attitude.

2AB

1. Five-minute freewrite.

2. Characterization homework check. I walked around to check the work of about half the class. The rest of the students, whose work I didn’t check, turned in their characterization paragraph at the end of class.

3. Dialogue rules.Students brainstormed what they knew about dialogue punctuation. Here’s a good overview of the rules: http://theeditorsblog.net/2010/12/08/punctuation-in-dialogue/ Think you got it down? Test yo’self here!

4. Dialogue eavesdropping. We watched five minutes of the fifteen-minute film The Intimacy of Strangers by Eva Weber, featured at the Full Frame Documentary Film FestivalWatch some of it by clicking here! As we watched, we tried to write down as many fragments of conversation as we could hear. This exercise will help us write more realistic dialogue in our memoirs. We realized that many people repeat words, interrupt themselves, and use slang.

5. Dialogue practice. Now that we knew what kind of dialogue we might be working with, we started to apply the punctuation rules. Students challenged themselves by punctuating the following:

HW: None! 

4A

1. Freewrite.

2. Characterization share. Students shared the best line or lines of their characterization homework with two other people in class; the two people then tried to guess the author’s attitude toward the character they were describing.

3. Dialogue rules. Students brainstormed what they knew about dialogue punctuation. They got a demo from Ms. Garvoille using her amazing dialogue cards. Here’s a good overview of the rules: http://theeditorsblog.net/2010/12/08/punctuation-in-dialogue/ Think you got it down? Test yo’self here!

4. Dialogue eavesdropping. We watched five minutes of the fifteen-minute film The Intimacy of Strangers by Eva Weber, featured at the Full Frame Documentary Film FestivalWatch some of it by clicking here! As we watched, we tried to write down as many fragments of conversation as we could hear. This exercise will help us write more realistic dialogue in our memoirs. We realized that many people repeat words, interrupt themselves, and use slang.

5. Dialogue practice. Now that we knew what kind of dialogue we might be working with, we started to apply the punctuation rules. Students challenged themselves by punctuating the following:

6. JoAnn Beard’s “Behind the Screen.” We read together a short memoir (or really an “autobiographical short story”) by the wonderful author JoAnn Beard (who I met this summer!). You can read the first page of it here. As we read, we stopped to discuss the writer’s choices, the effect of dialogue on the story, and the significance of the title. This served as a model for students’ own memoirs. 

HW: Write a scene that may (meaning it doesn’t have to) appear in your memoir that includes both dialogue and description. 1 page minimum. Due Thursday.

On Thursday we will work in groups to workshop either the setting, character description, or dialogue piece.

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