New Skills; New Books

15 Sep

Mad Skills Monday:

12th Grade: Epigraph- a quote or statement before the beginning of a piece of literature that highlights a main idea or theme in the piece to follow. It can be used to draw a reader’s attention to a certain idea or concept, or to help set the mood of the piece.

9th Grade: Personification- Giving human or life-like qualities to things that are not human or living.  By giving human traits and actions to nonhuman things, we can bring them to life.

10th Grade: Tone- The mood or feeling an author creates (could be scary, funny, tense…).  This is done through word choice.  Choose words that help create a mood.

New Books:

We will be receiving and reading our first books of the year.  Here is the reading schedule.  Approximately 50 pages are due each Monday for the next four weeks.

Reading Schedule:

Section 1 due 9/22
Section 2 due 9/29
Section 3 due 10/6
Section 4 due 10/14

12th Grade: Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
1: p1-46; 2: p47-102; 3: 103-156; 4: 157-203

9th Grade: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
1: p1-46; 2: p47-92; 3: p93-137; 4: p138-198

10th Grade: Lord of the Flies by William Golding
1: p1-57; 2: p58-108; 3: p109-154; 4: p155-202

Quick Writes:

12th Grade: Why do you think someone would do what Chris does? Is there any part of you that would want to do that too?

9th Grade: What are some cliques in our school? Do you belong to any?

10th Grade: Describe your bedroom using our new skill Tone.

Memoirs Due; Non Fiction Friday

12 Sep

Writing Piece #1 is Due Today

Today our Memoirs are due; they must be in class, typed and printed.  From there we will fill out a short reflection on the writing process. Writing Piece Reflection.

*Writing Pieces count for 10 points on your average. Please remember that no work is accepted late, but you are allowed two extensions each quarter, using your Super Pass.

Non Fiction Friday

In our classes we will be reading a short piece of non fiction about the high school experience.

12th Grade: 17 Things I Want Myself to Remember Senior Year – In your notebook, write down which you feel is most important and come up with one of your own.

9th and 10th Grade: 10 Things I Wish I’d Known In High School – In your notebook, write down which you feel is most important and come up with one of your own.


Than vs. Then; Work on Memoirs

11 Sep

Technical Thursday

Than vs. Then: “Than” and “Then” are two different words; do not confuse them.  It is a simple mistake to make,  but will cause your readers to question your intelligence!

“Than” is for comparisons, for example: “Johnny is taller than Herman.” “Nothing makes me happier than music.”

“Then” is for everything else, for example: “First I will go to the store, then I will go to the movies.”  “If I go to the movies, then I won’t have money for dinner.”


For the remainder of class we will be working on our Memoirs, which are due tomorrow.  They must be typed and printed out.

Skill: Effective Lead; Work on Memoirs

10 Sep

Today, we began with the anonymous reading of our Six Word Memoirs.  From there, we did a Quick Write in which we brain-stormed different details for our memoirs. We learned, discussed, and looked at examples of the skill Effective Lead.  Then we worked on our rough drafts for our memoirs.

Memoir: Due Friday; Typed 12pt. Font, Double Spaced;  Use the skills Sensory Imagery and Effective Lead; Use 2 Vocabulary Words; Minimum of 250 words.

Skill: Effective Lead

An author’s attempt to grasp the reader’s attention in the beginning of a work.

First impressions are huge.  Think about how fast you flip through TV channels.  How much time does each program get before you switch stations?  In a world of ever shrinking attention spans, you need to grasp your readers’ attention as soon as possible.

Try being vague, create mystery by not immediately letting the reader know exactly what you are writing about…
Try using vague words like “it” before explaining what “it” is.
Start with dialogue.
Start somewhere besides the beginning.
Say something shocking.  Sensory Imagery blast.
Start in the middle of the action.

Check out this page of 100 best first lines of novels.

2 Vocabulary Words and New Skill: Sensory Imagery

9 Sep

Two Word Tuesday:

12th Grade: Ambiguous and Nefarious
10th Grade: Profuse and Expedient
9th Grade: Ostentatious and Contentious

Write a sentence that uses both words in it.


Mad Skillz Monday Yo:

I know it’s not Monday, but we missed our first official Monday because of the baseline…

Sensory Imagery: descriptive language that uses any of the five sense (sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch).  Our five senses are how we experience the world.  Without them, how would we know what is going on around us?  How would we even know anything is going on around us at all? Use Sensory Imagery to help your reader understand what it was like to experience what you are writing about.

Using the story you are telling in your memoir (which is due Friday), come up with at least one example of imagery for each of the five senses.

Baseline Exams

8 Sep

Today all grade levels will be taking their baseline exams.

As a reminder, bring in your 6 Word Memoir for Tuesday’s class.

Start Thinking About Our First Writing Piece: The Memoir

5 Sep

Our first writing piece will be a memoir, which is essentially a story from your life.  Different from an autobiography, which covers your entire life, a memoir is just a single story from your life.  That story may last a few years (think Night by Elie Wiesel) or may be as short as a few minutes (for example: getting on to the bus the first day of school in 9th grade).  

Memoir will be due Friday 9/12

Quick Writes: 1. Write about something you are proud of.  2. Write about something you are ashamed of. 

Listen to the NPR program on Six Word Memoirs, then write your own story using only six words.  On Tuesday, I will collect your Six Word Memoir and read them to the class anonymously.  

To help give you an idea of what is expected in your memoir, here is a great example from a student a few years ago (click it to enlarge): Memoir Little


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