Archive | November, 2014

Writing Piece #2 is Due; Happy Thanksgiving

25 Nov

Today, writing piece #2, the 101 Things I’m Thankful For piece is due.  Complete a reflection and hand it in.

I hope you all have a very happy Thanksgiving and get to spend the holiday with family and loved ones.  Enjoy the break and see you in December!

-Mr. Funk

101 Things I’m Thankful For Piece

24 Nov

Today we will be in room A206 (period 8 will be in the library), to work on our 101 things I’m thankful for piece.  Here is an outline of what is expected.

  • Write about specific elements and details about the things you are thankful for.  This assignment is an exercise in paying attention to the small details.  Don’t  just say “I’m thankful for my puppy”  say “When my puppy catches the frisbee in mid air.”  This will allow you to say multiple aspects about a single thing you are thankful for.
  • Use Imagery, especially the advanced imagery techniques we discussed last week.
  • Essentially you are writing a free verse poem.  Organize it 4 stanzas, 25 lines each, and one one-line stanza for something special that you want to stand out.
  • Don’t number your lines.  It will take away from the poem-ness of your piece.
  • Create variation in your lines.  Avoid repetitive structure “My mom for…, My brother for… ” etc.
  • Come up with a title besides “101 Things I’m Thankful For”
  • Single space this piece.

This piece is due tomorrow, in class, typed, and printed out.

Non Fiction Friday

21 Nov

Net Neutrality

Today we will read this article, about a hot issue in our world today, Net Neutrality.

Over the weekend, think about and work on your 101 Things I’m Thankful for Piece!

Fewer vs. Less; 101 Things I’m Thankful For Piece

20 Nov

“Don’t confuse ‘less’ and ‘fewer,’ fool!” -Mr. T

Technical Thursday

When to use “fewer” and when to use “less.”

The Rule:  If a thing is quantifiable (you can count how many there are) use “fewer.”  Otherwise, when you can count how many of a thing there are, use “less.”

Example:  I have less money than Mr. T.  You can not say you have 15 moneys.  Since you can’t count it, use “less.”
Example:  I have fewer dollars than Mr. T.  You can count how many dollars you have, so use “fewer.”

Example: I have fewer songs on my iPod than you.  You can count the number of songs, so use “fewer.
Example: I have less music on my iPod than you.  You can not count how many musics I have, so use “less.”

More info on the topic: here and here.

Exercise: In your notebook, write a sentence for each of the following words, using “less” or “fewer.”    Pain, injuries, care, wrinkles, wrinkling, art, painting, time, minutes, homework, assignments.

Assignment Grade!

I will be checking your work in your notebook on Advanced Imagery. Make sure you have done everything from Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  If necessary, look at the previous three posts on this site.

101 Things I am Thankful For Writing Piece

Our next writing piece (#2) is due on Tuesday 11/25.  You will be writing a free verse poem of 101 lines about 101 things you are thankful for.  This is an exercise in using specific examples.  Don’t just say I’m thankful for my mom.  Instead say, I’m thankful for mom’s homemade breakfasts on Sunday mornings.  By thinking this way, you will be able to come up with multiple reasons you are thankful for your mom, and your piece will be more meaningful than a nondescript list.

Quick Writes and Descriptive Writing Drills

19 Nov

Quick Writes:

  • What are some things you are thankful for this year?
  • Take a minute to write a thank you note to someone in your life.  Be specific, thank them for something they did for you.  (You may choose to give this to them or you may not, but it might be nice 🙂
  • Who are the 5 people you are closest with?
  • Write down their good qualities.
  • Write down their bad qualities.

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with” -Jim Rohn

More Work with Descriptive Writing and Imagery

Notes:  Show!_Don’t_Tell_Writing_Lesson

Assignment: In your notebook, write at least 3 sentences about the either of the following scenarios.  Use more descriptive language, show don’t tell!

Maya won the race.


I was nervous for the roller coaster.

Assignment: In your notebook, write dialog for this scenario:  Mom was really mad that I was late for curfew.

Vocabulary and Advanced Imagery Continued

18 Nov

Two Word Tuesday

Artisan (N) – a person who is skillful with their hands.  A craftsman.
Kindle (V) – To start a fire; Ignite Interest

Apathy (N) – a lack of emotion or interest
Ambiguous (ADJ)-  unclear meaning, vague

Augment (V): To increase, make larger
Engender (V): To create, to produce

Advanced Imagery Continued

Focus on a tiny but telling detail.  Often what makes a story believable and relatable are the tiny details.

Ex: She felt her pulse both in her throat and under the grip of that hand of his crushing her forearm. His breath. She heard it in short, chattering bursts. She smelled it, too. Fear stunk.    In this example, notice how she feels her pulse under the attacker’s grip, she also notices his breath.

Ex:  She tore free of his grip and leaped off the trail. A spider’s web tugged at her face. Any other time she would have screamed.  In this example, the spider web is used to show how urgently she is escaping. Something that would have ordinarily inspired fear means nothing because this situation is much scarier.


Revisit your Memoir or College/Personal Essay from last quarter, and add the three Advanced Imagery Techniques to your piece.  You may do so in your notebook or directly on the piece itself (I recommend your notebook, for the sake of adding to your page count).  I will check that you have all three tomorrow.

Advanced Imagery; Green Eggs and Ham

17 Nov

Green Eggs and Ham

Here’s some food for thought (pun intended) about keeping your writing simple.

Legend has it that Dr. Seuss was challenged by a friend to write a story using fewer than 50 unique words.  So the story could be as many words long as needed, but he could only use up to 50 different words.  This is a very difficult challenge and would force Dr. Seuss to keep his writing very simple in order to actually tell a story with such a limited amount of words to choose from.  Every word choice was extremely important.  Dr. Seuss went on to write Green Eggs and Ham.  Published in 1960, Green Eggs and Ham is one of the most well-known children’s books ever written.  That’s a true testament to keeping things simple!

Advanced Imagery

We have learned about imagery, which is descriptive language that uses any of the five sense.  Today we will discuss some more advanced uses of the skill. Review this Writer’s Digest article.

In your notebooks write about something interesting you did recently.  Next, make a list of the things you saw, smelled, tasted, felt, and heard during that experience.

Advanced Imagery Techniques

  1. Don’t stop the story to give descriptions. Instead, weave your descriptions into the action.  Example: As he shook Hulk Hogan’s hand, he could feel the years of training, body slams and grappling in the callouses of Hogan’s palms.  Instead of: He shook Hulk Hogan’s hand.  Hogan’s hands were calloused and tough from the years of training , body slams and grappling.  In the first example, there is action and description at the same time, in the second, first there is action then the description follows, slowing down the pace of the story. The first example is better because it weaves the action and description together, keeping the story moving.
  2. Try using “Double Nouns” to convey your imagery.  These are basically “Imagery Metaphors.” That describe a sensation and make a comparison simultaneously.  Examples:  Concrete bed, iceberg floor, a cat’s “sandpaper tongue”, spiderweb hair, flagpole physique, leather skin, pumpkin head.  Notice that these examples are two nouns (person, place, thing or idea) next to each other.  They are very effective in creating an image, while not slowing down the story to give a description.

Now add to your story, using two description that are part of an action, and two “Double Nouns” to describe elements in your story.  Don’t say “Walt stood over me, while I was in my seat.  He was tall and skinny like a flagpole.” Instead say “As I sat in my seat, Walt’s flagpole physique stood over me.”  The second sentence incorporates actions in the descriptions and uses a “Double Noun” comparison which describes how Walt looks, without interrupting the story.

100 Word Piece Due; Non Fiction Friday: Spacecraft Lands on Comet!

14 Nov

Our 100 Word Piece is due today.  Make sure you complete your reflection (follow every step in detail!) Download Reflection: Writing Piece Reflections.

Non Fiction Friday

In some incredible news, a human made space craft has landed on a comet 300 million miles away.  Read this article from the Wall Street Journal.  To give you an idea how far 300 million miles is, if you drove 60 mph nonstop, it would take you over 5700 years to reach the comet.  Wow.

Here’s another interesting article on the comet landing.  It has a pretty cool sound file recorded from the comet.

Technical Thursday: Simplify Your Writing

13 Nov

Less is More!

Skill: Five Words, Not Fifty-  Whenever possible, try to express your ideas in as few words as possible.

Somewhere along the way, we have been taught that complicated, wordy writing equals good writing.  Nothing could be further from the truth. The whole point of writing is to communicate ideas.  Cloaking simple ideas in complicated wording defeats this purpose.  I believe it was Bruce Lee who said “Simplicity is the height of sophistication.”  In martial arts, as in many arts, the most effective manuevers are usually the most basic.

Review this web page on writing sleek sentences.

In your notebook, rewrite the following overly-complicated sentences:

1. We are no longer able to reconcile; therefore, attorneys will be used to effect the dissolution of our marriage.

2. The weather had adverse impacts on our boat resulting in the necessity to rescue us from the water.

3. The leak in the bottom of the boat was due to poor maintenance on the part of the crew.

Next, go through your writing portfolio folder and look for three sentences or group of sentences that can be simplified.  Write the original sentence in your notebook, followed by the simplified version.

Writing Piece #1 Due Tomorrow!

Tomorrow you must bring your type, 100 word story to class.

For this writing piece you will be writing a story of exactly 100 words, no more or less. Here are the guidelines:

  • The story must be exactly 100 words (not 99, 98 or 101… only 100 words).
  • You must use two Skills. (A complete list of skills is on the right hand side of this web page).
  • 1 Vocabulary word

Also, you must do any of the following:

  • Write a story that takes place entirely in a character’s head.
  • Focus your story on one tiny detail or item.
  • Write a story made up of mostly 3 word sentences.

100 Word Stories; Computer Lab a206

12 Nov

Today classes will meet in room a206.

We will visit the site .  Once on the site, read a few stories until you find one you like.  From there, complete a quick write in your notebook in which you do the following:

  • What did you like about the story?
  • How is the author able to tell a story in just 100 words?
  • Are there any techniques the author uses that you can employ in your own story?

Review the 100 word story by a fellow student.  It’s a great example of making the most of every word!

100 word stories are due Friday!