Archive | October, 2015

Writing Piece Due; Characterization; Imagine

8 Oct

Writing Piece #3 is Due Today!


Listen to and analyze the lyrics to John Lennon’s “Imagine”

Quick Write: What is the song about? What is the message? Do you agree with it?

Skill: Characterization:

Characterization is how an author shows a character’s personality. This is done by the character’s actions and the things the character says, as well as the author’s description of those characters.


Descriptions of that character (He is a kind and caring person)

The character’s actions (Tommy stole money from his mother, who is in extreme debt)

The character’s words (“I’d never leave you alone, even if it meant I’d be in trouble”)

Description is an example of Direct Characterization.  The narrator is Telling the reader what the character is like.

The character’s Actions and Words are examples of Indirect Characterization.  The narrator is Showing the reader what the character is like.

Reading Assignment:

Choose 2 characters from your book and write about how the author characterizes him/her. Explain what kind of person  the character is, based on the author’s descriptions, and/or the character’s words and action. For each character you must provide evidence from the text.

1 page in your notebook. Due Thursday October 15th.

Work on Essays In Computer Lab

8 Oct

Tomorrow the college essay (12th Grade) and the Personal Essay (9th Grade) are due.  We will go to the computer lab to type them up.

A Great Way to End Your Writing :Bookending

7 Oct

Skill: Bookending– A technique for ending a writing piece, in which an idea that was brought up earlier in the piece is returned to.  Sometimes referred to as a frame story.

Read the Time Magazine Article about the roller coaster Goliath.  Notice the way the story is structured. The author begins with a little bit about the roller coaster Goliath.  Next he is on line waiting to ride the coaster.  The story switches focus and discusses other large roller coasters and coaster technology.  Finally at the end, he returns to his riding of the roller coaster.  He has created a “bookend” structure, in which an idea/situation is introduced, departed from, and then ultimately returned to.  This creates closure in the writing piece.

Examples from movies:

The Princess Bride- The story starts with a grandfather reading a story to his sick grandson.  The actual movie is the story, but every once in a while the “bookend” or “frame story” is reintroduced.  The movie ends with the grandfather and the boy finishing the book.

The Wizard of Oz- The story begins with a tornado in Kansas.  Dorothy is knocked unconscious and awakens in the land of Oz.  The story ends with Dorothy awakening from a dream back in Kansas.

Work on Personal/ College Essays in class!

Essay Checklist, How to Write a Winning College Essay

6 Oct

Skill: Using Better Verbs

Avoid weak words that require additional explanation.  For example: “Walk” does not tell us much, you would need another sentence or modifier words to clarify.  Instead of “I walked clumsily” say “I stumbled.”  Think of all the more descriptive words we have for “Walk” (strut, skip, scurry, stomp, hustle…) These are better choices because they do not require additional explanation.

You probably have a weak verb if you are using adverbs (words that describe how something was done).  

Example: “I spoke loudly.” You need the word “loudly” because “spoke” is a weak word. Use “shouted,” “screamed,” “announced” instead.


Today we will read write a winning college essay and you will receive college essay checklist.

Then you will have time to work on your essay or read your book.

Work on College/Personal Essay

5 Oct

Today we will be doing a Brainstorm worksheet for our next writing piece the college or personal essay.

We will also read a great example essay: Absolute Value.

You will have time to work on your writing piece or read your book.

12th Grade: 

We will be reading quotes from Henry David Thoreau Quotes.

Quick Write: Which is your favorite and why?

9th Grade: 

Skill: Epigraph– a quote before a piece begins that hints at themes and main ideas of the piece.

Personal Essay and College Essay Work

2 Oct

12th Grade: Our next writing piece will be the college essay Common App Questions

9th Grade: Our next writing piece will be the personal essay

Personal Essay Questions

  1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
  2. The lessons we take from failure can be fundamental to later success. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
  3. Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?
  4. Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma-anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.
  5. Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.

Complete this Essay Brainstorm sheet.

If you finish you will have time to do some reading.

Library/Computer Lab Assignment

1 Oct

Today we will be in the Library (period one will be in the computer lab)

During class complete the following assignment, type, print, and hand in by the end of class.

1. New Vocabulary Words: Define with part of speech

12th Grade: Brawn, Tout

9th Grade: Reprove, Cursory

2. Write a brief story (at least 50 words) using these words. Use the skill Sensory Imagery at some point.

3. Write a brief explanation (at least 50 words) of something you did this past week, without telling me what it is you did.  Use Showing Not Telling!

4.  Tell me about your Independent Reading Book

Title, Author, number of pages, why you chose this particular book

***If you finish early you may read your book.

Seniors Bring in College Essay Topics Tomorrow!