Archive | November, 2015

Grammar: Misplaced Modifiers

30 Nov



  1. How can you pick up an elephant with one hand?
  2. How can you drop an egg on a concrete floor without cracking it?

Misplaced Modifiers

Today we will study a common problem in writing, misplaced modifiers.  Here are the notes(Misplaced Modifiers), and here is the worksheet (Misplaced Modifiers worksheet) that is due in class tomorrow.


Thanksgiving Week

24 Nov


On Friday our 101 Things I’m Thankful For piece was due.

On Monday classes defined the following words, wrote sentences and drew a picture for each word (in your notebook):

9th Grade Period 1, 4, 8:

  1. Precarious
  2. Expository
  3. Bolster
  4. Daunt
  5. Apathy
  6. Ambiguous
  7. Fervent
  8. Vagrant
  9. Undermine
  10. Oblivious


12th Grade Period 5:

  1. Delineate
  2. Nefarious
  3. Vernacular
  4. Hindrance
  5. Efface
  6. Glutton
  7. Hiatus
  8. Engender
  9. Obliterate
  10. Copious

On Tuesday, we wrote vocab bio poems, here are the instructions:

First name
Four traits that describe the word
Relative of (synonyms, other characters)
Who feels Who needs
Who Needs
Who fears
Who would like to see
Resident of
Last name.

Here is an Example:

Querulous- verb complain in a whining manner

First Name Debbie
Four traits Annoying, weak, childish, frustrating
Relative of Whiny
Who Feels Cranky
Who needs constant attention
Who fears having to deal with a difficult situation
Who would like to see someone give them everything they want
Resident of SnottyBratsVille
Last Name Downer


I hope you all have a happy Thanksgiving!!!

Commonly Confused Words; 101 Things I’m Thankful For

18 Nov

Today we will begin with a worksheet on some commonly confused words homophones quiz

Next we will have time to work on our 101 Things I’m Thankful For Piece.

Tomorrow we will have time to type our pieces

Period 1: D114
Period 3: Library
Period 4 and 5: A206
Period 8: Library

Heads UP! Our first reading assignment will be due the week after Thanksgiving break. Make sure you have a book to read.

101 Things I’m Thankful For Piece

17 Nov

Quick Write: Adding Specific Examples

On Friday, we wrote down a list of items we are thankful for. Now we will take these things and write specific aspects of those things that we are thankful for. For example, instead of saying “My mom,” say “Sunday morning pancakes my mom makes for the family.”

101 Things I’m Thankful For Piece

Write a poem listing 101 things you are thankful for.

  • 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.
  • Organize it 4 stanzas, 25 lines each, and one one-line stanza at the end 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.

Example pieces: 101 Excuses to Get Up Early and 101 Little Things in Life That I Love

Advanced Imagery; Add to Things You Are Thankful For List

16 Nov

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.

Advanced Imagery Techniques

  1. Don’t stop the story to give descriptions. Instead, weave your descriptions into the action.  Example: As he shook John Cena’s hand, he could feel the years of training, body slams and grappling in the callouses of Cena’s palms.  Instead of: He shook John Cena’s hand.  Cena’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.

Assignment: In your notebook, write at least 3 sentences about the either of the following scenarios.  Use the advanced imagery techniques above.

Maya won the race.


I was nervous for the roller coaster.

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.

Quick Write: Adding Specific Examples

On Friday, we wrote down a list of items we are thankful for. Now we will take these things and write specific aspects of those things that we are thankful for. For example, instead of saying “My mom,” say “Sunday morning pancakes my mom makes for the family.”

100 Word Story is Due; 2nd Quarter Rubric; Green Eggs and Ham

13 Nov

Today we are turning in our 100 Word Story.

I will also hand out the 2nd Quarter Rubric and your new Super Pass.

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!

What Are You Thankful For?

Quick Write: we often spend time thinking about the things that bother us or are wrong with the world, but take a few minutes and make a list of things you are thankful for.

Work on 100 Word Stories

12 Nov

Today we will be in the computer lab to work on our 100 word stories.

Before we get started, take a few minutes and look at some 100 word stories other people have written.

Happy Veteran’s Day

11 Nov

Happy Veteran’s Day. I’d like to take a moment to give thanks to all those who have served and the families that support them. Thank you.

100 Word Stories; Skill- 5 not 50

9 Nov

5 Words Not 50

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.

Creative Sentence Fragments

Skill: Creative Sentence Fragments- a purposefully incomplete sentence for dramatic effect.
We’ve all been taught that we must make sure we follow grammatical rules, but sometimes breaking the rules can have a powerful effect.

When to use sentence fragments:

  • To create a pause for the reader. We naturally pause at the end of a sentence.  Use fragmented sentences to slow the reader down.
  • To emphasize a thought.
  • To mimic how we speak in conversation
  • Remove action and create stillness

Here’s a handout we used in class creative fragments

Do not use sentence fragments in your formal writing.  Academic essays, tests, etc. are not time to creatively break the rules.  Often these types of writing assignments are trying to make sure you understand the conventions of English language.  And even in your creative writing, when sentence fragments are more acceptable, don’t over do it!

Helpful resources: Here and here

Writing Piece: 100 Word Stories

Our next writing piece, the first one of the second quarter, is the 100 word story. It is due Friday, November 13th. Here are the guidelines and some examples:

Write a story that is exactly 100 words (not 99, not 101… only 100). Your story must contain at least 2 skills.

Additionally, it must do one of the following:

-Take place entirely in a character’s head

-Focus on one tiny detail.

-Be made of mostly 3 word sentences.


Thomas Vasak

Harold waited, pistol ready and pointed at the closed door. He wasn’t going to take his chances. When the door opened, whoever stepped through was going to be greeted with a bullet. The knob turned and the door creaked open. He fired, too high, over the small girl’s head.

“Daddy?” she said, calmly.

He lowered the gun, closed his eyes, and fired again. Her body hit the floor with a thud. He’d rebury her in the small grave by the woods; just like he’d done with her mother last time. And the time before that. And the time before that.

Su White

She set out. Sun was shining. How, she wondered. It seemed wrong. House was clean. It wastidy. Done and dusted. So she thought. Socks were sorted. Rubber plants watered. Waste bins emptied. Beds were made. Floors were shiny. Blood was mopped. Broken pieces culled. Chipped dishes washed. Scrubbed hands dried. Wild hair straightened. Lips were pouted. Face made up. Lies were written. Dreams were punctured. Life had altered. Eyes stared off. No tears cried. She locked up. Phone was muted. Dog was kissed. She waved goodbye. She now remembers. How this started. Those three words… had changed her life.

Nicolas Brooks

There’s so many things you’ll never know about the man standing there with his thumb in the air as you go driving past. You’ll never know that the flicker from his outstretched hand is the wedding ring he’s been wearing again for the last five days, since the phone call he made from a rural service station somewhere south of the border, a call that crossed two states and countless memories to reach a woman in Brisbane who’d once worn the ring’s other. You’ll never know that what he’s asking you for is not a lift, but a second chance.

Liz Gallagher / Ice Cream

The whole shop is pink, except where its white. The crowd of smoothie- drinking girls at the window table could be laughing at anything. One waves. She tells herself they’re in a good mood because it’s a sunny Saturday and everyone feels light. She orders. A single scoop chocolate cone. Avoids looking at the scooper guy, who was in her gym class last year. He has seen her in shorts. She pays. Alone at a table, bravely, she anticipates her first taste of summer. Hears one more laugh. Knows this time; they’re laughing at her. She walks, gaze on the door, to the trash can. Tosses in her unlicked cone. Feels gray.

The Second Quarter Begins!

9 Nov

Quick Write: Write about something you did this weekend, with as much detail as possible, using only 50 words.

Our first writing piece for the second quarter will be a 100 word story. We will talk in more detail tomorrow, but the idea is to get as much detail as possible with a minimal amount of words.

9th Grade: go over quarterly exam

12th Grade: Finishing Into The Wild