Archive | October, 2016

College Essay: Work on Effective Lead and Epigraph

20 Oct


Today we will spend time making the opening of our essay interesting. Your first few sentences are extremely important. A reader will be making plenty of judgments about you and your writing early in the piece. This is where you either stick out for being interesting or blend in with the crowd for being boring.

Effective Lead Exercise

Write 3 openings for your essay of 3 sentences each, following the guidelines below. When you are done you should have 9 sentences in your notebook.

  1. Create mystery and intrigue. Make your reader wonder what is happening.
  2. Start with action. Think about what the most exciting part of your story is and begin there.
  3. Begin with dialogue. Open your piece with something someone says. Don’t confuse with an epigraph, which is a quote before the beginning of your piece.

Find an Interesting Quote to Use as an Epigraph

Check out this site, BrainyQuote, to find a quote that fits with the themes and ideas of your college essay. They have a handy search by topic feature.


Skill: Epigraph; Work on College Essays

19 Oct

Skill: Epigraph

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.

Classic Examples:

Behind every great fortune there is a crime. — Balzac
(from The Godfather by Mario Puzo)

Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay
To mould me Man, did I solicit thee
From darkness to promote me? — Paradise Lost, X, 743-45
(from Frankenstein by Mary Shelley)

Lawyers, I suppose, were children once. — Charles Lamb
(from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee)

Then wear the gold hat, if that will move her; If you can bounce high, bounce for her too, Till she cry “Lover, gold-hatted, high-bouncing lover, I must have you!” — Thomas Parke D’Invilliers
(from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald)

More examples

Work On College Essays

Once again, you will have more time in class to work on your college essay. I will be checking to see that you have at least a page worth of writing (ideas, rough drafts, outlines…).  Essay Questions.

College Essay is Due Friday!!

Here’s a video college essay for inspiration:

Read “Dreem Denied” and Work on College Essays

18 Oct

Read “Dreem Denied”

Dreem Denied” is another great college essay. It shows how the memory of a lost friend helps the author find purpose in his life.

Work on College Essay in Class

You will be given time to work on your college essay in class. By now you should have a pretty solid concept and begin your draft in your notebook.

Read Example College Essay; Work on Drafts

17 Oct


Quick Writes

In your notebook, write about the following.
What was a problem or challenge you faced this weekend? What were your choices? How did you feel about the issue? Did your decision or actions have any effect on others? What did you do (or not do) about the issue? Did you seek any help from anyone? How did it turn out? How would it have turned out if you acted differently? How would you handle the challenge if it came up again?

Read “Sibling Success”

Today we will read a simple but great college essay, “Sibling Success.” Take note of the way in which the author takes the role of older brother and shows his characteristics and growth.

Work on College Essay in Class

You will be given time to work on your college essay in class.

Upcoming Due Dates:

Friday 10/21- College Essay
Friday 10/28- Reading Assignment 2 (be sure to read another 100 pages of your book).
Friday 11/4 – Last day to turn in revisions
Monday 11/7 – Notebook check

Begin College Essay Draft

14 Oct


Classes will meet in A205, period 8 will be in A206.

Read Absolute Value

Here is an excellent example of a college essay, called “Absolute Value.”

Work on College Essay Draft

Today we will begin writing a draft for our college essay. Here are the questions you may choose from. (Seniors, if you have a different essay you need to write for an application you may use that question).

  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.

Missing Work Must Be Turned in ASAP

If you are missing any work, please get it in this weekend. Submit it via Kidblog, not Google Classroom. After Monday, I will no longer be checking Google Classroom!

Go To A206; Join Kidblog; Answer College Questions

13 Oct


Today we will meet in room A206.

The Only Constant in Life is Change! Join Kidblog!

I’ve been doing some soul searching. It really means a lot to me that our class is useful, interesting, and helpful not just in school, but most importantly, in life. As a result, I felt some things need to change.

We are making a small (read: major) adjustment to our class. Google Classroom is going the way of the dinosaur (We aren’t going to use it anymore).  I’ve found it to be a bit cumbersome and ineffective for our needs. Although I do enjoy the ability to post work digitally, the time it takes to sort through your work is unsustainable for me. And that’s a problem because I’d like to be the best Mr. Funk I can be for you.

So, we will be working with a new website. It’s called I’d really like to give you all skills you can use beyond this class and in life. Interacting with the world wide web and blogging is one skill I find particularly valuable.  Joining the site and posting your work is pretty easy.

Click on the class link and enter the corresponding code below:

Period 3 Code:  dztsk98

Period 4 Code: a9jx9pk

Period 7 Code: kavru7g

Period 8 Code: txzvbxa

Once in, create your profile (real name please!), and you are good to go.

I know this might be a little unsettling to those who fear change. I appreciate your cooperation. As a thank you for being understanding, I will allow anyone who is missing work to submit it to Kidblog. As a thank you to everyone else, I will be allowing you much more freedom in your writing pieces. More on that to come, but I think everyone will enjoy writing about the things they care about much more than whatever I tell you to write about.

Please do not submit anything else to Google Classroom. All old work and revisions should be submitted to Kidblog.

Read College Essay Article and Answer Questions on Your Blog

The Art of Manliness (which is a pretty cool blog) published an article called “How to Write the Perfect College Essay.” Please read this article and answer the 5 self-inquiry questions. Do this by creating a new post in Kidblog.

Using Better Verbs; Winning College Essay; Imagine

11 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.

How to Write a Winning College Essay

We will read the piece “how to write a winning college essay.

“Imagine” by John Lennon

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?