Speak First Marking Period

23 Oct


Today we will go over the words Ostentatious and Virtue from our 9th Grade Vocabulary list.

Quick Write: Draw a tree in your notebook.

Speak First Marking Period

We will go over the First Marking Period section of Speak.

For next Friday, make sure you read the Second Marking Period section 49-92.

Vocabulary; STEAL Rachel

21 Oct


Today we will go over the words Contentious and Solitude from our 9th Grade Vocabulary list.

STEAL Chart for Rachel/Rachelle

We will read the Friends section, starting on page 20, of Speak. Together we will complete a STEAL Characterization Chart on Rachel.

Vocabulary; Characterization; Speak

19 Oct


Today we will go over the words Disdain and Anarchy from our 9th Grade Vocabulary list.


Here are the notes.

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.


Today we will read some of Speak together in class.

For Homework, read through page 47 and complete a STEAL Characterization chart for Melinda on Google Classroom.

Writing Our Memoirs

15 Oct

Today we will have time in class to write our memoirs. The final copy is due on Google Classroom Friday at 11:59PM.

Memoir Requirements

A memoir is a story from your life. It is not the full life story, just a chapter of the story. It may be a story that took years to unfold (your 4 years of high school) or it may have only taken a few moments (what happened when the assistant principal called you into her office).  It can be about an important life event or it can show the importance of normal, everyday events (after all, this is what most of our lives are made up of). Usually there is some lesson or wisdom gained.


Grading Rubric

This document shows how your piece will be graded.

Effective Title and Bookending; Memoir Requirements

13 Oct

Quick Write: What are some great titles of movies, books, songs, shows, etc.? Why are they good titles?

Skill: Effective Title

A good title gets the reader’s attention, creates interest, might raise questions, hint at the plot without giving it all away.  Sometimes it comes from a line in the story or something someone says. It may contain a play on words or a familiar expression.

*Articles in newspapers aren’t titled “Newspaper Article.” TV shows are not titled “TV Show.”

Great book titles here and here

Quick Write: What did you learn from the experience you are writing about in your memoir? Emphasizing a lesson or growth that resulted from the experience can be a great way to end.

Skill Bookending

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.

Memoir Requirements

Now we are ready to write our final drafts of our memoir! The assignment is on Google Classroom.

A memoir is a story from your life. It is not the full life story, just a chapter of the story. It may be a story that took years to unfold (your 4 years of high school) or it may have only taken a few moments (what happened when the assistant principal called you into her office).  It can be about an important life event or it can show the importance of normal, everyday events (after all, this is what most of our lives are made up of). Usually there is some lesson or wisdom gained.


Grading Rubric

This document shows how your piece will be graded.

Effective Lead; Speak; Memoir Rough Drafts

8 Oct

Skill Effective Lead

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.
  • Make the reader question the narrator’s credibility.

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

And this one: 1stLinesof Movies

The Opening of Speak

Today you will receive a copy of the first novel we will read together, Speak.

We will read the first page and evaluate it as if it were a memoir. Notice her use of many of the skills we have discuss (sensory imagery, showing not telling, using specific details, paragraphing, and effective lead)

Memoir Rough Drafts

Next we will begin writing our rough drafts of our memoirs in our notebooks.

Using your outlines, start crafting your paragraphs. Try to incorporate some of our skills and techniques, but focus mostly on getting your ideas down. Don’t worry so much about making it perfect. Just get as much of your story down as you can.

Aim for about 2 handwritten pages in your notebook.

Post a picture of your outline and rough draft on Google Classroom.

Outlining Your Memoir

6 Oct

Start Outlining Your Memoir

Outlining– Process of gathering and organizing your ideas before beginning a piece of writing.  Writing without outlining is like getting in a car and driving without knowing what your destination will be.


  1. Brainstorm ideas – write down anything you think you might use. No idea is bad; the more the merrier. 
  2. Start Categorizing Ideas – review your brainstorming and group any ideas that are related in some way. (These groups will like become your paragraphs). *You probably won’t use everything you brainstormed*
  3. Organize Your Categories in a Logical Order for Your Paper

Benefits of outlining:

  • Helps you determine if you have enough information to write about a topic
  • Helps you remember your ideas
  • Helps you decide a logical and effective order to present your ideas
  • Helps you break your ideas into subtopics
  • Helps you decide what ideas are worth using and which are not.

Although it may seem like an extra step, an outline will save you time in the long run.  You will be less likely to get stuck, you won’t start writing about something only to realize you don’t have enough to say about it, and it will save you time on the editing process.

It doesn’t have to be fancy, just a collection of ideas.

Some helpful links here and here

Add Specific Details and Sensory Imagery

Once you have created your outline, spend some time thinking about the specific details and sensory imagery. Add these details to your outline.

Examples of Great Memoirs

Here are some great memoirs from students of the past. They may help give you ideas.

Coming Up with Memoir Ideas; Use Specific Details

2 Oct

Announcement! (Read Directions Carefully!)

The directions for our last assignment in Google Classroom Six Word Memoir/Showing Not Telling stated:

1. Post a Six Word Memoir.

2. Showing Not Telling: Post a 3-5 sentence paragraph, using showing not telling, for both A and B.

A. School is weird this year.

B. I feel nervous.

Make sure you are doing all parts of the assignment!!!

Quick Write:

Write about an experience in your life that changed you.

Memoir Example

We will be writing our own memoirs. Today we will look at an excellent memoir by a former student.

Read an Example of a Memoir from a student, “Little” on page 6.

New Skill: Using Specific Details

Use Specific Details: The more specific you can be in your writing, the more impact it will have on the reader.

  • Use brand names (“Air Jordans” instead of “shoes”)
  • Song titles, movie/tv show titles, etc (“‘Kurt Cobain’s scream in ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’” instead of “loud music”)
  • People’s words (“Get over here now!” instead of “the principal called me”)

In 3-5 sentences in your notebook, illustrate the following by using specific details:

  • The woman is rich.
  • It is raining very hard.

Showing Not Telling and Memoir Writing

30 Sep

Quick Writes: Brainstorm some experiences from your life (a list and incomplete sentences are ok; just collect as many idea as you can. The more the better!)

  • an accomplishment
  • a failure
  • a time you overcame adversity
  • a first time
  • a last time
  • a fight
  • a victory
  • a loss
  • a strange coincidence
  • fish out of water story
  • leaving
  • arriving
  • favorite/ least favorite memory
  • a mistake
  • a beginning
  • an ending

Skill: Showing Not Telling

Showing not Telling- instead of telling us something, show us! If you do a good enough job showing, then you don’t have to tell.


Telling: Roger is mean.

Showing: Roger tripped me in the hallway. At lunch, in between harassing freshmen, he was throwing french fries at our table.

Telling: The girls were excited.

Showing: Giggles and screams filled the arena. The soft curls were now damp with perspiration and the anticipation of the event. They held tight to each other in a mock effort to contain themselves. Arms flailed upward, and voices echoed in varying tones. The moment was here.

Telling: The room was vacant.

Showing: The door opened with a resounding echo that seemed to fill the house. Cob webs once attached flowed freely in the air as the open door brought light to a well worn floor. The light gave notice to the peeling paint on the walls and to the silhouettes once covered by pictures. The new air gave life to a stuffiness that entrapped the room. Faded and torn white sheets covered once new furniture now drowning in dust.

More in depth discussion Herehere, here, and here,

In 3-5 sentences in your notebook, show the following situations:

  • School is weird this year.
  • I feel nervous.

Six Word Memoir

Memoir – a type of writing in which the author tells a story from his/her life.

Listen to this broadcast about 6 word memoirs. Then write 3 6 word memoirs about yourself.



25 Sep

Update to Write an Email Mr. Mitch Beavis Assignment

Please send the email to BFunk@sachem.edu.

Unfortunately, your Sachem email accounts cannot email outside of the @sachem.edu world.

To accommodate for this inconvenience, the assignment due date has been moved.

I will show you how to access your sent emails so you can copy and paste them into a new email to BFunk@sachem.edu.


Today we will look at our first two vocabulary words: Optimistic and Pessimistic from our 9th Grade Vocabulary list.

Quick Writes:

  • Write about something you are optimistic about.
  • Write about something you are pessimistic about.
  • Name one optimistic and one pessimistic person you know.
  • Do you think it is better to be an optimist or a pessimist? Why?