Thursday, October 31, 2013

Last NaNoWriMo Prep Day!

Books Out

Today I need to send you a few at a time to see the nurse for vision screening. I'll let you know when It's your turn. Please get there and get back as quickly as you can.

Goal 1: Take your Dialog Quiz

Goal 2: Work with your table partner to work through this form about novel beginnings.

Goal 3: Check your "Shared With Me" section in Google Docs to make sure you got the template for NaNoWriMo.

NaNoWriMo Starts Tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Dialog Day 3

Books Out

One more day of dialog:

1. Check the dialog you wrote yesterday.
  • Is it correctly formatted with a new line for each change in speakers?
  • Does it have "quotation marks?"
  • Are the periods and commas in the right places? 
2. Write a few more of the dialog exercises.
3. Be prepared to share out your favorite dialog.
4. If Mrs. R. approves your dialog formatting you can make one of these. 

5. Yesterday you probably got an email with a grade for your character questionnaire. Some of you still need to work on that.

NaNoWriMo is Coming!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Dialog Day 2

Books Out

1. Login to NaNoWriMo:  (If you can't remember your password use the 'request new password' tab.)  (Join Fresh English if you aren't in our class yet.)
2. Click 'Edit Novel Info on the left.
3. Your default word count goal is 30000 based on the average of what students wrote last year. Enter YOUR word count goal for NaNoWriMo.

4. Yesterday we learned about punctuating dialog. READ what NaNoWriMo says about dialog.
5. WRITE the dialog exercises in your writer's notebook.
6. At the end of the period you will be sharing some of your dialog writing.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Dialog Day 1

Books Out

Today we have a quick lesson on punctuating dialog.
Then we are going to take a quick practice quiz about punctuating dialog.

There will be no talking while we are busy learning about dialog.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Advice of the Week

Books Out

Your AOW this week is to read a bunch of advice about NaNoWriMo from other young authors who have done it before.

  1. Read through their advice carefully.
  2. Pick out 2-3 quotes that you find most helpful. 
  3. Write a paragraph about those pieces of advice and how they help you specifically. 
  4. Then get back to novel planning. Many of you have work to do with your six plot questions. 
There is magic fairy focus dust all over this classroom. 
You have a lot to do. 
Stay focused and DON'T PANIC! 

Picture of Novel thanks to Olaf Simons from Wikimedia Commons and Ookaboo!

Thursday, October 24, 2013


Books Out

We are making excellent novel progress. Today we are going to focus on setting and you might write some things that might make it into your novel too.

You need:

  1. The PDF of your High School NaNoWriMo Handbook, page 30
  2. Your Writer's Notebook

We will share out some of your favorite settings with Socrative at the end of the period.
Picture of Grouse Mountain thanks to Ice-Babe from Wikimedia Commons and Ookaboo!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Progress Check for NaNoWriMo

Books Out

Goal #1: Complete this form as a NaNoWriMo progress check.

Goal #2: Continue work on the plot questions you began yesterday.

Goal #3: Finish the character questions you started last week.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Picture of Roller coaster thanks to
 Stratosphere from Wikimedia Commons and Ookaboo!
Books out!

You will need:

  1. The PDF of your High School NaNoWriMo Handbook
  2. Your Writer's Notebook

Goal #1 Plot page 19.

Goal #2 Finish conflict (p. 15-18) and character questionnaire (in docs).

Monday, October 21, 2013

Creating Conflict

Books Out

WARNING ASSIGNMENT: Our next grading period ends on 11/22.  You need to have two books read and reviewed in Goodreads by 11/20 for them to count for this grading period. We will not have time in class for writing book reviews. This is HOMEWORK. On 11/22 I will ask you to submit the URL's for your two reviews. 

Today: Last week you downloaded the NaNoWriMo handbook and saved it to your My Documents folder. Open that PDF now and scroll to page 15 about conflict. You are already familiar with conflict from our group novels, so this should be pretty easy for you.

Goal 1: Read and complete pages 15-18 of the NaNoWriMo handbook about the conflicts in YOUR novel.

Goal 2: All of you have more work to do on your character questionnaire documents that I shared with you last Thursday.
Picture of Characters in Romeo and Juliet thanks to Zimbres from Wikimedia Commons and Ookaboo!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Classic Books?

Books Out

It's time for another article of the week. This week it is a blog post about classic books called "What Makes a Book a Classic?"
  1. Read it carefully several times to make sure you understand the author's points. 
  2. Write a response in your writer's notebook.
  3. Your response should be two paragraphs, one summarizing what the article said and the second is your response to the article.
  4. Possible ideas for your response are listed below. 

To what extent do you agree/disagree with the author's points?
Discuss what books you think are classics. What makes them "classics"?
Discuss examples from novels you have read that relate to the author's points?
What are some other criteria for determining whether a novel is a "classic"?
How can this article help you write your own novel?
What "universal truths" might you be interested in writing about?
Why is it that most books do NOT become "classics"?

Thursday, October 17, 2013


Books Out-We read at the bell 

I've sent you a document called Character Questionnaire.  Look for it in your "shared with me" section of Google Drive. 

Read the first page. 
(Note there is a typo. Where it says Abstract Protagonist it should be Abstract Antagonist.)

Answer the questions about the protagonist and antagonist for YOUR nanowrimo novel.  These should be the characters you want to write about in your novel.  They do not need to be the same as the ones in the perfect novel you imagined on Monday. 

This is an individual activity. Don't talk. At the end of the period you can have a few minutes to tell a partner about the characters you created. 

Finish the character questionnaire for homework.  

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Let the preparation begin

Books Out

Yesterday, you got the exciting news that you are about to become a novelist. (This is also a good time to revisit our class motto, "Don't Panic".)

Today I want to give you a resource that will help you with your passage into authorship. It is the:
NaNoWriMo Handbook

  1. After you have opened the handbook be SURE you go to FILE/Save As and SAVE your model handbook in your MY DOCUMENTS folder. 
  2. Really, save the darn handbook in your my documents folder now. 
  3. Begin by reading the letter to authors on page 1. 
  4. Then read page three and banish your inner editor.
  5. You are now ready to choose your model novel.

Choosing a Model Novel:
Your model novel is NOT the perfect novel you and your partner imagined on Monday. Your model novel is a book you read and liked, one that you can use for ideas, one that you can turn to when you want to see how an expert author writes dialog or moves the plot forward.  (It is probably not a novel about models, sorry.)   Use pages 4 and 5 of your NaNoWriMo Handbook to answer some questions about your model novel. 

You did work today in your NaNoWriMo handbook.  Be sure you SAVE it again before your shutdown. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Sign Up for NaNoWriMo

Books Out

Welcome back today we get started with NaNoWriMo, national Novel Writing Month.

Go to to create your account.  (Username: 7 Last First)
Search for our classroom "Fresh English"

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Perfect Book Project

Books Out

I read your book reviews over the weekend.  They were very good, but I also looked closely at your reading survey again, and I saw that a lot of you have trouble finding books you like.  I want to help make that easier for you with a little activity we are doing today. I call it "The Perfect Book" project.

Goal #1
Work with a partner to collaboratively create a version of your perfect book. The book you would be dying to read, the book you would tell all your friends they have to read, the book you would re-read several times.

You will need:    a) a partner   b) the slideshow below   c) the form linked below
1. One of you should have the slides and the other should have the form.
2. Submit one form for both of you.
3. Collaborate and combine your ideas to create the perfect book.
4. Link to the form

Goal #2:
The second goal for today will be revealed to you only after you complete Goal #1.  Save at least 15-20 minutes to complete Goal #2.

Goal #3: 
Unlocking the secrets of "The Perfect Book" project.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Article Of The Week / Catch Up Day

Happy Friday,

Today I have an article of the week for you and some people may also be working to catch up on a few things.

AOW: The 9 Ingredients of Character Development
(Make your own copy to annotate.)
In your writer's notebook write a 1 paragraph summary and 1 paragraph about your opinion.

Catch up on:
Editing your book review
A few have a test to make up

Thursday, October 10, 2013


Sorry there wasn't much to post today.  We took a test.  The multiple choice part of your grade will be online soon (if the scanner is working).  The short answer part will take me into next week.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Book reviews

Today we have been working on writing book reviews in Goodreads.  You can still edit your review if you need to. I start grading them on Thursday.

Make sure you submit the URL for your review here.
(The form asks for two reviews. You only need one for today.)

Also you can nominate a teacher you like to win a Chromebook. (You like me right?)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Book Review Analysis

Books out

Lets look closely at some book reviews today before you prepare to write your own tomorrow.

I sent you a document in Google Docs. Lets look at it together.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Conflict and Review

Welcome back,

We have a lot to get done this week.
Important things to know: 

  • This is the last week of the first grading period. 
  • You have a short test in this class on Thursday.
  • You will be writing a review of your group book in Goodreads on Wednesday. 

Goal #1:  In your writer's notebook write a list of problems the character(s) in your group novel faced in the book. 

Goal #2: Review Conflict

Goal #3: Review how you did on your sensory details quiz. 

Homework: I see a lot of you still reading your group novels.  That should be done.  Finish it tonight! (Was due Friday.)

Friday, October 4, 2013

AOW- Literature and Empathy

Books Out  You are still reading today. 

Sorry I can't be with you today.  I'm at a training about expository writing. It's okay to feel jealous about that.

Goal #1: Read the article of the week
Click to read the article: I Know How You're Feeling, I Read Chekhov

Goal #2: Write about it
First paragraph summarize the main idea and supporting details of the article.
Second paragraph give your opinion about the topics in the article.

Goal #3: Catch up or read
AFTER you are done with your article of the week work, you can:
Finish the writing about book reviews that you started yesterday.
Add more books to your "read" shelf in Goodreads
Read a book

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Welcome to Open House

Good evening,

Thank you for joining us. 

Getting on Goodreads

Time to get our reading lives online.

Goal #1: Goodreads

  1. Go to
  2. Login using your GOOGLE account.
  3. Send a friend request to Mrs. Roberts (and maybe also Mrs. Berry) Hint: look us up by our email addresses.
  4. Search for the book you are currently reading and add it to your "currently reading" shelf.
  5. Search for at least TEN books you have read and add them to your "Read" shelf. Also RATE them using stars.

Goal #2: Reading some good reviews

  1. Read this book review of The Alchemist and this one for City of Theives
  2. In your writer's notebook write about why those reviews are a good ones. What are the qualities of a good book review?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Connotation and Denotation

Welcome to Wednesday

We will read at the bell.

Goal #1 Connotation and Denotation
Today we will review and practice the implications of these words. We will be using ActivEngage and a flipchart. You will also need your copy of A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings open.

Goal #2: An Assessment
I'll tell you about it when we get there.

Goal #3:
Finish reading your group novel by Friday.  Finish reading your choice novel for this grading period.  This means that you should have read at least two books since school started.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Sensory details

Books out OR if you have not finished reading "The Very Old Man With Enormous Wings" you should read that.

Goal #1: Learn about sensory details
When an author uses words so well that you can "see" what he or she is describing, there are probably some sensory details. If the stench of rotting fish left in the sun is really bad, or the garden smells of freshly cut grass and blooming roses, there are probably some sensory details. If the sand feels soft under the feet of the characters as they walk down the beach with the breeze twisting their hair, there are probably some sensory details. If the roar of the jet engine shakes the building and stops conversations, there are probably some sensory details (and you are at PLHS).

Authors use details like this to make their writing more real, to bring readers into the setting and to add to the mood of their story. Today we will look for some of the sensory details in "The Very Old Man With Enormous Wings" (You made a copy of it yesterday.)

Goal #2 Find sensory details in your group novel
Take a look through your group novel.
Find a few places the author is using sensory details.
Add them to your Writer's Notebook.
Write about how those details affect you as a reader.