Friday, December 19, 2014

AOW - TED Talk #2

Last Friday we reinstated Article of the Week, and we watched a TED Talk about being wrong. You wrote a response in your English Journal. Today we're going to watch one more.

After today, you should have THREE entries in your English Journal so far for this grading period. If you do not have these three entries, you need to do them (or you won't be happy with your English Journal grade in January). 

This Ted Talk is by a woman named Chimamanda Adichie. She's from Nigeria, and has some interesting stories to share with us. 

In your English Journal, respond to this TED Talk in the usual way:
  • Paragraph 1: Write a summary of Chimamanda Adichie's TED Talk. What is her main argument? What is the "danger of a single story?" What examples does she give to support her argument?
  • Paragraph 2: Share your opinion of Chimamanda Adichie's talk. What do you like or dislike about what she has to say? How might this relate to your own life and experiences?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Summary Document and Publishing Cont.

Your NaNoWriMo Summary Document is due tomorrow, Wednesday, December 17th. You will no longer have access to it on Thursday. Finish ALL of the parts!

The agenda:
  1. Read
  2. Please fill out this form if you haven't already (The password is "publish.")
  3. Finish your summary document (ALL OF IT)
  4. Work on your publishing option (You need yesterday's post.)

If you are using TeenInk or other social media to publish:
  • You must take a screenshot of your submission using the "snipping tool" on your computer.
  • Your name must be in the screenshot. (If you're using TeenInk, it will be on the top right corner, so make sure you take a screenshot of the whole page.)
  • Email that screenshot to me. 
  • You must email that screenshot to me by Friday, December 19

Monday, December 15, 2014


There are numerous things we have to do this week before we leave for break. Some of it we'll do in class. Some of it will have to be done at home. Here's the run-down:
  1. Finish the summary document (all of it). It's due this Wednesday. Look at the post from last Wednesday for definitions and models.
  2. Get your novels ready for publication AND publish it in some way. (This is required!)
  3. Make sure you have a book (or two. or three.) that you will like and enjoy reading over break. Click here for recommendations from last year's 9th-graders.

Links and Directions you will need:

Things to add to or fix in your novel BEFORE you upload it to CreateSpace (or publish it at all):

Friday, December 12, 2014

Article of the Week - TED Talk

Today we're going to return to something that we haven't done in a while: Article of the Week!

It's going to be a little different today though. I have a TED Talk for you. We're going to watch a video. Before we get to that though, I have a question for you.

Sometimes we find ourselves in situations where we are wrong. How does that feel? Is it okay?

In your English Journal, write at least two paragraphs:

Paragraph 1: 
According to Kathryn Shulz, what is the value in being wrong? What are her main arguments about being right or wrong?

Paragraph 2:
How have your views about rightness and wrongness changed? What is your overall opinion of this talk? How might it affect you and your peers?

Things to Work on at Home (Homework):
  • Continue working on your summary document. You should have your blurb and examples by this point. Work on writing WHY the examples you have are strong.
  • Write your NaNoWriMo reflection (Part III).

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Summary Document Peer Review

Today you will work in groups on your Summary Documents to peer edit.

You will work in groups of 3. I have shared your document with the people you will be working with, and shared your group members documents with you (in your shared folder in Google Drive). You can view and comment, but the author is the one who should be doing any editing.

I'll explain the process as we go along.

You'll need THIS FORM. when I tell you you need it.

Things To Do Tonight:
  1. Keep working on your summary document. Apply any suggestions given to you today, make sure you have ten excerpts (that are 2-3 paragraphs) and your book blurb.
  2. If you haven't already, work on filling in the second part of each question - Why your excerpt is a strong example of the literary element it asks for.
  3. On Friday, I'll be sharing options for publishing your novel. If you feel like you need to finish your story or make edits, start thinking about how you might do that.

If you click on the name, it will take you to the student model for that element.

Direct Characterization - When you TELL the reader about a character (looks, attitude, personality, likes, dislikes, hobbies). It is not enough to say one thing about looks. You need to include lots of information!

Indirect Characterization - when you learn about a character (looks, attitude, personality, likes, dislikes, hobbies, etc.) through their actions. Don’t tell me that the character is energetic. Have the character do something energetic.

Setting that reinforces character - A place can tell you about a character (looks, attitude, personality, likes, dislikes, hobbies), such as whether the room is messy or organized, or what kinds of things are on the walls, or the colors in the room. What things are in the room that are well-used? What is the first thing you notice when you walk in? DESCRIBE A SETTING, NOT THE CHARACTER.

Setting that creates a mood - Mood is how the READER feels when reading the story. DESCRIBE A SETTING that makes the reader feel something (tension, happiness, joy, helplessness, desolate, celebratory, etc.) Do not tell me how a character feels.

Sensory Details - This is a description that involves the senses (how things taste, feel when you touch them, smell, sound like, or look like.) Truly using sensory details means using lots of senses in your description, not just one, and especially not just sight.

Strong Verbs - If you’re using strong verbs, you’re being creative with your character’s actions. Be specific with your word choice. The more specific your verbs, the better the reader can picture what’s happening in the story.

Dialogue - Things you need to know about formatting:
  • The punctuation should look like this:   “I love to read,” Ms. Black said.
    • Not every sentence has to be structured like this one, but you need to pay attention to where I’m putting capitals, periods, commas, and quotation marks.
  • Every time a new character speaks, start a new paragraph.
  • Don’t forget the period that comes at the end of the sentence (after the dialogue tag.)

Climax - This is the height of your story, when the protagonist finds out whether or not they are going to achieve what they’ve been working toward in your plot. Give me the best part of your climax, and explain why it is the best part.

Subplot - Beyond the main plot, the main goal your protagonist is trying to achieve, he/she might run into some other smaller problems with some of the characters in your book. Subplot is referring to those smaller problems that the protagonist runs into.

Time Shift - It is not enough to have a character remember something from their childhood. For time shift, you need to write the scene as if the character/reader is ACTUALLY THERE.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Productivity Day

Today, there's a lot to do.

Goal #1: Goodreads
Yesterday I mentioned to you that your next two book reviews are due on Wednesday, January 17. If you haven't been doing so already, today you need to go log in to Goodreads and update your "Currently Reading" shelf to show what you're reading.

Goal #2: Ten Excerpts
If you have not found an example of each literary element to copy into your summary document, you need to do that. After today you should have all ten.


Here are student examples of dialogue and climax.

Goal #3: Write your book blurb if you haven't already.
(This is Part 1 on your summary document.)

If and when you've finished all of these, let me know. I'll give you some next steps.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Summary Document, Cont.

We'll read first!

By now you should have at least four excerpts in your NaNoWriMo Summary Document.

Work on getting three more today, for a total of seven. Don't forget about writing your book blurb too! (That's Part 1 on your document)

If you're going in order, that means today you'll need examples of: sensory details, strong verbs, and dialogue.

Models for sensory details and strong verbs
Note: I want to make it clear that these examples will not be perfect, but pay attention to how they show the literary element. That is what is most important!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Literacy Interim Assessment 1

Happy Friday!

You get to take a district literacy test today. You can have your book out to read if you finish early. I'll pass out the test materials and get you started as soon as the bell rings. If you have a favorite pencil, now is a good time to get it ready.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Adding excerpts

Your whole NaNoWriMo Summary Document is due on Wednesday, December 17th.
I want you to find possible excerpts for all ten literary elements by Wednesday, December 10.
They don't have to be perfect. We'll work on that!

Yesterday, you found excerpts to show characterization. (If you didn't, you need to catch up!)
Today, focus your attention on finding examples in your novel about setting. 

This includes a setting that reinforces character, and a setting that creates a mood. Remember, these excerpts have to describe a place, not a person or actions.

Here are more student examples for you to look at! (Notice that they are more than one paragraph.)

You can also use the search bar at the top left of this page to search blog posts for more resources.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

NaNoWriMo Assessment

This morning I sent you a NaNoWriMo Summary Document in Google Drive.
You'll need to go to your "Shared with me" folder and move it into your drive (click "add to drive")

This will be part of your formal assessment for NaNoWriMo. (Like for a grade.)
It is to collect the best parts of your novel.

We'll spend some time on this in class, but we have lots to do. You'll have to make sure you're keeping up.

Today's Focus: Direct and Indirect Characterization

The due date for your NaNoWriMo summary document is Wednesday, December 17th. (That's two weeks from now.)

A tip:
When you're collecting excerpts for each literary element, don't just pick the first one you see that fits. It might help if you copy and paste two or three excerpts into the summary document and then pick the best one!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

More Revision! More editing!

Yesterday you began working through an editing checklist. Below is the rest of the checklist. Continue with yesterday's if you need to before starting this one. 

Yes, you will need to reread your novel in order to do all of these effectively.

  1.  I have capitalized proper nouns such as places and people’s names.
  2. I have made sure that every sentence ends with some type of punctuation mark (period, question mark, exclamation mark) and there are spaces between words and sentences.
  3. I have spell-checked my novel and have corrected any spelling errors and/or typos.
  4. I have read my novel and moved around certain parts to make it better.
  5. I have removed (deleted) any parts that are unnecessary or that don’t work.
  6. I have added writing that will make the story better or less confusing.
  7. I use a variety of sentence types and lengths. I have combined sentences where appropriate. 
If you got over 100% in NaNoWriMo, but did not earn the "winner" badge I have submitted your name to them for manual validation. You should get an e-mail in the next few days.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Welcome Back!

You wrote a novel! 

The first thing we do today?

First order of business:
 In your English Journal (not your novel!), start a new entry at the top of the document with today's date.

Now that NaNoWriMo is officially over, it is time to reflect on the experience. Write a paragraph or two describing your experience. Don't spend more than ten minutes on this. Just write as much as you can. Some questions to get you started might include:
  • What did you like or dislike about NaNoWriMo?
  • What did you learn?
  • How has your view of writing changed?
  • What has changed in your own writing?
  • What was difficult and how did you overcome those difficulties?

Second order of business:
Since you finished writing your novel, and probably got a lot of reading done as well, you're welcome to check out new books! (Please make sure you bring back books you've finished or want to abandon so others may read them.)

This week we're going to be spending time working on revision and editing!
This means you're going to take your novel and make it better.
Here are the things that you need to look for today:

  1. My story has an ending that includes a resolution. (You can work on this as you need to, but you cannot simply stop when you hit your word count. You need the climax and resolution to complete the novel!)
  2. I have divided my novel into sections or chapters in order to give it a structure that makes more sense for the reader.
  3. I have divided my writing into paragraphs and have made sure that I have indented properly.
  4. I have indented dialogue properly (each time there is a new speaker, there is also a new paragraph).
  5. I have made sure that all dialogue is punctuated correctly. (Use of quotations, commas, question marks, etc.)
  6. I have capitalized all words at the beginnings of sentences.
  7. I have capitalized the word “I” every time I have used it.