Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Day 178!

Happy last day of real class!

Today we will spend some time reviewing for your test Friday!

We'll start the day by working on this STUDY GUIDE. You can work with partners or small groups to complete this. Use the resources from yesterday to help you fill it out.

You can also use the Questions your classmates came up with to help you study!

With whatever time is remaining, we will play some review baseball!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Day 177!

Happy Tuesday!  I hope you enjoyed your long weekend!

Today, we will begin reviewing for our quiz/test on Friday! Below I have listed topics that we have covered this semester. With a partner, create 8 challenging test questions (with answers) that cover a variety of the topics below.  Think about the different activities we did, the notes you took, and the discussions we had in order to guide your questions. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Day 175!


Today, IF you are done with your revisions and your reflection, I would like you to start on the introduction to your partner's project. This is meant to be a forward to your book- it should introduce the basics of the author's writing style, and should sell the book to the readers.

In 2-3 paragraphs, be sure you cover the following:

  • Include a brief summary of the works included
  • Provide a brief introduction to some of the characters
  • Highlight the common themes of the stories included
  • Discuss the strengths of the writer's style
  • Make your readers want to read
Here is the example from my book: 

"   A chimney sweep, a magic ring, and a little girl who aspires to be a princess ninja: all these and more exist in harmony within the mind of Bailey Loebig and are recorded here in a collection of four enchanting stories. Within Bailey's fiction, which ranges from haunting to purely entertaining, we learn that all things are not as they appear. The charming voice of a child reveals a dark truth from the past, and a little bit of musical magic is discovered by a young woman who suddenly finds herself thrust into the real world of adulthood. 
     In these pages, you will meet Emmalina, a budding musical prodigy whose adventure might cause you to reconsider what you have learned about Mozart. You will also encounter a retired chimney sweep, but not the sort that fans of a certain movie-musical might expect, and you'll enter the mind of an excited young trick-or-treater about to experience Halloween in the dark for the first time. 
    It is Bailey's matter-of-fact humor that will stick with readers long after the covers of this collection are closed. Through her subtle wit, the lines between the realistic and the magical blur, and the innocence of children and the fears and trials of adults meld together, helping us find the child within us and uncover magic in our own lives." 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Day 173!

Happy Tuesday!

Today will be another work day for your final projects. If you have already finished, that is great! Once you have finished working on your stories, please add the following to your books.

1. A title page to insert at the beginning of your book.
2. A reflection that answers the questions below to the end of your book.

Reflection Questions:

How did you feel about the revision process? What did you gain from the experience? What challenges did you face? How did you use your peers’ feedback to guide your decision making when it came to your revisions? Overall, what grade do you feel you deserve on this project and why?

Your final product will be evaluated based on the following "I Can" statements: 
  • I can create fully-developed original short fiction pieces that include all elements of fiction.
  • I can identify and utilize figurative language and sensory details in my short stories.
  • I can identify the difference between various types of point of view and use them in my writing.
  • I can develop strong primary and secondary characters in my short fiction stories.
  • I can strategically use dialogue in my short fiction stories to control pace, build character, and create conflict.
  • I can build inter-connected plot layers in my short fiction stories.
  • I can use my peers' feedback to guide my decision making process when making revisions.
  • I can identify what works well and what does not in my own writings as well as in others’.
  • I can analyze peer feedback to decide which skills I need to work on.
  • I can make significant revisions to writing based on peer feedback.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Day 171!

Happy Friday!

Remember, your first story should be revised by today! Today, you will have time to continue work on your next stories!

Please email me if you have any questions!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Day 169!

Happy Wednesday! I'm sorry you will miss me today! :)

Today, you will begin your revisions on your portfolio stories! But FIRST, take a look at these two versions of a story that I wrote. Pay attention to the changes I made based on suggestions that my classmates gave during workshop. These are the types of revisions I am looking for in your stories.

Your first story should be done by the start of class on Friday. Seniors, your stories should be complete by the start of class next Wednesday!

Dry Season-Rough Draft

Dry Season-Revision 1

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Day 157!

Happy Friday!

Today you will start peer editing on your FINAL short stories! Cole F, Olivia, Clay, and Alex are up as our workshop authors this time. Please begin by sharing your stories as "Can View Only" with the entire class (and with me). You'll want them to be on "Can View Only" so that no one can steal your comments!

Please make a copy of the Peer Editing Forms and begin reading the stories. You may also print these forms out if you prefer.

I expect that you will get at least one full story read and edited during class. You will have Monday to work, and will start the workshop on Tuesday. So, PLEASE be using your time wisely!

Have a good weekend!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Day 153!

Happy Monday!

Today, we will finish discussing the sub-plots that you began reading last week. We will talk about how the plot was introduced, what worked well with it, and how it can be improved.

Once we have finished that, it's on to our FINAL short stories! The focus of this story will be dialogue and plot layers (sub-plots), so be sure that you have each element in your story. You will have the remaining time today to begin working on your brainstorming map and to begin writing!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Day 151!

Happy Wednesday!

Today we will share some of our sub-plots with each other. THEN, we will begin our FINAL short stories!

Please submit your sub-plots using the form below!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Day 150!

Happy Tuesday!

Today we will finish writing your sub-plot layers that you added to one of your stories.

Once everyone has finished their plot layers, we will share a few with the class and talk about what is good and what can be even better!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Day 144!

Happy Friday!

Today, we will finish up working with our extra practice writing prompts. You will randomly select a partner to work with. Switch prompts with your partner. Read through your partner's prompt and then try to guess which element they were working on. Then, using the comment function tell them what you felt they did well and give suggestions on how they can keep improving.

After that, we will spend some time working with dialogue (we'll come back to plot layers later). We will discuss how to punctuate dialogue and its different purposes. We will also talk about adding active and interesting dialogue tags.

THEN, we will do a partner dialogue activity in which you will be writing a short short story (like one scene) starting with only the dialogue! It's going to be a blast!

Partner dialogue character choices:

  • movie star and fanatic fan
  • officer and speeder
  • psychiatrist and patient
  • waiter/waitress and diner
  • principal and student
  • hairdresser/barber and client
  • teacher and parent
  • little sis and big sis
  • driving instructor and student driver
  • deejay and phone-in listener
  • reporter and accident witness
  • priest and confessor
  • cheerleader and nerd
  • two people on a blind date
  • dogcatcher and dog owner
  • player and coach
  • two late-night grocery shoppers
  • flight attendant and passenger
  • angel and devil on character's shoulder

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Day 143!

Happy Thursday!

As requested, today will be a sort of "extra practice" day! Below, you will find three different writing prompts; you will also find a list of some of the elements of Creative Writing that we have discussed up to this point. Your job is to pick one of the three prompts to work with.  Before you start writing, pick one of the elements listed (an element which you know you need to practice more). As you are writing your prompt, focus on developing your selected element more than the others.

You will have a set amount of time to write this prompt, and then you will randomly select a partner. You will switch your prompt with your partner. After having read your prompt, your partner will guess which element you were working with. They will give suggestions for how you can strengthen your writing, and they will tell you what you already do well using the comment function on Google Docs.

If we get time after that, we will begin to discussing plot layers.

The prompts:
1. You're digging in your garden and you find a fist-sized nugget of gold...
2. A kid comes out of the bathroom with a long strand of toilet paper dangling from his or her waistband...
3. A man is sitting on a park bench reading a newspaper.....

The elements to choose from:
-Figurative language and/or Sensory Details(remember, there are more options than similes and metaphors...check your old notes for the other options)
-Voice (You get to pick what kind of voice you want to use--think outside the box)
-Point of View (Again, you get to pick which point of view you want to use)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Day 135!

Welcome back from Spring Break! Wahoo! Only 10 weeks left of school!

Remember, your revised Character Sketches are due today! If you already submitted them before break, you do not need to do so again. Be sure though, that you have highlighted your changes by typing additional information in a new color of font, and adding the strikethrough effect to anything you decided to delete. If you did not already do so, please submit your revised sketch using the form below.

Once you have finished with that, we will begin work on our next stories! These stories, as you should know by now will star the character you have created. It should also be told in their voice (remember we practiced creating voice before break), so your story should be written in 1st person!

Before you begin writing, you will need to complete a pre-writing activity. You may use the standard Brainstorming Map, OR you may create your own version of prewriting. This pre-writing activity, however, should answer all of the questions that are on the map.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Day 132!

Wednesday! Except, this Wednesday is kind of like a Thursday, since we don't have school on Friday! Yay!

We'll pick up today with our peer feedback on the character sketches. I will give you about 10 minutes to discuss each piece with your group (what you thought was great, what you thought wasn't as great...etc.) Be sure to use your feedback sheets to guide your discussions.

After that, we will talk about our next topic, voice. We'll have a brief discussion and then a story time!

As we have story time, I want you to pay attention to the voice, and answer take a couple of notes based on the following questions:

  • What are some noticeable things about this voice?
  • What personality does the voice have?
  • What words or  phrases give that impression? 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Day 131!

Happy Tuesday!

We will be doing some more work with the character sketches that you created during class yesterday and Friday. Today will be a sort of mini-workshop for your sketches. You will be assigned to small groups. Each member of the group will share their sketch out to the other group members. You will read through each sketch and provide feedback using the Character Sketch Peer Feedback Form.

Once you are done reading and feedbacking, you will discuss your thoughts in a workshop format (like we do with the stories).

With whatever time is remaining, you will revise your current character sketch. Please type your changes and additions in a different color. Your revised sketch will be due by class time tomorrow!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Day 130!

Happy Monday!

Today will be a work day for your Character Sketches. Remember, they will be due at the end of class today! Please submit your sketch using the form below when you have finished! If you'd like to reference the Character Sketch presentation again, please click HERE.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Day 127!

Happy Wednesday!

Today we will pick up where we left off yesterday. You will start by grouping up with the other students who read the same part of Chapter 5 that you did. You will discuss the reading, what you found to be the important parts, the confusing parts, and identify the writing tips. Together you will make a graphic organizer poster that details:

  • The most important ideas of the section
  • Writing tips in student-friendly words (this poster will serve as advice for your fellow classmates)
The posters should be easy to read and colorful. 

Once each group has completed their poster, we will take time to share out to the other groups. 

If we get time after that, we will begin creating our "standout" characters through the use of character sketch analysis. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Day 126!

Happy Tuesday!

This week we will be focusing on how to create Standout Characters!

Today, you will each be reading a section from chapter 5 of Writing 21st Century Fiction: High Impact Techniques for Exceptional Storytelling.

By the end of our discussions this week, you will be able to answer:

  • What makes a character relatable?
  • How do you keep people interested in your character?
  • What is an antagonist?
  • What makes a good antagonist?
  • What makes a secondary character appealing?
  • What makes a character universal?
  • How do you make characters seem warm and alive?
You will be reading the same selection as 2 other people. As you read, do the following:

  • Highlight the important points
  • Put a question mark by things that confuse you
  • Underline tips for good creative writing. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Day 124!


Today we will begin workshopping Callie, Sarah, and Shelby's stories.

Remember as we are discussing each story that we developed a participation rubric for the workshops. Please make sure you are on task and productive. If you feel that you are going to get off task, please print out your comments!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Day 122!

Today is the day! Tuesday!

We will take three volunteers for our next Writers' Workshop! Then, you will have the period to work on your Peer Editing sheets for the workshop! You can access this by clicking on that link. It is also linked on the Useful Documents tab of the blog!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Day 121!

Today will be your final work day for your point of view stories! Tomorrow, we will take our 3 workshop volunteers (or victims), and we will begin the peer editing process.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Day 115!

Happy Friday!

Today we will start where we left off yesterday. We have one more story to read and discuss.

After that, you will begin your next story writing assignment. You will pick a point of view that you have not written in before to guide your next story. You can pick any of the points of view that we have discussed in class. Use the brainstorming map below to begin the planning process.

Brainstorming Map

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Day 114

Happy Wednesday!

Today, we will start by discussing how we felt our first writers' workshop went! Then, together as a group, we will create a short workshop participation rubric that will be used to score your participation in the future workshops! 

After that, we are going to begin discussing point of view! With a partner, I want you to work to create an easy to  remember definition of each of the following types of point of view: 

  • objective
  • first person
  • second person
  • third person
  • omniscient
  • limited
What is each type of point of view? How is it used in creative writing? 

Then, we will read three short stories that each have a different point of view. After each story, we will discuss the following: 
  • How does the point of view affect your response to the characters?
  •  How would the story change if it were told from a different point of view? 
  • How is your response influenced by how much the narrator knows and how objective he or she is?
The stories are linked here: 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Day 110!

Welcome back! It's been almost a week since we've seen each other! Thanks, snow...

Okay, so by today you should have finished your first story! So, what we are going to do is move on to our first workshop experience! This is how this will work:

  1. We will take 3 volunteers who would like to share their stories with the class (if no volunteers...we'll pick victims. Remember: each of you will submit at least one story to be workshopped by the class before we move out of short stories! )
  2. The 3 workshop authors will share their stories with the class; the WHOLE class. 
  3. Each workshopper will fill out a Peer Editing Form for each story (if you're one of the authors, you will edit all but yours)
  4. You will have the entire class period to work on these stories. Tomorrow, we will host our first writer's workshop!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Day 107!

Happy Thursday!

Today will be another drafting day for your first short story! Remember, your story must include the five basic elements of a short story that we have discussed in class!

Please be sure to share your stories with me so I can see them as you are developing them.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Monday, January 27, 2014

Day 104!

Since many of you were gone on Friday, I decided to make Friday a study hall!

Today, we will continue with what were going to do on Friday!  (See below).

Friday, January 24, 2014

Day 103!

Happy Friday!

Today we will spend the first part of class continuing to create our presentation of your respective literary elements!

After that, you will pick at least 1 of the 3 elements to use as you create to write a story of your own. To begin with, you will need to fill out the Brainstorming Map.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Day 102!

Today we will continue to talk about the elements of a short story that were presented in the video yesterday.

Then, we will take some time to read the story "The Vendetta". We will talk about how de Maupassant incorporates the elements of short fiction into his story. We will also talk about what elements were not mentioned in the video that you will often find in a short story.

After that, we will break down into three groups. Each group will be assigned a literary element to develop. You will be assigned, character, conflict, or setting. In your group you will create a brief visual presentation of your element.

Your presentations should answer the following questions:

  • Who are the main characters in this story?
  • What are their name(s)?
  • Age(s)
  • What is unusual about them?
  • What do they look like?
  • Where?
  • When?
  • What does it look like?
  • How many people live there?
  • What are the people like who live there?
  • What does the primary setting (house, building, etc) look like?
  • What is the main conflict?
  • What type of conflict is it (person vs person, society, nature, self)?
  • How does the conflict come to the reader's attention? 
  • What are some possible ways the problem could be solved? (provide at least 2 options)
Each visual presentation should include answers to all questions for your element, include pictures, and should be interesting to the listener. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Day 100!

Happy day 100!

Today we will finish sharing our figurative language extra practice writings with the class. We will discuss what is working and what can be better after each piece is shared.

After that, we will move on to the basics of short stories. We will watch a brief video and take notes on what they say are the main elements of a short story.

Then, we will take a look at the short story "The Vendetta" and discuss how those elements are represented in the story.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Day 99!

Happy Monday!

Today, we will take the first part of class to finish up with the figurative language card activity that we started before the bell rang on Friday!

After that, we are going to practice sharing our work with the entire class, and we will talk about what is good with each piece, and how we can make each piece even better! It's going to be a blast!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Day 97!

Good afternoon!

Today we will continue with our activity from yesterday. If you remember correctly, you selected three cards at the end of the class period. One card had your main character on it, another had your setting, and the last had your basic problem.

Your next task will be to start planning a potential story using the document linked below. Yesterday, I had it in a Google Form, but I changed my mind and decided to have it as a doc, so that you can keep your answers. If you have already answered on the form, I will send you what you turned in so that you can transfer it to the doc. I have also added a few questions, so you will have a few more to answer. Click the link below to access the document. Make a copy for yourself and get to work!

Brainstorming Map Doc

I will give you a good chunk of the period to work on this (20-25 minutes). Once everyone is complete, we will group up (groups will be selected at random), and we will share our ideas with the other members of the group.

As you are listening to other people's brainstorming presentations, think about ways that you can give your group mate some feedback. Some example feedback starters are:

"I really like that you did_____________, did you think about adding _________________?"
"Why did you choose to do ____________________ the way you did?"
"I was a little confused by ______________________, can you explain it a little more?"

The idea of this exercise is to get you to think in new ways and to be open to new ideas. As you listen to the feedback you get from your group, feel free to add their ideas to your story if you like them. This exercise will also give you an idea of why mapping out (or at least jotting down your ideas) will help to make a better story down the road.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Day 96!

Happy Wednesday!

Today we will start by turning in our free-writes with the sensory details/ figurative language highlights. Then, we will take a few minutes to complete the "check in" below. I want to see how well you understand what we have talked about so far in this class.

After that, we will work on how to start a story. Where do author's get their ideas from, and we will brainstorm a few stories together!

With whatever time is remaining, you will use your assigned brainstorm cards to start the initial planning stages of a story!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Day 95!

Good Tuesday to you all!

We will talk a little more today about the notes you took yesterday. Together we will redefine any terms that may have been confusing to you, and we will come up with examples.

Then, you will have an opportunity to work more on your free-write. You should be aiming to add sensory details and at least four examples of figurative language. Once you have finished (or feel that you have finished writing, make a copy of your free-write and share it with a partner (without highlights). Your partner will then read through what you have written and identify the sensory details and the figurative language (see if they get them all right)!

In addition, each partner is responsible for providing some feedback on the writing itself:

  • What is your partner doing well in his/her writing? 
  • How could they make it even better?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Day 94!

Happy Monday!

I am sorry that I won't be seeing you today!

Today, you will continue your work with sensory details, and then you will begin working with figurative language.

To start, discuss the following questions about Ray Bradbury's story "The Pedestrian" as a class:

  • What did you notice about Bradbury's use of sensory details?
  • Which sense did he most often appeal to? 
  • Do you notice any common patterns in how he appeals to the senses?
Then, please watch this video about figurative language: Flocabulary: Figurative Language Video

As you watch the video, please define the terms on this Notes Sheet. You may need to watch this more than once to catch all of the terms. You may do this in partners. 

After you are done with that, I want you to go back to your free writes from last week (you were to choose one of five prompts to write a story about). Please go through and add sensory details, also, pick 4 of the terms from your notes sheet and use that type of figurative language in your story. Highlight anywhere that you add sensory details and figurative language. This will be due tomorrow! 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Day 93!

Happy Friday!

Today we will continue to do some work with sensory details! We will take a look at Ray Bradbury's story "The Pedestrian", and identify the sensory details in that.

Then, you will have some time to add some details to your free write that you completed earlier this week.

If we get some time after that, we will move on to our next focus topic: figurative language!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Day 92!

Good Thursday to you all!

I know you are all SUPER pumped to be back in class! :)

Today, we are going to spend some time figuring out how to make our readers really experience what is happening in our writing. We want to make our stories come alive, so just how do writers do that?

What does "show rather than tell" mean?

We'll do some work together as a group, and then we will once again return to our writing prompts from Tuesday!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Day 91!

Happy Wednesday!

Today, we are going to start by talking about your journal entries from yesterday--the ones meant to introduce me to you as writers. You guys had some awesome insights about your own writing, and you set some pretty great goals for yourselves.

We'll talk for a little bit about the writing prompts that I gave you yesterday; we'll talk about what you struggled with and what went well.

Then, I want to have a pretty basic conversation. I will pose a question to you, then give you a couple of minutes to reflect on it, type it out, share your ideas with a partner, then share your ideas with the class.

With whatever time is remaining, we'll take another crack at what we started yesterday. If you finished your prompt, and you feel that is the best thing EVER written on the face of the planet and in the entire universe, I want you to try another one! The only way to get better at creative writing is to make writing a part of your every day lives. Don't be afraid to scratch your initial writing and start all over--that's the beauty of writing!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Day 90!

Welcome back from your extended weekend! I hope that you all survived the Polar Vortex without any major issues!

We will begin today by finishing up our 6-Word Memoir presentations. Remember, we are using the "Say Something" method to generate feedback for each presenter.

Once we have finished that, we will have some time for some reflective journaling. The purpose of this journal entry will be to help me get an understanding of how you feel as a writer. 
In your journal (Google Doc format, please), I want you to reflect on the following prompt: 
  • How do you feel about yourself as a creative writer? How much practice have you had with story/poem writing? What topics interest you the most? What are you strengths and what are some areas that you can improve? Set 2 goals you want to focus on for your writing this semester. 
  • Your answer should be approximately 2-4 paragraphs long
Once you have completed your journal entry, please submit is using the form below: 

After that, we will work on generating ideas for where to start when it comes to writing. This can be the hardest part for some writers. So, pick one of the following prompts and start writing a story. The goal here is to get your creativity flowing. See where your ideas take you!

  1. When I daydream, I daydream about..
  2. Write about an emotion without stating the emotion...
  3. Weird News story 1: "Man Plays Hide-And-Seek, Gets Stuck In Washing Machine"
  4. Everything you know about ________________ is a lie...
  5. Weird news story 2: Brain Samples Stolen from Indiana Medical Museum

Friday, January 3, 2014

Class: Day 2 (Day 89 of School)

Happy Friday and welcome back!

We will take the first part of class today to finish working on our 6-word memoirs. You will have about 15ish minutes to create/ find images and to format your 6-word memoir.

After that, we will practice sharing out to the class.

In order to practice giving feedback to each other, we are going to try the "Say Something" technique. After each person presents their 6-Word Memoir to the class, each of you is responsible for doing one of the following:

  • Ask a question
  • Clarify something you misunderstood
  • Make a comment
  • Make a connection
Remember, all comments, questions, etc. are to be respectfully stated and about the writing. Comments directed toward the person made with negative intentions will not be tolerated! 

When we have finished that, you will have some time to do some reflective journal writing. The purpose of this journal entry will be to help me get an understanding of how you feel as a writer. 
In your journal, I want you to reflect on the following prompt: 
  • How do you feel about yourself as a creative writer? How much practice have you had with story/poem writing? What topics interest you the most? What are you strengths and what are some areas that you can improve? Set 2 goals you want to focus on for your writing this semester. 
  • Your answer should be approximately 2-4 paragraphs long
Once you have completed your journal entry, please submit is using the form below: