Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Leaked test questions...shhhh!!

Tuesday and Wednesday's questions are gone. Maybe you can find a friend who still has them. Here are a few for Thursday. And you all know how bad my memory is. It is possible that some of these questions are the same as questions I posted on Tuesday. I apologize if I'm repeating myself. Don't forget to bring a pencil and notebook paper on Friday.

1. He was always an ethical person.
a. miserly
b. thoughtful c. moral d. stubborn

2. What happens to Abigail at the end of The Crucible?
a. She marries John Peters
b. She leaves town suddenly
c. She gets pregnant
d. She goes to jail and then gets hung

3. Which description of Rodrick Usher best foreshadows his death?
a. "His air appalled me. . . ."
b. ". . . an eye large, liquid, and luminous. . . ."
c. "The silken hair, too, had been suffered to grow. . . ."
d. "His countenance was . . . cadaverously wan. . . ."

4. In The Raven what is it that the bird keeps repeating? a. Lenore b. nothing more c. nevermore d. forevermore

5. Thoreau says that the only obligation he has to assume is to:
a. Support the government b. obey all laws
c. do what he thinks is right d. accept the majority rule

PS I'm grading your short stories and most of them are really good. I've been handing out A's like candy because they are just that good. I'm going to feature some of my absolute favorites in my next blog post.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Reviewing for the Final

Good Morning! Welcome to finals week. Our final for American Lit will be Friday, but I want you to get started on studying if you haven't already.
Many of you have been asking me how you should study and I have repeatedly suggested you go back and review the blog from September until now. How many of you have done that? Good. Today I'm going to give you time to review a little more.
I've moved the blog archive up to the top of the right hand side so you can find it easy. See it right over there >>>>>>
Now open up your English Journal on another side of your cube and then you can switch back and forth.
Go back to September (use the 2008 link) and review the things we read and did.
In your EJ make notes about what we read in September. Then do the same for October, November, December and January.
Don't forget to check the blog Tuesday afternoon for leaked test questions. There will be new ones on Wednesday and Thursday too.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Emerson and Thoreau

This week we have begun to follow the the tradition of thought that leads to change. Emerson and Thoreau were contemporaries and friends. Emerson's ideas in Self Reliance lead to Thoreau's thoughts in Civil Disobedience. The actual text of Self Reliance is much longer than the excerpt in our textbook. With the help of Francis, my fabulous assistant, I now have a webpage for you with an excerpt that matches what is in our textbook. For those of you who have not been with us this week I have added some questions at the end to help you think about it. For those of you attempting (admirably) to study for your final I have highlighted some of my favorite phrases. You can thank me later.
Excerpt from Self Reliance
Excerpt from Civil Disobedience

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Friday 1/16

Your final drafts of your short stories are due today. Are you ready to publish yours?

Please take this quiz!

Then publish your story and paste the link to it in a comment on this blog post. I will approve your comment and then others will be able to read your story.

If you wish to read your story to the class for extra credit please let me know.

Earlier this week I asked Francis to find some good articles about the inauguration. By the time I see you again on Tuesday we will have a new president. Visit these sites or some you find yourself and see what you can learn about that.

A cool countdown.
This is about security concerns.

These are some really wonderful poems people have written about the inauguration. One is by Alice Walker.
Talks about how much the inauguration will cost.

could use it as a cool side note. The Obama App

Obama picked pastor Rick Warren to deliver inauguration invocation.Link

Who will be there what will he do when its over and his his theme.


Good morning,
Today we learn some tricks for formatting in g-docs and also publishing. If your paper gets perfect you should read the short story linked below. There will be a bonus question about it on your quiz tomorrow. Also read the blog post I put up yesterday afternoon.

Story to read: Canning Day

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A little update

If you've been in class you know we've been very busy this week.
Monday you met with your writing groups.
Tuesday we had a lesson about the importance of setting and you had time to work on your draft.
Today (Wednesday) we had a lesson about using present and past tense correctly in fiction and then you met with your group again. Remember, dialog can be in any tense, but narration is almost always in the past tense. Do not switch between past and present in your narration.
Thursday is a short day, we will discuss formatting and publication options.
For Friday I feel a quiz coming on...and some of you who are brave (or in need of some extra points) will get to read your stories to the class.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Writing Groups

Good morning,

Today you share your fiction draft with your writing group. I am going to be strict about the group rules today.
  1. Everyone reads their draft OUT LOUD.
  2. Writers remain silent while the group discusses the draft. Discuss each draft right after it is read to you by the writer.
  3. The writer may respond to the group AFTER the group has finished their discussion.
  4. Today you will have a notetaker in your group. The notetaker will write down (yes on paper) who shared and what the group discussed about each writer's work. This is due today from each group.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Listening to Internal Thought

Good morning,
Yesterday you made some great strides learning about dialog. Today you have a quick quiz and then we are going to look at adding a character's internal thought to fiction writing.

Click her to take the quiz.

I've searched online and found several sources that discuss adding character's thoughts to fiction, but those sources are actually discussions going on in writers' forms. It seems even professional and aspiring novelists struggle with adding internal thought and they have a debate going on about how to punctuate it. Some say characters thoughts should be in quotation marks just like dialog. Others say to put internal thought in italics. There is even debate about the verb tense appropriate for internal thought. I have a story for you today, but it isn't on line, so we will look at it in class and come to our own agreement about what to do with internal thought.

This message will not self destruct, but you must now shut down your computer and prepare to experience an off-line activity. If you have a highlighter get it out.

Don't forget you have a draft due on Monday.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Good morning,

Yesterday we did not have a blog post, so lets review for those of you playing along at home. Our lesson was about the difference between writing that tells the reader something and writing that shows the reader something. I'll give you one of the favorite examples we used in class.
Instead of: He was proud of his car
We wrote: I can't believe it is mine, all mine. Tomorrow I will wash it and wax it. When I save some money I will get chrome rims.
Hint: watch out for the words: was, is, were, are. That could mean you are telling instead of showing the reader the story.

Today we move on (quickly I know) to dialog. Lucky for us lots of writers like to write about writing and one of the things they really like to write about is dialog. I'm sending you to a few blog posts about dialog. Read what you find. I expect you to write about your findings in your English Journal.
Robert J. Sawyer- His blog give some great advice about making dialog sound real and still be readable.
Top 10 Tips for Writing Dialogue- There is some very good advice here.
A Few Good Men- This site gives an example using dialog from the movie and it really shows you how important it is to be clear about what you are saying.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Flowers

Good morning,
Yesterday you began to plan your own short story. Today, to help you, we will look at a very short piece by Alice Walker and compare the elements of that text with the things you are looking for in your own fiction. When writers read good fiction they often read it more than once. Be prepared to read this story several times.
The Flowers by Alice Walker

Questions to consider:
Can you picture Myop in your head as a real little girl? Why or why not?
What do the details of the story tell you about her at the beginning?
What has Myop found in the woods?
What does Myop learn in the story. How do you know she learned this?
What is the setting? How does it change? What makes it seem real?
What do you think will change about Myop after this?
What elements in this text will you try to include in your own story?


Further into Fiction

Welcome back,

I hope you all had a great break. Mine was really eventful. More on that later.
  1. Open your English journal and write two paragraphs about what you did over break.
  2. Look at your next major writing project The Fictional Assignment and read it over carefully.
  3. Copy and paste the questions on the assignment sheet into your English Journal and answer them.
  4. Shortly you will meet with your group to talk about your answers. You won't be sharing any documents with them, just talking about what you want to write about for the project.

As for my eventful break. There was the usual holiday joy, plus both my sons have their birthdays during winter break and the surprise event was that my sister-in-law had her baby a month early and I was able to be present at the birth of my niece, Alexis. It was amazing.