September 15 2014

Slice of Life Writing & Homework

We are going to be writing narrative nonfiction…not quite an entire memoir. Instead we will focus on tiny slices of our lives and write those stories.

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I write a slice of life story each week on my own personal blog. A slice of life can be a memory from your childhood…those stories that are told at every holiday season. A slice of life can be a story of your day…today. It’s a sliver of your experience in life. It’s a tiny moment.

When you write a slice of life, remember the “so what” of your story. Is there trouble? How is it resolved? Is it a memory? Why are you writing about it? That helps make it interesting to the reader. This week, I’ll write a slice of life post on the blog everyday, so you can see some examples. Try your own. You must have at least TWO stories written for Friday. Bring them to class!

What will you write about in your slice of life stories? Read my slice of life about my childhood bedroom. Why did I write this? What’s the “so what”?

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Slice of Life #1: How My Bedroom Turned Me Into a Writer

Four walls covered with lines of pineapples watched me laugh, read, talk, cry, sing…grow up. The pineapple wallpaper wasn’t even new. The edges  began to fold up and wear away like a worn out, but well loved note passed in school. As I walked into the room for the first time, pale olive green walls (below the unnecessary chair rail) and orange shag carpet repulsed me. With the attitude of a teenager, I declared, “UUU-HUGGG-LEEE!” (I was only nine, the dramatic years began earlier than expected.)

The rug looks like thick, orange grass. Yuck! Who picked pineapples!? Who thinks these prickly, nasty pieces of fruit are really saying welcome, come in to my room? And who’s welcome in my room, anyway? It’s MY ROOM? NO ONE ELSE ALLOWED!

This was in 1981, before the days of kids decorating their own rooms, it never occurred to me that I could change it. Acceptance began to sink in, I mean the ten by twelve box of pineapples did have it’s advantages. Location, location, location!

I’m alone on the first floor. Wicked awesome! When mom and dad and Katie go to bed, the whole first floor and basement are all mine. I can do what ever I want. What’ll I do? The television is in the family room, I can watch late night TV. What’s on past 9:00? The kitchen is down the hall. Mmmm, midnight snacks! The telephone is sitting in the hall outside my door. I can call anyone I want!

Once the dreams of mischief passed, I noticed the room had eyes. Two giant windows that stood about twelve inches off the orange lawn facing the driveway and the back door.

 Sitting in the ugly, but comfortable orange grass and gazing out the windows became a favorite pastime for me. I became the witness to all who came and left our home. I began to sit there with my notebook while I listened to music. I noticed everything: times, cars, clothes…I wondered and created stories. Perhaps, these hours of observing prepared me for writing. I never reported my observations to anyone except my beloved blue flowered journal.

September 7 2014

Reading & Math

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Who knew to improve as a reader that you need to do math?!?! Today we will calculate our reading rate. This will help us figure out how much reading we complete every ten minutes! Once we know how much we can read in a certain amount of time, we will be able to make reading plans and goals for the year! 

“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.”  Yogi Berra

What amazing book are you reading right now?!?! What’s the best book you’ve read recently?!?!Tell us about it!

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September 28 2013

Paragraphs filled with Imagery!

Today we talked about what makes a paragraph! Our definition is that a paragraph is a group of sentences (usually between 5 and 7) about one topic. We talked about changing paragraphs when we changed topics or when the speaker changes. To practice we each wrote a paragraph about our morning! The fun part is it could be an honest account of the morning or we had the opportunity to fictionalize it. Also, we had to use imagery to make the reader feel what kind of morning it was. We couldn’t say, “I had a sad morning.” We had to find a way to show the reader that our morning was sad. I love the writing I received! Here are some excellent paragraphs…

 

I love watching my writers do what they do best…write!

Caroline thinking and writing! It's tough work.

Caroline thinking and writing! It’s tough work.

Sara and Miranda writing together.

”’ Sara and Miranda writing together.

Gillian found a quiet spot to write.

Gillian found a quiet spot to write.

 

 

 

 

 

September 18 2013

Homework!

Please remember to bring in your completed writing notebook tomorrow, complete with decorated cover and title page. Also, complete your assignment: Writing Notebook in Vision. If you have problems, please email me your assignment. 

Here's the first notebook I titled! From then on most of my notebooks are titled.

Here’s the first notebook I titled! From then on most of my notebooks are titled.

September 14 2013

Homework and Happy Weekend!

Happy Weekend Everyone!

It’s a beautiful Saturday morning and I’m going to go out with a friend and shop. What are you doing today? Any exciting plans? Don’t forget to finish the title page of your writing notebook! I can’t wait to see all of the creative titles. When you finish that, please spend some time making the cover of your notebook look like YOU! (Block 3/8, please don’t forget to finish the sign of how many books you read last year, too.) If you have any questions about your homework, please comment here or email me. Can’t wait to see you on Monday!

February 28 2013

Slice of Life Challenge

Ah…March has almost arrived and so has the Slice of Life challenge. The challenge consists of something simple. Write every day for the month of March. I will post MY slice of life every morning. The students will be required to include THEIR daily slice of life in the comment section. Every day! Even Saturday and Sunday! Slice of life is a phrase describing the use of mundane realism depicting everyday experiences in art and entertainment. Students will write about their everyday life in a way that’s new and interesting. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slice_of_life_story) We spent time today talking about the why of this assignment and I explained that the best writers are accomplished observers. Students are also aware that the blog is public for all to see and read. I reminded them that this is NOT texting, so correct spelling and capitalization and punctuation are required. Students may write a narrative (25 words or more), a six word memoir, a poem, (including free verse, haikus and cinquains), students may write as a twitter post (140 characters) or in a comic strip (although that would need to be by hand). Each day presents an opportunity for a new piece of writing. If students or their parents are not comfortable with commenting daily on the blog, I’ll have a paper & pencil alternative ready tomorrow. Looking forward to reading everyone’s writing! Happy Slice of Life!