Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Characterization Lesson | Using Disney's Frozen

First, as an introduction to the process of characterization, students will work on this worksheet. A basic traits chart (below) will also be provided to assist in the process. (Students will be able to write in the document by typing on a tablet or computer).

After this, students will watch this video I made on the different types of characterization and how to characterize. I'm having the students watch this afterward so they can gain a better understanding of what they were already doing on the worksheet.

Finally, students will practice characterization using their independent reading books or talking about a character they have read about or seen. They will use this chart to show what they have indirectly learned about their character.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Narrative Essay: Writing Process 2

The second part of this prewriting process was asking myself how I could build upon the previous concepts to add depth to the world, to the characters and build to the climax.

Rolan is a 14 year old boy who is very hopeful. Like most 14 year olds, he is not quite sure of himself yet.

Alicity is one of Rolan's best friends and a non morpher. She has sort of a motherly vibe to her.

Gemma is Rolan's other best friend and a non morpher. She is very indignant and opinionated. She is not optimistic. Instead, she is very realistic/pessimistic about how things may turn out.

Elder Cetan is in charge of the precinct that Rolan, Alicity, and Gemma live in. Like Rolan, he is a very powerful morpher. He is in his late 40s and has a mysterious air about him.

The rising action: will be the waiting process of Rolan making his request.
The falling action and resolution: will be him annoying this news to Gemma and Alicity.
Twist in the climax: Rolan finds out more than he thought he would from the Elder.

Narrative Essay: Writing Process 1

Since I wrote my my informational essay on Fantasy my work of fiction obviously has to be in the fantasy genre. My prewriting process looked something like this.

Idea: A fantasy world in which certain boys have the gift of morphing.

Main character: Rolan
Other characters: Gemma, Alicity, Elder Cetan

Setting: A precinct in  the country of Alcra
The beach

Climax: The choice that Rolan makes for his 'request' and the decision of the Elder whether or not to agree with it.

Main elements of fantasy: fantastic world, magic

So basically the first part of this prewriting process was making sure that the main elements of a story and fantasy literature are in this story.

Reflection: Guiding Young Students' Response to Literature

The way Patricia R. Kelly guided students responses in her classroom was by asking:
(a) what was noticed in the book,
(b) how we felt about the book, and
(c) how the book was related to our own experiences
Started off at 5 minutes and ended up at 7 to 8 minutes after student ideas. Students were encouraged to use this entire time to write and not to worry about spelling. Common words were put on the board.

Progression and Results:
When students first started this activity they gave short one sentence responses. By the end, however, they gave more elaborate and meaningful responses. Students even gave less literal interpretation of they text and more in depth analysis. They discusses how real the story sounded, and even relations to how thing in he story couldn't have occurred in real life. There was significantly more fluency in the classroom and surprisingly  fewer grammar and spelling errors

My opinion:

This  method of obtaining responses encourages the students to do more than just look for information in the text, which is usually of pointless in some literature anyway. The point of teaching literature is not just to have students understand what happened, but to understand why it happened and the devises being used in the literature. When students read in a reflective way they become more active readers, understand more, and enjoy reading more. I feel this is similar to what is done for the reading reflections in our class. Being able to freely interpret the literature encourages putting out my best work and using my own standard of writing. It is up to the individual. It also makes the reading and writing process much more enjoyable. It takes the pressure off and makes it impossible to simply search the text for that one specific answer while absorbing nothing else.

View the Article:

Sunday, November 2, 2014


Oddly enough, I love seeing my paper ripped to shreds with red pen markings of all the things I need to revise; as long as it does not have a grade on it of course!
Arguably, the process of blending I describe in my drafting post is a form of revising. My revising can consist of this blending, replacing words with better fitting ones, or simply formatting an essay to the proper style. Previously, during revising I would refer to a list of my common mistakes, and would use it as a guide when revising. Some of these included:

  • NO: Past tense: had, was, ed, made in literature.
  • NO: I, we, our, us, you.
  • NO: Contractions.
  • Never use: things, stuff, something.
  • Check: theres, yours, effect/affect, women/an, then/than, except/accept.
  • Court cases & book names are italicized.
Most of these are well ingrained in my mind by now, but when I did have to look for these, I would hit Command + f (Mac) or Ctrl + f (PC) to search for these potential errors.
Now, I'll simply do a read through for obvious mistakes or awkward sentences. After I read through, I listen to my essay on text-to-speech as I read along. This helps me correct multiple errors that I was previously blind to from reading my essay over and over. Once this is done, all my errors are corrected, and the essay is formatted, I'll print it out. Once and a while I'll find an error on the printed page, but its usually uncommon.

The Drafting Process

I'm not sure where the line is drawn between prewriting and drafting because I am technically writing the entire time I am planning my paper, so I guess I'll just continue from where I left off. When drafting, I only do a written draft when absolutely necessary, i.e. when computers are not allowed or available.

After I fill in any necessary information under the topic headings, I write my introduction; if I haven't written it already. Then, I go into the first paragraph and just kinda fill in the blanks. I take all the information I have noted and make it fluid. I do my best to order it in a manner that makes the most sense. I basically blend everything together. This process is a lot like the oil painting above. The colors are still district, yet they all flow together. I continue this process into the rest of the main body paragraphs. My conclusion is basically a rewritten introduction with an interesting final sentence that attempts to sum up the entire paper.

The Prewriting Process

The way I prewrite depends on the type of essay I am writing and the time constraints, but no matter what the essay may be, my prewriting revolves around structure.

Non-time Constrained Essays (Papers with a due date)

1. Plan
I write down any requirements, questions, or topics for the essay as dictated by a rubric or class instruction. If the essay has one main question, than this is the time that I will type out my introduction.

2. The Skeleton
I take the questions or topics that I typed out and place them in a separate document. I leave space between each heading to fill in information.

3. The Substance
I do research and write relevant information under the corresponding topic title.

Time Constrained Essays (Essay Tests)

For essays that have a time constraint, like essay tests, I use this chart structure to map out my ideas and quickly get myself organized during prewriting. This is one of the most useful writing skills I learned in Elementary school. I don't remember what it is called, and I couldn't find it online so I made this one. This has to be the quickest way to get myself on track when writing an essay in which every moment is precious. I even drew out one of these for the essay portion of my SATs. Now, I mostly do it off hand and don't need the chart, but I still used the same method.
1. Write the Introduction
2. Fill in main ideas
3. Brainstorm supporting ideas
4. Start drafting

Writing in General

Though I feel confident in my writing skills now, for most of my academic career I didn't enjoy writing. In Elementary school, I did not enjoy my writing assignments and I don't think I had any understanding of the writing skills I have now. The only thing I do remember is how to structure an essay which I will cover in my drafting entry. Writing was frustrating because I didn't understand how to do it. I did, however, enjoy writing poetry throughout third grade and would write it in my notebook.
I finally honed some of my writing skills in high school. I began to write music, and I enrolled in the honors English classes every year. These were the classrooms where I learned pretty much all I know about writing. These are the classes I look back on and most closely compare to college level courses. Some tests required me to write 3 essays in a 45 minute period. In my opinion, these teachers were the best at my high school. 
I began to enjoy writing when I looked at it as a means of expression. I'm not sure when exactly this occurred, but that's what I enjoy about it now. I enjoy finding the words that best articulate what I'm trying convey.