Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"The Island in the Wind"

Read "The Island in the Wind," by Elizabeth Kolbert.

1. Record any vocabulary which is unfamiliar to you.

2. Describe what makes the Samso Project unique in 4 sentences.

3. What is meant by "living a 2,000 watt life?" What does living such a life entail? (3 sentences).
4. What is your personal opinion about people attempting to live a "2,000 watt life?" Is it a realistic goal in an industrialized society? (at least 3 sentences).

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Realistic Fiction: The Event, Part II: Dialogue

For Part II, you will be shaping Part I into a new piece. Keep the Event in Part II in tact. For Part II, you will be adding dialogue to the piece. The dialogue should be between the two characters watching the event.

1. Revise Part I so that mistakes are corrected.

2. Add dialogue between the two characters into at least three points in the story. The dialogue should be interspersed with the description/action. Each point of dialogue must include both characters speaking at least one line each. Remember to start new paragraphs when dialogue alternates between multiple characters.

3. You can change details in Part II from Part I so that the new story makes narrative sense.

4. The maximum page count is 5 pages. Same formatting rules apply.

5. Give the piece a title other than "The Event." This title was actually used this Fall for an NBC series, so it's been taken.

6. Due Wednesday, October 6.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Northern Europe Questions

4 Questions total.

#1-3: Country Trivia Questions: Answers must be names of Northern Europe countries.

#4: Capital Direction Question: Answer must be a directions to one capital from another.

Due Tuesday, September 28.

Photograph of Ikea headquarters in Älmhult, Sweden from Wikimedia Commons.

Realistic Fiction Paragraphs

Choose a Realistic Fiction book you remember well.

Paragraph #1: Introduce the protagonist and describe the hardship he or she faces in the book.

Paragraph #2: Describe how the protagonist has grown by the end of the book. What has he or she learned about himself or herself?

Due Tuesday, September 28.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Geo Quiz #6: Western U.S. Physical Features

Mountain Ranges: Cascade Range, Sierra Nevada, Rocky Mountains. Mountains: Mt. Rainier, Mt. Shasta, Mt. Whitney, Mt. Elbert.
Deserts: Mojave Desert, Great Basin.
Rivers: Columbia, Snake, Colorado.
Lakes: Great Salt Lake.

Picture of Joshua Tree National Park in the Mojave Desert from Wikipedia.

Geo Quiz #5: Western Europe

Countries: Belgium, France, Andorra, Monaco, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom.
Capitals: Brussels, Paris, Dublin, Amsterdam, Lisbon, Madrid, London.
Bodies of Water: Bay of Biscay.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Geo Quiz #4: Western U.S. Cities

Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Boise, Billings, Cheyenne, Denver, Santa Fe, Albuquerque.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Western States Questions

5 Questions total.

3 State Trivia Questions. Answers to questions should be names of Western States. Trivia should come from text of Coloring Book.

2 City Direction Questions. Answer should be a direction from one city to another in the Western U.S.

Due Wednesday, Sept. 22.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Recommended Article

Elizabeth Bird has written an analysis of the contenders for the 2011 Newbery Awards at her blog, A Fuse #8 Production. It also serves as an excellent primer for quality middle grade fiction published in the last year. She is pushing hard for One Crazy Summer. Will it win?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Realistic Fiction: The Event, Part I: Description

We are going to start the year in Language Arts studying Realistic Fiction. You’ll be reading Realistic Fiction and writing your own Realistic Fiction pieces. Later we’ll contrast Realistic Fiction with Fantasy. Later in the year we’ll study the genres of Mystery and Science Fiction literature.

For your first piece of Realistic Fiction, you are going to create a piece in which two characters watch an event. The event can be a sporting event, a celebration, a performance, a spectacle, a festival…I’m being broad because I want you to think of something you’d be interested in describing. You will describe the event the characters are watching. You can invent what happens during the event, but you should probably choose something you know something about, so that you can describe it accurately. The event doesn’t have to be The Greatest Event in the History of Mankind. It can be a normal event in which normal things happen. Your goal is to write a descriptive piece, not necessarily a suspenseful piece (though you can add suspense to your piece at your discretion).

You are telling a story in your Realistic Fiction piece, however. Think of yourself as a storyteller describing these two characters, where they are, and what they see.

You will describe three things in your piece:

1. The characters. Describe the appearance of the characters. Describe what is noticeable about them.

You are creating realistic characters. Give them realistic names and realistic appearances. You can base your characters on people you know. Make your characters fictional, however.

2. Describe where your characters are as they’re watching the event. Describe the venue, the weather, the crowd…anything applicable to the event.

3. Describe the event itself. What is happening? What do your characters see? The event should be somewhat prolonged so that the characters can watch it. It should not be over in an instant.

Your descriptions should happen in the past tense, as if the events have already happened.

Your description should be narrated from a third person perspective. This means that neither of the characters is narrating the description. It is the author, in effect, who is narrating the description.

Do not use any dialogue in your descriptions. You will be adding dialogue to your piece for Realistic Fiction: The Event, Part II: Dialogue.

Your weekend homework is to brainstorm ideas for your two characters, the venue in which they will be watching the event, and the idea itself. The brainstorming sheet will be due Tuesday, September 14.

The finished piece should be at least a full page in length, but no more than 3 pages. It can be typed or hand-written. If you type your piece, please use the following settings: Times New Roman font size 13, 1.5-line spaced.

We will be working on our pieces in class all of next week. You’re welcome to work on this over the weekend, but make sure you bring your work to class with you each day. We won’t be working on computers, so if you work on a computer at home, you need to print out whatever you’re working on to bring to class.

The actual piece will be due Tuesday, September 21, though it can be turned in Wednesday, September 15, if it is finished by that time. It can also be turned in Monday, September 20.

The brainstorming handout can be found here.

Photo Credit: Alex Trebek hosting the 2009 Geo Bee Finals,

Monday, September 6, 2010

Geo Quiz #3: Northern Europe

Plate 20.

Countries: Finland, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden.
Capitals: Helsinki, Reykjavik, Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm.
Bodies of Water: Norwegian Sea, North Sea, Baltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia, Gulf of Finland.

Friday, October 1.

Map of Europe.
Map of Northern Europe excluding Iceland.

Geo Quiz #2: Western U.S. States

Plate 11.

Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico.

Friday, Sept. 24.

Blank map.