Thursday, September 5, 2013

Open Writing Prompt #1

One day, Balthasar Snorkelfuss, Harold Carmichael, and Bethany Kerfuffel were eating their snacks in Room 4 at Break.  They were the only ones in the room.  Harold was eating his peanut butter and pickle sandwich when he bit into something hard.  He opened up his sandwich and discovered what looked like a computer chip located underneath a pickle.  He examined it and it was indeed a computer chip!  He thought he heard a faint sound emanating from the chip.  He put the chip up to his ear.  He heard voices.  And one of them sounded like Mr. Gacek!

“Yes…everything is going perfectly according to my plan.  The mind-control drug has been successfully added to the NOVA water supply.  Everyone who has consumed water from the water fountains today will be susceptible to the plan by Closing this afternoon…Yes, I definitely saw Mr. Jeff drink from the fountain today.  Now we just need to make sure Mo drinks some of that water by Closing…”

Friday Open Writing Calendar

  • 9/6 Introduction
  • 9/20 Class #2
  • 9/27 Class #3
  • 10/4 Class #4
  • 10/18 Class #5
  • 11/1 Class #6
  • 11/8 Peer Editing
  • 11/15 Class #8
  • 11/22 Publication Day (one-trimester-long pieces only)

Open Writing 2013-2014

In Open Writing you have the opportunity to craft a piece of writing on a subject of your choice.  Your piece of writing may take the form of fiction, non-fiction, or poetry.  Your writing must be original; you may not write fan-fiction or re-tell the story of another book, movie, TV show, or video game.

The first thing you must decide regards the length of your piece.  You decide if you want to work on a piece for one trimester, two trimesters, or three trimesters.  If you choose to write a one-trimester-long piece, you will publish your piece at the end of the trimester.  If you choose a two-trimester-long piece you will need to take Open Writing again in the Winter and you will publish after the Winter Trimester.  If you choose a three-trimester-long piece you will need to take Open Writing all three trimesters and you will publish at the end of the year.  Everyone will publish their work this year in Open Writing.  Publishing only means you will be sharing your work with other NOVA students.  No one outside of NOVA will read your work (unless you yourself make it available to people outside NOVA—which you are welcome to do).

If you only plan on taking Open Writing one trimester, you need to plan a very short piece.  Plan something you can finish by the end of the trimester. 
You may work this year on works already in progress, but the above publication guidelines still apply.  Just because we “publish” a work at NOVA doesn’t mean a work is necessarily in its final form.

You are welcome to work on your Open Writing piece outside of Open Writing.  However, no work outside the enrichment class is required.

Before you start working on your Open Writing piece, you need to write a proposal to Mr. Gacek.  Please use 1.5 line spacing and size 13 font.  Include a proper heading and title.
Open Writing Proposal
Trimester Length:_______________
Genre: ____________________
Characters: Write a short paragraph describing the characters in your story.
Setting: Write a short paragraph describing the setting of your story.
Plot: Write a short paragraph describing what will happen in your story.

Inspiration/Influences: Write a short paragraph describing your inspiration for writing this story and any other works or factors which might have pushed you in this direction.

Once you get your Proposal checked by Mr. Gacek, you may start writing!
If you would like to create a piece of non-fiction or poetry write a paragraph regarding what you would like to write.

"The Surprise"

Your first writing assignment for Language Arts is a 2-3 page anecdote about a “surprise.”  The anecdote will be narrated by you (that means you will write in the First Person).  The anecdote should be based on something you remember well.  However, if you don’t remember the details exactly, you can invent them, so long as they sound plausible.  Remember, this is not a fantasy story; however, sometimes “truth is stranger than fiction.”  Mr. Gacek does not want you to have any help from home with the writing of this anecdote.  However, feel free to talk to parents or others about your ideas in terms of what to write about, or if you need help remembering a particular detail.  The actual writing, however, needs to be done entirely by you.

  • Typed (if you do not have access at home to a computer, please bring in a note from home to that effect and submit a handwritten paper)
  • 1.5 line spacing (Remove Space After Paragraph)
  • Appropriate font (size 13)
  • Heading
  • Title
  • 2-3 Pages in Length (This will require some planning on your part.  Your idea must be big enough that you can write at least two pages, but not so big that it needs more than three.)
  • Dialogue must be included in the anecdote
  • First Person Narration
  • Anecdote must reveal a “surprise”
Brainstorming #1: Before you start writing, you need to come up with an idea about something to write about.  On a blank sheet of paper, divide the paper into 3 rows and 3 columns.  In the first column, think up 3 possible writing topics and place a separate idea in each row.  In the second column, record the biggest advantage you can think of for writing about that topic (you can use a phrase instead of a complete sentence for this).  In the third column, record the biggest disadvantage you can think of for writing about this topic.  After you’ve filled in all nine boxes, you need to choose a topic.  Use your highlighter to highlight this idea.

Brainstorming #2: When you’re telling your anecdote, you’re going to want to tell a story.  Before you reveal the surprise you need to provide the reader with context.  You need to explain who the characters are in your story, where the story takes place, and what activities are taking place prior to the revealing of the surprise.  Some of this background detail can be provided through dialogue; the rest needs to be revealed by the narrator.

On the backside of the piece of paper, place your idea in the center of the circle and draw a circle around it.  Divide the space around the circle into 3 sections.  Label one section CHARACTERS, one section SETTING, and the last section ACTIONS. 

CHARACTERS: Place the names of characters which appear in the anecdote in that space and draw circles around the names.  Draw at least two spokes pointing outward from each name and record a descriptive detail about the character on each spoke.  Details should be words or short phrases.  Details can relate to age, appearance, personality, or relation to narrator.

SETTING: Record the specific place where the anecdote transpires in this space and circle that word or phrase.  Record words or short phrases which describe the setting on spokes pointing outward from that circle.

ACTIONS: In this space, record activities, events, or occurrences which occur over the course of your anecdote.  Record at least three things which happen in your story, including the revealing of your surprise.  Circle each separate action.  Then number each action in the order in which it is introduced in the anecdote.

After you complete your brainstorming, you are ready to write.  You will include description of characters, the setting, and events in your anecdote.  Don’t forget to include dialogue.  Have fun!

Mon, Sept. 9  Brainstorming #1 due
Tues, Sept. 10  Brainstorming #2 due
Wed, Sept. 11 First Page of Assignment due (hard copy due in class)
Mon, Sept. 16 Finished Assignment due (hard copy due in class)

Possible Arenas in Which You Might Encounter Surprises:

  • Sports
  • School
  • Family/Relatives
  • Holidays
  • Vacations
  • Hobbies/Activities
  • Chores/Errands
  • Friends
  • Moving
The surprise should be related to something you experienced or witnessed.  Do not re-tell a surprise from a book, movie, or TV show.

The narrator does not have to be the person experiencing the surprise.  The narrator can describe someone else being surprised.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Geography Quiz Schedule: Trimester 1

Wed, Sept. 11 Continents & Oceans (Plate 1)
Fri, Sept. 20 Western United States (Plate 11)
Fri, Sept. 27 Northern Africa (Plate 39)
Fri, Oct. 4 Northcentral United States (Plate 10)
Fri, Oct. 18 Western Africa (Plate 40)
Fri, Nov. 1 Northeastern United States (Plate 7)
Fri, Nov. 8 Eastern Africa (Plate 42)
Fri, Nov. 15 Southeastern United States (Plate 8)
Fri, Nov. 22 Cumulative Review (Not Graded)