Thursday, August 30, 2012

Autobiography Web Quest

Good Morning,

Today, we are going to continue to practice some brainstorming exercises.  While we do this, we are going to start to look at the autobiography genre of writing.  As we will throughout the course, we are going to look at models of autobiographies.  These autobiographies will serve as models that we can keep in mind as we progress to the writing of our own autobiographies, memoirs, and (possibly) college-admissions essays, all of which make up our current unit on personal narratives.

--Bell Work-->Self-Interview Brainstorming
--What is an autobiography?
--Autobiography Web Quest:
Answer the following questions about the autobiography assigned to your group.  Write them on a separate sheet of paper to hand in.

  1. What kind of information does this tell you about this person?  The time period?  Pick a couple of facts to share.
  2. Can we sense anything about his personality?
  3. What does his unifying theme seem to be?
  4. Who do you think his audience is?  (For all of the pieces of writing that you complete, this is something that you should consider).

Some words to think about as you go on to create your autobiography:

*Don't forget to finish answering your group's questions.

*Over the long weekend, you will be writing your diagnostic essay (It will be due Wednesday).  The diagnostic essay is a way for me to see where you are in your writing.  I will count it if it helps your grade at the end of the quarter.  If it does not, you will still get credit for completing it.

Diagnostic Essay Directions
This will be your first attempt at completing a personal narrative.  In keeping with our focus on our experiences with writing, your unifying theme will be your journey as a communicator.  Some questions that may help you to write on this theme include:

  • When did you first start writing letters?  Sentences?  Stories? Papers? Research papers?
  • When did you start learning grammar?  
  • What is a writing goal that you are working towards in the future?
You do not have to answer all of these.  You should write about your journey as a writer.

If you get stuck, think about the models that we looked at in class.  Although they wrote about other experiences, think about the style of their writing and how they organized their thoughts.

Length--2pp., typed, double spaced
Make sure to include an introduction and conclusion.
Although we mentioned in passing that creative writing does not always require proper grammar, please follow the conventions of Standard English so that I can see what your writing is like.

You will be graded on:
-Following the above-mentioned directions
-Grammar, spelling, organization (which will likely be chronological for this paper)
-A well-written introduction and conclusion
-How well you touched on the required theme
     --> clarity
     --> some solid details, examples
     -->how true you are to the genre (Do you talk about the theme over a span of time?  Do you convey  
          some of your personality/who you are as a writer?  Is the paper written in the first-person?)

Fragmentary Lists

Good Morning!

Today, we are going to work on identifying our writing strenghts/weaknesses.  We are also going to touch upon what professional writing really looks like / what a messy process it can be.  Our discussion will be spurred by a short work by late journalist, Donald M. Murray.  You can read an interview with him at the following link:

We are also going to work on our first brainstorming activity:

Fragmentary Lists:
Lists of whatever comes to mind.  Remember these are a little more staggered than a free write.  They can include single words, phrases, quotes, song lyrics, anything.  You do not have to worry about spelling, capitalization, or anything like that.  However, you have to remember that once these are complete you have to ask yourself a question to continue on with the piece.  You can ask, "What surprises me about this list?" or "What connects/where is there a pattern?" 

Remember that what you do with the list is important.  The list is not simply for the sake of the list.  It is to help you get started writing.  You can use it to start writing a creative paragraph about a pattern that you saw or something interesting that you saw.  You also could create a list and use it for non-fiction pieces. 

-Don't forget about your "A Million Words or Less" papers with signatures
-Complete a fragmentary list for a non-fiction piece.  Complete one in response to what we read from Donald Murray's book, and complete an introductory paragraph that you build from that list.  (Don't forget a thesis!)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Welcome to Composition!

I am looking forward to a great year.

Today's agenda is:
-Syllabus Review
-What's ahead
      -General Assignments
       -Upcoming Units
       -What you need to do now

-A Million Words or Less (due the day you get back from the long weekend--Wed)
          **Make sure to have your parents sign this sheet.  There is not specific line for this signature.**
-Diagnostic Essay (We will talk about this tomorrow)