Friday, March 16, 2018

Writing 2 Class Notes -- Week 8 (March 15)


We had another good class.  This is such a friendly group of students, and they interact well with each other and with our discussion topics.

I gave the students four ideas for Quick Writes.  Firstly, it was the Ides of March (3/15), which is the date that the Roman Senators killed Julius Caesar, so they could write about something political.  Wednesday was Pi Day (3/14), so they could write about something mathematical.  I also gave them a prompt from one of my creative writing books:  "Eva looked at the egg in her hand.  There was nothing left for her to do but contact the FBI."  And finally, if nothing inspired them with these prompts, they could draw a picture of a flower yawning.  I had quite a variety of creative responses!

Our Words of the Day were chosen by Daniel
Calvados-- an apple brandy named after the city of Calvados in the Normandy region of France
voortrekker --    a member of one of the groups of Dutch-speaking people who migrated by wagon from the Cape Colony into the interior from 1836 onward, in order to live beyond the borders of British rule.
inamorata-- from the Latin word, amo, "to love" -- a girl friend
mot-- from French, short for bon mot, a pithy, witty word -- 
I handed back the Rough Drafts of their Cause/Effect or Problem/Solution Essays.  Some of the essays tackled pretty significant issues, and the students offered some thoughtful responses.  A couple were more light-hearted and creative.  Both types were enjoyable to read.As is my practice, I like to go over common errors that I find in the papers in mini grammar or writing lessons. The most common errors include commas with introductory elements, commas with compound sentences, commas with complex sentences, subject/verb agreement and noun/pronoun agreement.

The next item on our agenda was to discuss our Short Stories. This week our discussion was focused on Bret Harte's "The Luck of Roaring Camp."   For next week, students should make sure that they read all of the stories because I heard a rumor that there might be another quiz.

For the grammar section, our lesson today was again on complex sentences.  For the most part, unless students have practice identifying and then have practice with their own writing, I feel that a lot of grammar instruction goes in one ear and out the other because they don't see an immediate need for the information.  That's why I take time talking about their own writing and the grammar issues that I find while correcting.

A note about absences and homework:  When students are absent due to an illness, travel, or some other activity, it is up to them to find out what they are missing.  All missing worksheets can be found in at least one of the following places:  attached to the class notes, a shared Google document (f it's a pdf), or as a blog post (if it's a Word doc).  The content of the class and homework assignments can be found in the class notes e-mail, the related blog post, and the syllabus.  They can always check with me if something is unclear, but they should also check these other resources.

Assignments for Next Week:
-- Read Chopin (p. 30); London (p. 122); Mansfield (p. 130); Gilman (p. 50)
-- No Worksheets
-- Finish Final Drafts
-- 3 Grammar worksheets

Links for this Week:
Class Notes

Have a great weekend!
Mrs. Prichard

Commas & Complex Sentences

Follow the directions for each sentence.

Add commas where they are needed.

1.      She did not eat the cookies nor did she chew the gum that Jane made for her.
2.      I am going to bed to read the book  that Elizabeth wrote.
3.      Paul is going to the movie  and may not come home until late.
4.      Did Mary go along with her parents to the game?

Put the independent clause in parentheses and underline the dependent clause. Insert commas where they are needed.
5.      George could not find his son’s bat or his glove that he had just bought for him.
6.      Because she wasn’t very hungry Julia only ate half of her sandwich.
7.      I was tired of doing homework even though I had only worked for fifteen minutes.
8.      Sue brought her books to class but Janet left hers in the car because she tends to be forgetful.

Insert commas where needed. Underline any subordinate/dependent clauses

1.      She wanted to go to bed and read her new book but she didn’t realize that it had fallen behind the sofa.
2.      Jack is going to the movie about World War II so he may be home late because it a three hour long movie.
3.      Denise was upset that she could not go to London but she chose to save her money in order to pay for college.
4.      I told her not to eat the fresh bread but she didn’t pay attention because she was so hungry.

Put the independent clause in parentheses and underline the subordinate/dependent clauses.  Add commas.
Note:  A compound sentence has two independent clauses.

5.      Chris had tried to find his puppy but it had run around the house and hid under a bush.
6.      My father told me that he was proud that I had improved my grades and I celebrated with pizza.
7.      Peter found a part-time job around the corner so it was easy for him to get to work.
8.      I am planning to take the children to the park so that we can have a picnic because their father has the day off.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Writing 2 Class Notes -- Week 7 (March 8)


We had a productive class today.  We covered a lot of material, and the students engaged well with our work.

I took our Quick Write prompts from a list of table topic prompts that Toastmasters uses.  Our prompts:  "What does your joy look like today?" and "When was the last time you tried something new?"  We discussed what it might look like to stand up and talk off the cuff on one of these topics.

I chose our Words of the Day, selecting words that I thought students might encounter in their academic work:
nuance -- a subtle difference in or shade of meaning
oxyomoron -- an expression that expresses opposites; ex. a loving enemy, and open secret, a deafening silence
perestroika -- the restructuring of the political and economic systems in the USSR during the early 1980s
queue -- a British term that refers to forming a line of people waiting for a service or an item. 

Our next activity was a Pop Quiz about the reading assignment for today.  Last week when it was apparent that a number of the students had either not read the assigned stories or done the homework, I mentioned that a quiz might happen.  In the past I've told the students that when they don't do homework, they are really only hurting themselves.  This is not completely true.  In classes where group discussions are important, coming unprepared to class affects everyone. Sitting back and letting those who have done the reading and finished the assignments be the ones responsible for making the discussions move forward is unfair and irresponsible.  (There may be more quizzes in the future . . . just sayin'.)

With that said, the students did a great job with our discussions of our three short stories, "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment," "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge." and "The Cask of Amontillado."  We talked about the fountain of youth, intentionally ambiguous writing, teseracts and wrinkles in time, and revenge.  Next week, we have more short stories by American authors.

The rough drafts and pre-writes of the Problem/Solution or Cause/Effect Essays were due today.  For those students who planned on e-mailing them, please get them in over the weekend.  A note about digital copies of papers -- please send them as Google Docs or Word documents.  I don't have the patch on my computer for Apple Pages.  If neither of these options is available to a student, the text of the paper can be copied and pasted into an e-mail.

We are continuing to work on sentence construction, and this week our focus was on compound sentences, coordinating conjunctions, and commas.  Kayla led our work through one of the worksheets (and did a great job!)  I plan to utilize students more to lead these discussions.  Why should I have all the fun?

Assignments for Next Week
-- Read the stories by Harte (p. 64), Twain (p. 175), Jewett (p. 87) and Crane (p. 34)
-- Complete both sides of the two short story worksheets.  One of the sides can be substituted with an artistic response (i.e. a drawing, poem, painting, etc.)
-- Finish Grammar Worksheets
-- Gather any missing homework.

Links for This Week
Class Notes

Have a great weekend.  Spring is just around the corner, so enjoy your winter activities while you can!
Mrs. Prichard

Friday, March 2, 2018

Writing 2 Class Notes -- Week 6 (March 1)


We had a great class yesterday.  The tables had been put back into the U-shape that we used at the beginning of the year. The challenge with this arrangement is that students can more easily distract one another.

Our Quick Write prompts came from the National Days for March 1:  National Peanut Butter Lovers/ Minnesota/ Pig/ Horse Protection/ and "Dadgum that's Good" Day.  The other option was inspired by the March 2 birthday of Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss).

Our Words of the Day were chosen by a student from my book of foreign words and phrases:
nada -- Spanish, "nothing" -- informal, colloquial "nothing"
wienerschnitzel -- German, Wiener, "from Vienna," schnitzel, "to cut, scrape" -- a breaded veal cutlet, sometimes used to refer to a German sausage
herpes -- Greek, herpein, "to creep;" Latin herpes "shingles" -- a viral disease caused by a virus that infects tissues and the nervous system

After our beginning of class activities, we looked over the homework that I had handed back. One piece was of particular interest -- the list of finished and/or missing assignments with scores. If an assignment had a zero, it is too late to hand it in unless a student had been absent due to an illness. If an assignment hasn't been handed in but is still within the allowed time, I wrote the "last chance date" on it.  As of yesterday, My GradeBook was up to date with all assignments.  If you have any questions about scores or homework, please don't hesitate to send an e-mail.

About our Mystery Stories -- I had such a great time reading the final drafts of their stories.  I would like to post the stories on the blog.  You can check out last year's stories on the sidebar of the class's blog

We talked at length about their next essays, their Cause/Effect or Problem/Solution Essays.  The Pre-Write was to be done for this week, but some students were still having a hard time finding a topic.  We shared our topics, so I hope some students got some ideas from their classmates.  The Rough Drafts along with the pre-writes are due next week.

I broke the class into small groups to discuss the Short Stories.  After a few minutes, I had the students re-group and discuss other stories.  It was pretty apparent that some of the students had not read the stories or done the homework.  I suggested that some teachers might give pop quizzes if they suspect students are not doing their work.  I'm just sayin' . . .

For Grammar, we worked again on compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences. They have two worksheets to do.

Assignments for Next Week:
-- Read the short stories by Hawthorne (p. 73); Bierce (p.10), Poe (p. 156)
-- Write 3 discussion questions for 2 of the stories
-- Rough Draft of Cause/Effect or Problem/Solution Essay
-- Complex Sentences #3
-- Complex Sentences #4

Links for this Week
Class Notes

Have a great weekend!
Mrs. Prichard

Friday, February 16, 2018

Writing 2 Class Notes -- Week 5 (February 15)


We had a great class again!  Because our class followed Valentine's Day, for the Quick Write I had the students write the annual "Literary Love Letter."  They could write to an author, a character, a part of speech, a punctuation, etc.  Below are three links to letters written in past years.  I will let you know when I've gotten this year's letters posted on the blog.

Our Words of the Day were chosen for us by Kai Rose
kleptomania -- fr. Greek, kleptes, "theif" and mania, "madness" -- a recurrent urge to steal, sometimes uncontrollable.
affidavit -- fr. Latin, affidare, "he has stated an oath" -- a written statement confirmed by an oath
inconnu -- French, "unknown" -- a  stranger or unknown person

Students handed in the Final Drafts of their Mystery Stories.  I enjoyed reading their rough drafts, but at that time I was looking for mistakes.  Reading through their polished final drafts will be pure fun!

Our next essay assignment is either a Problem/Solution Essay or a Cause/Effect Essay.  Like the Comparison/Contrast essays, these are two part essays.  Generally, the writer should choose one one part as the focus of the essay. For example,  the problem might be stated and multiple solutions discussed.  Or a single cause is the focus and many potential effects of that cause are included.  The pre-write is due 3/1 and the rough draft is due 3/8.

For our discussion of the Short Stories, the students were divided into three groups and assigned one of the short stories.  Each group was to come up with 3 discussion questions for their stories.  They came up with good questions for us to use in our whole class discussion.

For the Grammar portion of the class, students have a packet with explanations and practice exercises that focus on Complex and Compound Sentences.

Remember -- no class next week!
Assignments for Next March 1
-- Problem/Solution or Cause/Effect Pre-Write
-- Read the stories by Dickens, Wilde, Kipling, and Munro
-- Choose 2 stories and write 3 discussion questions for these 2
-- Complex Sentences Worksheets

Links for this Week
Class Notes

Have a wonderful weekend and a good break!
Mrs. Prichard

Friday, February 9, 2018

Writing 2 Class Notes -- Week 4 (February 8)


We had a great class this week.  I really enjoy the positive energy and attitudes in the class and the way in which they engage in the class discussions.  

Our Quick Write prompt was the same one that I used with my Northfield students this week:  "What is boring? Why? What can you do about it?"  We discussed how people don't find the same activities, places, or situations boring.  We seemed to agree that common ways of dealing with boredom are leaving the situations, making new friends in the situation, changing the situation, or, if those fail, resorting to using phones and apps.

We often to a "National Day" as part of our Quick Write prompts, but we didn't today.  For an extra credit assignment, students can look up and find the specific "days" celebrated on their birthdays.  

Our Words of the Day, chosen by Madi:
Makimono -- Japanese -- a horizontal hand scroll containing text or a captioned painting
regina -- fr. Latin, the feminine version of rex, "king" -- queen
jojoba -- fr. Spanish jojoba -- a small seed-bearing tree bearing seeds that are the source of an oil used in cosmetics

I handed back the rough drafts of their Mystery Stories.  These were so much fun to read! This is a creative group of students.  Many who might struggle to fill up three pages of an essay had no problem writing double that for their stories.  The primary discussion related to their stories was how to correctly punctuate dialogue.  Next week the Final Drafts are due, and they should bring their rough drafts to hand in with the final drafts.

For our literature discussion, we discussed the question of the essay exam, "Is Sherlock Holmes a Hero?"  For this, I had the class divide into two "yes" groups and one "no" group.  We had a mini-debate, and students shared their perspectives, giving examples and specific details to support their opinions.  At the end, a few students switched sides.  I look forward to reading their essay exams.

Last week I gave them their next book, Great Short, Short Stories.  This is a compilation of stories from Europe and American.  For next week, we start with Russian stories.  They have a worksheet that is front and back.  They should fill out one side for one story and the other side for another story.

Assignments for Next Week:
-- Extra Credit -- Find the National Days for your birthday
-- Final Draft of Mystery Story
-- Read Pushkin (p. 162), Chekhov (p. 26), and Tolstoy (p. 169)
-- Fill out Short Story Worksheet
-- No Grammar

Links this Week
Class Notes

Have a great weekend!
Mrs. Prichard

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Writing 2 Class Notes -- Week 3 (February 1)


We had a good class this week; we were able to cover our writing assignments, the literature sections, and some grammar work.  

For the Quick Write, we acknowledged Alexander Selkirk, who was left on a deserted island for 5 years.  His true story became the inspiration for Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe.  Students were to write about 5 items that they would bring along with them.  If that prompt did not interest them, they could write about their favorite fancy desert in honor of National Baked Alaska Day.

Our Words of the Day -- 
chipolata -- fr. Italian cipollata, an onion-flavored dish -- a small sausage in a narrow casing, more popular in Britain
patisserie -- fr. French pastiz, pastry < Latin pasticium, pasta -- a shop where pastry, especially French pastry, is made and sold
solitaire --  fr. French < Latin solitarioussolus, alone -- a game played by one person, a diamond set alone
Students handed in their rough drafts of their Mystery Stories.  I haven't started reading them, but these are usually my favorite pieces of writing from this class.  In this second semester, I enjoy seeing the progress and improvement in their writing.

During our Literature portion of the class, I had the students break into small groups to discuss the Sherlock Holmes short stories.  I walked around and heard some good discussion.  I also noticed a tendency for some to get momentarily off-topic, but it usually only last a couple comments.  Small groups often give more students opportunities to talk about a literature selection.  As a closing to our Sherlock Holmes book, the students are to complete a Take-Home Essay Exam, "What Makes a Hero."  In this open-book essay, I would like them to first define what a hero is and then use that definition to explain if Sherlock Holmes qualifies.

The Grammar section of the class focused again on primary sentence elements, identifying incomplete sentences, and prepositional phrases.  We were able to get some work done during class, but the three worksheets are all due next week.

Assignments for Next Week:
-- Read "The Final Problem" and "The Empty House" 
-- Sherlock Holmes Final Essay Exam
-- 2 Grammar Worksheets
     The Five Basic Sentence Patterns
     Sentence Types

Links for This Week
Class Notes

If you've got a Super Bowl Party planned, have fun!  
Have a great week!
Mrs. Prichard