Homework (not assigned this year)

HOMEWORK  Conclude Strongly in Poems

Read over the poems you have written in class or at home.  Do your conclusions end strongly?  They might convey the poem's deepest meaning.  Do the poems resonate after the reader has finished the poem?  The poem should leave the reader with a feeling, idea, image or question.  Try some different endings to see what works best.

 HOMEWORK Editing Checklists

Students will take a poem that they have written, and edit it, using the form they received in class.  The poem and the form will be turned in to me, for final copyediting.

(I may have forgotten to hand out homework #6 last week to some students, so I will give it today as an optional assignment if the editing of the poem is already finished.)


Students are selecting a poem from their notebooks to edit and submit to me.  They have a choice about whether it will go onto our website.  Some of them have finished, but others are still working on it.  They can work on that at home if they like this week!

Class #13:  HOMEWORK  Haiku/Developing the Heart of the Story
The kids on Thursday finished "the heart" assignment below, so this weeks assignment became writing a haiku instead.  So at home, write a haiku -- a 3 line poem.  Example:

the snail
slowly, slowly
climbs Mt. Fuji
At home this week, think about the most important part of your rough draft that you are working on in class.  This is called the "heart" of your story.  Make a timeline in your head or on paper about that most important part.  Then, write another section of your story on the back of this paper.  In class we can tape it into your rough draft. Here is an example:
Al is Dead     by Gregory
     Dead.  Ever since I had fish, I had Al: the best algae eater in the world.  Once I heard he was dead, I did not cry.  I just was still.  Then I asked, "Where is he?" My dad said, "In the trash."  I asked to see him and saw it was true. *****    My dad put him back.  For a second I thought, then I said, "We can give him a funeral."  My dad looked doubtful for a minute but I picked him up and said, "He was special."  Then I cried.  Al was gone.  
*****  (Where the stars are, this is where Gregory wrote an extra part:) I walked over to the trash can and I opened it.  I looked in and saw wet paper towels, orange peels and a pile of coffee grounds.  I picked up Al.  I flicked the coffee grounds and said, "Al, my friend, I'm gonna miss you." 
Class #11  No Homework

Homework: Thoughts and Feelings

Today we talked about how putting thoughts and feelings into your memoirs can make them more inviting and interesting to your readers.  Read your memoir to yourself at home and put asterisks (*) near any parts where you could add some more about what you were thinking at that moment.

Class 3  No Homework

Class 4
Homework: Haiku writing

Write a haiku, edit it, and bring the final copy to class.

Class 5
Homework:  Completing Your Memoir

For homework this week, either read your memoir to someone else, or read it out loud to yourself.  This is important, since hearing the words aloud will help you to make edits you wouldn't normally notice.

Class 6
Homework:  Polishing Prose
We are finishing up our memoir unit.  In class today we looked at some ways you can edit and polish your final piece.  At home, work on polishing your memoir.  You will then copy the final memoirs with the corrections.

1.  Read a poem.
2.  Our lesson today is on "sensory writing."  I'll read an example of a memoir that has qualities you can almost see, hear, smell and touch.
3.  Students will continue writing their memoirs and I will work with individuals on their pieces.
4.  Introduce haiku.

Class 4
1.  Read a poem.
2.  Today's lesson is continuing our study of sensory writing.
3.  I will read some "memoir-like" poetry to give an example.
4.  I will also read the picture book "The Relatives Came" to give another example of writing you can see, hear and feel.
5.  Students will continue working on their memoirs.
6.  We will read some more haiku in class to get ready for the homework assignment.

Class 5
1. Read a poem.
2. This yet one more class on sensory writing.  I will read part of a published memoir by Cynthia Rylant and we'll discuss her techniques.
3.  Continue with writing memoirs.

Class 6
1.  Read a poem.
2.  This class will be about polishing memoirs.
3.  We will brainstorm what makes a good memoir, and then come up with a list as a reference for editing memoir.

Class 7
1.  Read a poem.
2.  We will work on our editing checklist sheets, I will edit, and then students begin to recopy.

Class 8
Memoir/Memoir Poems
1.  Read a poem.
2.  I will hand back edited memoirs for students to copy over.
3.  If students are finished with this, they can work on a "memoir poem," which I will introduce.

Class 9
Memoir Poems
1.  Read a poem.
2.  Finish copying memoirs that aren't finished.
3.  Share/write memoir poems.

Class 10
Introduction to Essays
1.  Read a poem.
2.  Read aloud any finished memoir poems.
3.  Introduce our unit on essays by passing around some published examples of essays.
4.  Students will brainstorm good qualities of essay writing.

Homework:  Create a Writing Space
Ask yourself, "what do I need in order to do my best work when I'm writing at home?"  Your special place does not need to be fancy.  It can be anywhere quiet with whichever materials you choose to help you.  For example, do you like to write at a desk or on a pillow in a cozy corner?  What sorts of paper and writing instruments do you like?  Make a quick sketch of this place, or describe it to me on paper for next time.  


Homework: Memoir Poems
When an experience feels too small for full-blown memoir, when it's a brief but important incident, try writing a memoir poem.  In class today we read some examples.  At home this week, work on a memoir poem and bring it to class in two weeks.  (No class on the 10th, next week.)

Homework:  Essay topics

This week for homework, brainstorm at least six topics that intrigue you.  Quantity is important here, so that you can have some choices.  Go for "idiosyncrasy" -- make a list of topics that no one but you could have written.

Homework: Gathering Information

This week for homework, you'll need to research some information about your topic.  You can use the internet, books, articles, interviews and personal experience.  You won't use all of these sources.  On sheet of paper, in no particular order, write down the "raw material" (information) you find.  You might find statistics, surveys, examples, stories (which are called anecdotes), quotations, or history on the topic.  Write it all down and bring it to class.

(Future Classes....)

Homework:  Pay attention to surprising things

This week, live a wide-awake life.  Pay attention to things you see, like a whimpering dog tied to a tree, your 3 year old cousin dancing to a tv show, or someone spilling their milk at the dinner table.  It can be anything.  Next, write about a couple of these things, telling me what happened and what you saw.  Try to write almost one page about a few of these things that you saw this week.

Class 2
Homework:  Essays Ideas from Conversations
This week, listen to a conversation to give you an idea for a possible essay topic.  For example, maybe you heard your dad talk about how there should be a stop sign on a street near your house.  You ask him why, and he tells you.  Then, write a paragraph or two about what you heard.  Here is an example of what you could write:

     Last night my dad said, “they really need to put a stop sign at the corner.” I asked him why he thought so. He said, “Cars go so fast, and the stop sign would get them to slow down. So many pedestrians cross at the corner, so it would help them cross safely. With so many kids in the neighborhood, you’d think there would be a stop sign there already!”
    His idea was that the corner needs a stop sign.
    His reasons for this were that:
1. Cars go too fast and a stop sign would slow them down.
2. Pedestrians cross at the corner, so a stop sign would help
    them cross safely.
3. Lots of kids live in the neighborhood.
After you listen to a conversation this week, write a paragraph or two about an idea that you heard someone tell about.  It can be anything!
Class 3
Homework: Think About Your Thesis Statement

Today we discussed what a "thesis statement" is.  Your thesis is a statement or a claim that you will be expanding and writing about.  It won't be a fact, but it will be a statement that is based on something that you believe or think.  For example, "I love my father because he makes me improve myself" or "The world is a softer place when you have a best friend."

Answer these two questions in your notebook or on a piece of paper:  1) What made you think of your thesis statement?  2)  Why do you think it's important for readers to know more about your topic?

Class 4
Homework:  Studying a Completed Essay

Please take the copy of the student essay that I gave you and read it.  After that, write on another piece of paper what you think the box and bullet chart looked like that the student made before writing the essay. Bring that to class.

Class 5
Homework:  Write Another Story for One of Your Bullet Points
See below....

Class 6
Homework:  Write Another Story for One of Your Bullet Points

At home, write one story that will fit with one of your bullet points.  For example, if your thesis is "bikes are fun" and one of your bullet points is "bikes are fun because you can work on them," then you can tell the story about how your next door neighbor spends lots of time on Saturdays in his garage working on his bike.  Or, you can tell about how last year you decorated your bike for the 4th of July parade.  Bring your story to class.

Class 7
Homework:  Gathering Stories From Other People for Your Essay

We have practiced writing personal stories to support each of our bullet points underneath our thesis.  This week, at home, write at least half a page, but this time it shouldn't be a personal story.  It should be from a different person.  For example, if your bullet point states that "practice makes perfect," you want to find another example such as:  When Michael Jordan was in high school, he didn't make the team the first time around.  He spent all his afternoons practicing, and he finally made it, etc, etc.  It doesn't have to be a famous person.  You write a story about your friend who practiced tying their shoelaces, for example.

Class 8
Homework:  Finding Statistics, Quotations or Examples from Books

We are trying to gather as much information about your persuasive essay as possible.    For example, perhaps your essay is about how dogs make the best pets.  Possibly you found online a statistic that 40% of American households own a dog.  (That is made up, by the way.) Or, maybe you interviewed six people on your street and 4 out of 6 of them say they like dogs better than cats.  Or, perhaps someone said something to you, or you read something in a book recently that you'd like to quote in your essay.  Bring in some of this information about your topic for next week if you can find some.

Class 9
Homework: Working to Complete Your Essay
Today we will put all the pieces together in your essay.  I'd like you to work on your essay at home for about 30 minutes.  This means writing it out (taking all your pieces that you already wrote and rewriting it into one long essay) so that we can complete it next week for our last class.

Homework:  Gathering Information

This week for homework, you'll need to research some information about your topic.  You can use the internet, books, articles, interviews and personal experience.  You won't use all of these sources.  On a sheet of paper, in no particular order, write down the "raw material" (information) you find.  You also might find statistics, surveys, examples, stories (which are called anecdotes), quotations or history on the topic.  Write it all down and bring it to class.

Class 2
Homework:  Finishing/Mailing  Your Business Letter

For homework this week, if you wish, type up your business letter that you began in class.  Mail it to to your recipient!  I would encourage you to do this, even if you may not receive a timely response.  People can often be very receptive to correspondence from young people.

Class 3
Homework: Finding More Information

Today we began organizing our persuasive essays.  At home this week, do any additional research that you realized might be missing from your outline.  Sometimes in the process of beginning your essay, you realize you still have questions about your topic.

Class 4
Homework:  Writing Alternative Leads

Today we learned about different types of essay leads.  For homework, even though you might have already figured out which lead you want to use, write some alternative leads.  Write one for each of these types:  Anecdote (little story), Quotation, News, Background (history, etc), and Announcement (telling your position).

Class 5
Homework:  Continue Thinking About Your Essay

At home this week, think about your essay, doing more research as needed.

Class 6
Homework:  Read and Bring in an Editorial from Home

At home this week, look for an editorial that you like.  It can be from the newspaper, a magazine or the internet.  I always can find them if I google "New York Times" and "Editorial".  You will read the whole article, but pay special attention to how the author concludes the article.  We will discuss essay conclusions soon.

Class 7
Homework:  Endings in Essays

Today we learned that some possible essay conclusions involve: instruction (what the reader can do), prediction, strong statement (a one sentence paragraph), anecdote (brief story), pointed question, or echo (circles back to lead).  At home, find two essays with two different types of endings.  Copy these endings down and be prepared to share them with the class.

Class 8
Homework: Work on your Essay at Home

After today, we have three more classes to finish our essays.  This week, please work on your essays for 30 minutes.  The goal isn't to complete them this week, but give yourself some quiet time at home to think about your essay and write some more.  Please be prepared to show me what progress you made next week.

Class 9

Homework:  Complete Your Essay
Today we worked on the essays for the whole hour.  This week and next, finish your essay!  There is no class next week, so your assignment is to complete the essay.  I will read it when we get back to class on May 26 and give you feedback on it.  We will work on fiction for the last classes.

Homework  Choose a "Seed Story"
In class, we looked through our notebooks to choose a seed story.  A seed story is a story that seems particularly important to us.  We will take this story and work on it a little bit more.  We will revise this story and make it into a better piece of writing.  For homework, answer these questions on a piece of paper:  1.  What is your seed story about? 2.  Why did you choose your seed story?  3.  Why is your seed story important to you?  4.  Do you think that you can add some more details to your seed story that you didn't write the first time -- yes or no?  If the answer is no, maybe you want to choose a different seed story and answer those four questions again.  

Class #5 HOMEWORK  Figurative Language

Figurative language is using two things at once.  It makes comparisons between unrelated things or ideas in order to show something about a subject.  Examples are below.  This week's homework is in two parts.  First, look for an example of figurative language in a book at home.  It only has to be one sentence long.  Next, try to write a sentence that contains an example of figurative language (metaphor, simile or personification) and bring it to class. 

Examples:  (Simile -- uses the word "like"): "Thunder threatens like a sound that rolls around and around in a mean dog's throat."  - Martha Sherwood

(Personification): "The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window panes" - T.S. Eliot

(Metaphor): "Thumb:  the odd, friendless boy raised by four aunts."  - Philip Dacey

Class #6 HOMEWORK   Seeing With Poets' Eyes
Poets often write about subjects in a different way, such as in the poem below.  The pencil sharpener doesn’t really have bees in it, but the poet looks at it in a fresh way.  Try choosing an object and writing about it (a poem) in a different manner.  You can do this on the back or on a separate sheet of paper.  
Pencil Sharpener   by Zoe Ryder White
I think that there are a hundred bees
inside the pencil sharpener
and they buzz
and buzz
and buzz
until my point 
is sharp!
Safety Pin   by Valerie Worth
Closed, it sleeps
On its side
The silver 
Of some
Small fish;
Opened, it snaps
Its tail out
Like a thin
Shrimp, and looks
At the sharp
Point with a 
Surprised eye.