Homework, Session 1

Elementary classes:    (Scroll down for teen classes.)



Class #1:  HOMEWORK Small Moment Story (Assigned 9/12 and 9/15)

Finish the small moment story you began in class. If you finished it (or mostly finished it) write a 1/2 page of another small moment story.  


Class #2: HOMEWORK: Storytell instead of summarizing an event. (Assigned 9/19 and 9/22)

Choose a small event that happened in your life and tell what happened, step by step.  You can use quotations in your story to make feel like I was there with you!

For example, this is a summary of a story.  You want to avoid summarizing like this:

I did some gardening with my grandma.  It was fun.  We planted about 5 bulbs.  She showed me how to plant bulbs so a deer can’t dig them up.

Instead, tell it in step-by-step way: (On the back, or on another sheet of paper)

I knelt down under the tree with my grandma.  “Is this a good place for one of the flowers?” I asked.  

And continue that way….          

Write a step by step story at home.  If you would like, make a timeline of the small moment event before you write the story.  We did that in class today.  



Class #3: HOMEWORK Writing a Personal Narrative with a Powerful Lead (assigned 9/26 and 9/29)
1.  Look in fiction books or stories at home.  Copy down three leads (the first sentence) from three books. 

2. Write another personal narrative or small moment story. Use a strong lead, which is usually one that starts with action, dialogue or setting.  Write at least a 1/2 page.  

Class #4 HOMEWORK  Small Moment Story with Strong Feelings (Assigned 10/3 and 10/6)

Write another small moment story, but this time, try to indent and use paragraphs.  You use new paragraphs any time the setting (place) changes even a little, when a new person starts speaking, or when the topic changes.  


Class #5 HOMEWORK Thinking About your Writing: Using Notepads (Assigned 10/10 and 10/13)

1. Today I gave everyone a notepad.  Every day this week (or as often as you can) notice a true event that happened to you into your notepad.  Bring those notepads or ideas to class, because when it comes to choosing a personal narrative idea, you may want to select something you thought of away from class.

All the writers I know have little spiral notebooks tucked in their pockets or purses, and they are always ready to write.  Try this also!  Please bring your notepad to class with 3 true story ideas inside.  

2.  Then, at home, write a small moment story from one of those ideas. 

Class #6 HOMEWORK Using Exact Details in your Stories
1.  Finish the story you started in class.
2.  Write a new story, making sure you remember to include the exact details that you can remember.  


Class #7 HOMEWORK Editing Checklists (Assigned 10/24 and 10/27)

1. Complete your editing checklist and then re-copy (or type if you wish!) your improved story onto the piece of notebook paper I gave you.  (Or another lined piece of binder paper....)  
2.  Write an "About the Author" page.  



Class #8  HOMEWORK Halloween Story  (Assigned 10/31 and 11/3)

Either write an ending for the Halloween story "The Runaway Cat," by Bruce Coville (you might be able to find this story online if you google it) or you can write your own Halloween story.  Bring to class next week.  


Class #9  HOMEWORK  Writing a First Scene in Fiction (Assigned 11/7 and 11/10)

Finish the t-chart that we started in class.  Then, begin writing the first scene of the fiction story. Use an action, dialogue or setting scene if you wish.  

Class #10 HOMEWORK Story Mountains, and Continuing with the Story

Students will finish their story mountains (these are the different scenes they will have in their fiction stories) and then work on their stories a little more.  Write a 1/2 page more of your story.  



Teen Class:


Class #1  HOMEWORK  Personal Narrative (Assigned 9/15)

Finish the personal narrative that you started in class today.  If you finished it, write another one.  


Class #2  HOMEWORK  Personal Narrative (Assigned 9/22)

Write another personal narrative.


Class #3  HOMEWORK  Personal Narrative (Assigned 9/29)

Complete your personal narratives. Begin another.  Think about stories that relate to the themes in your life the the "big ideas of you." 



Class #4  HOMEWORK Personal Narrative with Strong Feelings (Assigned 10/6)
Write a Personal Narrative with strong feelings, also keeping in mind the big ideas or themes of your life.  Use paragraphs.  


Class #5 HOMEWORK Personal Narrative with a Point (Assigned 10/13)

You will write a personal narrative, but try to think about the point you want to make.  Why are you writing this?  What is the "So What" about it?  What is the point you are making? This can be put at the end of the narrative.

Class #6  HOMEWORK  Tiny Notebooks (Assigned 10/20)

Pass out tiny notebooks.  Explain that when you are searching for personal narrative topics, having a notebook handy to jot things down can be helpful.  This week, jot down a couple of small moment ideas in your notebook and then in your large notebook, write a whole page about that small moment.


Class # 7 HOMEWORK Personal Narrative (Assigned 10/27)
1.  Complete your editing checklist.
2.  Type your improved personal narrative.

Class #8 HOMEWORK Fiction (Assigned 11/3)
1.  Complete the Halloween story.  

Class #9 HOMEWORK Fiction (Assigned 11/10)
1.  Complete Main Character Questionnaire.
2.  Write the opening scene of your fiction story.  




Teen Homework Assignments -- Last Year

Class #8 HOMEWORK Free Verse Poetry (Assigned 10/22 and 10/26)
Today we discussed that free verse poetry begins with the poet having a strong feeling.  Then, get a picture of that subject in your mind. We read a poem about a bat, and other poems.  Some poems begin using "I." Now, write a poem about a strong feeling you have.

Class #9 HOMEWORK Poet Eyes and Line Breaks (Assigned 10/30 and 11/2)
Write a poem using "poet eyes" or figurative language.  "Poet Eyes" can simply be using a line that has a simile or metaphor in your poem!

Class #10 HOMEWORK Poems that Tell a Story (Assigned 11/5 and 11/9)

1. Poems can sometimes tell a story.  In order for your poems to sound like poems, you can use techniques such as patterning, repetition or rhythm.  Line breaks and stanzas are other tools too.
Write two poems that tell a story or that use patterning, repetition or rhythm.

2.  For the Monday class only:  choose a poem that is your best, and type it.  (Edit to make it better!) Put your title, name and date on your poem.

Class #11 HOMEWORK Final Poems (11/12)

Choose your best poem and edit it.  Type it, adding a title, name and date.

Class HOMEWORK  The Power of I  


Write a new free-verse poem for homework this week.   Today we discussed one suggestion for writing free-verse poetry, and this is to remember the "power of I."  When you use "I" in your poems, it can help to find your voice as a poet and give your readers someone to be with.  You don't need to write an "I" poem this week; this is just one strategy you can use when writing a free-verse poem.  



Class  HOMEWORK   Seeing With Poets' Eyes (Figurative Language) 

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 it’s an interesting and usual way to look at something in a fresh way.  Try choosing an object and writing about it (a poem) in a different way!  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!



Class  HOMEWORK  Twenty Actions 

Today we talked about how poetry doesn't have to be about a huge life-changing topic.  Some of the best poems are from small actions that a person has taken in an ordinary day.  Billy Collins, who we read in class today, is a poet who does this extraordinarily well.  Continue your work on poetry by making a list of twenty things that you do during this week.  Write a poem using that list.  Bring it to class.  




  HOMEWORK Polishing Poetry 

In class, the students selected a poem they would like to edit and polish.  Homework for tonight will be to copy that poem onto a sheet of paper and add illustrations if they wish.  Bring the poem to class next week.







Additional Homework Ideas (Not Assigned Yet)


  Homework   Studying Leads

Open some of your books at home. See how the author has started the story.  Write down a couple of your favorites.  Why did you like them?  Think about your own leads when you are writing in class or other times.  Do they entice your readers to read more?  



 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 it’s an interesting and usual way to look at something in a fresh way.  Try choosing an object and writing about it (a poem) in a different way!  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!




 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.  



  HOMEWORK  Storytelling and Rough Drafts

This week, retell your story (rough draft) again to yourself.  Tell it to your mom or friend.  Think about your story too.  Stories get much better if we play them over in our minds, trying to tell them in a way that really affects listeners and readers.  Try telling your story so that you make listeners feel whatever it is you want them to feel.  



  HOMEWORK  Timelines

In class today, we talked about how making a timeline can help you organize your thoughts about what happened in order, and to write a detailed personal narrative.  At home this week, take a small moment event (something that happened in 20 minutes or less) and write a timeline with at least six dots on it.  







 HOMEWORK Collecting Words

If you were going to travel on a journey through language, your souvenirs would be words.  We are going to collect words like a tourist collects postcards in order to remember all our new experiences with language.  
This week, listen for words that catch your attention.  You may hear a phrase in a conversation that strikes you as special.  Jot those words in your notepad.  As you are reading, pay attention to words you can practically taste.  Pay attention to words, savor them, then use them.  We’ll begin to collect these words in our very own album.


 HOMEWORK  Elaborating on Each Sentence

To make your writing longer and more detailed, you can turn one sentence into two sentences by writing more about it!  For example, if I write "Mrs. Dudley was reading a book and the cat jumped up on the windowsill,"  I can turn it into two sentences:  "Mrs. Dudley was reading a book called Shortcut.  Suddenly all of the kids giggled because Annie the cat jumped up on to the windowsill."  

Now you try it!  If I give you this sentence, how do you turn it in to two sentences?  "We were all writing and then the doorbell rang."  Can you add more information and turn it into two sentences?  Do this on the back.  

 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 three 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 a page about a few of these things you saw this week.


 HOMEWORK Memorizing Poetry

Please memorize this Willam Carlos Williams poem by next week. He is not only a famous poet, but famous for helping other writers and poets understand the theory that good poems begin with noticing.

The Red Wheelbarrow

so much depends
upon

the red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens.


 HOMEWORK  Free-Verse Poetry

Write a new free-verse poem for homework this week.   Today we discussed one suggestion for writing free-verse poetry, and this is to remember the "power of I."  When you use "I" in your poems, it can help to find your voice as a poet and give your readers someone to be with.  You don't need to write an "I" poem this week; this is one strategy you can use when writing a free-verse poem.  


 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!
or....
Safety Pin   by Valerie Worth
Closed, it sleeps
On its side
Quietly,
The silver 
Image
Of some
Small fish;
Opened, it snaps
Its tail out
Like a thin
Shrimp, and looks
At the sharp
Point with a 
Surprised eye.



 HOMEWORK  Reading Mary Oliver

Today in class one of the student poems referenced Mary Oliver, a famous poet.  Would you read some of her poems, either online or at the library?  Do you like her poems?  Do you have a favorite?

Write a paragraph about it.




 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

 Homework


In class, the students selected a poem they would like to edit and polish.  Homework for tonight will be to copy that poem onto a sheet of paper and add illustrations if they wish.  Bring the poem to class next week.


 HOMEWORK

We have begun our study of memoir writing today.  This week, please think about different events in your life (smallish moments) that have mattered to you in some way.  Jot them on the back of this paper.


  HOMEWORK  "I Wish Ideas"

Today we heard a memoir on the radio show This American Life.  The author wrote a story about wishing her mother wasn't so overprotective, and described a trip to the Disneyland Hotel.  Do you have any wishes in your life?  Jot at least 4 down on the back of this paper.


  

 HOMEWORK  Free Verse Poem on any Subject 

At home on a sheet of lined paper, write a free verse poem on any subject.  A free verse poem is a little bit like a story, but shorter.  You will use your heart map to help you choose a topic. Bring this to class.  Also, please memorize this Willam Carlos Williams poem by next week. He is not only a famous poet, but famous for helping other writers and poets understand the theory that good poems begin with noticing.

The Red Wheelbarrow

so much depends
upon

the red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens.

  - William Carlos Williams


Homeowork:  Endings

Today we studied the endings in a few picture books, noticing that the author wove together important actions, important dialogue, images, and short reminders of the whole story.

This week, be an investigator.  Look at books you've loved and copy down one or two endings.  This could also help you to think about what type of strong ending you want to use in your rough draft in class.  

  HOMEWORK Noticing Stories Like Writers Do  

The poet Naomi Nye once said: “Poems hide. In the bottoms of our shoes, they are sleeping. They are the shadows drifting across our ceilings the moment before we wake up. What we have to do is live in a way that lets us find them” (1990, p. 144). I think that stories, like poems, hide. Tonight when you are at home, will you pay attention to the stories that hide in places of your life? You should find yourself living differently because you write. Be like a magnet, pulling story ideas in to you.

Write a small moment story at home on a separate sheet of lined paper.  You will write a little true story about anything that has happened in your life. Try to think of a true story that took place in space about twenty minutes or less.

HOMEWORK   Make a Story Map 


This week, make a map of your immediate neighborhood or a favorite vacation spot.  It doesn't need to be more than one or two streets, and you can draw the basic buildings, etc.  On your map, also make personal labels such as "Scott's house" or "where we found a toad" or "huge climbing tree."  Try to make at least 8 labels on your map.  Now, write a personal narrative or a paragraph about one of the things you labeled.