Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Mrs. Kennedy: Guest Book Talker, Librarian Extraordinaire

Mrs. Kennedy visited class on Monday to share some books with us. This round of book talks were all related to the theme of "survival." The books she shared included: Bluefish by Pat Schmatz, Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick and Radiance by Alyson Noel.
Other books that Mrs. Kennedy mentioned were The Ghosts of War, An Elephant in the Garden, and Boys Without Names.
Thanks for the great suggestions, Mrs. Kennedy!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Extra Credit (though I'm sure no one needs it!)

It's progress report time. Need some extra credit before those reports go home? If so, read on...

1). As of 12/14, grade 7 students have read 509 books! For extra credit, (20 points will be added to your lowest grade on School Tool) post a comment to this blog in which you tell the title and author of the best book you've read so far this year. Also, tell in three to five sentences why you like it so much.

2). Vote in the Trailee Awards and post a comment in which you tell in three to five sentences which trailer you voted for and why (also worth 20 points).

Monday, December 12, 2011

Concluding A Christmas Carol

We're finishing A Christmas Carol this week, by viewing one of the newest film versions of Dicken's story.
We've gotten a lot of mileage out of this particular text, and have used it as the basis for working on comprehension and collaboration (Common Core State Standard SL.7.1), key ideas and details (Common Core State Standard RL.7.1) and integration of knowledge and ideas (Common Core State Standard RL.7.7)
Additionally, the students have read non-fiction "Achieve" articles which examine themes related to A Christmas Carol ("Can Money Buy Happiness?" and "Rich Man, Poor Country"). Incorporating more informational or non-fiction texts is one of the "instructional shifts" of the Common Core State Standards.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Victorian Workhouse

In A Christmas Carol, Scrooge suggests that those who are poor and in need of help should go to the work houses. We took a closer look today at what life in a Victorian workhouse would have been like.

I asked the students to argue which would be the worst job if you were unfortunate enough to poor during Victorian times.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Charles Dickens and A Christmas Carol

We'll be studying A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens over the next several weeks. Of course, not all of us observe Christmas, and we'll be focusing on, among other things, the social justice aspects of the story.
We'll also look at A Christmas Carol as a great ghost story, and as one of the most well-known works by Charles Dickens, who will be commemorated in 2012-the 200 hundred year anniversary of his birth.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Build Your TBR List: StorySnoops.com

A book blog that I really like is StorySnoops. I shared it (again) in class today. Can't decide what to read next? StorySnoops is filled with reviews, summaries and book trailers for the latest titles. Check it out!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Fantasy Unit: Wrapping Up

We've been wrapping up our fantasy unit by reading Bruce Coville's "There's Nothing Under the Bed."
I've noticed many students choosing fantasy for their independent reading assignment lately, and it's been nice to see them making connections between what we've studied in class and their own self-selected books.
Here's a link to a Halloween writing contest that Bruce Coville sponsored in his hometown of Syracuse, NY.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Sorting Hat

Our fantasy unit wouldn't be complete without spending a bit of time discussing Harry Potter. We talked about the different houses at Hogwarts and how the Sorting Hat decides where first year students will live while at school.
Persuasive writing is a main focus of the Common Core State Standards, so the students wrote a persuasive piece about in which Hogwarts House someone they know should live.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Animoto Book Trailers

The students worked last week on creating book trailers . Mrs. Kennedy shared a resource called Animoto which the students used to create short videos. Check out these great student made examples here and here.
I'll post more trailers that the students made as they submit them.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fantasy Unit Continues

This week, we've read more fantasy, specifically Ray Bradbury's "The Foghorn." This story about a lighthouse keeper's encounter with a sea monster had us thinking about our own regional monster, Champy. You can see a recent news story about Champy here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Here Be Dragons

It's time for a unit of study on the fantasy genre. We started this week with an Achieve 3000 article about The Wizard of Oz. Next up is the shared reading of "The Smallest Dragonboy" by Anne McCaffrey.
During this unit, I've encouraged the students to choose a fantasy book for independent reading. Here's one library's list of the best YA fantasy books of all time.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Darth Paper

One of my favorite books last year was The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger. This school year, I'm recommending the sequel Darth Paper Strikes Back. You can listen to a sample of the audiobook version here. Enjoy!

Indiana Jones and the Reading Lesson (of Doom??)

Today's lesson was focused on reading, specifically on how to get to know characters in books better. We talked about looking at objects that are near and dear to characters in a story. Often an object that a character keeps close is a window into what he or she is like as a person. For example, Indiana Jones is very attached to his bull whip. What ideas can we grow about him based on this information?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Happy World Smile Day

Friday, October 7th is World Smile Day. My Homebase will celebrate by spreading smiles throughout the school. Look for them to leave their "mark" on you all day Friday!

Monday, October 3, 2011

October's Here

I'm wondering where September went. The first week of October finds the grade 7 students closely reading a short story called "El Diablo De La Cienega" by Geoffrey Becker.
Our last two stories are included in an anthology produced by The Great Books Foundation.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Einstein's Grammar

Most Saranac Lakers know about Albert Einstein's connection to Saranac Lake (most notably the famous scientist's rescue from drowning by a young Don Duso).

Today in class, Professor Einstein helped out with grammar instruction as grade 7 students discussed what makes up a complete sentence (I've asked that the students make sure that they use complete sentences when they complete their "status of the class forms" and Achieve e-mails.

You can watch Einstein's video here.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Putting the Cat Out and Book Trailers

We're finishing our close reading of Max Steele's "The Cat and the Coffee Drinkers" tomorrow. Among the things our close reading revealed was the idea that readers sometimes revise their initial ideas about characters based on what they notice as the story unfolds. We also studied some words from the story that hopefully will end up in the students' ever expanding vocabulary: poise, defect, and endear.
Also, I shared book trailers. I read Hero by Mike Lupica last year after a student recommended it. I've not read Shelter by Harlan Coben, but it's on my TBR (to be read) list.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Close Reading and "The Cat and The Coffee Drinkers"

To start the week, we'll spend several days engaged in "close reading." This type of reading is called for by the Common Core State Standards, which we are working to implement.

The short story we'll work with is called "The Cat and the Coffee Drinkers" by Max Steele. We introduced this story by writing and talking about our recollections of kindergarten teachers. I promised the students that the teacher in this story, Miss Effie Barr, is unlike the kindergarten teachers that they remember!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

NY Times on Reading Workshop

I've observed how powerful it can be when students choose their own books. Today the New York Times has an article on "reading workshop" which is an instructional model that I've been incorporating into our ELA 7 classes over the last year.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

HOME WORK: 9/14 and 9/15

Long story short, I have in the past updated the "homework" section of this blog via Twitter. Our new web filter is blocking most social media sites like Twitter, so until this situation is fixed (or not) here is the home work for 9/14 and 9/15: READ YOUR INDEPENDENT BOOK FOR 30 MINUTES EACH NIGHT. I WILL MONITOR YOUR PROGRESS BY CHECKING THE "STATUS OF THE CLASS FORM" WHICH WILL BE DISCUSSED IN CLASS ON 9/14.

Ask a Librarian

I like making book recommendations for students, but another great source for book ideas is our middle school librarian, Mrs. Kennedy. We visited the library during class today and she had plenty of titles to suggest. Here are a few:

Dark Water by Laura Mcneal

Addie on the Inside by James Howe

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

The Keys to the Kingdom: Mister Monday by Garth Nix

The New Policeman by Kate Thompson

Reality Check by Peter Abrahams

Monday, September 12, 2011

Just Right Books

Just like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, students will soon be reading books that are "just right." Reading researchers like Richard Allington believe that the key to improving literacy is getting students to read lots of just right books.

We'll talk this week about what makes a book "just right." I shared a tool called BOOKMATCH in class today.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Reading Life

Today we brainstormed ways to make reading a bigger part of our lives. First, we talked about "stealing" moments for reading. We decided that there is a lot of down time during the day (time spent waiting in line, etc.) and that we could all take an extra five minutes here and there to read. Next, we discussed how to compile a list of books TBR (to be read). Having a list like this means always having a book "on deck" and ready to go for when we finish what we are currently reading. I mentioned that I use the Goodreads site to keep track of my books.
Two books currently on my TBR list are Trapped by Michael Northrop and Darth Paper Strikes Back by Tom Angleberger.
Here's a book trailer for Trapped. Here's a trailer for Darth Paper.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Book Trailers

Today we talked about "book trailers." While most students know about movie trailers, very few had heard of the book variety.
We discussed how book trailers can be one source of ideas for students who are looking for what to read next. This site has many book trailers to see. Scholastic also has a page dedicated to book trailers.
I did the first of what will be many book talks today. The subject was Kingdom Keepers: Disney After Dark by Ridley Pearson.
You may want to check out a book trailer for the Kingdom Keepers series here.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Thumbs Up for a New School Year

It's been a great first two days of school. We've had shortened classes, but we had enough time today to read an article about the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on America.
On a lighter note, I shared this clip of a motivational speaker to get everyone pumped up for the school year ahead. I bet you won't be able to watch it without smiling.

Monday, August 29, 2011

ELA 7: The Year Ahead

Welcome parents and students! It's the beginning of my second year keeping this blog. I hope you'll find it useful.
This year, the curriculum in our class will be informed by the Common Core State State Standards. What that means is that we'll be focusing on (among other things) close reading of texts, writing about texts, research projects, and narrative writing.
Also, independent reading will be a major focus for us. Last year, the seventh grade students with whom I worked read over a thousand books! Often times, the homework for ELA class will require the student to read her independent book. I will make every effort to keep assigned homework consistent with the SLCS School Board policy.
Again this year, students will be using the online reading program Achieve 3000.
I'll be posting more information about specific content that we'll be studying soon. Be sure to check back often, as I try to keep the blog updated.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Picture the Dead

Yes, I know that's a disconcerting title for a blog post. It's also the title of a book that I just finished by Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown.
This ghost story, set during the Civil War, has a little something for everyone. It appealed to my taste for historical fiction, but I know that those that like their books on the spooky side will like it as well. Also, there's a love story (but don't worry, it doesn't dominate the story!)
The title, Picture the Dead, refers to the practice of "spiritualist photography."
I'll have this book in my classroom collection when school starts.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Choosing a Book for Back to School

It won't be long now! As grade 7 students get ready for school, I'm hopeful that they are preparing to read independently in my class (lots).
Last year's seventh graders read just over 1000 books (about 18 books per student). I think that's pretty good, but I'm challenging this year's students to read even more.
Grade 7 students who are looking to hit the ground running with their independent reading might want to check out these sites for book recommendations:
Here are some sites I've suggested before, but are well worth sharing again:

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

"Wimpy Kid" Read Alikes

I hope everyone is taking the time to read this summer.
The "Wimpy Kid" series was very popular this past school year with middle school readers. If you would like to read a book that is similar to The Diary of a Wimpy Kid, you might want to check out this post on the "Story Snoops" blog.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Pile of Books

Great news! The latest tally revealed today that our grade 7 students have eclipsed the 1000 books read mark for the school year. We began keeping track in September and as of June 14, the total is 1005 books completed! This averages out to 16.5 books per student. The top readers in each class have read 63, 66, and 60 books respectivley.

I truly hope that everyone will keep up with their reading this summer. Here are some links that be helpful:

"Story Snoops" is a blog with summer reading lists by interest.

Scholastic has a summer reading challenge on their site. Here's a book list in pdf for young adult readers.

The NYS Senate is sponsoring a summer reading program. Particpants can earn a certificate from State Senator Betty Little.

Encourage reading over the summer, and help beat "summer slide!"

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Final Exam Review

The final exam for ELA 7 will cover material from our last 10 weeks of study. The exam will be June 21, 9:30-10:50.

The exam will consist of short answer questions about Mark Twain, the Edgar Allan Poe poems "The Raven" and "Annabel Lee," and the Robert Frost poems "Once by the Pacific" and "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening." In addition, there will be reading passages and multiple choice questions, as well as an extended response based on independent reading that the students completed this past year.

Here is some material to assist students in their exam preparation:

"Mark Twain Author Study Unit"

  1. Mark Twain was born Samuel Clemens (his real name)in 1835.

  2. Twain wrote, among many other things, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884).

  3. Among Mark Twain's well known characters are: Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, and Injun Joe. You can find a summary of the characters from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer here.

  4. Mark Twain grew up in Hanibal, MO, along the Mississippi River.

  5. Mark Twain first became well known as a writer when his story "The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" was published in a newspaper. You can find a summary of the story here.

  6. Mark Twain had a mansion built for his family in Hartford, CT. It is now a museum and some say it is haunted!

  7. Mark Twain's daughter, Susy, wrote a biography of her father when she was a teenager.

  8. Mark Twain vacationed in the summer of 1901 at a camp on Lower Saranac Lake.

"Poetry Unit"

1. Here is a summary of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven."

2. Here is a summary of Edgar Allan Poe's "Annabel Lee"

3. Please be familar with the following poems by Robert Frost:

"Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"

"Once by the Pacific"

Friday, June 3, 2011

Most Circulated Books at SLMS Library

Thanks to Mrs. Kennedy for compiling this year end list of the most frequently circulated books during this past school. According to her, these twelve books really "flew off the shelves":
12. Chasing Lincoln's Killer by James Swanson
11. Reality Check by Peter Abrahams
10. Eggs by Jerry Spinelli
9. Bone: Out From Boneville by Jeff Smith
8. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw by Jeff Kinney
7. The Titans Curse by Rick Riordan
6. The Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan
5. The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger
4. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
3. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
2. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
1. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth by Suzanne Collins

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Year End Poetry

Grade 7 students will spend the last several weeks reading, writing, memorizing, and reciting poetry.
First up: memory and recitation. The New York Times promoted the benefits of memorizing poems in a 2009 essay.
The students will choose from a list of poems that are 25 lines or fewer, and memorize one to recite in class.
You may wish to review this site which has tips for how to memorize a poem.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Mark Twain Camp Haunted?!

The grade 7 ELA students have been researching the Mark Twain Camp, and it seems as if it's one of the few landmarks related to the author that isn't haunted (see here and here).
The Mark Twain camp in Saranac Lake shouldn't be left out when it comes to spookiness. Therefore, after doing some research, the students will work on the following assignment:

Write a short piece of creative fiction in which you tell a story about the haunted Mark Twain Camp on Lower Saranac Lake. In your story (2 pages, handwritten neatly or typed) be sure to include the following:

  • a clear beginning, middle and end

  • details from your research

  • dialogue

You may want to, for example, tell the story of a family who rents the camp, and discovers it to be haunted. Or, perhaps you'll tell the story of a paranormal investigation team that comes to investigate the camp.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mark Twain Camp

The Historic Saranac Lake Wiki is a great source of information to learn about the Mark Twain/Saranac Lake connection.

We'll be using this site to research details to add to a creative piece

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Twain Time

Our ELA class is continuing a study of the author Mark Twain. After reading excerpts from Susy Clemen's biography of her father, we've moved on to look at the story that put Twain on the literary map, "The Celebrated Jumping frog of Calaveras County."

By the way, while I was a college student at SUNY Potsdam, I took a course from Dr. Laura Skandera-Trombley, who went on to become the pre-eminent Twain scholar working today. I sure wish I had paid more attention in her class!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Water for Elephants by Sarah Gruen

Ms. Deangelo sent me the following review of Sarah Gruen's Water for Elephants:

Water for Elephants is told by the main character Jacob when he is in his nineties and his twenties. His life changes dramatically and he ends up joining the Benezini Brother’s Circus during the depression. I really enjoyed the parts of the story where Jacob is older and trying to get the nurses to treat him and the other residents of a nursing home as respected individuals, he is cranky and opinionated and he made me laugh.
The author makes the circus descriptions vivid and at times raw and direct. It is a well researched book that you get involved with the characters and want to just keep reading. There are some characters who are very violent to both animals and humans alike, and some readers may find this disturbing.
While I enjoyed the movie, I liked the book more although the book is more graphic. The level of detail is what made Jacob’s experience more realistic and honest. The movie includes very little of Jacob’s older self and that was part of the book I enjoyed...but it may not have worked as well on screen.

Thanks, Ms. DeAngelo, for being a great reading role model!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mark Twain: Author Study

We are moving into what will be the final two units of study in grade 7 (hard to believe!) and the first will be based on the author Mark Twain.
Most people know Mark Twain by his novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, but less well known is his connection to Saranac Lake. Peter Crowley wrote about it last year in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.
Over the next several weeks, we'll read Twain's work, view examples of his stories that have been portrayed in films, and hopefully arrange for a guest speaker to visit and discuss the time that Twain spent vacationing on Lower Saranac Lake.
I have been reading and enjoying Autobiography of Mark Twain, which was published last November and spent several months near the top of the New York Times Best Seller List.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

State Test Time

It's beginning to look a lot like test time; students will take the NYS English Language Arts assessment on May 3 and 4.

You can find some test-taking tips here.

Here are the test specifications for this year's grade 7 exam (by the Reading/Writing Workshop Project at Coluumbia University Teacher's College).
The test schedule for May 3 and 4 is as follows:
Tuesday, May 3: testing will be during periods 2,3. Students should report to the following classrooms based on the period that they have ELA: per.4-309, per.6-317, per.7-328.
Wednesday, May 4: the MS will operate on the following schedule: periods 1,8,9,4,5,6,7,2,3. Testing will occur during periods 1,8,9. Students will report to the same rooms as they were assigned on Tuesday.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Before Spring vacation, grade 7 students presented original plays based on Adirondack history. The project was a partnership with Pendragon Theatre. We were very lucky to work with two members of Pendragon's company of actors: Donna Mosheck and Brandon Patterson. Brandon was recently profiled in a piece by Diane Chase for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Reading Slump

I admit that I've been in a bit of a reading slump lately. In fact, the last two books that I started I ended up abandoning.
The books were: Ruined by Paula Morris and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and the Undead by Don Borchert. In fairness, these books were not total stinkers, they simply didn't hold my interest.
To get back on track, I have several non-fiction (my go-to genre) titles lined up: Bloody Times by James L. Swanson, The Secret Life of Houdini by William Kalush and Larry Sloman, and The Long Snapper by Jeffrey Marx.
Someone who has definitely NOT been in a reading slump is Ms. DeAngelo. Here's the list of books that she read over Spring break:

Rescue by Anita Shreve
The Uncoupling by Meg Wolitzer
Star Island by Carl Hiaasen
Once Upon a Time, There Was You by Elizabeth Berg
Georgia Bottoms by Mark Childress
Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult
Learning to Swim by Sara J. Henry
The White Queen by Phillipa Gregory
Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks
The Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand

If you'd like to find reviews of Ms. Deangelo's books, try searching for them on Goodreads.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Looking for Book Suggestions?

Kate Messner is a middle school teacher at Stafford Middle School in Plattsburgh. She's also a National Board Certified Teacher and the author of YA books like The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z and Sugar and Ice. Her book blog is a great source of ideas when you're wondering what to read next; she makes great recommendations for YA readers. Check it out!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Adirondack History on the Middle School Stage

Grade 7 students are beginning to write scenes in "play" form that depict Adirondack history. We've been reading excerpts of Adirondack Stories II by Marty Poskoch and Sam Glanzman, and some of the these will form the basis of their work.
Brandon and Donna, from Pendragon, have been working with our students, and their enthusiasm for the theatre is contagious.
The students will present their Adirondack themed plays during the last week of March at the middle school.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

More Book Suggestions

The staff at SLMS continues to send me great recommendations. Here's the latest batch:

Mrs. Kennedy suggests:
Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer Holm
The Vanishing of Katharina Linden by Helen Grant
Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus

Mrs. Sweet suggests:
The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
The Girls by Lois Lansens
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Mrs. Meimis suggests:
Zeitoun by Dave Eggers

Ms. Ordonez suggests:
Away by Amy Bloom

Ms. Varano suggests:
Backwater by Joan Bauer

Ms. Warden also sent me this great review that she wrote of The Snow Leopard by Peter Mathiassen.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

School-Wide Read

March is here and this month seventh graders are being encouraged to read Firegirl by Tony Abbott. Many teachers are reading this book as well, and we are hoping to have some good discussions about the issues that this it raises.
Other books being read as part of school-wide read month are The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger (grade 6) and Lemonade Mouth by Mark Peter Hughes (grade 8).

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Beginning to Blog

I've enjoyed keeping a class blog this year, and have now challenged the grade 7 students to try it for themselves.

Each section of ELA 7 will have their own blog. Period 4 here: http://kidblog.org/ELA4/, period 6 here: http://kidblog.org/ELA6/ and period 7 here: http://kidblog.org/ELA73/.

On Friday, John Stack, who blogs for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise will be a guest speaker in class. He'll talk about how he became a blogger, where he gets his ideas, etc.

John is also a past competitor in the Lake Placid Ironman and blogged about that experience here.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Chivalry in Medieval Times

In honor of Winter Carnival, we've been reading about the legend of King Arthur. Today we discussed the idea of chivalry, and discussed whether it still exists. We watched this video clip, which seems to suggest that chivalry is dead.

I was pleased that many students argued that they see examples of chivalry at the middle school every day, including politeness and sacrificing for others.

Here's a link from the BBC that translates the chivalric code into modern terms for students.

Monday, January 31, 2011

New Books

I recently received a shipment of new books that I'm sure will be of interest to middle level readers:

I am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to be Your Class President by Josh Lieb
Picture the Dead by Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown
The Savage by David Almond
Ruined by Paula Morris
Orphan! by John R. Weber
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and the Undead by Mark Twain and Don Borchet
The Boneshaker by Kate Milford
The Pricker Boy by Reade Scott Whinneem
The Stone Child by Dan Poblocki
The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

I plan to read my way through this list and then get the books into circulation through the middle school library. Please see me if any of these titles interest you.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Uninvited

One of the books that I read this month is Tim Wynne-Jones' The Uninvited. I liked it, and talked about it in class. It's available in the SLMS library on the eighth grade shelf.
You can hear an audio review of this book, set in rural Ontario, at the North Country Public Radio website.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

"The Fan Club" by Rona Maynard

As we work through our fiction writing unit, we've talked about how finding ideas for stories is sometimes very difficult.
Lucy Calkins, author of Units of Study for Teaching Writing, has this advice:
Think about an issue that is important to you and create a character who struggles with that issue.
As an example, we read "The Fan Club" by Rona Maynard. You may want to check it out, and see how the main character, Laura, deals with the issue of discrimination.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Creative Writing Unit

After a non-fiction narrative writing unit that saw students write some truly great pieces, we introduced a unit on creative writing today.

I mentioned a book by Stephen King that I really like, On Writing. This book is part autobiography and part writing instruction. Full disclosure: it's the only Stephen King book I've ever read.

I'm hoping that students will incorporate, like King, some of their real life experiences into their fiction writing.