Thursday, October 12, 2017

Writing 1 Class Notes -- Week 8 (October 12)


Fall is here in full force.  Weather maps show that we are nearing peak colors, making this one of my most favorite weeks of year.

Our Quick Write this week had to do with two "National Days" -- National Savings Day and National Farmer Day.  Students could write about someting that they save or collect, something for which they are saving, or about their thoughts about farmers or farming.  

Our Words of the Day came from my book of foreign words and phrases:
chapeau -- fr. French chapeau, "hat" -- fr. Latin cappellum, "cap" -- a hat or cap
charade -- fr. French charra, "chatter" -- an absurd pretense intended to create a pleasant or respectable appearance.
charisma -- fr. Greek kharis, gift, favor, grace -- NOTE:  For extra credit, students are to bring a definition and a sentence using the word to show its meaning.

While students were writing their Quick Writes, I handed back their homework, which also included a missing homework report.  I intend to hand these out every few weeks so that students know what homework, if any, has not been turned in.  I don't want anyone to get too far behind and not feel that they can catch up. Our fall break is a great time to get caught up.  Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

I also handed back the final drafts of their Personal Essays.  These were very enjoyable to read, and the students did very well.  I graded the papers in four areas:  the Focus, which includes the introduction, thesis, and conclusion, the Content, the Organization, and the Mechanics.  In our next essays we will work on these areas, especially the introductions and conclusions.  Our next writing assignment is an Examples/Illustration Essay, and the pre-write was to be done for this week. However, students don't hand in these this week but in two weeks when they hand in their rough drafts.  

Following the quick check in about homework and our writing, we had a presentation about Adjectives from Bryar, Owen, and Jarrett that included a thorough PowerPoint presentation, some homework, and a loosely connected game of Mafia.  The slides are attached.

We are at the end of Animal Farm, and after break we will start our next book, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.  Students were given their new books and an introduction to the story.   For the remaining time of our class period, the students took a short end-of-the-book test about Animal Farm.  I think that everyone finished the test, but for those who didn't, they may finish it at home.

Note:  A number of students came in late today, and when this happens, the whole class either has to wait to start or has to re-start.  Please remind your students to come to class on time.

Assignments for October 26:
-- Read handout introduction to A Christmas Carol
-- Write Examples/Illustrations Rough Draft
-- Grammar -- Adjectives Homework.
-- Animal Farm Final Test (if unfinished)
-- Extra Credit Word of the Day definition

Links for This Week
Class Notes

Have a great weekend!  Enjoy your Fall Break!
Mrs. Prichard

Introduction to A Christmas Carol

             A Christmas Carol is a fairly straightforward allegory built on an episodic narrative structure in which each of the main passages has a fixed, obvious symbolic meaning. The book is divided into five sections (Dickens labels them Staves in reference to the musical notation staff--a Christmas carol, after all, is a song), with each of the middle three Staves revolving around a visitation by one of the three famous spirits. The three spirit-guides, along with each of their tales, carry out a thematic function--the Ghost of Christmas Past, with his glowing head, represents memory; the Ghost of Christmas Present represents charity, empathy, and the Christmas spirit; and the reaper-like Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come represents the fear of death. Scrooge, with his Bah! Humbug! attitude, embodies all that dampens Christmas spirit--greed, selfishness, indifference, and a lack of consideration for one's fellow man.

from Victorian Age

            The Victorian Age is a very elastic term used to denote an extremely dynamic period. Although the Victorian Age roughly spans most of the 19th century (from 1832 to 1900), it is not totally confined within these dates. The rumblings of change to come were felt for some time before 1832, and changes did not stop occurring as soon as Queen Victoria died in 1901. However, lifestyles did change more dramatically during this period than ever before in English history. England was suddenly pulled together by the railways, the penny post, and the rest of the newly constructed apparatus of fast, cheap communication. The country became unified in a way never before possible.
            Prior to the middle of the 19th century, education had been reserved for the nobility and those who could afford to send their children to exclusive private schools. Even if the poor had been able to enter their children in these schools, they would not have done so. A child of six was expected to start bringing home money to help support his entire family; he would be put to work as soon as possible. In those days work meant twelve to sixteen hours a day of grueling, hard labor in conditions that would today be considered totally unacceptable. There was no time spare for education. However, with the appearance of the modern public school system it became fashionable and necessary for the children of the lower classes to at least learn the rudiments of the 3 R’s. With these assets, they could go on to vocational apprenticeships in one of the trades.
            Great nationalistic spirit developed during the Victorian Age, and England struggled to place herself at the top of the international scene. At the time of the Great Exhibition of 1851, England was influential in many countries. By the end of the Victorian Age, the British Empire had reached the high point of its development.

            During this period the extreme poverty of the lower working classes was pointed up by the increasingly congested living conditions of city life. While the nobility still hung onto its money and its social barriers, and an individual’s birthright tended to be the deciding factor of his future, the rapidly expanding middle classes made steady inroads. The middle-class novelist, Charles Dickens, did more than any writer before or since to expose the sufferings of the working class. His books found their way into the drawing rooms of the titled and wealthy, and social consciousness began to rise. Emancipation of women and the rights of children became popular cases for the previously sheltered nobility. They brought their money and influence to bear in demanding better working conditions and broader education for the working class. A kind of feverish sentimentality of guilt gripped everyone.  The debt owed to Charles Dickens for the many reforms of the Victorian Age is certainly not a small one.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Writing 1 Class Notes -- Week 7 (October 5)


We had a good class this week, as always!  It's a good, engaging group of students, and we always seem to accomplish a lot.

Our Quick Write, which was to write something car-related, was inspired by the fact that October 5 is the anniversary of Enzo Ferrari's first race.  Ferrari worked and raced for Alfa Romeo until he left and started his own company.  When I was 20 I worked as a nanny for a family that had 5 vintage Ferraris, so I was especially interested in this little bit of trivia.

Our Words of the Day:
c'est la vie -- French "that is life" -- an expression that refers to the fact that all kinds of stuff happens in life.  Some students once suggested that "Whatever" might be a comparable English expression
bona fide -- Latin "in good faith" -- refers to something that is true or verifiable
savior faire -- French "know how to do" -- a quality of accomplishment, polish, tact, or sophistication
enfant terrible -- French "a terrible child" -- can refer to a misbehaving child or to a person who intentionally tries to shock others
je ne sais quoi -- French "I do not know what" -- a quality that can not be easily described, something inexpressible

I usually take the time that students are writing their quick writes to hand back homework, so discussing the homework often comes after these two beginning activities.  This week they had more to hand in than I had to hand back.  The Final Drafts of their Personal Essays were do this week, along with literature and grammar homework.  When students hand in their final drafts, I also require them to hand in their rough drafts so that I can see the corrections that they make.

We are starting our third essay -- an Examples/Illustration Essay.  Our two previous essays were done with a two-step process: a rough draft and a final draft.  As the essays get more complicated, a third step, a Pre-Write, is incorporated.  For this step that precedes the rough draft, students are to brainstorm ideas, conduct any needed research, and organize their thoughts before writing the rough draft.  The Pre-Write should be done for next week, BUT they are not to hand it in until the following week when they hand in their rough draft.

We had two excellent Parts of Speech presentations today.  Blake, Bailey, and Jacob prepared good information about Pronouns, and Emma, Laura, and Corrie presented on Nouns.  At the end is a link to the PowerPoint for the Nouns presentation, and I will have copies of the pronouns presentation for the class next week.  Next week we will hear about adjectives from Owen, Bryar, and Jarrett.

Below is a chart that I put on the board for the variations of pronoun cases.

direct object, indirect object, object of   preposition

1st person
2nd person
3rd person

We have reached the end of our book, Animal Farm.  Next week we will wrap up the book with some discussion and a final test.  The syllabus says that we will have character presentations, but I've decided to NOT do those due to the hard work students are putting into their parts of speech presentations.

Assignments for Next Week:
-- Finish Animal Farm
-- Finish any incomplete Reading Responses or Vocabulary word assignments
-- Pronouns Homework
-- Nouns Homework
-- Examples/Illustration Essay Pre-Write

Links for this week:
Class Notes

Have a great weekend!
Mrs. Prichard

Example/Illustration Essay

In an Example or Illustration Essay, the writer uses examples or illustrations to develop a general idea or prove a general statement.  While the general idea may be abstract, intangible, or theoretical, the examples and illustrations should be specific and concrete.  To clarify, an illustration is an extended, developed example.
            Examples help readers understand and see more clearly abstract ideas or unfamiliar situations.  Illustrations paint an even more detailed picture.  Examples are also more memorable.

Organization of an Example/Illustration Essay
Example/ Illustration Essays begin with the general or abstract idea, which is then explained and supported using individual examples.  Each paragraph should be a specific example or illustration that explains, describes, or clarifies your main idea.  You may choose to use several short examples or one long illustration.  (Note:  Parables are illustrations of spiritual principles.)

Thesis Statements
The thesis statement is the general statement that the examples or illustration are intended to support or illustrate.  For example, the thesis “My father is a generous man” would lead the writer to give specific details about specific instances of generosity.

Tips on Writing
Decide on the general statement or idea you would like to support or illustrate; formulate a tentative thesis or main idea statement.
Decide whether you will use several short examples or one (or more) longer illustrations.
If using several examples, determine which order will be most effective (chronological or by importance).  Making a list helps.
If using one or more longer illustrations, give as much detail as possible.
Avoid giving disconnected examples that do not tie directly into your thesis.

Essay Guidelines
Due dates:  Pre-Write is due October 12; Rough Draft due October 26; Final Draft due November 9
Essay length:  400 - 700 words (1 – 2 pages)
Rough drafts can be typed or hand-written, but must be double-spaced.
Final draft format:
Typed (if this is not possible, please let me know)
1 inch margins
Name and date on the upper right hand corner
Number the pages on the lower right hand corner
Title centered above the text of the essay

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Writing 1 Class Notes -- Week 6 (September 28)


We had a very full and productive time in class today.  We started with the Quick Write, and since it was the birthday of Johnny Chapman (a.k.a. Johnny Appleseed) I had the students write either about their favorite apple recipe/food or about their favorite fall food.  I'm glad to say that we all like apples, and, of course, this is the best time of year to get your fill.  (For those interested in more about Johnny Appleseed here are a couple of good sites:  Biography.comWikipedia, and of course the Johnny Appleseed song/prayer)

Below are the Words of the Day, taken from my foreign words and phrases book:
Cappuccino -- fr. Italian, Capuchin, an order of monks who wore light brown habits -- a coffee drink made from espresso, steamed milk, and foam
Carabiner -- fr. German, Karabinerhaken, carbine hook -- a metal ring with a spring catch used by mountain climbers
Carafe -- fr. Arabic, gharrafah, a drinking vessel -- a wide-mouthed glass or metal bottle for serving beverages
Carousel -- fr. French, carrousel, a knight's tournament -- a rotating platform carnival ride with horses as seats.
    Note:  Some may be interested in this bit of trivia  -- a carousel can only have horses, while a merry-go-round can use other animals for the seats of the ride.

Before we dove into our discussion of the rough drafts, we had a brief discussion about Animal Farm, initiated by a question from a student.  Napoleon is a type for Stalin, Snowball is a type for Trotsky, and the dogs are modeled after the KGB.  We talked about how some books seem to be timeless in that they rightly portray universal human characteristics.

When I hand back Rough Drafts to the students, I cover grammar topics that represent the types of errors most common in that current round of papers.  In addition to taking notes, I directed students to add to their page in their notebooks titled "Watch our for . . ."  This list over the course of the year will both chronicle a student's growth and be a source for goal setting.  The areas we covered today were commas and compound sentences, comma splice and run-on sentences, paragraph formation, and punctuation with dialogue.

We started our Parts of Speech presentations today and had a good presentation about conjunctions from Selah, Sarah, and Ellie.  They had a short lesson, a video, a game, and some homework for us.  We didn't have time for the Pronouns presentation,  Next week we will have more time and do both the Pronouns (Bailey, Jacob, Blake) and Nouns (Emma, Corrie, Laura).

Assignments for Next Week:
-- Read Ch. 9 & 10
-- Take Home Quiz (This can be done as an open book quiz)
-- No Reader Responses
-- 3 Vocabulary Words
-- Conjunctions homework
-- Final draft (Remember to also bring your rough draft)
-- Parts of Speech Preparations

Links for This Week
Class Notes
Johnny Appleseed -- & Wikipedia

Have a great weekend!
Mrs. Prichard

Animal Farm Take Home Quiz -- Chapters V – VIII

Chapters V – VIII 
1. Which animal doesn’t live according to the rules of Animalism and leaves the farm? 
2.  Who is the better speaker and planner for the future?  Napoleon or Snowball?  
3.  What animals are wearing brass-studded collars? 
4.  Which animal becomes the “mouth-piece” for Napoleon? 
5.  How do the animals get supplies that they don’t already have at the farm? 
6.  How does the windmill fall down?  How does Napoleon explain the incident with the windmill? 
7.  What does Napoleon force some of the animals to do?  What did the dogs do to those animals? 
8.  Why does the windmill collapse again? 
9.  Where do the pigs find a crate of whiskey?  What do they do with it? 

10.  Squealor has been changing the commandments.  Tell about the change to one of the commandments. 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Writing 1 Class Notes -- Week 5 (September 21)


We had a full day in class and covered a lot of information.  Students stayed engaged and did a great job.  At the beginning of class, we took care of "housekeeping" items. For those students who eat in the cafe area or buy their lunch there, I reminded them to clean up after themselves and to return their trays.  And, we had a discussion about phones in the classroom.  I have had no problems with any of the students, but other classes and tutors have had some distracted behavior due to phones.  This is a most commendable class, and they always ask permission to take pictures of notes on the board or to do research.  Bravo!

I gave two options for the Quick Write.  The first was in recognition of "World Gratitude Day" that started on Sept. 21, 1965 in Hawaii. Students could write about something for which they were grateful.  The other option came as a result of a student's searching for other notable event during September of 1965.  She came up with the first notable printed use of the word "hippie,"  which occurred in the San Francisco Examiner on Sept. 5, 1965.  Students were somewhat aware of what hippies, and more currently hipsters, are, but most chose to write about gratitude.

The Words of the Day:
status quo -- Latin "the state in which" -- refers to the existing state of affairs or condition
joie de vivre -- French "joy of life" -- an exuberant joyfulness in living
carte blanche -- French "blank check" -- complete freedom to act as one wishes, unrestrained power
caveat emptor -- Latin "Let the buyer beware" -- refers to the buyer's responsibility to check the quality of the goods before purchasing

I handed back the Final Drafts of the Descriptive Essays.  The students did a great job on their first essays of the year.  For this round of essays I evaluated them using a rubric that considers the elements of an essay:  Focus (Introduction, conclusion, and thesis), content, organization, and mechanics.  Because I didn't specify the need for an introduction or conclusion in this essay, I didn't include that category on the evaluation.  When I handed back the rough drafts, I asked the students to start a page in their notebooks titled "Watch out for . . . " where they could keep track of their common writing errors.  Today, I directed them to start a page "What I did well . . . " where they could keep track of the elements of writing that they felt they had done well.  Their list could include my comments of their own observations. Students are more likely to grow and improve as writers when they deliberately think about their own abilities.

Rough Drafts of the Personal History Essays were handed in today.  (Note:  A couple students mentioned forgetting the essay at home or having printer problems.  They can e-mail them to me whenever that happens.)

I handed back the Parts of Speech Pre-Test; projecting the test on the white board, I went over each section.  A number of students made some of the same mistakes, so this whole class activity was helpful.  As students give their presentations, they will have further practice identifying the parts of speech in sentences.  Speaking of presentations, students took 10 minutes to meet in their groups for finalize their plans.  When we came back together as a class, I showed them two videos that previous classes had done.  Next week, we will hear from the Conjunctions group and the Pronouns group.

Finally, before dismissing the class, we discussed two questions pertaining to Animal Farm:  1) Why did Molly leave the farm? and 2) What's up with the pigs trading with the humans.  

Assignments for Next Week
-- Read Chapters 7 & 8
-- 3 Reader Responses
     -- Note:  Previously, students had to do 2 study guide questions and could do one ala carte response.  Going forward, students may do up to 2 ala carte responses; they don't have to, but they may if they want.
-- 3 Vocabulary words
-- Preparations for their Parts of Speech Presentaions
-- Next Week:  Conjunctions and Pronouns Presenations

Links for This Week:
Class Notes

Have a blessed weekend!
Mrs. Prichard