Day 10: Writing techniques and the personal essay

1. Writing techniques to Show, not Tell. Students received L6,  Memoir Writing Techniques to Show, not Tell. As a Do Now, they wrote down the definition of “internal monologue”:

the thoughts that are going through the character’s mind during the action of the story. Written in present tense in italics.

2. Internal Monologue Practice. In pairs, students wrote an internal monologue for a story here: Internal Monologue Practice.

3. Other writing techniques. Students also wrote down on L6 the definitions for “metacognition” and “narration”:

metacognition: = reflection. the act of reflecting on what your experiences mean; philosophizing. ex: “That was the worst day of 9th grade.”

narration: telling the story of a certain event. (We added this to the side of internal monologue on the sheet.)

4. Personal narrative vs. personal essay. Students will be reading personal essays rather than narratives starting tonight. Here’s the difference: a narrative is about an event or a series of events; an essay is about an idea or observation.

5. Choose an essay. Students selected an essay to read and analyze for tomorrow. Here were the choices:

  • On Being a One-Eared Musician by Lee Godwin. About guitar, music, and a handicap. Asks the question, “How can a disability make us stronger?” Difficulty level 1.
  • Up All Night by Sherman Alexie. About the use of humor, insomnia, fatherhood, and alcoholism. Asks the question, “How do our weaknesses affect us and those around us?” Difficulty level 2.
  • Black Men and Public Space by Brent Staples. About expectations and race. Asks the question, “How do we escape the stereotypes forced on us by others?” Difficulty level 3.
  • Jest and Earnest by Annie Dillard. About nature, chaos, and philosophy. Asks the question, “Is this bizarre world made for a reason? Or is that all a joke?” Difficulty level 4.

Students chose the piece that best fit their reading level and their interest.

HW: Read the personal essay you chose and answer questions/do steps 1-5.

Absentees: Download “Memoir Writing Techniques” and label it L6. Write down the notes in #1 and #3. Choose a personal essay to read from #5. Read essay and answer questions for Thursday.