Dialogue: Day 13

Today we worked on punctuating dialogue.

1. Finish prewriting. Students completed their prewriting sheet on their character description (L4). This took about five minutes. I read them an example of a great character description. Here it is:

I was five the day I found out, an age when not many emotions seemed

to penetrate my fragile mind. It was a weeknight, and I had been playing in

my room when my mother called me into the living room, her voice sounding

strained yet apathetic. When I entered the room, I found my dad sitting

at the far corner in an old, green leather chair. His short, black, coarse hair

was dyed to hide the gray that dared to intrude. His eyebrows were dark and

slender, but always seemed to be furrowed, as if he were deep in thought. His

dark, almond-shaped eyes were guarded and filled with pain instead of flashing

with the usual mischievous gleam he was known for. His thick lips were

pulled into a frown, not his familiar smirk. His dark, charcoal face seemed to

look more weathered and old despite his being in his early forties. I noticed

the shadow of his beard and mustache. He hadn’t shaved yet.

2. Review of “Eavesdropping” homework. Students shared what they noticed, learned, or struggled with during their listening experience. We noted that people change topics frequently, sometimes accents are used, and often we say things we don’t realize. Additionally, much can be learned about a person based on how they interact with others. Perfect observations! This was the point of the homework–to get students to start thinking about how dialogue works in reality. But, these conversations were too long to use in a memoir. Students went through and crossed out all the lines they thought were unnecessary, leaving only a few bits of dialogue to remain. We need to use realistic dialogue in our memoirs, but we don’t need much of it for it to be effective.

3. Dialogue Punctuation Rules. Students learned dialogue rules by writing on dry erase boards. We learned how to use dialogue tags with a period, exclamation point, and question mark. We also learned how to start a new paragraph when you switch speakers.

4. Writing. Using their Memoir Planning sheet and their Character Prewriting, students began writing one scene from their memoir that includes at least one line of dialogue and a character description. This should be completed for tomorrow.

HW: Write one scene from your memoir (5 total scenes, just write one). The scene must include at least one line of dialogue and a description of a key character using the prewriting we did in class. The outside description of the character should hint at how the character is on the inside.