October 17: B Day


1. “Not to be.” If you’re Hamlet, asking the question, “To be or not to be?” have faith! The answer is Not To Be, when you’re talking verbs, anyway.

Students had time in the computer lab today to revise their memoirs before receiving W5: Not To Be.

We took notes on this handout about how to remove To Be verbs from our writing when using 1) passive voice, 2) linking verbs, and 3) past progressive tense.

It’s okay to use was, were, is, are, etc. in dialogue and when you’re talking directly to the reader. But in many cases, we can eliminate those to be verbs by creatively rearranging the sentence or replacing the word with a more exciting verb.

Then students highlighted all the to be verbs in their memoirs so far and tried to revise as many sentences as possible to remove those verbs. It’s not that you have to take out all to be verbs–you should just ask yourself if there’s a better way of writing those sentences (and occasionally, there’s not).

2. Work time. After students revised their beginnings, they continued writing their scenes.


1. Freewrite.

2. Pre-workshop questions. Students silently read through their own entire memoir and answered three questions about the writing.

3. Writer’s Workshop. We met in our workshop groups and began reading aloud and giving feedback according to the methods we learned.

HW: Read Ch. 3-9 of Bryson/Krakauer by Friday.


1. Work time. Students met in the computer lab to work on finishing their memoirs. Students made changes to “to be” verbs and added the extended metaphor they wrote in class last time.

2. Oral quiz on Ch. 3-8 of Krakauer/Bryson.

3. Creative Beginnings and Endings. Students received W4: Creative Beginnings and Endings. Students chose two beginning techniques to use in their memoir. They rewrote the beginning or added a new beginning to two chapters. If you were absent, you should download W4 and revise two beginnings using two of the techniques listed on the first page.

HW: Finish complete rough draft of memoir by Friday. Read Ch. 9 of Bryson/Krakauer by Friday.