8/28 and 8/29: A and B Days

1A, 1B, and 4B

1. Writing territories. Students made a list of writing territories, or topics they feel they have expertise in. We will draw on these topics during freewrites throughout the year. Ms. Garvoille modeled her own as students worked.

2. Modeled writing. Based on the story “In the Current” by Jo Ann Beard, we chose a territory and associated a specific time and place in our memories. Then, we wrote our own stories using Jo Ann Beard’s sentences as a model. For instance, here was Ms. Garvoille’s first paragraph:

Summer. Powdered Kool-Aid, Trivial Pursuit, a wild rat terrier, and a sagging couch. Luke drums on his stomach and sings REM, I half-listen and peruse his step-father’s bookshelf stocked with biographies of Svetlana Stalin. My best friend is talking to his best friend, Luke-O, and I look up to the ceiling, thinking he is there and wondering why it’s not me he’s talking to. “Luke-O can be shy, you know?” he calls from the armchair, balanced on one foot, his arms spread as he readies for take-off. We are playing hot lava. His sister returns, wearing an army jacket, ripped orange fishnets, and retreats up the stairs to read about communism. Rick’s garden surrounds the house, bursting like Eden, spilling onto the sidewalks, full of hostas and damp mulch. I am eight. The only thing to do is walk down to the 50 cent pop machine, walk aimlessly through empty streets, and spin in circles while looking at the ceiling fan.

3. Diagnostic test. All students took a diagnostic English test, which will not count as a grade but will help me understand what each student needs this year.

HW: HONORS – Finish your story modeled on “In the Current.” After the first paragraph or so, you may decide to keep modeling your sentences, or you may go off on your own path. You should have at least one page handwritten when you’re done. Then, revise, type, and print a clean copy to turn into the homework box before the next class. If you don’t have a computer, you should handwrite the final draft in pen on every other line.

REGULAR – None. You may do the Honors work if you choose.