October 4

English I – 1A

1. Students had 15 minutes to read.

2. Open-note dialogue “quiz.” Students received a short quiz on dialogue punctuation that will be counted as a classwork grade.

3. “The Power of Detail” and “Don’t Marry the Fly” from Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones. Click on the links to read the passages we read aloud in class. After reading “The Power of Detail,” students wrote down a sentence they responded most strongly to. Then, we wrote for 5 minutes about what that sentence means and how it relates to their own writing. Next, students wrote for 5 minutes about how that sentence connects to the professional memoir they are reading. Finally, we shared individual lines of our writing aloud.

4. Partnered page search. Students paired or trioed up to find a page of the memoir they are reading that they really loved. Then, students returned to their desks. For homework (many finished in class), students wrote a 1/2 page imitation of that section of the book using an event they will write (or have already written) about in their own memoirs.

Here’s an example:

from Richard Wright’s Black Boy: “Each event spoke with a cryptic tongue. And the moments of living slowly revealed their coded meanings. There was the wonder I felt when I first saw a brace of mountainlike, spotted, black-and-white horses clopping down a dusty road through clouds of powdered clay. . . .”

Ms. Garvoille’s adaptation for her memoir about her father: “Each moment spoke in mute intimations. And the times we spent slowly grew into their full manifestations. There was the pain I felt when I first understood that he didn’t have allergies, but was wiping away tears from behind his tinted glasses with a dusty handkerchief.” (This would go on, following Wright’s example, for at least a half page.)

HW: Finish 1/2 page modeled writing based on a page of the memoir you’re reading. The 1/2 page should be part of a scene you will write about for your personal memoir. If you want to do the whole scene, go for it (but don’t model the whole scene — just model enough to get yourself started).

Reading HW: 

Read Caged Bird through Ch. 20

Black Boy through Ch. 6

Bad Boy through pg. 100

Color of Water through Ch. 13


Today we created “snapshots” of the five scenes we will write about in our memoirs. These snapshots are completed on index cards. They should show one moment that helps tell the story of your memoir.

HW: Finish your 5 snapshots for Monday. You don’t need to turn them in to the HW box, but you can if you want to. We will be using them in class.


Today we continued to listen to “This I Believe” essays. Here is one that was really amazing:

An essay about visiting rights for prisoners

HW: Finish your This I Believe essay and recording if needed