Friday, December 19, 2014

Article of the Week -- A TED Talk

Today we are returning to our old friend Article of the Week, but with a twist. Today our article will be in the form of a video...a TED Talk.

Please take out a sheet of paper and something to write with. Answer the following question:
Sometimes we find ourselves in situations where we are wrong. How does that feel? Is it okay?




Now that you have viewed the TED Talk, respond to the following questions in at least two paragraphs:

Paragraph 1: 
According to Kathryn Shulz, what is the value in being wrong? What are her main arguments about being right or wrong?

Paragraph 2:
How have your views about rightness and wrongness changed? What is your overall opinion of this talk? How might it affect you and your peers?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Work on publication (or an AoW)

Today is the last day we will spend in class working on all things NaNoWriMo related. Your summary document was due yesterday, but many of you are still working on getting your novel published. So today, you will focus on publication (whichever method you chose).

If you are completely done with your summary document and have published your novel, you have the option today to complete an article of the week for extra credit. However, I WILL NOT ACCEPT EXTRA CREDIT IF YOUR SUMMARY DOCUMENT IS INCOMPLETE OR YOUR NOVEL ISN'T ALREADY PUBLISHED. That is your first priority. If you are eligible for the AoW, you will complete it digitally. You will find the article in our shared English folder, in a sub-folder called "AoW." Rather than asking you to compose a summary and reflection as usual, this article has embedded questions to answer as your read. As always, make your own copy of the article, rename it properly, and share it with me.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Publication plans

Your summary document is due today!

Now that you have wrapped up all elements of your summary document (all ten examples and explanations, reflection, and self-scoring), you can focus on publication. Remember, you have three options of how to publish.

Please tell me about how you plan to publish here.


Friday, December 12, 2014

Wrapping up your summary doc + book recommendations

By now, you should be wrapping up your summary document (remember, it's due December 17). Use today to get caught up and/or work on editing your entire novel to prepare for publication.

You can thank Ms. Black for this handy dandy guide to your summary document, complete with definitions and linked examples:

DEFINITIONS OF EACH ELEMENT (AND MODELS) If you click on the name, it will take you to the student model for that element.

Direct Characterization - When you TELL the reader about a character (looks, attitude, personality, likes, dislikes, hobbies). It is not enough to say one thing about looks. You need to include lots of information!

Indirect Characterization - when you learn about a character (looks, attitude, personality, likes, dislikes, hobbies, etc.) through their actions. Don’t tell me that the character is energetic. Have the character do something energetic.

Setting that reinforces character - A place can tell you about a character (looks, attitude, personality, likes, dislikes, hobbies), such as whether the room is messy or organized, or what kinds of things are on the walls, or the colors in the room. What things are in the room that are well-used? What is the first thing you notice when you walk in? DESCRIBE A SETTING, NOT THE CHARACTER.

Setting that creates a mood - Mood is how the READER feels when reading the story. DESCRIBE A SETTING that makes the reader feel something (tension, happiness, joy, helplessness, desolate, celebratory, etc.) Do not tell me how a character feels.

Sensory Details - This is a description that involves the senses (how things taste, feel when you touch them, smell, sound like, or look like.) Truly using sensory details means using lots of senses in your description, not just one, and especially not just sight.

Strong Verbs - If you’re using strong verbs, you’re being creative with your character’s actions. Be specific with your word choice. The more specific your verbs, the better the reader can picture what’s happening in the story.

Dialogue - Things you need to know about formatting:
  • The punctuation should look like this:   “I love to read,” Ms. Black said.
    • Not every sentence has to be structured like this one, but you need to pay attention to where I’m putting capitals, periods, commas, and quotation marks.
  • Every time a new character speaks, start a new paragraph.
  • Don’t forget the period that comes at the end of the sentence (after the dialogue tag.)

Climax - This is the height of your story, when the protagonist finds out whether or not they are going to achieve what they’ve been working toward in your plot. Give me the best part of your climax, and explain why it is the best part.

Subplot - Beyond the main plot, the main goal your protagonist is trying to achieve, he/she might run into some other smaller problems with some of the characters in your book. Subplot is referring to those smaller problems that the protagonist runs into.

Time Shift - It is not enough to have a character remember something from their childhood. For time shift, you need to write the scene as if the character/reader is ACTUALLY THERE.


You will also have a book review due shortly after the winter break. It's important that you have a good book to read over the two week vacation. If you are unsure what to read next, check out these recommendations from last year's ninth graders.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for...PUBLICATION!

Finally, we are going to talk about how to set your novel up for publication (yes, this includes cover design, too). If you were a "winner" in NaNoWriMo, you should now have a redemption code on your "winner's page" on the NaNoWriMo website. This code will enable you to receive 5 free published copies of your novel! Unfortunately, this does not include shipping, but in previous years the shipping cost has been very reasonable. It will, however, require the help of a parent/guardian to pay with a credit card. Even if you weren't a winner, you can still publish your novel for a pretty low price. I encourage you ALL to publish your novels as paperback books (and I will even give a little extra credit to those of you who bring me a copy!), however, you will also have a couple alternative options of ways to publish. Today, we will all sign up for CreateSpace, the website that you will use to layout and create your books. Below are step-by-step instructions for CreateSpace.

If you are not planning to publish through Create Space, the evidence of your publication choice will need to be included in your Summary Document. Your other options are to publish to the online literary magazine Teen Ink, or to publish to a social media account of your choice (your personal blog, Twitter, Facebook, etc). Instructions for all publishing options are linked here.

Directions for Create Space


  1. Click SIGN UP to create an account.
  2. Click ADD NEW TITLE.
  3. Create a TITLE (meaning the title of your book) and select PAPERBACK. Then click GET STARTED in the GUIDED section.
  4. Type your name in the PRIMARY AUTHOR section and click SAVE AND CONTINUE. You can leave everything else blank.
  5. Select FREE CREATESPACE-ASSIGNED ISBN and then click ASSIGN FREE ISBN.
  6. Click CONTINUE.
  7. Select BLACK & WHITE for INTERIOR TYPE
  8. Select either WHITE or CREAM for PAPER TYPE.
  9. Select 5.5 X 8 for TRIM SIZE. (Important!)
  10. In the INTERIOR FILE section click BROWSE and then select the PDF of your novel. Note that you need to have a PDF of your novel to upload. To convert a Google Doc to a PDF you click FILE > DOWNLOAD AS > PDF.
  11. For the BLEED section select ENDS BEFORE THE EDGE OF PAGE.
  12. Click SAVE.
  13. After your file has been uploaded (it might take a while) click LAUNCH INTERIOR REVIEWER.
  14. It is not necessarily a problem if there are “issues” that the reviewer identifies. What you see is what you get. You can turn the pages and see exactly how it is going to print. If you like what you see then you’re OK.
  15. Click IGNORE ISSUES AND SAVE (in red at bottom; you may need to press F11).
  16. Click IGNORE ISSUES AND CONTINUE.
  17. Select a finish for your book cover (it’s up to you).
  18. Click BUILD YOUR COVER ONLINE.
  19. Click LAUNCH COVER CREATOR
  20. At this point you should be able to figure out the rest of the steps on your own.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Today on your summary document...

Hopefully you are nearing the end of your summary document. Today, I recommend you select your final two examples: subplot and time shift. You have notes on subplot on page 16 of your interactive notebook. It will be extra important that you give a clear explanation of the passage you choose for subplot in order to provide some context. For your time shift example, you can use an example of flashback, flashforward, or foreshadowing. Be sure to include a passage with appropriate "signal words" (see page 17 in your notes).

Check out these exemplary student models.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Keep plugging along!

By now you should be ready to move on to numbers 7 and 8 on your summary document: dialogue and climax. Remember that the example of dialogue you choose should still be 1-2 paragraphs....not just a line or two! Also be sure that you have properly punctuated your dialogue (you can still review the dialogue Power Point in our shared English folder in Google Drive and/or refer to your notes on page 14 of your interactive notebook).  When selecting your example of climax, you will need to compose a strong explanation which will make the context more clear. More info on the climax can be found on page 12 in your notebook.

See exemplary students model here.