Wednesday 5 June 2013

Language Arts Writing Project

Dear parents,
This is the project outline that some of you were asking about.  This is an in-class project that students are currently working on.  We were supposed to have it done by May 31; however, due to EQAO, we were not able to meet this deadline.  We are hoping to finish the project by Monday, June 10, 2013 Insha'Allah.

Creative Fictional Narrative Story Writing (In-Class Project)

For this project, you will be writing a fictional narrative story. You need to pick 1 topic only.  Your story must be a page long only. Every week, you will be given about 2 in-class periods to work on the project.  The final draft of your project will be due on May 31, 2013.
A. Topics:
1.        Write a story about your journey on a “Pirate Ship.”
2.        Imagine you were 10 inches tall. Describe what life would be like.
3.        Write a story about your life on one of the planets (other than Earth). Describe what life would be like.
4.        Imagine that you find a ring on your way home from school that makes you invisible for one day. Write a story about what happens during that day.
B. Schedule For The Writing Process:
The Writing Process:
A.    Thursday, May 15-Brainstorming
B.     Friday, May 17- First Draft
C.     Tuesday, May 21-First Draft
D.    Friday, May 24-Peer Editing
E.     Tuesday, May 28-Peer Editing
F.      Wednesday, May 29-Final Draft
G.    Thursday, May 30-Final Draft
H.    Friday, May 31-Stories must be handed in.

A.    Wednesday, May 15-Brainstorming
B.     Friday, May 17- First Draft
C.     Tuesday, May 21-First Draft
D.    Friday, May 24-Peer Editing
E.     Tuesday, May 28-Peer Editing
F.      Wednesday, May 29-Final Draft
G.    Thursday, May 30-Final Draft
H.    Friday, May 31- Stories must be handed in.

C. Story Guidelines:

Your story must include the four main “Story Elements.”  These include: Setting (time and place), characters, conflict, and the solution.

The plot of your story should focus on the main problem in the story and must have three parts – a beginning, a middle, and an end. 
The beginning of a story introduces the characters, the setting and the problem. 

The middle shows how the characters deal with the problem.  The personalities of the characters will be developed through their actions, their words (no dialogue, please), and their feelings as revealed through body language such as shivering, blushing, gesturing, etc.  The story unfolds through “show not tell” writing.  The writer “magnifies the moment” by taking us into the inner thoughts and feelings of the characters and creating suspense and surprise

The end of the story explains how the problem is resolved and why it all mattered
Do not forget to give your story an interesting, eye-catching title.

Brainstorming Pages

Characters (and their roles in the story)

Conflict (Problem)


Other important details

Brainstorming Continued:
Planning a Short Story
a:  Title ___________________________________________________________

b:   Quick Sketch your
       plan for your story
c:   Quick jot words: ideas, descriptions
       and plans for your story






Adding Connectors to Move the Story Along

Transitions indicate a new idea or a change in time.  They are also called connectors because they connect ideas in the story.  Here are some common ones you may use when you write.
in between the time                       
the following day                             
some time later                                
by four o’clock
in the late after noon
as soon as
in just twenty minutes
almost as quickly
when we arrived
an hour later
hours went by
right away
after that
at first I saw
at the same time
after we walked a mile
just as
later on
at dusk

Using Body Language to Show Feelings
When you are writing a story, it is important to SHOW, not to TELL.
We all go through many feelings every day.  Some common feelings include being:

          angry                             frustrated                    bored                           thrilled
            nervous                        disappointed               anxious                        worried
            peaceful                       shy                               scared                          sleepy             
            worn out                      serious             playful             silly

These feelings and many more can be observed directly in body language.  You can find evidence of feelings in facial and body expressions and actions by watching:

            eyes                 mouth              face                 throat               voice                breathing
            heart                gut                   arms                 hands               shoulders         posture                        movement            speed               actions fists                 gestures          

A.  “Sally feels sad,” is not very interesting.  How can we show her sadness?
Her Eyes puffy redness, watery, looking down, tears trickling down cheeks and overflowing

Her mouth = drooping with the lips quivering, hard to swallow

Her body posture = dragging her feet, bent over, limp, alone, pushing people away, head down, wiping tears

Now we can compose several sentences to show Sally is sad.
            Sally rubbed her puffy red eyes and wiped her tears.   Her lips quivered as she tried to stop sobbing.  She leaned her limp body against her mother.

B.   “Joe is sleepy.”
His eyes = half shut, heavy eyelids, drooping
Mouth = yawning, snoring
Body = head falls on arms, relaxed, peaceful

            Joe yawns as his heavy eyelids droop half shut.  Slowly his head falls on his arms.   Soon he snores peacefully.

C.  “Vanessa is shy.”
Her eyes = looking away or down, avoiding eye contact, uncomfortable
Hands =  held behind the back, clutched in front, covering face
Voice = whisper, mumbled, fades out

            Vanessa held her hands in front of her mouth and avoided eye contact.  Her quiet whisper faded out until I couldn’t even hear her speak.

Come to a Smooth Ending

Don’t write “THE END.”  Instead, finish with a strong sentence that will help your reader:
  • feel a feeling
  • remember a character
  • get your point
  • think about the story
  • evaluate the significance now: 
                Looking back…., Now I realize…., Still to this day…., I learned….

Examples of strong endings:
  • The rain ruined my plans, but it did not ruin my life.

  • Looking back, I’m glad I threw the ring away.

  • All of our hard work had paid off.

  • No one complained.  Everyone celebrated.

  • Ted and his brother were off to a new adventure.

  • Katie found the watch, and she found a new friend.

  • The principal was angry with what we had done, but she forgave us and even hugged us.

  • Meg is the best librarian in town!

  • The stranger had taken our hearts and our money.

  • I learned a lot, I met a lot of new people, and now I realized I wanted to stay.

  • The party was a success.

  • Stacy and Lance couldn’t wait until their next flight on an airplane.

  • The next morning the antlers were miraculously gone, and the whole family breathed a sigh of relief.

  • Still to this day I remember how proud I felt.

Proofreading Hints

Proofreading is the final clean-up job before going public with a piece of writing.  Proofreading helps the reader understand the writing.

When the paper is completely revised, reread your paper for one proofreading item at a time.  Use a sheet of blank paper to move horizontally down the page a sentence or a paragraph at a time.

The most common errors include:

1.  Lack of paragraphing or too much paragraphing.  The paper will not “look” right.  With no paragraphing the text will look overwhelming.  With too much paragraphing, the text will look disjointed and scattered.

Learn SPIT.  Indent a new paragraph for the following reasons:
S = new speaker
P = new place
I =  new idea
T = new time

2.  Run-ons.    A period = a red traffic light = STOP!
     -In a run-on, the students are running a red light and they will get a ticket! 
     -Insert a period between thoughts.
     -It helps to read the “sentence” aloud and listen for stopping points or breathing points.
     Jim raced down the hall after the puppy shouting the puppy slid on the slippery floor and bumped down the stairs, yipping wildly.

3.  Fragments cannot stand alone.
     -Attach them to an adjacent sentence.
     -Or, add a subject and a verb.
     -It helps to read the “sentence” aloud and see if it makes sense alone.
      The puppy’s toenails on the hard floors making clicks.

4.  Forgotten commas.      A comma = a yellow traffic light = pause
     -It’s risky to race through yellow lights.  You might not make it.
     -Read the sentence aloud and listen for pauses.
     -The most commonly left-out commas are:

           -Nouns of direct address:   “Jeremy, please come here.”
           -Introductory clauses:  After the first snowstorm, we never saw the ground again.
           -Items in a series:  I love decorating, baking, and singing during Christmas.
           -Separating independent clauses:  I love to make cookies, but I don’t like doing the dishes.

6.  Verb Tense  (Highlight present tense verbs in a different color from past tense.)
     -Verb tense must be consistent throughout the writing.

7.  Spelling.
     -Circle any tricky words and check them later.
     -Teach spelling rules.  Learn which rules are your trouble spots and watch for them.

8.  I vs. You  Highlight “I” in one color and “you” in another.
     -The “I” voice is usually more powerful than the vague “you.”
     -Do not change back and forth in the same piece of writing.

9.  Apostrophes   (2 uses)
     a.  Use apostrophes when two words are combined into one:  contractions
          The apostrophe marks the place where a letter(s) is left out.  can + not = can’t

      b.  Use apostrophes to show possession.    The girl’s ring.

10.  Practice sentence modeling.  Mimic outstanding sentences that catch your attention,
       even if you can’t name the grammar structures.  Soon you’ll find your sentence fluency improved.