Creative Writing
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W Aug 16: Take the writing survey. Listen to Mr. Stephenson read The Dot and write down a lesson about creativity from the story. Write your fall semester birthday (if applicable) on the calendar. You will need a book to read starting on Monday.

R Aug 17: Go over the syllabus, which can be found on the Downloads page. Receive the syllabus agreement page. Get it signed and bring it back by Tuesday. Watch the Meet Mr. Stephenson PowerPoint and take notes on what you share in common with him.

Fiction Unit Goal: Students will write a short story with an interesting plot, developed characters, and an appropriate tone.

F Aug 18: Take role by sharing one thing you have in common with Mr. Stephenson. Make a list of good traits of fiction. Make a list of lessons about fiction you need. Inspired by Ernest Hemingway's six-word story, "For sale: baby shoes, never worn," write your own six-word story.

M Aug 21 / Solar Eclipse Day: Today we begin reading the first 10 minutes of class because Good writers are also good readers. Receive the fiction packet and read and discuss the 20 opening lines from young adult novels. Pick one for a story starter tomorrow.

T Aug 22: Review the learning goal. Write for 13 minutes in response to the first line that you picked yesterday.

W Aug 23: Read through the 20 classic opening lines in your packet. Make a key of three colors and highlight them as being more plot, character, or tone-driven.

R Aug 24: Write three opening lines to a short story--one tied to plot, one tied to character, and one tied to tone. Pick one opening line and write its story for 14 minutes.

F Aug 25: Attempt to write a story using only the 236 words used by Dr. Seuss in The Cat in the Hat.

M Aug 28: Learn the ins and outs of how to use dialogue. [See the Said & Asked page and the Wednesday Wars page in your packet.] End class by writing a scene with dialogue for 7 minutes.

T Aug 29: Read and judge the four different versions of the dialogue scene from Cormac McCarthy's The Road. Write for 13 minutes about a pair of characters from the list, making sure to include dialogue.

W Aug 30: Flash Fiction (stories with 100 words or less). Notebook Check.

R Aug 31: Roll some Story Cubes and write in response. Play 3 rounds with 7 minutes of writing each round.

F Sept 1: Listen to The Mysteries of Harris Burdick. Choose one page as inspiration for a story. You can use the title and/or the illustration and/or the caption.

M Sept 4: Labor Day

T Sept 5: Listen to "A Strange Day in July" by Sherman Alexie from The Chronicles of Harris Burdick. Take note of its characters, plot, and tone. Add to your story from Friday.

W Sept 6: Using the skeleton graphic organizer, create a fictional character.

R Sept 7: Write a story featuring your character from yesterday. You can zoom in on one of the attributes you assigned OR you can invent a conflict for the character OR you can make your character interact with a classmate's character.

F Sept 8: Play the Storymatic game, incorporating these 4 elements into a story: person with a weak heart, hugger, shouldn't have touched it, & long-lost love spotted in supermarket. Play a second round with your table group, drawing your own cards.

M Sept 11: Review the maps from some famous books & write a story in response to one of them. The story can take place in that universe (if you are familiar with it) or you can completely reinvent the wheel.

T Sept 12: Design your own map for a fictional universe in which you will set a story.

W Sept 13: Write in response to your map or a friend's map.

R Sept 14: Read the story "To Do" from your fiction packet and determine what happened. Then write your own list story.

F Sept 15: Create a split character who behaves differently around different people or contexts. (Think Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but not so extreme.) Then write a story about him or her.

M Sept 18: Rules for paragraphing. Complete the practice sheet with unparagraphed vignettes from Sherman Alexie's short story "Indian Education."

T Sept 19: Avoiding plot holes in your story.

W Sept 20: Types of endings to use in your story. Avoid summary and cliffhanger. All the rest are fair game.

R Sept 21: Begin typing your fiction story in the computer lab. See the handout for details.

F Sept 22: Continue typing your piece in the computer lab.

M Sept 25: Read Andrew Porter's short story "Hole" and discuss its merits in relation to the unit goal. Reflect on your own short story and how it meets the unit goal.

T Sept 26: Print off 4 copies of your story. Change the spacing to single-spaced and the font small enough, so that the story fits on 2 pages. When finished, go to IXL and sign in with your student ID# and your 3 initials 6 digit birthday as your password. You will practice the starred skill of dialogue.

W Sept 27: Practice writing groups. Fill out your writing group response with questions about your fiction piece for tomorrow.

R Sept 28: Meet in your writing groups.

F Sept 29: Meet in the computer lab to revise and edit your story. Print off 2 copies that are double-spaced. Work on IXL on dialogue until you get at least an 80.

M Oct 2: Author's Chair
T Oct 3: Author's Chair
W Oct 4: Novel Day
R Oct 5: Author's Chair
F Oct 6: Author's Chair

M Oct 9: Finish Author's Chair.

T Oct 10: American Life in Poetry activity. Find 16 poems that you like, and take a picture of your favorite one.

W Oct 11: Share out your group's favorite poems. Listen to Mr. Stephenson's short story. Get your short story passed back.

R Oct 12: Novel Day.

F Oct 13: So This is Oklahoma poem activity.

Poetry Unit Goal: I can write poems with precise diction, effective line and stanza breaks, and a surprising turn.

M Oct 16: Get the poetry packet. Read and discuss "Death of a Dog," including its alliterative title, its being one long sentence, its use of extended metaphor, and its reliance on nouns, verbs, and adjectives as final words before a line break.

T Oct 17: Write in response to one of the poetic devices from "Death of a Dog." Read and discuss "Sight" and note its use of a one-word title, second person point of view, enjambment, colons, stanzas, a pattern of stanzas that breaks in the end (5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 2).

W Oct 18: Write in response to "Sight."


T Oct 24: Read, discuss, and write in response to "Pity the Beautiful." Note its use of quatrains (four-line stanzas), an established patterrn that is broken, the title as first line, an oxymoronic title, an ABCB rhyme scheme, use of allusion, limited syllables, and a turn / surprising ending.

W Oct 25: Read and discuss "Milkweed." Note its use of three stanzas, italicized dialogue, a widow (word alone on a line), personification, flashback, layers of meaning, and a turn.

R Oct 26: Write in response to "Milkweed." Read, discuss, and write in response to the imagism poem "The Softest Word."

F Oct 27 / Stranger Things 2 Release Day: Read, discuss, and write in response to "Language Lessons," noting its use of a turn, alliteration, flashback, and enjambment.

M Oct 30: Read, discuss, and write in response to "Bless Their Hearts," noting its use of setting, italicized dialogue, a title used throughout, long stanza, unnamed characters, humor, and a prayer-like ending.

T Oct 31 / Halloween: Read the four alternate versions of "Bless Their Hearts," taking note of the effects of different line breaks and stanza breaks. Determine which version you like the best and if you like it more than the original version.

W Nov 1: Read and discuss "How You Know," noting its use of dialogue and thoughts, refrains (repeated phrases), metaphor, a list,  characterization, and a turn / twist. Write in response.

R Nov 2: Read and discuss "Heaven, 1963," which an ekphrastic poem written in response to a photograph. Write in response to the photograph of yourself that you brought to class on your phone or physically in person.

F Nov 3: Make a blackout poem.

M Nov 6: Computer lab to type up 2 poems. 1 must have a turn and 1 must be in free verse. Print off 4 copies.

T Nov 7: Meet in writing groups for feedback on your poems, so you can edit and revise.

W Nov 8: Computer lab to print off final drafts after making revisions and edits. Notebook check.

R Nov 9: Write a pantoum.

F Nov 10: Author's Chair.

M Nov 13: Write an ode.

T Nov 14: Write a poem with numbered parts like Sherman Alexie's "Happy Holidays!"

W Nov 15: Finish Author's Chair. Finish notebook check. Begin the memoir unit by sharing the prompt or topic of a past personal narrative. Listen to a read-aloud of I am Neurotic (and so are you) & brainstorm a story about one of your neuroses.

R Nov 16: Tell the story of a neurosis: a past or present one of yours, a friend's, or a family member's.

F Nov 17: Draw the house plan (bird's eye view) of a house with a lot of memories. Write a story about one of them.