Creative Writing 1
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Memoir Unit Goal: I can write a memoir with believable dialogue, smart details, and an emotional punch.

W Jan 3: Welcome back! Add your birthday to the calendar and share a movie, TV show, or book you consumed over break. Read two food memoir pieces by Connie Schultz and then brainstorm one of your own.

R Jan 4: Write a food memoir piece.

F Jan 5: Read the David Sedaris piece "Us and Them" and discuss its merits. We will write in response on Monday about a neighbor or Halloween.

M Jan 8: Start a memoir piece about a neighbor or a Halloween memory.

T Jan 9: Listen to a read-aloud of Cynthia Rylant's "When I Was Young in the Mountains" and Stepho's imitation "When I Was Young in the Country." Write your own imitation that includes at least four memories.

W Jan 10: Write about the social experiment you conducted.

R Jan 11: Read Taylor Austin's "Fatal Attraction" and discuss its merits. Brainstorm an accident you were a part of. Write for five minutes. We will write more tomorrow.

F Jan 12: Finish your accident story from yesterday for five more minutes. Read and discuss "White Lies." Write for eight minutes about a lie or bullying story from your life.

M Jan 15: MLK Jr. Day

T Jan 16: Read "Searching for Shards" and think about an object from your past that symbolizes one of your hopes, dreams, fears, etc. Write the story of that symbol.

W Jan 17: Make a list of your beliefs, past and present. Then write a story about how one of these beliefs came to be or go away.

R Jan 18: Physically describe one of your family members, focusing on the five senses. Then a tell a story about that family member.

F Jan 19: Compare and contrast yourself with one of your current or past best friends using a Venn diagram. Then write a story you have with that best friend.

M Jan 22: Write about yourself in the third person. It should be a story that has happened to you within the past twelve months.

T Jan 23: Notebook check. Start thinking about which memoir piece you will bring to final draft status.

W Jan 24: Work on revising your final draft.

R Jan 25: Day 1 of 2 to type your memoir piece in the computer lab. It should be between 500 and 1,000 words.

F Jan 26: Day 2 of 2 to type your memoir piece. Type single-space and print off 4 copies for your writing.

M Jan 29: Meet in your writing group for feedback on your typed draft of your memoir piece.

T Jan 30: Meet in the lab to type your revisions. Print two copies for author's chair.

W Jan 31: Author's Chair.

R Feb 1: Author's Chair.

F Feb 2: Author's Chair.

M Feb 5: Read Mr. Stephenson's memoir piece "Country Billiards." Then write about a childhood game of your own.

T Feb 6: Novel Day.

W Feb 7: Listen to the picture book All the Places to Love. Then write about one of your favorite places.

R Feb 8: Author's Chair.

F Feb 9: Finish Author's Chair.

M Feb 12: Introduction to sitcoms. Define these terms in your notebook: sitcom, act, scene, cold open / teaser, tag, pilot, and talking head. Read through / skim an actual sitcom script to see its format / structure.

T Feb 13: Define these terms in your notebook: A, B, and C story. (O.S.) = off screen & (V.O.) = voice over. Fill out the sitcom script structure worksheet on a sitcom of your choice.

W Feb 14: Get your memoir final drafts back along with your blackout poem from last semester from the bulletin board. Report to the class your findings from yesterday's script analysis. Determine some trends from the data from the spreadsheet Mr. Stephenson created with your data. Realize that most acts end with a cliffhanger and share some examples.

R Feb 15: Watch an episode of King of the Hill, noting its conflict, cliffhangers, and resolution. Learn that TV sitcoms are about maintaining the status quo.

F Feb 16: No School.

M Feb 19: No School.

T Feb 20: Watch an episode of Friends, noting its balance of three different storylines.

W Feb 21: Snow / Ice Day.

R Feb 22: Snow / Ice Day.

F Feb 23: Watch an episode of The Office, noting its use of talking heads.

M Feb 26: Start your planning page for your sitcom spec script.

T Feb 27: Finish your planning page and get feedback from a classmate.

W Feb 28: Finish the first two pages of your sitcom spec script.

R Mar 1: Finish the 4th page of your sitcom spec script.

F Mar 2: Finish the 6th page of your sitcom spec script.

M Mar 5: Finish the 8th page of your sitcom spec script.

T Mar 6: Finish the 10th page of your sitcom spec script.

W Mar 7: Switch gears to talk about TV dramas. Make a list of traits that define a TV drama. These include: length is usually 45 minutes to an hour; characters change (or even die!) over time; cliffhangers at ends of episodes and seasons; plot arcs that last entire seasons; no laugh tracks; suspenseful music and sound effects; a regular focus on the professions of doctors, cops, and lawyers. Then make two columns; on the left write down TV dramas you have watched; on the right write down TV dramas you know of but haven't watched.

R Mar 8: Learn about the four different kinds of dramas: serials, procedurals, limited series, and anthology series. Place some of the shows from yesterday within these categories. Decide whcih kind of drama is your favorite and least favorite and why.

F Mar 9: Read an article on TV drama structure.

M Mar 12: Get your TV drama structure worksheet and a TV drama script--most likely a pilot. Read through your pilot and fill out your worksheet.

T Mar 13: Finish your worksheet and report your findings to Mr. Stephenson for the class chart. Reflect on TV drama structure. Begin reading the pilot episode to This Is Us, "Thirty-Six."

W Mar 14: Continue reading "36."

R Mar 15: Finish reading "36" and fill out a worksheet on its structure. Play a Quizizz over TV dramas.


M Mar 26: Start viewing the pilot to Lost as an example of a serial drama.

T Mar 27: Continue viewing the Lost pilot.

W Mar 28: Finish the Lost pilot. Begin The Good Wife pilot.

R Mar 29: Finish The Good Wife pilot. Begin work on your drama spec script planning page.

F Mar 30: Finish your planning page and get feedback on it from your classmates.


F Apr 13: Get your planning page back. Share out with the whole class. We will start writing on Monday.

M Apr 16: Start work on your drama script. Get 3 pages done.

T Apr 17: Continue your drama script. Get 3 more pages written for a total of 6.

W Apr 18: Continue your drama script with 3 more pages. 9 total.

R Apr 19: Add 3 more pages to your drama script for a total of 12.

F Apr 20: Add the final 3 pages to your drama script for a total of 15 pages.

M Apr 23: Write about which genre of script (sitcom or dram) you preferred writing. Start brainstorming and creating your own TV show. Choose the genre, title, characters, plots, and overall premise. Decide if it will be completely original or if it will be an adaptation of a book or book series.

T Apr 24: Continue planning your new TV show.

W Apr 25: Read and discuss the Nightwing treatment and teaser. Read and discuss Mr. Stephenson's teaser for his drama.

R Apr 26: Start work on the cold open or teaser for your original sitcom or drama.

F Apr 27: Continue to type on your cold open or teaser. It should be 3-5 pages.

M Apr 30: Debrief on which scenes and from which script you will share with the class. Read and discuss some teasers from some pilots from some dramas including Breaking Bad, Grey's Anatomy, and The Vampire Diaries.

T May 1: Meet in the library to print off your script. Return to class and begin sharing aloud by casting and reading from the SmartBoard.

W May 2: Begin script share-alouds.

R May 3: Continue script share-alouds.

F May 4: Continue script share-alouds.

M May 7: Continue script share-alouds.

T May 8: Mr. Stephenson's farewell announcment. Conclude script share-alouds. Listen to My Many Colored Days. Listen to Mr. Stephenson's Bob's Burger's spec script.

W May 9: Write in response to My Many Colored Days by describing which color you feel like today. Listen to the Tiny Book of Tiny Stories, Vol. 1. Pick one story that you will expand tomorrow.

R May 10: Expand a tiny story from yesterday into a longer story.

F May 11: A card game of mafia

M May 14: Based on the book The Dictionary of High School B. S., write your own definitions for the following words: senioritis, lunch, fire drill, jock, nerd, and gym. Choose your own word / term to define as well.

T May 15: Read the poems "Today is Very Boring" and "Problems with Hurricanes." Write one poem in response, boring the title "Today is Very _______" or "Problems with ____________."

W May 16: Listen to the picture book Stellaluna. Then brainstorm and write your own animal story.

R May 17: Write a poem in response to the painting Message in a Bottle as part of's ekphrastic poetry challenge.

F May 18: Write a poem in response to "Prayer for the 21st Century."

M May 21: Exemptions. Get the final exam assignment.

T May 22: ???

W May 23: Party!

R May 24: Final Exam