To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson


Monday, May 6th, 2019

Okay Juniors, what's the Rule of the Day?  That's right:


If I get a whiff of any nastiness on your part in his/her report, Grammar Packet (emphasis on packet.)

Now that we've got that settled, here's what you do today.

1) After the Bell Activity, if you're here you're on the right track.  Nice work.

2) Take a look at this infographic.  This is an example of what you're going to do.  Pay attention to the directions I have lovingly included on there.  When you work on yours, you don't have to keep repeating the same wording as in the examples, such as "_____________, _____________, and _______________, have resulted in . . . " Use your own words to express what is being asked in each section.

3) Here's your blank copy. You can save it into Google and then type right on it using Google Docs or Google Draw, or you can print it and write on it.  Either way, make your writing CLEAR.  You won't be able to finish it all yet, since we're not done with the book.  Do as much as you can. 

Let me know if any questions.  If you finish, please READ.  Go get 'em, tigers.









Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2018

Alright, Juniors—here's what you do today:

#1 In order to be able to identify and use tools from the Writer's Toolbox, the first step is you should be able understand what they are. I think that the Quizlet set might have helped with some of them, but there are a few that might need some extra explaining. One of those is allusion (which is not the same as illusion.)

Take a look at this doc. When you're done, show me what you know by writing 3 allusions down in the comments section of this post (bottom of the page). Make sure to include your name.  They can be from movies, books, and song lyrics, but at least 1 of them has to be an original that you came up with (indicate which one is your original allusion.)

Check my sample comment below to see how you should do yours. And read any comments before posting yours, because you can't repeat an allusion. If someone already put what you were going to do, tough–find or write another one :)     


#2 Here's another of the tools that seems to trip people up: chiasmus. Same thing here—take a look at this doc to get a better idea of what chiasmus is, and then try writing one or two of your own in the comments below. Don't look up any of these online—make them original!     

Thursday, Feb. 07, 2018

Here's a little more guidance on writing the OpEd.  Don't stress over it - you really just need to have an opinion on something relevant, and then write about that opinion, with sources, using solid organization.

An op-ed is usually an essay intended for publication opposite the editorial page of a newspaper.  Scores of submissions come in to a newspaper – for example, The Washington Post receives more than 400 every day of the week and prints two or three per day maximum.
Editors, and Carpenter, want some very concrete things in the OpEds they receive, more or less in this order:
1. A provocative idea on any subject.


2. A sharp opinion on a current issue that is controversial, unexpected, authoritative, and/or newsworthy.


3. A call to action on a neglected subject.


4. A new or unexpected slant on a current issue.


5. Bite and wit on a current issue.
Notice the stress is on what’s controversial, provocative, new, current.  Without a sharp point, neither a pen nor a sword is of much use.  Without a forceful point to make, an OpEd is doomed to rejection.  Or in this case, a bad grade.
This means that the OpEd should not be just an announcement of events, a status report, or even plain old news.  It shoud be blunt opinion, advocacy, denunciation, outrage, astonishment—all the heavy emotions.  Editors want to create buzz.  They want people to say, “Wow! Did you see that OpEd today?”  Failing that, they want to elicit a “Hmm.  That’s amazing/fascinating/outrageous.”  They want to be leaders in shaping public debate, and you will do best by joining in that goal.
Before you begin to write:
1. Try to reduce your point to a single sentence.  The United Nations needs more funding.  Women’s rights are being abused.  Earth’s future is at stake this week in Congress.


2. See if your point-sentence passes the “wow” test or the “hmm” test.  If not, the point needs sharpening.


3. Imagine your target reader: she’s someone whose attention you’ve been courting.  She’s flipping through the paper on a workday morning, scanning for something interesting, gulping coffee, checking the time.  What first line, related however distantly to your subject, might catch her eye?  If you can intrigue, surprise, alarm or baffle your imaginary reader past the first paragraph, you stand a chance that the editor will let you put the whole thing in the paper.


4. Any point worth making will have to be defended.  Muster your best four supporting arguments or data bits and write a sentence on each one.  Be as specific and as articulate as possible.  Never start a sentence with “there is/are” and avoid the passive voice.


5. Raise the opposition’s best arguments and demolish them.  Use countervailing facts, withering irony or whatever is appropriate, but deal with them.


6. Let yourself become emotional.  Get carried away with the drama, significance, injustice, triumph, outrage, need of your point, and wax lyrical—for one paragraph.  Write five such paragraphs and choose the best one.

7. What is the minimum background a reader absolutely must have in order to grasp your point? Write two paragraphs that summarize this background. 8. Now, put these elements together and write the piece.  Write 700 words maximum.  Single-space between sentences.


9. Edit your prose.  Be ruthless with yourself.  Rewrite “There is/are” sentences.  Look at every word ending in –ly and eliminate most if not all of the adverbs.  Convert passive voice sentences to active ones.  Look critically at all your metaphors, similes and pet phrases to makes sure they are not clichés.  Translate all jargon into English.


10. When you are sure that every remaining word is a pearl, give the piece to someone else (peer review) and ask him or her to cut more, so that the piece is no longer than 700 words.  Better you should cut than me.

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