Welcome to Your Last First Day!

I am so happy to be your senior ELA teacher 🙂 This is going to be a great year!

So this is my blog. It should be checked often, especially when you are absent. Most everything you need is located here.

Take a moment to go read about me here.

Day 1: Transcripts, etc. “The Joy of Reading and Writing: Superman and Me” by Sherman Alexie. Lesson-1d-Superman-and-Me. What is an essay? What does that word bring to mind? I’m going to show you a whole new world in regard to essays.

Day 2: Transcripts. Syllabus/Expectations. Syllabus Fall 2018. Why is style important? Let’s look at how word choice can be used to manipulate an audience…

Parallels: Choose ONE!

Wild by Cheryl Strayed       or       A Walk In The Woods by Bill Bryson

Image result for wild cheryl strayedImage result for a walk in the woods

Yes, they both have to do with hiking. I like hiking. Please have these books IN HAND by Monday 8/13. If you are having a problem getting the book, please see me privately or shoot me an email. Summer reading assignment due Tuesday.

Day 3: Style,not just a Taylor Swift song.

Style: What is it? Discuss diction, syntax etc in relation to style.

2nd period: you are having senior class meeting during our class period. Please see the items below and do the HW at the bottom so that you are prepared for Monday.

Style comparison: Hemingway vs Faulkner (If you weren’t here for my discussion and you read this and think WHAT, it’s ok. I used a diluted version of what they are talking about. Concentrate on how the two authors have drastically different ways of writing about a similar topic.)

“Africa” Toto vs. Hemingway

Africa -LYRICS [follow along as you listen to the song]

Now read this humorous version of the Africa song, written in the style of Ernest Hemingway’s prose: hemingway africa mcsweeneys

Notice how the author used the original text [the song] and put a spin on it with another author’s word choice, rhythm, sentence structure, etc.

HW: bring in lyrics, printed or on phone, of your favorite cleanish song on Monday.


May 7-11 Final Exam guide

Getting down to the wire. Any missing work MUST be turned in by this Friday, 5/11. I will not be accepting work after this. Please remember to reschedule your final with me if you have a testing conflict. This is your responsibility. 

Argument Notes

Logical Fallacy Term List

plot types notesheet

genre types notesheet

Fine Arts visual arguments

picture packet

screenplay format guide

Synthesis Writing

Introduction to In Cold Blood

April 30-May 4


Visual Arguments part 2: Fine Arts

Fine Arts visual arguments

Analyzing Visual Arguments


Visual Argument: You will receive your group’s response sheets. Take a picture of the notes if you are taking the final as I will have a couple of the pictures on there with basic questions about things like emotions evoked, cultural values, etc.

WE HAVE A K CUP MACHINE COMING TOMORROW! Bring your coffee, tea, cocoa pods!

Wednesday- Friday

Study Salon. Bring your coffee mug. We will make coffee and tea and you can get work done instead of having a breakdown 🙂

Priority list

  1. Work you are missing for me.
  2. Work/study for another class.

By the end of the week I may have some study materials ready for the final. You can begin working on that. You will be allowed ONE 3×5 notecard or a sheet of paper the same size for the final. You may use front and back. You will have to surrender your notecard after the final so please go ahead and do you own. No phones on your person during the final exam.

April 23-27

Wow. Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into the future. At this time next month you will have graduated!


We are going to compare the short story “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” by James Thurber (1939) with the much more recent film version starring Ben Stiller as Walter Mitty. Obviously, the story had to be expanded for the film. How does this change the message of the story?



I’ll be out today! Be good!

Group visual argument assignment: Analyzing Visual Arguments

The packet of images to analyze: picture packet



Visual Arguments in other media

Youtube Playlist:

April 16-20


We are in lab 307 both days. You should be working on two things:

  1. Screenplay Parallel Reading Assignment: Dramatic Writing Parallel Reading Assignment DUE WEDNESDAY 3:30 pm
  2. Screenplay Writing Assignment: Dramatic Writing Written Assessment DUE FRIDAY but I *may* extend if people are working diligently. IF.

Wednesday- Thursday

In the room these days with laptops. Same thing as Monday and Tuesday. If you need to print on Wednesday, you will need to go to a lab.  Reading assignment due 3:30 pm Wed.


Lab 307. Working on screenwriting. Due today unless I indicate otherwise.


April 9-13

Lasstretch. You’ve got this. Hang in there. School is still happening until the last day. The jokes about doing nothing are fresh to you, old to me. I only record the effort you put in. Do not come to me with your Hope scholarship woes. If you are suddenly worried about your grade here are the instructions on how to improve it.


Dramatic Writing Written Assessment: you will be working either solo or in small groups to create a screenplay segment. There are a variety of choices for you. Look on the assignment PDF for many resources to help you. I have books in my room and the internet is full of help.

Dramatic Writing Written Assessment

Dramatic Writing Written Assessment RUBRIC [You will need to print one of these out when you turn in your product]

Due Friday, April 20 by 3:45 pm.  

What is due then? A print copy of:

-Three act outline w/ main plot points highlighted.

-Character list with brief descriptions including motivations. [what they want and why]

-Segment of actual screenplay/entire TV episode, INCLUDING COVER PAGE.

Reminder that your dramatic READING assignment is due Wed 4/18.



Lots of people out for field trips but we are doing group/individual screenplay planning. Make sure to begin working on this!


Developing the Core Story: What is your story about? You should be able to summarize your entire story in a sentence or two. You need to know where you want to end up so you can plan your “route”.

PDF of in class reading: develop core story

After we read and discuss, you will fill out a blueprint sheet and turn in before you leave today: Developing Your Core Story

Any time that is left over should be used for group/solo planning.

Remember, your parallel reading assignment is due next Wednesday, 4/18. Dramatic Writing Parallel Reading Assignment


Creating Characters Workshop: Even if you don’t mention or show all of these characteristics in your screenplay, they inform how your character acts, reacts, and what their motivation is.

character creation chart

Instructions: you will do one side for your main character and one for the obstacle character.

1st 2 lines: general info about your film/show/etc

Name of Character: self-explanatory

Role, purpose through Relationship w/others: come up with the answers to each of these. Yes, you can be creative, but make it “realistic” for your character. I put that in air quotes because if you are writing something like sci-fi or fantasy, it may not be realistic in our normal sense of the word.

The bottom part: steps of the film as they relate to this character. What is their particular character arc? [denouement is after climax, how the film winds down]

Due at end of class!


Stepping Out The Story, materials to come.    Decided it was a little redundant for our purposes.

What makes great DIALOGUE? I have an entire book that deals with just dialogue for scriptwriting and we could spend and entire semester working on this. But, alas, this is not film school. There is no short pdf I can give you so I will link several pages with advice.

Final Draft: How To Create Great Dialogue

John August: How To Write Dialogue

Reel Authors: Screenwriting Tips

The Brief Things I Can Tell You:

  • no small talk unless there is a specific reason. all dialogue should be in service of furthering the story, and advancing the characters toward their goals.
  • But keep it natural. They only speak formally if they are stuffy, formal types. Slang is appropriate, grammar doesn’t have to be perfect, nor do sentences have to be complete.
  • conflict is good.
  • Think back to your character sheets. How does their speech reflect these inner things?

The best way to get a good idea is to watch great examples of dialogue.

Why, look here: A selection of great monologues and some dialogue examples 🙂

March 26-30

SprinBreais almost here!!!


Quiz over plot types and genres. You may use notes if you bothered to take them.

Finish Ferris Bueller viewing/Screenplay comparison.


Finish Ferris. Discuss Quiz. Begin talking about screenplay formatting if time.


Screenplay formatting and time to work on Screenplay Parallel reading assignment. Dramatic Writing Parallel Reading Assignment

Quick Guide to Screenplay Formatting

More detailed guide in the shape of a screenplay! Gives directions for things like montages, characters talking at once, and more advanced items you may need.   screenplay format guide

CASTING NOTICE for TEENS [you can follow this agency on FB  or whatever to get notified]



Since teleplays are one option for your written assessment, we will look at how the TV format differs from screenplays meant for the big screen.

Parks and Rec episode: “Canvassing”


Friday- x block day

Compare the filmed version of the Parks and Rec teleplay with the written version. If you have Netflix or Hulu access it is Season 1, Ep 2.

Have a great break and PLEASE don’t do anything too stupid. Come back to Aunty Reg and let’s graduate!!!!