Jerks

In recognition of “Pink Shirt Day” …

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Add a jerk to your story.

Here are some suggestions …

  • Jerks are mean – have the jerk get our attention by saying or doing things to your protagonist that are upsetting.
  • Jerks ignore us – have your jerk ignore the protagonist but pay attention to someone else. Have the Jerk only pretend to listen and act like your protagonist doesn’t even exist.
  • Jerks make us feel stupid – have your jerk make comments about what your protagonist says that makes him/her feel stupid.
  • Jerks are sneaky – have your jerk act all nice to others or around teachers or adults and then have the jerk do something that only the protagonist sees when no one else is looking.
  • Jerks lie – have your jerk try and make someone look bad to make themselves look better by lying.

A Sunrise on the Veld

Read “A Sunrise on the Veld,” by Doris Lessing

Respond to the Story

  • Describe the boy’s feelings and state of mid before he comes upon the buck. Describe a time in your life when you experienced a similar emotion.
  • Why does the boy not shoot the buck?
  • How does the boy feel at the end of the story? What has caused his mood to change so dramatically?

Poetic Language
The author, Doris Lessing, expresses the boy’s thoughts and feelings very poetically in the two paragraphs before the boy hears the buck’s cries. With a partner, discuss some of these phrases and the images they create. What emotions do the images raise? Is the use of poetic language effective? What types of writing techniques are used?

Using phrases from these two paragraphs, write a poem that expresses the character’s joy at being young and alive. You could draw or find an illustration that captures the spirit of your poem.

Thank You Ma’am

Read “Thank You Ma’am,” by Langston Hughes.

Langston Hughes

 

Respond to the Story

  • The first sentence of the story suggests that the tone will be humorous. What other details in the story add to the humorous effect?
  • Despite the light tone, the story deals with a serious subject. Which details in the story tell you that the purpose of the story is more serious?
  • Do you think that meeting Mrs. Jones will turn out to be a turning point in Roger’s life? Explain.
  • What is the kindest thing that a stranger has ever done for you or someone you know?
Create a Thank-You Letter
Write a thank-you letter to Mrs. Jones using the point of view or voice of Roger after several years have passed. In the letter, you should review the events and the effect her kindness had on Roger. Tell her about what has happened since. Remember the course focus, “The Human Condition – In Search of Self.” Try to include some comments about how Mrs. Jones changed Roger’s life.

Create a Sequel

Read “Kath and Mouse,” by Janet McNaughton.

Responding to the Story

  • What does it mean to play “cat and mouse”? Give an example from a personal experience or from a movie, book, or TV show you have seen.
  • In what way does Kath play a “cat and mouse” game with Helen?
  • What pun has the author used in the title?
  • Explain the significance of the character Christine. Why did the author bring her into the story?
  • Revisit the definition of narrative conflict. Discuss how the author used the conflict between characters to create tension. Why is conflict an important element of a story? How does conflict create a tense, fast-paced story? Discuss the types of conflict that exist in other stories(novels) you have read recently.

Create a Sequel
What happens to Kath, Helen, and Kevin after the story ends? Continue the story. Be sure that the details and events you relate are consistent with he original story.

Here are a few suggestions to help you write your own short story sequel:
Developing an Idea

  • Think about “Kath and Mouse.” What do you think the characters have learned in the story? Try to predict what they will do next.
  • Develop a plot idea. Does Kath continue to bully others around her?
  • List the characters that you want to include

Drafting

  • Write an outline that describes the plot, setting, point of view, and main conflict. Will you tell the story from Kath’s or Helen’s point of view, or as an outsider looking in on the situation?
  • Using your outline as a guide, write you story. Think about an exciting way to start. Grab your reader’s interest right at the start.
  • What will the mood or tone of your story be – funny, serious, or realistic?
  • Use dialogue between characters to move the plot along and to reveal character

Revising
Read your story, and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does the plot make sense? Is it interesting to the reader?
  • Have you remained true to the original story?
  • Are the characters’ actions believable?

On the Sidewalk Bleeding

Read “On the Sidewalk Bleeding” by Evan Hunter

Respond to the following questions on the various aspects of the story:

  1. Who is the protagonist?
  2. What is/are the conflict(s)?
  3. The conflict is developed through the use of names that apply to the boy: Andy and a Royal. Skim the story to note how the names appear in critical places. What do these names represent?
  4. What effect does Andy’s jacket have on the people who find him in the alley?
  5. What are the reasons why these people do not help Andy?
  6. At what point does Andy realize he is dying?
  7. What does Andy do with the last of his strength? How is this important to the theme and to the outcome of the conflict?
  8. What is the climax or turning point? Sketch a Plot Diagram. Try this Plot Diagram Generator or find another.
  9. What is the police officer’s reaction to Andy? How does this contribute to the author’s message?

Assessment Activity: Who Am I?
Consider your own identity: who are you, what makes you unique, how do others see you, what do you want others to know and see about you. Write a post in your blog that represents yourself: embed visual elements and/or other suitable medium.

You may wish to include some of the following elements:

  • a personal motto or saying
  • a symbol that represents something about you
  • your attitudes about yourself
  • your strengths and talents
  • your hopes and dreams for the future
  • what you most like about yourself
  • what you are working on improving about yourself (with a positive focus) not what you dislike about yourself

Focus on the positive and create a post that makes you feel good about yourself while showing others all that is good about you. Spend time reviewing the criteria from the assessment rubric.

Blog Post Rubric
Blog Post Rubric

 

Tabula Rasa?

Immigration has occurred at some point in the background of all Canadians, even those who are now called “native” or “first nation” peoples. Choose one of these topics:

  • My ancestral homeland
  • The arrival of my ancestor(s) in Canada
  • My immigration to Canada

Select the most appropriate to you. Focus it to fit your circumstances, knowledge, and interest.

Now take a page of notes, perhaps consulting a parent, grandparent, or family records. Think about the importance, even the heroic, legendary, or mythic qualities you may see in this topic – then write your “discovery draft.” In the next version heighten these overtones by clothing bare fact in a variety of poetical devices (especially metaphor). Test your prose by reading aloud, before publishing the final version.

“I Am”

Read Rudyard Kipling’s poem, “If,” detailing what a man is, based on his actions. You will write a poem about what YOU are. You have two options for the format of this poem.

1) You may model your poem after “If,” listing positive traits to embody and negative traits to shun. If you choose to do this, you must also have a simple rhyme scheme pattern, and the poem must be at least sixteen lines long.

-OR-

2) You may use the following as a template and fill it in with meaningful and insightful details that reflect you as a person, not simply the outer person or shell you present to the world.

I am ___________________ (two special characteristics you have)
I wonder ___________________ (something you are actually curious about)
I hear ___________________ (an imaginary sound)
I see ___________________ (an imaginary sight)
I want ___________________ (an actual desire)
I am ___________________ (the first line of the poem repeated)

I pretend ___________________ (someting you pretend to do)
I feel ___________________ (a feeling about something imaginary)
I touch ___________________ (an imaginary touch)
I worry ___________________ (something that really bothers you)
I cry ___________________ (something that makes you sad)
I am ___________________ (the first line of the poem)

I understand ___________________ (something you know is true)
I say ___________________ (something you believe in)
I dream ___________________ (somethng you actually hope for)
I try ___________________ (something you make an effort about)
I hope ___________________ (something you actually hope for)
I am ___________________ (the first line of the poem repeated)

Wordle: Decisions

Search the net for a few quotes about decisions. Recall these focus questions to help you in your search.

Collect a handful of phrases that give you pause to think. Avoid anonymous quotes, note the author. (Keep the unharmed list safe in your notes somewhere.)

Go to wordle.net and and blast one, or some, or a whole pile into your own “wordle”. Try several attempts till you have something rich in thought, an inspiration to a deep thinker like yourself.

When you have a “wordle” you like, take a screen capture of it (Mac: command+shift+4 or Windows: Print Screen key) and upload the “png” to your blog and ….

Write a creative narrative (a short short story of about 500 words) that develops an idea about decisions inspired from your “wordle“.

Warning: the ideas you spawn from generators like these should be used with caution, seriously.

Story Idea Generator

Story Idea Generator (tv tropes)

How to Write a Short Story

Wordle: The Human Condition

Search the net for a few quotes about the human condition. Recall these focus questions to help you in your search.

Collect a handful of phrases that give you pause to think. Avoid anonymous quotes, note the author. (Keep the unharmed list safe in your notes somewhere.)

Go to wordle.net and and blast one, or some, or a whole pile into your own “wordle”. Try several attempts till you have something rich in thought, an inspiration to a deep thinker like yourself.

When you have a “wordle” you like, take a screen capture of it (Mac: command+shift+4 or Windows: Print Screen key) and upload the “png” to your blog and ….

Write a creative narrative (a short short story of about 500-1000 words) that develops an idea about the human condition inspired from your “wordle“.

Warning: These example short short stories from the net are certainly not inspired by this activity, but they are playful in form and have a certain lexical density.

Dinosaur

Periwinkles

Extract from a Novel

Warning: the ideas you spawn from generators like these should be used with caution, seriously.

Story Idea Generator

Story Idea Generator (tv tropes)

How to Write a Short Story

Studying God’s Finished Picture

Spend 5 minutes trying to complete a 200+ piece jigsaw puzzle WITHOUT looking at the picture.

Now look at the picture and see how many pieces you can add in the next 5 minutes.

In what ways is putting the puzzle together like or unlike putting your life together?

In what ways is the puzzle like or unlike answering the question, “Who Am I?”

Choose one of the following passages to study:

  • read the passage
  • write about what you think the passage says
  • explain what you think the passage means in each of your lives today
  • describe what the passage says we are in God’s eyes

Passages:

  • Genesis 1:26-31
  • Isaiah 43:1-7
  • Colossians 3:5-17
  • Luke 4:18-19
  • Ephesians 5:15-20
  • John 6:22-40
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
  • Ephesians 4:1-32
  • Galatians 5:13-26
  • Psalm 139
  • John 14:12