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http://nmsgifted.wikispaces.com/zmenu Student pages with writing journals...and Deangroom writing activities are at that link...some of them are a bit scattered but if you look carefully...I believe you can see some incredible learning taking place...

KIDS LOVE WIKIS

http://cfge.wm.edu/curr_language.htm#units william and mary units...

Utopia This unit provides an overview of utopia as seen by various individuals, groups, and countries and gives students an opportunity to examine why ideas about utopia undergo change. Through the study of literature, art, music, and other classroom activities, students learn about the search through the ages for utopia and the struggles to grasp and maintain it on both personal and societal levels. Exploring utopia through personal dreams and goals allows students to analyze the literature they read more thoroughly throughout this unit. Literature selections include Orwell’s Animal Farm, Lowry’s The Giver, “The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg,” by Twain, and poetry by Cavalli and Enzensberger.

Activity Name
Activity Description and/or Links
Motivation Rank - My Comments.
The perfect Classrooom Project
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Kids created a perfect classroom...had to present...materials are at school...
...Great intro to the concept of utopia
kids liked this activity
Symbolism Lesson
I want you to pick two characters or two items from animal farm and use the web to find out what they symbolized for Orwell. Then in the next column I want you to extend your ideas. Find something in today's world that the character or object you picked might symbolize. Explain why? kids created wiki tables...
kids loved it
Dean Groom Writing Activities - Part One
PART ONE

Getting into writing. - Loosening up the brain .... five things to start you thinking like a ficton writer.

The great thing about fiction, is that you can't really get it wrong. You create everything in it and get to control what happens and who it happens to. In this first bunch of tasks, we're going to get you writing stuff and give your brain a bit of room to stretch.

Activity One - So you think you can write?

Think about a movie that you liked. Start writing. Don't stop writing for 10 minutes. Write down anything that comes into your head about the movie - who was in it, what it was about, where you were when you saw it, how did it make you feel - anything that comes into your head ... just write and write and write. Don't bother to count the words, just get it down as it arrives ... don't edit, don't insert, don't back track.

Activity Two - Hacking the story

Here's a passage from Animal Farm - I want you to make some changes in the excerpt. Leaving the structure of the sentences exactly the same, replace the worlds with words of your own. (Guess you're wondering what sentence structure is?).

The two horses had just lain down when a brood of ducklings, which had lost their mother, filed into the barn, cheeping feebly and wandering from side to side to find some place where they would not be trodden on. Clover made a sort of wall round them with her great foreleg, and the ducklings nestled down inside it and promptly fell asleep. At the last moment Mollie, the foolish, pretty white mare who drew Mr. Jones's trap, came mincing daintily in, chewing at a lump of sugar.

Activity Three - Messing with words

Go back to your first writing. Think about something you missed out. Now add it to the writing ... but ... don't use the letter 'e'.

Activity Four - Hacking the alphabet

Now you are on a roll with your writing ... start writing a paragraph about your film again. But start the first sentence with a word beginning with A, then the next sentence with a word beginning with B .... keep moving though the aphabet until you get to zeeeee. 26 sentences.

Activity Five - 10 words to kick a new idea

Take any sentence from the text in Activity Two. Now write a story (about anything) where you use each word in the sentence as the FIRST word of a new sentence. That is going to get messy-minded ... and that's the point.
I spent about 15 to 20 minutes at the beginning of class doing these activities...they took longer than you might think ...but the kids flippin loved em.

I don't know where you found them but Man...they really worked...
Dean Groom Writing Activities - Part two - minisagas
PART TWO

Now you have got your creative heads flowing with ideas ... lets make some short stories - really short.

Writing a Mini-Saga

50 words is not a lot. With some discipline and creativity, you can say a lot in 50 words. A mini saga is a story that is told in exactly 50 words - not 49 or 51 but exactly 50 words. Many writers start their books using mini-sagas. They are great way to kick and idea without too much fuss

I hope this lens inspires you to write your own mini saga. Here are a few benefits of writing a mini saga:

Benefit #1: Writing a mini saga expands your creativity. When you have too many rules, most people give up!. When you have to put everything in 50words, you have to 'leave behind' a lot. That's where the creative juices start flowing.

Benefit #2: Writing a mini saga stretches your thinking. What will you write about? You have to think about topics that will fit in 50 words or squeeze them to fit in 50 words. That puts thinking on overdrive mode.

Benefit #3: Writing a mini saga enhances your discipline. Deciding what to write about, deciding what to leave behind and putting it in 50words requires discipline throughout."
See Above...very motivating...several of the kids turned their minisaga into their Tale of Utopia
Dean Groom Webinar - Story Presentations
  • Friday, March 12
    • Edit and share with partner - Continue to revise - Final Drafts due Monday
    • Write Final Drafts
    • Prepare slide and presentation for Friday activity with Dean Groom
>
- The Webinar was incredible...kids who were able to present and share were in awe as were the kids who played the role of Critical Friend...I now have a better understanding of how to run a critical friend's session. It is when I truly understood how valuable the stories were...TO THE KIDS!
Short Story for Tales of Utopia
STORY IN A WEEK
  • Monday
    • Mini Saga's - Selecting a theme for your story
    • Vocab Test
  • Tuesday
  • Wednesday
    • finish up beginning - middle - ending wikitables
    • Work on final drafts - due thursday
  • Thursday, March 11
    • Rough Drafts are due
    • Groups of three read and edit...use a different color text to make suggestions
    • Adobe Dry Run?
Biggest complaint I heard here is kids wanted more time to think...this quarter my plan is to begin discussing exactly what is expected in the stories so the kids can be working on their ideas as we go through the book...
AF Reading Packet - William and Mary
Analysis Questions - Many Kids liked this part...but some despised it...
http://nmsgifted.wikispaces.com/file/view/animal+farm+study+guide.pdf
THESE ARE copyrighted but the teachers guide is pretty cheap...I think...
AF Vocab - William and Mary
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Vocab was a lot...and I could have spent more time teaching it...kids were a little frustrated
...its like i didn't have enough time
http://nmsgifted.wikispaces.com/file/view/animal+farm+vocab+and+final+proj.pdf
http://cfge.wm.edu/curr_language.htm#units william and mary units...

Utopia This unit provides an overview of utopia as seen by various individuals, groups, and countries and gives students an opportunity to examine why ideas about utopia undergo change. Through the study of literature, art, music, and other classroom activities, students learn about the search through the ages for utopia and the struggles to grasp and maintain it on both personal and societal levels. Exploring utopia through personal dreams and goals allows students to analyze the literature they read more thoroughly throughout this unit. Literature selections include Orwell’s Animal Farm, Lowry’s The Giver, “The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg,” by Twain, and poetry by Cavalli and Enzensberger.