Monday, December 20, 2010

A to Z Story: Creative "Winter" Write

            Lithograph, Eric Carle 
For this week's blog commentary, I'd like you to complete a creative write using (you guessed it) the alphabet.  Write a winter themed story (sounds easy enough, right?); the catch: each sentence must start with each letter of the alphabet in order (hence the title: A to Z Story). 

Before you begin your story, think about what you will write about.  The theme is "winter," so think about the kinds of things (people, food, activities) you associate with this time of year.  You could even try writing about a favorite winter-themed memory.  Snow days, cookies, overeating, frigid walks to the subway, mall exhaustion, vacationing with family: what stories do you have to tell about winter?

This is a tricky assignment.  To help keep your sentences following in alphabetical order, try writing with dialogue and beginning sentences with dependent clauses.  Read the beginning of my example story below for ideas.

**Remember to compose your story in a word document and proofread for CUPS (as well as alphabetical order) before posting!

P.S. If you're having trouble composing a full length story, try writing a poem.  The same rule applies for a wintry poem: each line should follow in alphabetical order.

Happy winter writing!


Armed with flour, a bag of sugar, and more butter than I cared to consider, I began to examine the index cards each written out in Nan’s careful, spindly handwriting.  Beside each recipe, Nan had jotted down a few words for the inexperienced baker: Forgotten Cookies, “they’re worth the trouble.”   

Christmas, from as far back as I can remember, has not only been about family, but about...cookies. Deliciously sugary, buttery, morsels of sweetness.  Everyone in my family had a favorite: Sandtarts, Molasses, Chocolate Drops, Ginger, and of course, forgotten cookies: the cloud-like meringue castles that concealed chocolate chips.  From Thanksgiving on, Nan and my Grandmother would head to the kitchen, churning out tub after tub of old family favorites.  

(To be continued...)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cyberbullying: How much do your parents know about your life online?


Last week in the New York Times, an article by Jan Hoffman, “As Bullies Go Digital, Parents Play Catch-Up,”  discusses the challenges parents face in keeping their children safe from bullies online.

Hoffman writes:
It is difficult enough to support one’s child through a siege of schoolyard bullying. But the lawlessness of the Internet, its potential for casual, breathtaking cruelty, and its capacity to cloak a bully’s identity all present slippery new challenges to this transitional generation of analog parents.
Desperate to protect their children, parents are floundering even as they scramble to catch up with the technological sophistication of the next generation.
…online bullying can be more psychologically savage than schoolyard bullying. The Internet erases inhibitions, with adolescents often going further with slights online than in person.
“It’s not the swear words,” [cybercrimes specialist, Inspector Brian] Brunault said. “They all swear. It’s how they gang up on one individual at a time. ‘Go cut yourself.’ Or ‘you are sooo ugly’ — but with 10 u’s, 10 g’s, 10 l’s, like they’re all screaming it at someone.”
…“I’m not seeing signs that parents are getting more savvy with technology,” said Russell A. Sabella, former president of the American School Counselor Association. “They’re not taking the time and effort to educate themselves, and as a result, they’ve made it another responsibility for schools. But schools didn’t give the kids their cellphones.”

For this week's blog prompt respond to the following questions in 2-3 paragraphs.

  • How aware are your parents or guardians of what you do online or via your cellphone? 
  • Do they monitor the sites you visit, the things you post to Facebook or the texts you send? 
  • Do you think they should? Where would you draw the line between appropriate monitoring and invasion of your privacy? Why? 
  • Have you experienced an incident online in which your parents intervened, or in which you wish they had? 
**Remember to compose your comment in a Word document and proofread and spell check your work before submitting!**

This week's blog prompt is courtesy of the New York Times Learning Network.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Fairy Tales are Everywhere!

Snow White, Disney’s first animated feature, was released in 1937. Disney’s 50th film, Tangled, a new take on Rapunzel, was just recently released.  Take a look back at more than 60 years of classic Disney films.  Can you spot any Grimm's fairy tales?  (Remember: Disney tried to tone down much of the violence in the Grimm's tales in an effort to make these stories appeal more to young, modern day viewers.)

Which one of the following movies is your favorite?  Which movie is your least favorite?  Why?

Please reply to this prompt in one paragraph.  Include a clever intro, details, and more details and the reasons behind your choices.

Start a discussion!  This week, after you post your response, try replying to other students' comments by using the format: "@student'sname" in your reply.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


After more than five weeks of blogging under our belts, the time has come to assess and evaluate your efforts before the first trimester grades.  For this week's blog prompt, review each blog entry to re-read your comments and answer the questions below.  The purpose of this exercise is to evaluate your writing and assess your strengths and weaknesses so that you can continue to grow and develop as writers.

Please answer all questions honestly and thoroughly and refer to the Blog Commenting Rubric when evaluating your grade.  I will review the second part of your blog assessment with you in class.  The second part of the assessment will include selecting an example of your best blogging efforts to revise, edit, print, and include in your writing portfolio.

Steps to Blogging Success
Blog Commentary Rubric

Interesting –
Something special.
Makes the reader think & wonder
Everything listed below.

Good information.
Well written.
Detailed content.
Everything listed below

Correct usage & punctuation.  On topic & on time.
Well organized.
Everything listed below.

Correct spelling & capitalization.