Junior High Composition

September 30

In a very famous play called “Hamlet” by Shakespeare, Polonius finds Prince Hamlet in the library and he asks, “What do you read, my lord?”

“Words, words, words,” answers Hamlet.

“What is the matter, my lord?” inquires Polonius, wanting to know what Hamlet is reading.  (Matter refers to stuff, not like there was something wrong.  There is, but the problem is way too complicated to get into right now.  Read the play someday.)

Hamlet replies in a snarky voice, “It says here that old men have gray beards, that their faces are wrinkled, their eyes purging thick amber and plum-tree gum, and that they have a plentiful lack of wit…” He goes on to say further snarky things about Polonius, but my point is that WORDS, WORDS, WORDS are a writer’s best tool!  Shakespeare knew this!  And now, so do you!

Okay, now for homework.

Linked below is a handout entitled “A Donkey and His Driver”.  Write a KWO for it, write a rough draft, edit the draft with red ink and insert quality adjectives (as many as you want — use your Quality Adjective packet) and a who/which clause.

Write the final draft, and bring the whole shebang to class next week.  I’ll post a check sheet here in a day or two.

A Donkey and His Driver

(If you’re unsure of how to do who/which clauses, try your best this week.  We’ll talk about them more next time.)

For grammar, apprentices do p. 152-160 and experts do p. 155-169.


September 23

All righty, then. We have divided you (temporarily) into two adjective groups: the experts and the apprentices. (Mrs. B had the experts; Johanna had the apprentices this week.) Make sure you do the assignment for your group:

Apprentices, do pages 151-154 in your grammar book. Read the explanations and do any exercises on those pages.

Experts, do pages 151-157 in your grammar book. Read the explanations and do any exercises there.

All of you will do another paragraph summary assignment. Below is a link to a handout called “An Accident on the Mayflower.” Your job is to write a KWO for the article, write a rough draft, edit it, stuff it full of quality adjectives, and then write the final draft.

An Accident on the Mayflower

Notice I said “stuff”? Yes. This time I want you to use a ridiculous amount of adjectives, a copious amount of adjectives, a Thanksgiving-dinner-at-grandma’s-house amount of adjectives in each paragraph! Your writing will sound senseless, but no matter. Have some fun – BUT make sure they are quality adjectives.

You old-timers are welcome to stuff it full of other dress-ups, too.

September 16

Revise. You know you want to.

Revising is editing, and editing is part of spritzing up a rough draft so that it is free from boo-boos and lookin’ good! This week you get to practice writing a rough draft, editing it with your brand new red pen that I gave you today, adding some quality adjectives (yay!) and FINALLY writing a final draft.

American Bison article for outlining

All righty, then. Do this, in order:

  1. Finish the KWO for “American Bison” We did the first paragraph in class, you started the second paragraph, so finish all three paragraphs.
  2. Using your KWO, write a rough draft of all three paragraphs. You may look at your KWO, but please avoid looking back at the article itself.
  3. The next day (NOT the day you wrote the rough draft), edit your draft for grammar, spelling and punctuation errors. You may ask your mom or dad to help you (with the red pen).
  4. Add at least one quality adjective to each paragraph – so three quality adjectives in all.
  5. Underline your quality adjective (because it doesn’t count unless you do).
  6. I know, I know.  You old-timers are going to want to add more dress-ups, aren’t you?  Go right ahead!  The check sheet shows how they will count as extra points.
  7. The next day (NOT the same day you did the editing) write the final draft. Be sure to double-space if you are using the computer, or if you are writing it out by hand. Either way is just fine with me.
  8. Staple the final draft on top, then the rough draft, and finally the KWO we made in class. These are all due next week, September 23.

American Bison Check Sheet

Bring your Easy Grammar workbook to class next week. That’s all!

September 9

Today we began our year by writing a Key Word Outline (KWO) for a paragraph entitled “The Sea Wasp”.  For some, this was review; for others, I’m sure this was your first experience with the KWO.  We will use the KWO a lot this year, so it’s a good idea to become proficient in writing one.

This week you will practice writing a KWO on a new paragraph, which I have linked below.  Write your outline just like we did in class, with the Roman numeral to start and then Arabic numerals after.  Remember that you are allowed no more than 4 words per line, but that symbols are okay.

Here is the paragraph:

Cephalopod Abilities

Besides the KWO, please write a letter to me.  Begin “Dear Mrs. Baumgaertel” (please spell my name correctly!) and write two paragraphs.  In the first one, introduce yourself and your family to me. In the second paragraph, tell me about ONE special happening that occurred in your life this summer.  (Normally I would require that you write a rough draft, and then a final draft, and that you would double-space your papers.  I didn’t talk about that today, so you do NOT have to write a rough draft first or double-space this time — but only this time!)

Have a good week, and bring your grammar book to class next time.

August 15, 2014

Junior high writers — I am excited to begin our year together on Tuesday, September 9, at 10 a.m.  Yay!  Bring your grammar book:  Easy Grammar Plus Student Workbook by Wanda Phillips, and notebook paper, pen/pencil.

See you soon!

Mrs. B