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The Things You Can Read welcomes you and thanks you for your readership. We, here at The Things You Can Read, ask your help, if you visit our site regularly, please follow us either via email or Google Friend Connect.  Launched on June 7, 2012, our site has already attracted a great deal of attention.  One of the goals of the site is to feature reviews of Children's Picture Books, Young Adult novels and Adult Literary Fiction/Nonfiction.  A second goal for the blog is to be a resource for teachers of English and writing--with examples of student created writing, writing tips, resource links, and the opportunity to pick the brain of a seasoned English teacher.  To spice things up...every now and then, we'll also include random quotes and thoughts on education and life in general, but our ultimate goal is to reach out into the blogosphere and be a "Book Whisperer" and "Writing Whisperer" to children and adults of all ages.   Thank you for your readership.  Here is to a lifetime filled with reading and writing.

Monday, September 26, 2016

INTERACTIVE ENGLISH NOTEBOOK



WHAT IT SHOULD LOOK LIKE...







Don't Forget To Be Awesome!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

I am an educator with over 25 years of teaching experience; I currently teach English in the public school system of Virginia. In my spare time, I am an avid reader. writer, reviewer, blogger, writing/art journaler, beekeeper, grad student, and MOTHER. - See more: Here

5 Elements of a Story Booklet








Booklet Directions

1.  Cover: Draw and label Plot diagram, TITLE FOR BOOKLET is 5 Elements of a              Story by ______
2.  Define Exposition COMPLETELY
3.  Define Rising Action COMPLETELY
4.  Define Climax COMPLETELY
5.  Define Falling Action COMPLETELY
6.  Deine Resolution with all Synonyms Conclusion and Denouement COMPLETELY
7.  Define Plot:  A sequence of events in a story
8.  Paste information onto page 8


Don't Forget To Be Awesome!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

I am an educator with over 25 years of teaching experience; I currently teach English in the public school system of Virginia. In my spare time, I am an avid reader. writer, reviewer, blogger, writing/art journaler, beekeeper, grad student, and MOTHER. - See more: Here




MORE PLOT AND JOY OF BOOKS!

September 28 and 29, 2016



Do Now

Draw and label the plot diagram.





What Genres did you notice in the Book Shop?


Answer the following Questions:

  1. What does Ms. Brown say is the difference between sympathy and empathy?
  2. Give an example when you showed empathy toward someone.
  3. Do you agree with Ms. Brown's conclusions about empathy?


INTERACTIVE NOTEBOOK ACTIVITY



Genre Review

Literary Genres


“Genre” is the term used to describe the various types of literature.

              “Genre is a French term derived from the Latin genus, generis, meaning "type,"
              "sort," or "kind." It designates the literary form or type into which works are
              classified according to what they have in common, either in their formal
              structures or in their treatment of subject matter, or both. The study of genres
              may be of value in three ways. On the simplest level, grouping works offers us
              an orderly way to talk about an otherwise bewildering number of literary texts.
              More importantly, if we recognize the genre of a text, we may also have a better
              idea of its intended overall structure and/or subject. Finally, a genre approach
              can deepen our sense of the value of any single text, by allowing us to view it
              comparatively, alongside many other texts of its type.”
                  
* Fiction and Nonfiction are considered the two main types of genres.

Fiction includes stories that are made up in the mind of the author.  They are “make-believe” or imaginary.  The stories are not true, although they may be based on truth, including scientific, historical, or geographic fact. 

Some of the major subdivisions of fiction are realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, science fiction and fantasy. 

·   Realistic fiction includes stories that seem like real life, and stories that could happen in today’s world.  The situations are true to life or could be true, but the characters are made up. 

o     Adventure stories are a type of realistic fiction that are exciting and usually have an aspect of peril, threat, or danger.  Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen, is an adventure story.

o     Humorous stories refer to stories that are primarily intended to entertain and amuse. Events are frequently exaggerated. An example is Hoboken Chicken Emergency.. These may also include family stories such as Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, by Judy Blume and school stories such as The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, by Barbara Robinson.

·   Historical fiction includes stories that take place in the past and that are based on historical fact. Usually the setting and the events in the story are close to the facts, but the characters are made up. However, historical fiction may include real people as characters.  Examples of books with real people included among the characters are Follow the Drinking Gourd and Sign of the Beaver.  War stories and biographical fiction are types of historical fiction.

o War stories are historical fiction books set during a period of war and conflict.  Examples are Number the Stars, by Lois Lowry, and Baseball Saved Us, by Ken Mochizuki.

o Biographical fiction includes stories in which the main character is one who really lived in an earlier period of history.  The “Dear America” and “My Name Is America” series are biographical fiction stories written in a journal style. Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series is another example.

·   Mystery books include detective stories, as well as various types of situations in which characters must solve a puzzle or predicament.  Usually a secret is involved in the plot.  The best known examples are theNancy Drew and Hardy Boys series.  The series that many of us grew up reading has been updated and spawn off to include titles intended for younger readers.  The A to Z Mysteries and Nate the Great are excellent for third graders.

·   Science fiction includes stories that are based on scientific fact. It can include space fiction and time travel.  In time travel and space fiction, the characters travel back and/or forward in time. In stories for children, the characters often begin in the real world, go off on their adventure, and then return to the real world.  The author tries to make the facts as realistic as possible so the reader believes the event could actually take place. Although fantastic, science fiction contains elements within the realm of possibility because of scientific discovery.  Examples are The Giver, by Lois Lowry; Running Out of Time, by Margaret Haddix; and A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle.

·  Fantasy books are make believe stories that are so fantastic that they can't possibly be true. They often include animals behaving like people. Examples are James and the Giant Peach, by Raold Dahl and The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland, by Louis Carroll. 

o Fantasy animal stories are stories in which the animals are given human characteristics, such as wearing clothing, speaking or making decisions.  Examples are Charlotte’s Web, by E. B. White; Babe the Gallant Pig, by Dick King-Smith and Clifford, the Big Red Dog, by Norman Bridwell.

o Ghost stories or supernatural fiction are stories in which one or more of the characters may be visitors from the spirit world.   A popular example is Wait Till Helen Comes, by Mary Hahn.  Often reluctant readers will enjoy these titles.

o Time fantasy and space fiction are fantasy stories in which the characters travel back and/or forward in time. Examples are Time Train, by Sid Fleischman and The Castle in the Attic, by Elizabeth Winthrop.

o High fantasy series are stories that are epic in nature, usually include a quest of some sort that continues over many volumes, including many that echo the Arthurian quests for truth and justice.  Series such as C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series, Lloyd Alexander’s Prydian cycle, and Jane Yolen’s "Young Merlin" series are in that category.  The Star Wars saga and the Harry Potter series are also in this genre.

·   Nonfiction books are books are factual books, and are usually classified with Dewey Decimal numbers There are some special genres within the nonfiction category, such as biography, poetry, drama, and folk or traditional literature. 

o Biographies give true facts about the lives of famous people.  In our library, biographies have 921 on the spine label, followed by the first letter of the famous person’s last name.  Collective biographiesinvolve more than one person and are labeled with 920 and the letter.  Biographies are written by persons other than the subject of the story.

o Autobiographies are books that people write about their own lives.  In our library they are included with the biographies.  Students enjoy Gary Paulsen’s two autobiographies involving rugged sports and sled dogs.

o Poetry includes single, illustrated poems (such as Paul Revere’s Ride), and collections of poetry by one poet (such as Where the Sidewalk Ends, by Shel Silverstein) or collections of many poets’ works compiled by an editor (such as New Kid on the Block, edited by Jack Prelutsky). 

o Drama includes works written in dramatic form.  Books can include collections of short plays or book-length plays, such as the works of Shakespeare.  Our varied collection of Readers’ Theater books in the Instructional Materials room provides students with an introduction to drama and practice with fluency at the same time! 

o Folk literature or traditional literature includes stories that have been passed down from generation to generation.  Myths are stories of the gods and heroes of ancient times, and are sometimes classified in the religion section of the Dewey Decimal Classification System (292), whereas folktalesfolk riddles, nursery rhymes and Mother Goose are classified in 398.  These stories often contain elements of cultural identity, such as traditions, cultural mores, and rituals.  Sometimes, elements of religious belief of the people are included.   Epics are long stories that originate as poetry or song and that celebrate a national hero.  Beowulf and El Cid are epics, as are The Iliad and The Odyssey by Homer.   Hero stories and legends include the American tall tales, such as stories of Paul Bunyan or Pecos Bill.  Tall tales usually include hyperbole, or exaggeration, about the hero.  European hero stories and legends include stories of Robin Hood and King Arthur and his knights, many including elements of mythology within the stories.

o Fables includes narration demonstrating a useful truth, especially in which animals speak as humans.  They may include the supernatural.

·   Cross-genre books are books that fall into more than one category. A book may be a mystery fantasy; or a historical fiction time travel story.  An example is The Ghost Cadet, by Alphin.  This story combines elements of fantasy and historical fiction because it includes time travel back to a Civil War battlefield



Don't Forget To Be Awesome!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

I am an educator with over 25 years of teaching experience; I currently teach English in the public school system of Virginia. In my spare time, I am an avid reader. writer, reviewer, blogger, writing/art journaler, beekeeper, grad student, and MOTHER. - See more: Here



Wednesday, September 21, 2016

PLOT: Making a Foldable



Objective:  To identify elements of plot when reading fiction.

Do Now

Draw and label the plot diagram.



Class Activity

Plot Diagram Booklet



Add: Initiating Event and Moment of Final Suspense on your plot diagram!




Booklet Directions
1.  Cover: Draw and label Plot diagram, TITLE FOR BOOKLET is 5 Elements of a Story by ______
2.  Define Exposition COMPLETELY
3.  Define Rising Action COMPLETELY
4.  Define Climax COMPLETELY
5.  Define Falling Action COMPLETELY
6.  Deine Resolution with all Synonyms Conclusion and Denouement COMPLETELY
7.  Define Plot:  A sequence of events in a story
8.  Paste information onto page 8

Story Pyramid: Analyzing Stories

Words You Need to Know

Conflict: a problem that occurs in the story
Setting: time and place where the story occurs
Tragedy: a story ending in death and sadness

Analyze: to look at something very closely.
Most stories have the following parts: exposition (inciting incident), rising action, climax (turning point), falling action, and denouement (resolution).  This pyramid is used to show how stories move; it is a graphic plot chart. Sometimes a story can be more complicated than this pyramid, but most stories fit perfectly into the pyramid.

Let’s look at each part of the pyramid…

Exposition (inciting incident): The exposition is like the set-up of the story.  The background information that is needed to understand the story is provided, such as the main character, the setting, the basic conflict, and so forth.

The exposition ends with the inciting moment, which is the one incident in the story without which there would be no story. The inciting moment sets the rest of the story in motion.
Rising Action: Rising action is a series of events and actions that move the story to a climax.  During rising action, the basic conflict is complicated by secondary conflicts (obstacles and challenges that frustrate the main character’s attempt to reach their goal).
Climax (turning point): The climax is the turning point in the story.  After the climax everything changes.  In most stories, things will have gone badly for the main character up to this point; after the climax, things will begin to go well for him or her.  However, if the story is a tragedy, the opposite will happen after the climax: things that have been going good for the main character begin to go bad.
Falling Action:  During the falling action, the conflict unravels with the main character either winning or losing. The falling action might contain a moment of final suspense, during which the final outcome of the conflict is in doubt. 

Denouement: The story ends with the denouement, also called the resolution.  In most stories, the denouement has the main character in a better position than at the beginning of the story. However, tragedies end with death and sadness, in which the main character is worse off than at the beginning of the story.

Start Scribbling!
Believe In Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love, and the Power of the Written Word!

Syllabus Link: HERE


Don't Forget To Be Awesome!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

I am an educator with over 25 years of teaching experience; I currently teach English in the public school system of Virginia. In my spare time, I am an avid reader. writer, reviewer, blogger, writing/art journaler, beekeeper, grad student, and MOTHER. - See more: Here


Monday, September 19, 2016

Plot: Future of Storytelling


DO NOW

What Makes A GOOD STORY?


Image Credit:  The Future of Storytelling
Which of the following emotions best describes how you feel after hearing Ben's story?

A.  Distress
B.  Empathy
C.  Both Distress and Empathy

Don't know what distress means: click here
Don't know what empathy means: click here

Watch the videos before answering:


"Stories are powerful because they transport us into other people’s worlds but, in doing that, they change the way our brains work and potentially change our brain chemistry — and that’s what it means to be a social creature."
Include in your answer why?  Your answer must be written in complete sentences.  A minimum of five sentences is required.  Start Scribbling!


Story Pyramid: Analyzing Stories
Words You Need to Know

Conflict: a problem that occurs in the story
Setting: time and place where the story occurs
Tragedy: a story ending in death and sadness
Analyze: to look at something very closely.
Most stories have the following parts: exposition (inciting incident), rising action, climax (turning point), falling action, and denouement (resolution).  This pyramid is used to show how stories move; it is a graphic plot chart. Sometimes a story can be more complicated than this pyramid, but most stories fit perfectly into the pyramid.

Let’s look at each part of the pyramid…

Exposition (inciting incident): The exposition is like the set-up of the story.  The background information that is needed to understand the story is provided, such as the main character, the setting, the basic conflict, and so forth.

The exposition ends with the inciting moment, which is the one incident in the story without which there would be no story. The inciting moment sets the rest of the story in motion.
Rising Action: Rising action is a series of events and actions that move the story to a climax.  During rising action, the basic conflict is complicated by secondary conflicts (obstacles and challenges that frustrate the main character’s attempt to reach their goal).
Climax (turning point): The climax is the turning point in the story.  After the climax everything changes.  In most stories, things will have gone badly for the main character up to this point; after the climax, things will begin to go well for him or her.  However, if the story is a tragedy, the opposite will happen after the climax: things that have been going good for the main character begin to go bad.
Falling Action:  During the falling action, the conflict unravels with the main character either winning or losing. The falling action might contain a moment of final suspense, during which the final outcome of the conflict is in doubt. 

Denouement: The story ends with the denouement, also called the resolution.  In most stories, the denouement has the main character in a better position than at the beginning of the story. However, tragedies end with death and sadness, in which the main character is worse off than at the beginning of the story.

More Recent Research on the Benefits of Reading Good Literature:




Can reading Chekhov or Alice Munro improve your social skills? According to a study published yesterday in the journal Science, researchers "found that after reading literary fiction, as opposed to popular fiction or serious nonfiction, people performed better on tests measuring empathy, social perception and emotional intelligence--skills that come in especially handy when you are trying to read someone's body language or gauge what they might be thinking," the New York Times reported. 

The researchers, social psychologists at the New School for Social Research in New York City, suggested the reason for this is that literary fiction "often leaves more to the imagination, encouraging readers to make inferences about characters and be sensitive to emotional nuance and complexity," the Times wrote.

"This is why I love science," said author Louise Erdrich, whose novel The Round House was used in one of the experiments, adding that the researchers "found a way to prove true the intangible benefits of literary fiction. Thank God the research didn't find that novels increased tooth decay or blocked up your arteries.... Writers are often lonely obsessives, especially the literary ones. It's nice to be told what we write is of social value. However, I would still write even if novels were useless.”-Shelf Awareness
The Power of Empathy:  Brene Brown




Answer the following Questions:

  1. What does Ms. Brown say is the difference between sympathy and empathy?
  2. Give an example when you showed empathy toward someone.
  3. Do you agree with Ms. Brown's conclusions about empathy?

Start Scribbling!
Believe In Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love, and the Power of the Written Word!

Syllabus Link: HERE


Don't Forget To Be Awesome!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

I am an educator with over 25 years of teaching experience; I currently teach English in the public school system of Virginia. In my spare time, I am an avid reader. writer, reviewer, blogger, writing/art journaler, beekeeper, grad student, and MOTHER. - See more: Here



Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Genre Continued Some MORE...


Genre Continued Some MORE...

Front of Card:
Anna of Byzantium by Tracy Barrett: In the eleventh century, the teenage princess Anna Comnena fights for her birthright--the throne to the Byzantine Empire--which she fears will be taken from her by her younger brother, John.
Genre: ________________________________    Subgenre: ________________________________

Why:
“The Story of the Three Bears” by unknown: Goldilocks, a little girl with blonde hair, is lost in the forest.  She comes upon a house that seems comfortable and safe, but the house is actually the home of a family of bears. 
Genre: ________________________________    Subgenre: ________________________________
Why:

Back of Card:
Why do fictional stories differ from nonfictional?




QuizStar






Syllabus Link:  HERE



Don't Forget To Be Awesome!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

I am an educator with over 25 years of teaching experience; I currently teach English in the public school system of Virginia. In my spare time, I am an avid reader. writer, reviewer, blogger, writing/art journaler, beekeeper, grad student, and MOTHER. - See more: Here



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