Learning Life`s Lessons through Literature

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Learning Life’s Lessons through Literature - ELA High School Unit – Macomb ISD
Unit 9.2 - Writing: Inter-Relationships and Self-Reliance - Appendix
1a.
1b.
2a-d.
2e.
3a-c.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9a-c.
10a-b.
11a-b.
12a-c.
13.
14.
15.
16a-b.
17a-b.
18a-b.
19a-c.
20a-c.
21a-e.
22.
23.
24.
25a-b.
26.
27a-c.
28.
29.
30a-d.
31.
32.
33a-e.
34a-b.
35.
36a-d.
37.
38.
39.
40.
41.
42.
43.
44a-c.
Unit Disposition, Themes, and Focus Questions [Day 1]
Quotations on Writing [Day 1]
Reader’s Sketchbook: Teacher and Student [Day 1]
Reader’s Sketchbook: Bibliography [Day 1]
Questions and Rubric for Close and Critical Reading [Day 1]
Procedure for Think-[Write]-Pair-Share [Days 1, 2]
Quick Write Procedure [Days 1, 2]
Memoir Prompt and Checklist [Days 3, 4]
Memoir Rubric [Days 3, 4]
Questions for Peer Editing [Day 4]
Interactive Notebooks [Day 4]
Basic Procedure for Teaching and Learning a Writing Genre [Day 5]
Memoir/Reflective Writing: Definitions and Traits [Day 5]
“The Younger Brother’s Club” [Day 5]
Think Aloud Procedure [Day 5]
Entry 82 from The Freedom Writers Diary [Day 5]
Entry 32 from The Freedom Writers Diary [Day 5]
Traits of Memoir and Reflective Writing Worksheet [Day 6]
“Darkness at Noon” [Day 7]
“Homeless” by Anna Quindlen [Day 7]
Chapter 1: “A Woman on the Street” [Day 7]
Chapter IV: First Communion by Frank McCort [Day 7]
“Listening Days” by Terry Tempest Williams [Day 7]
Six-word Memoirs [Day 9]
Definition and Traits of Descriptive Writing [Day 10]
“The Polyphemous Moth” by Annie Dillard [Day 10]
“The Giant Waterbug” by Annie Dillard [Day 10]
Descriptive Writing Chart [Day 10]
The Loophole of Retreat” [Day 10]
Life Study Project: Portrait of the Subject in Their Element [Day 10]
Getting the Most from Discussions and Presentations [Day 11]
Professional Writers’ Descriptions of Places [Day 11]
Chart of Descriptive Writing [Day 11]
Painting a Picture with Words: Descriptive Writing [Day 12]
“The Year of Magical Thinking” by Joan Didion [Day 12]
How to Write a Descriptive Essay [Day 12]
Descriptive Essay Rubric [Day 12]
Interviews with Annie Dillard [Day 13]
Traits of Poetry [Day 15]
Poetry Quotations [Day 15]
Close and Critical Reading [Day 15]
“Introduction to Poetry” by Billy Collins [Day 16]
“Introduction to Poetry” Writing Chart [Day 16]
“kidnap poem” by Nikki Giovanni [Day 16]
“kidnap poem” Trait Chart of Poetry [Day 16]
“Poems on Poems” [Day ]
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ELA High School Unit 9.2-Writing – Appendix
©Macomb Intermediate School District 2007
45.
46.
47.
48a-b.
48c-d.
49.
50a-c.
51.
52a-b.
53a-b.
54.
55a-b.
56a-h.
57.
58a-b.
59.
60a-b.
61.
62a-d.
63.
64a-b.
65.
66a-b.
67.
68.
69a-b.
70a-b.
71.
72a-g.
73.
74a-b.
75.
76.
77.
Trait Chart of Poetry for Four Poems [Day 17]
How to Write a Poem [Day 17]
Poetry Rubric [Day 17]
RUPERAKE PETAIA [Day 18]
Read with a pencil: How to Read Poetry [Day 18]
Definition and Traits of Expository Essay/Reflective Writing [Day 20]
“In the Pursuit of Thinness” [Day 20]
“In the Pursuit of Thinness” Trait Chart [Day 20]
Main Idea Organizer and Model [Day 20]
“Starved to Perfection” NY Times [Day 20]
“Starved to Perfection” Chart [Day 20]
The Expository Paragraph [Day 21]
“Lifting the Veils of Autism” [Day 21]
“Lifting the Veils of Autism” Trait Chart [Day 21]
Listening: Autism [Day 22]
TV and Autism: Main Idea Organizer [Day 22]
“Bearing Up: Endangered Species” [Day 22]
“Bearing Up: Endangered Species” Chart [Day 22]
“Birds with a Sweet Beak” [Day 22]
“Birds with a Sweet Beak” Chart [Day 22]
Ask.com [Day 23]
Web Site/Web Page EvaluationRubric [Day 23]
Peer Response Sheets [Day 24]
Reflective Prompt [Day 25]
Reflective Rubric [Day 25]
Multi-Genre Research Paper Guidelines and Requirements [Day 26+]
Multi-Genre Intensive Research Project [Day 26+]
Acceptable Genres for a Multi-Genre Research Project [Day 26+]
Erin Gruwell Information from Websites [Day 26+]
Multi-Genre Research Project Evaluation Rubric [Day 26+]
The Pocahontas Myth [Extension]
Stereotypes and Myths [Extension]
Chart for Critical Reading of Freedom Writers [Extension]
Camera Angles Vocabulary [Extension]
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ELA High School Unit 9.2-Writing – Appendix
©Macomb Intermediate School District 2007
9.2 Introduction to High School Writing
Disposition, Themes, and Essential Questions
Disposition: Inter-Relationships and Self-Reliance
Themes:
 Writing is a way of knowing, showing, and becoming.
 Writing keeps thinking dynamic.
Essential Questions:
 How does writing help us discover what we are thinking?
 How does writing shape what others think of us?
 What are the basic characteristics of good writing?
 What techniques does a good writer use?
 What purposes does writing serve in the real world?
 How can writing help people understand what they are thinking?
Appendix #1a
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ELA High School Unit 9.2-Writing – Appendix
©Macomb Intermediate School District 2007
Quotations on Writing

“Writing about personal importance is not to say students should always write about themselves; rather, they
should write about subjects that challenge them to expand what matters to them, to connect who they are to
what they are becoming.”
Jim Burke

“To think is to write” Jim Burke

“When you write, you lay out a line of words. The line of words is a miner’s pick, a wood-carver’s gouge, a
surgeon’s probe. You wield it and it digs a path you follow. Soon you find yourself deep in new territory. Is it
a dead end, or have you located the real subject?”
Annie Dillard, The Writing Life, 1989, Harper, page 3.

“I do not so much write a book as I sit up with it, as with a dying friend. During visiting hours, I enter its room
with dread and sympathy for its many disorders. I hold its hand and hope it will get better.”
Annie Dillard, The Writing Life, 1989, Harper, page 52.

“Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds
written that he’d had three months to write. [It] was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in
Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened
books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his
arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.’”
Anne Lamont, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on the Writing Life, 1994, Random, back cover.

“Becoming a writer is about becoming conscious. When you’re conscious and writing from a place of insight
and simplicity and real caring about the truth, you have the ability to throw the lights on for your reader. He or
she will recognize his or her life and truth in what you say, in the pictures you have painted, and this decreases
the terrible sense of isolation that we have all had too much of.
Try to write in a directly emotional way, instead of being too subtle or oblique. Don’t be afraid of your
material or your past. Be afraid of wasting any more time obsessing about how you look and how people see
you. Be afraid of not getting your writing done.”
Anne Lamont, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on the Writing Life, 1994, Random, pages 225-226.
.

“Let’s get one thing clear right now, shall we? There is no Idea Dump, no Story Central, no Island of the
Buried Bestsellers; good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere, sailing at you right out of the
empty sky: two previously unrelated ideas come together and make something new under the sun. Your job
isn’t to find these ideas but to recognize them when they show up.” (35) Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir
of the Craft, 2000.

“I remember an immense feeling of possibility at the idea {of writing a story}; as if I had been ushered into a
vast building filled with closed doors and had been given leave to open any I liked. There were more doors
than one person could ever open in a lifetime, I thought (and still think).” (15) Stephen King, On Writing: A
Memoir of the Craft, 2000

“Reading is the creative center of a writer’s life. I take a book with me everywhere I go, and find there are all
sorts of opportunities to dip in. The trick is to teach yourself to read in small sips as well as in long swallows.”
(142) Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, 2000.
Appendix #1b
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ELA High School Unit 9.2-Writing – Appendix
©Macomb Intermediate School District 2007
Reader’s Sketchbook
Directions: Artists like Leonardo da Vinci thought in pictures. Cartoonists blend pictures and words to
communicate their ideas more effectively. In short, we use our brain differently if we combine images and
words. Sketchbooks are the back room of the artist’s mind, the place where they practice, rehearse, and
experiment—where they think. It is like a journal except you use images.
Each entry in your Reader’s Sketchbook must include:
 Chapter title or number.
 Quotations.
 Analysis:
o What does the text say? (Briefly summarize the story at a literal level.)
o How does it say it? In other words, how does the author develop the text to convey his/her
purpose? (What are the genre, format, organization, features, etc.?)
o What does the text mean? (What message/theme/concept is the author trying to get across?)
o So what? (What does the message/theme/concept mean in your life and/or in the lives of
others? Why is it worth sharing/telling? What significance does it have to your life and/or to
the lives of others?)
 An illustration that conveys what matters most in the chapter and quotation(s) that relate to the
drawing or connect to what you read.
 Discussion questions you could use to participate in a small or full-class discussion.
From: On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
Pages/Chapters pages 3-51 (childhood years)
Student Name ______________
Quotation(s): “This is not an autobiography. It is rather, a kind of curriculum vitae – my attempt to
show how a writer was formed [my emphasis].” (4)
“When you write a story, you’re telling yourself the story,” he said. “When you rewrite, your main job is
taking out all the things that are not the story.” (47)
…“write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open. Your stuff starts out being for just for you, in
other words, but then it goes out.” (47)
Analysis:
 What does the text say? (Briefly summarize the story at a literal level.) Stephen King relays his
early childhood memories up to college and meeting his wife. For example, he had to repeat first
grade because he got sick with the measles and then ended up with tonsils that needed to be taken
out. However, the doctor thought it was his ears and so due to his misdiagnosis he was constantly
ill. During the illness he read and wrote or rather copied the comic books that entertained him.
His mother said to him, “Write one of your own.” He was raised by a single mother (his father
abandoned them), and he had an older brother, Dave. They were constantly moving from town to
town, and he was constantly writing.
Appendix #2a
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ELA High School Unit 9.2-Writing – Appendix
©Macomb Intermediate School District 2007

How does it say it? In other words, how does the author develop the text to convey his/her
purpose? (What are the genre, format, organization, features, etc.?) He conveys his story
through a series of autobiographical verbal snapshots. In the first 51 pages there are 21 chapters.
Each chapter conveys a snapshot of his life. He uses numbers and white space to separate the
snapshots/memories. The mood of the text is very reflective as he relays the snapshots, but he
also relays it with the perspective that comes from age. He is remembering and adding
commentary to the remembrances.

What does the text mean? (What message/theme/concept is the author trying to get across?)
The author is attempting to show how he, a writer, was formed. For example, in first grade he
was reading constantly due to his illness. He began to write. His first stories were copies, then he
mimicked, and then he created. His mother challenged and encouraged him to capture his stories
on paper. So, his imagination was fed through his reading and his reading was channeled into
writing. He kept his rejection notes and kept writing. The message is read and write and keep
reading and writing.

So what? (What does the message/theme/concept mean in your life and/or in the lives of others?
Why is it worth sharing/telling? What significance does it have to your life and/or to the lives of
others?) I am struck as a parent and as a teacher by the connection between reading and writing.
It was interesting to note that as a novice writer he mimicked. There is a place for mimicking, and
then it needs to be challenged in a supportive manner. His mother told him, “Write one of your
own.” What a wonderful mother; she challenged him to stretch himself and then conveyed a
sense of pure pleasure at his attempts. Challenge and support are crucial in the home and in the
class.
= comics = Hitchcock = green stamps = rejections = the pit and the pendulum = satire =
detention = sports = “Graveyard Shift” = $200.00
www.darton.edu
Question(s): What would be crucial in the formation of a writer?
What do you think is important when you rewrite?
Adapted from Reader’s Sketchbook Copyright Jim Burke 2002.
www.englishcompanion.com/pdfDocs/readersketchbook2.pdf May be reproduced for classroom use only.
Visit www.emglishcompanion.com for more information.
Appendix #2b
6
ELA High School Unit 9.2-Writing – Appendix
©Macomb Intermediate School District 2007
Reader’s Sketchbook
Directions: Artists like Leonardo da Vinci thought in pictures. Cartoonists blend pictures and words to
communicate their ideas more effectively. In short, we use our brain differently if we combine images and
words. Sketchbooks are the back room of the artist’s mind, the place where they practice, rehearse, and
experiment—where they think. It is like a journal except you use images.
Each entry in your Reader’s Sketchbook must include:
 Chapter title or number.
 Quotations.
 Analysis:
o What does the text say? (Briefly summarize the story at a literal level.)
o How does it say it? In other words, how does the author develop the text to convey his/her
purpose? (What are the genre, format, organization, features, etc.?)
o What does the text mean? (What message/theme/concept is the author trying to get across?)
o So what? (What does the message/theme/concept mean in your life and/or in the lives of
others? Why is it worth sharing/telling? What significance does it have to your life and/or to
the lives of others?)
 An illustration that conveys what matters most in the chapter and quotation(s) that relate to the
drawing or connect to what you read.
 Discussion questions you could use to participate in a small or full-class discussion.
From:
Pages _______________
Student Name ______________________________________
Quotation(s):
Analysis:
 What does the text say? (Briefly summarize the story at a literal level.)

How does it say it? In other words, how does the author develop the text to convey his/her
purpose? (What are the genre, format, organization, features, etc.?)
Appendix #2c
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ELA High School Unit 9.2-Writing – Appendix
©Macomb Intermediate School District 2007

What does the text mean? (What message/theme/concept is the author trying to get across?)

So what? (What does the message/theme/concept mean in your life and/or in the lives of
others? Why is it worth sharing/telling? What significance does it have to your life and/or to the
lives of others?)
Illustration
Discussion Questions:
Adapted from Reader’s Sketchbook Copyright Jim Burke 2002.
www.englishcompanion.com/pdfDocs/readersketchbook2.pdf
May be reproduced for classroom use only. Visit www.emglishcompanion.com for more information.
Appendix #2d
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ELA High School Unit 9.2-Writing – Appendix
©Macomb Intermediate School District 2007
List of Autobiographies/Memoirs by Writers
Albom, Mitch. Tuesdays with Morrie
Angelou, Maya. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings or The Heart of a Woman
Arana, Marie. The Writing Life: Writers on How They Think and Work
Conway, Jill Ker. The Road from Corrain
Dillard, Annie. The Writing Life
Doig, Ivan. This House of Sky
du Maurier, Daphne. Growing Pains
Hellman, Lillian .An Unfinished Woman or Pentimento or Scoundrel Time (all three are memoirs)
King, Stephen. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
Kogawa, Joy. Obasan
Lessing, Doris. Under My Skin: Volume One of My Autobiography, to 1949
McCourt, Frank. Angela’s Ashes
Paulson, Gary. Eastern Sun, Winter Moon
Poitier, Sidney. The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography
Rodriguez, Richard. Hunger of Memory
Sarton, May. At Eighty Two: A Journal
Talese, Gay. A Writer’s Life
Tan, Amy. The Opposite of Fate
Walls, Jeannette. The Glass Castle
Wiesel, Elie. All Rivers Run to the Sea
Williams, Terry Tempest. Refuge
Appendix #2e
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ELA High School Unit 9.2-Writing – Appendix
©Macomb Intermediate School District 2007
Close and Critical Reading
What does the text say? (Briefly summarize the selection at a literal level.)
How does it say it? In other words, how does the author develop the text to convey his/her purpose?
(What are the genre, format, organization, features, etc.?)
What does the text mean? (What message/theme/concept is the author trying to get across?)
So what? (What does the message/theme/concept mean in your life and/or in the lives of others? Why
is it worth sharing/telling? What significance does it have to your life and/or to the lives of others?)
Appendix #3a
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ELA High School Unit 9.2-Writing – Appendix
©Macomb Intermediate School District 2007
Close and Critical Reading
What does the text say? (Briefly summarize the quotation at a literal level.)
The author says that writing is laying out a line of words and that that line of words is like a
miner’s pick, a wood-carver’s gouge, and a surgeon’s probe that you use to dig a path into
new territory.
How does it say it? In other words, how does the author develop the text to convey
his/her purpose? (What are the genre, format, organization, features, etc.?)
The author uses an extended metaphor that compares a writer’s craft to the tools of other
professions: a miner’s pick, a wood-carver’s gouge, a surgeon’s probe. She keeps the
metaphor going saying that a writer “wields and digs” (strong or vivid verbs) with these
tools to get “deep into new territory.”
What does the text mean? (What message/theme/concept is the author trying to get
across?)
The author is expressing how wonderful and precise writing can be when an author uses the
tools of the craft (like literary devices) when composing.
So what? (What does the message/theme/concept mean in your life and/or in the lives of
others? Why is it worth sharing/telling? What significance does it have to your life
and/or to the lives of others?)
The author is encouraging others to use the tools of the craft both by what she says and how
she says it. She has given me advice and a model to follow in my writing.
Appendix #3b
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ELA High School Unit 9.2-Writing – Appendix
©Macomb Intermediate School District 2007
Questions
MISD ELA Unit Assessment: Close and Critical Reading for One Text
3
2
1
(meets assignment)
(partially meets)
(minimally meets)
What does the text say?
(Briefly summarize the
story.)
Answer is accurate,
significant, and relevant
with many details and
examples.
Details support point.
Word choice is precise.
Writing shows control
over conventions.
Answer is accurate, significant, and
relevant but has few details to support
or explain the answer.
Attempts at organization are partially
successful.
Vocabulary is basic.
Errors in conventions do not distract
from meaning.
Answer is inaccurate or a
misinterpretation with little or no
relevance to text or question.
Ideas and content are not developed
with details or appear random.
Vocabulary is limited.
Errors in conventions distract from
meaning.
How does it say it? In
other words, how does the
author develop the text to
convey his/her purpose?
(What are the genre,
format, organization,
features, etc.?)
Answer is relevant with
many details and
examples.
Details support point.
Word choice is precise.
Writing shows control
over conventions.
Answer is relevant but has few details
to support or explain the answer.
Attempts at organization are partially
successful.
Vocabulary is basic.
Errors in conventions do not distract
from meaning.
What does the text mean?
(What theme/concept is
the author trying to get
across?)
Answer is relevant with
many details and
examples.
Details support point.
Word choice is precise.
Writing shows control
over conventions.
Answer is relevant but has few details
to support or explain the answer.
Attempts at organization are partially
successful.
Vocabulary is basic.
Errors in conventions do not distract
from meaning.
Answer contains misinterpretation
and little or no relevance to text,
question, or genre.
Ideas and content are developed with
few or no details.
Vocabulary is limited.
Errors in conventions distract from
meaning.
Answer contains misinterpretation
and little or no relevance to text or
question or is a retelling or summary.
Ideas are not developed with details.
Vocabulary is limited.
Errors in conventions distract from
meaning.
So what? (What does the
message/theme/concept
mean in your life and/or
in the lives of others?
Why is it worth
sharing/telling? What
significance does it have
to your life and/or to the
lives of others?)
Answer is relevant and/or
insightful with many
details and examples.
Details support point.
Word choice is precise.
Writing shows control
over conventions.
Answer is relevant but has few details
to support or explain the answer.
Attempts at organization are partially
successful.
Vocabulary is basic.
Errors in conventions do not distract
from meaning.
Appendix #3c
ELA High School Unit 9.2-Writing – Appendix
Answer contains misinterpretation
and little or no relevance to text or
question. Answer appears random or
inappropriate.
Ideas and content are not developed
with details.
Vocabulary is limited.
Errors in conventions distract from
meaning.
Adapted from MISD Thematic Literature Units, 2007
12
©Macomb Intermediate School District 2007
Score
Text #1
__/3
Text #1
__/3
Text #1
__/3
Text #1
__/3
Total
___/12
Think-[Write]-Pair-Share
A Think-Pair-Share (TPS) is a quick 2-5 minute verbal interaction between two or three
students that allows them to process quickly the academic language and content being
learned. TPS is not just a background knowledge activity, so also keep it in mind for
building other habits and for the during- and post-reading stages. TPS can be very
effective during teacher presentations for creating “breaks” that push students to organize
thoughts well enough to communicate them. TPS also allows a student to hear how
another person is processing the learning; this further builds background knowledge.
You can use TPS in many different areas of instruction, such as vocabulary, content
concepts, opinions, compare-and-contrast activities, sharing parts of homework,
summaries of text or visuals, connections to background knowledge or other classes,
predictions or inferences, and solution of problems.
Procedure:
1. Create a question or prompt that will encourage students to use their background
knowledge and experience in answering it.
2. Have students think in silence for 30-60 seconds to prepare mentally what they will
say. Variation: They write notes and or an answer prior to turning to partners to
share. This makes the procedure, Think-Write-Pair-Share.
3. Put students into pairs. During the pair work, students should do the following:
a. Face their partner, show interest, and listen actively. They may even take
notes
b. Stay on the topic.
c. Remember what their partner says in order to share it with the class later.
d. Give reasons for any opinions, such as evidence from the book, class
discussions, or one’s own life.
e. Use the vocabulary and academic language that you have modeled.
f. Ask their partner questions that call for clarification and evidence. Do you
mean that… ? Why do you think that…? Where does it say that…? (Caution
students to be respectful and polite in their questioning of one another.)
4. After pair time, ask students to share with the class what their partner said. This
forces them to listen and also publicly validates what partners have said.
Appendix #4
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ELA High School Unit 9.2-Writing – Appendix
©Macomb Intermediate School District 2007
Quick Write Procedure
What is it?
Quick writes are most often used to develop fluency. In quick writes, students write
rapidly and without stopping in response to literature and for other types of impromptu
writing. Quick writes provide students with a means of quickly representing their
thinking. Rather than being concerned with correct spelling, punctuation, and word
usage, the student is more interested in simply responding to the prompt in a personal
way. Students reflect on what they know about a topic, ramble on paper, generate
words and ideas, and make connections among the ideas. Young children often do
quick writes in which they draw pictures and add labels. Some students do a mixture of
writing and drawing.
Students do quick writes for a variety of purposes:
 Learning logs:
Immediately following a particular lesson, engaging activity, or discussion,
pause and allow students to reflect in their learning logs or journals. Share
responses.
 Constructed response to literature:
to activate prior knowledge.
— to reflect on a theme of a story and how it relates to them personally.
— to describe a favorite character.
 Reflections on new learning:
— to explain what something means.
— to define or explain a word on the word wall.
How to do a quick write
1. The teacher selects a purpose for the students. This prompt should be tied to a
content area and elicit a personal response from the student.
2. After listening to the prompt, the student is instructed to write a response by
jotting down whatever comes to mind. The time limit should be no longer than 510 minutes in length. When students are first doing quick writes, start with 2
minutes of writing and increase the time gradually. Students write until instructed
to stop. They are allowed to only finish their thought when “time” is called.
3. Quick writes may be used several times in a day. They may provide a “nugget”
for a more extended piece of writing.
4. When it is time to share, students read their writing to a small group of four or
five students. Volunteers could also share with the whole group.
Appendix #5
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ELA High School Unit 9.2-Writing – Appendix
©Macomb Intermediate School District 2007
Memoir Prompt
A memoir gives a record of an important event based on the writer’s personal observation or
knowledge and has the following traits:




Focuses on a brief period of time or a series of related events significant to the writer.
Uses narrative structure (setting, plot development, conflict, characterization, and devices such
as imagery, foreshadowing, flashback, irony, symbolism, and descriptive detail).
Demonstrates, directly or indirectly, why the memory/event is significant to the writer—
reflection.
Uses first-person narration (I).
To prepare to write the memoir, create a timeline of the important experiences and events in your life
so far:
 Position a piece of paper horizontally and draw a line from the left side of the paper to the right.
This timeline represents your life so far.
 Write your birth date at the left end of the timeline and today’s date at the right end.
 Think of events and/or experiences that have changed you or the direction of your life; place
those events/experiences in appropriate positions on the timeline. List at least ten
events/experiences between the date of your birth and today’s date.
 You may wish to draw a picture/symbol to represent each event/experience. These
events/experiences might include trips, moving, celebrations, social or sports events, the birth,
death, divorce, or marriage of a friend or family member, getting a job, receiving an award
and/or making a difficult choice or decision. It could include memorable first experiences i.e.
riding a bike; getting your braces off; having a first pet, friend, love, break-up etc.
 Try to recall names, places, descriptions, voices, conversations, things, and all the other details
that will make your memoir interesting.
DIRECTIONS: After creating your timeline, choose one event/experience and write a
memoir referring to the definition and characteristics above, the checklist below, and the
attached rubric.
CHECKLIST
o Did I select an event/experience that is significant in my life?
o Did I focus on a single important event/experience or a series of related events
and write in support of my premise?
o Did I use engaging details, compelling language, and a balance of actions,
thoughts, and dialogue?
o Have I proofread my memoir to insure that my reader will be able to read and
understand my writing?”
Appendix #6
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Memoir Rubric
4
Event/experience
seems/appears to have
deeply impacted the
author’s life or left a
significant, indelible
imprint on the author’s
life.
3
Event/experience
seems significant
to the author’s
life.
2
Event/experience
seems somewhat
significant to the
author’s life.
1
Event/experience
does not seem
significant to the
author’s life.
Focus and
Structure
Memoir is clearly
focused on a single
significant memorable
moment or memory.
All additional writing
supports the
significance of the
important event or
experience.
Memoir is
focused on a
single memorable
moment. Most of
the additional
writing supports
the significance of
the important
event or
experience.
Memoir is
somewhat
focused on a
single memorable
moment. Some of
the additional
writing supports
the significance of
the important
event or
experience.
Writing may
include multiple
events that are
disconnected and
do not reveal the
significance of the
important event or
experience.
Style and
Technique
Author
consistently/effectively
reveals the significance
of the event/experience
through engaging
details, compelling
language, and a
balance of action,
thoughts, and dialogue.
Author sometimes
reveals the
significance of the
event/experience
through details,
precise language,
and a balance of
action, thoughts,
and dialogue.
Author states the
significance of the
event/experience
through direct
statements.
Little or no effort
is evident in
revealing the
significance of the
event/experience
to the reader.
Incomplete
mastery of over
writing
conventions and
language use may
interfere with
meaning some of
the time.
Lack of control
over writing
conventions make
the writing
difficult to
understand.
Event
Selection
Conventions
and
Presentation
Tight control over
Lapses in writing
language use and
conventions are
mastery of writing
not distracting.
conventions contributes
to the effect of the
response.
Adapted from http://stenhouse.com/pdfs/0352app.pdf
Appendix #7
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Peer Editing Questions
 Is the central idea or point of the writing clear?
 Is the central idea or point supported by important and relevant details,
examples, and/or anecdotes?
 Does the writing begin with an interesting and engaging lead, continue
with a middle that supports and develops the point, and conclude with an
ending that summarizes the point?
 Is the writing interesting with engaging words and different sentence
lengths and types?
 What do I as the listener, think is good about the writing?
 Do I have questions and/or suggestions for the writer?
Appendix #8
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Interactive Notebooks for Writing
It is important for a writer to be organized—to have resources writing in process and
completed at his or her fingertips. One way of doing this is through an Interactive
Notebook. An Interactive Notebook is a multi-pocket folder organized and labeled to
provide for quick access.
An Interactive Notebook provides a writer with a process for learning to write in a
specific genre (memoir, descriptive essay, poetry, expository essay/informational
writing, etc.) The Interactive Notebook process involves constructing a multi-pocket
folder for organizing the resources a writer needs to learn to write in a genre. (See
directions.) The resources include the following:
 Exemplary writing models (from professional writers).
 Descriptions and lists of traits of the genre.
 Checklists, rubrics, protocols, and peer editing guidelines.
 Student work in process—drafts.
 Published pieces—individual and from other students.
 Reflections on writing pieces.
 Teacher comments and/or critiques.
 General resources including grammar aids.
 Etc.
Appendix #9a
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ELA High School Unit 9.2-Writing – Appendix
19
©Macomb Intermediate School District 2007
ELA High School Unit 9.2-Writing – Appendix
20
©Macomb Intermediate School District 2007
Basic Procedure for Teaching a Genre of Writing
 Teacher models the genre with an exemplary piece from a professional
or proficient writer and analyzes the piece aloud for the traits of the
genre (teacher/TO).
 Teacher shares another model with students. Together they analyze the
piece and add to traits of the genre (teacher with students—WITH).
 Teacher presents traits from professional writers’ lists and these are
added to the list of traits of the genre.
 Students read additional exemplary models with partners or in groups
and analyze models using agreed-upon traits (WITH/BY—on your
own).
 Students read additional exemplary models individually and analyze for
traits (on your own—BY).
 Then students write their own pieces from the genre being studied or
read a piece and respond in a way that shows they recognize and
understand the traits of the genre.
 Students peer edit (after teacher models the process if necessary).
 Students make use of rubrics, checklists, and protocols.
 Students revise (emphasizing that the writer has the final choice and
can incorporate some suggestions and ignore others).
 Students publish/present.
 Students reflect in writing on their degree of success with the genre.
Appendix #10a
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Basic Procedure for Learning a Genre of Writing
 Your teacher will model the genre with an exemplary piece from a
professional or proficient writer and analyze the piece aloud pointing
out the traits of the genre.
 Your teacher will share another exemplary model with you. Together
you will analyze the piece and add to traits of the genre.
 Your teacher will present traits from professional writers’ lists and you
will add these to the list of traits of the genre.
 You will read additional exemplary models with partners or in groups
and analyze models using agreed upon traits.
 You will read additional exemplary models individually and analyze
for traits.
 Then you will write your own pieces from the genre being studied and
you might read a piece and respond in a way that shows you recognize
and understand the traits of the genre.
 You will peer edit (after teacher models the process, if necessary).
 You will make use of rubrics, checklists, and protocols before and
during writing your own example of the genre.
 You will revise. (Remember that the writer has the final choice and can
incorporate some suggestions and ignore others.)
 You will publish/present your writing.
 You will reflect in writing on your degree of success with the genre.
Appendix #10b
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Memoir and Reflective Writing:
Definitions and Quotations
Memoir:
 A memoir is a narrative account written by an individual that depicts things,
persons or events the individual has known or experienced. (adapted from Murfin
and Ray, The Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms, 2003, Bedford/St.
Martin’s)
 A memoir is a record of important events based on the writer’s personal
observation or knowledge. (Webster’s New World Dictionary, 1991, Prentice
Hall)
 A memoir is a piece of autobiographical writing, usually shorter in nature than a
comprehensive autobiography. The memoir, especially as it is being used in
publishing today, often tries to capture certain highlights or meaningful moments
in one's past, often including a contemplation of the meaning of that event at the
time of the writing of the memoir. The memoir may be more emotional and
concerned with capturing particular scenes, or a series of events, rather than
documenting every fact of a person's life (Zuwiyya, N. 2000).
http://www.inkspell.homestead.com/memoir.html#anchor_12484
 William Zinsser: "Memoir is a window into a life."
 Jean Little: "Memoir is not the whole head of hair but one or two strands of hair."
 Virginia Woolf: "A memoir is not what happens, but the person to whom things
happen."
Reflective Writing:
 Writing that emanates from serous thinking or contemplation (Webster’s New
World Dictionary, 1991, Prentice Hall.)
 The word reflect means to look back. However the larger question is, why do it
and what can they gain from it? Obvious answers include they gain insight into
themselves and others; appreciation of how much they have changed or
improved; understanding of the larger implications of certain events or actions.
(Writing Reminders: Tools, Tips, and Techniques, Jim Burke, 2003, Heinemann,
p. 272.)
Appendix #11a
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Memoir and Reflective Writing: Traits
Traits of Memoir
 Focuses on a brief period of time or a series of related events significant to the
writer.
 Uses narrative structure (setting; plot development; conflict; characterization; and
devices such as imagery, foreshadowing, flashback, irony, symbolism, and
descriptive detail).
 Demonstrates, directly or indirectly, why the memory/event is significant to the
writer—reflection.
 Uses first-person narration (I).
 Has a “story” quality although the story is true.
 Tends to be more subjective and personal than an autobiography.
 May include selected diary or journal entries or letters to a close friend or family
member or selections from official documents.
Traits of Reflective Writing:
 Considers or responds to a significant event or idea and what that idea means to
the writer and the larger world.
 Answers the questions Why? and So what?
 May be either serious or humorous in tone, though it tends to be serious.
 Is often anchored in small, even familiar details or occasions that the writer
makes more meaningful.
 Incorporates a variety of forms, including narration and description.
 Makes it clear not only what the event means to the writer but what it might mean
to the reader. (Writing Reminders: Tools, Tips, and Techniques, Jim Burke, 2003,
Heinemann, p. 273.)
Appendix #11b
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The Younger Brothers Club - by Ken Goldstein
When it came to discussing the war, the boys at New Trier Middle School were divided between those
of us who had brothers old enough to be drafted and those who did not. The first group took the war
seriously. For the second group it was a far-away distraction; something they'd seen on the evening
news but did not understand.
We younger brothers were further divided between those families that had escape plans, and those who
would be sending their brothers to Vietnam. The majority of us in suburban Menlo Park would have
student deferments. Those from closer to the East Palo Alto line would be expected to fight. And then
there were those few who had already had their brothers return home in body bags. They weren't a part
of any group, but stood off on their own and were only discussed in the most hushed of tones.
Joey and I had come in from different Elementary Schools and met halfway through our first year at
New Trier. My brother, Bob, was a senior at Menlo High, hoping to get into Berkeley (and out of the
draft) next year. Joey's brother Hal had just left Stanford for a semester abroad in Paris. Sitting next to
each other in Mr. P's English Composition class we'd developed a strong friendship from laughing
behind Mr. P's back and daring each other to put inappropriate jokes into our compositions. From there
we came to be part of the same lunch-time clique, then hanging out together on weekends and
spending time at each other's homes.
Lunchtime conversations at our group's table often centered on the war. To some degree we were all
fearful, not just for our big brothers, but with the usually unspoken realization that someday it would
be our turn to face the draft and make a decision about the war in Vietnam. Some, however, confronted
that possibility head on, with a sense of bravado that came from watching too many old movies on
television.
"Personally, I can't wait to get over there," George Whiting was saying one day. "While you sissies are
all hiding out in college, I'm going to be killing me some Commies." George stood on the bench, knees
leaning against the table, and pantomimed gunning down a line of North Vietnamese, complete with
spitting sound effects.
Everybody but Joey laughed. I yelled back at George, "Yeah, but at least we'll have women with us at
college!" This drew a chorus of "oohs" from the boys and another round of laughter as George
reluctantly took his seat.
Later that afternoon, when Joey and I were at his house, he showed me a letter that his brother, Hal,
had written to him. Hal said how much he hated college, even in Paris, and that he planned to drop out
after coming home in June.
"I'm scared, Freddie," Joey confided in me. "If he doesn't go back to school, they'll draft him for sure."
"We'll figure something out," I assured him. "We're not gonna let anybody shoot either of our
brothers." He looked at me and smiled. "Unless we shoot them ourselves," I joked and he threw a yoyo at me.
Appendix #12a
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*
Alone in his room, over the next few months, Joey and I made elaborate plans to spirit Hal to safety up
in Vancouver, before the Army could find out he was no longer a student. Without verifying it with my
family, I'd volunteered my great uncle in Banff as a Canadian contact who could help out once we
crossed the border.
At first we also figured my brother, Bob, into the plan. When he finally got his acceptance letter from
Berkeley in May, we re-focused our efforts on a trip for three of us going north and only two coming
back south.
We imagined ourselves on a dangerous, top-secret mission, with spies all around us. A direct bus trip,
we came to realize, would be too easy for somebody to trace. We'd need to avoid the obvious
checkpoints and be sure not to leave any sign of our path. Using maps and guidebooks we'd picked up
at the AAA we'd selected cheap out-of-the-way motels. From both Greyhound and Trailways we'd
gotten bus schedules and prices for tickets. We carefully plotted out where we could switch from one
line to the other, further throwing the government off our track. Joey didn't dare write to Hal about our
plans; we couldn't take the risk that the CIA was reading all the international mail.
As soon as we realized how expensive our trip would be we started saving up by doing odd jobs, babysitting, and yard work for several families in the neighborhood. We decided we'd give Hal a few weeks
to unwind from Paris before springing the details on him. A start date of July 7, we figured, would give
us plenty of time to get him out of the country and us back to Menlo Park before September, when he'd
be due at either Stanford University or the local draft board, and we'd be due back at New Trier.
*
The day that Hal came home was the Tuesday after school let out for Joey and me. We waited
anxiously in his living room, staring at the television without comprehending what we were watching.
Our thoughts were with his mother who had gone to the airport to pick up the subject of our mission.
Hal entered the house looking larger than life, his dark curly hair bouncing atop his six-foot tall,
gangly frame. Stepping out of the mid-June afternoon sun into the house he looked to me like the
conquering knight returning to the castle. His face beamed as he dropped his bags in the front hall and
scooped Joey off the ground into his arms, Joey's face turning a bright, embarrassed red. Only after
releasing Joey did he notice me, a brief moment of confusion crossing his otherwise self-assured
features. "This is Freddie," offered their mother. I stood mutely in awe to be finally meeting him as he
nodded my way and said hello.
A moment later Hal stood by the dining table, opening up a small black carry-on bag. Pulling out
neatly wrapped gifts he handed one to his mother and one to Joey. "I've brought gifts from Paris for
everybody." Then, noticing me again, he rummaged around the bag and pulled out a small box of
Bazooka bubble gum with the packaging in French and tossed it my way. I opened the first piece,
popped it in my mouth like manna from heaven, and tried to read the enclosed comic in French, still
saying nothing even as their mother ushered me to the door and suggested I head home to my own
family now.
Appendix #12b
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That night I lay awake thinking how impressive Hal had seemed, and what a privilege it would be to
help him escape the draft. Surely that would qualify as a right of passage, making me big and strong; at
least as strong as he. Under the sheets, with my flashlight on, I chewed my gum and tried to translate
the adventures of Bazooka Joe from French to English until I finally fell into a deep sleep.
In the morning I slept late, waking only when the phone rang at about ten o'clock. After about five
minutes my mother entered my room and sat down at the foot of my bed. "That was Mrs. Burton," she
spoke slowly, looking off towards the window. "Joey's brother died last night in a car accident. He was
very tired, and he fell asleep at the wheel on the way home from visiting some friends." After another
few moments she turned towards me with tears in her eyes and leaned down to hug me. She squeezed
tighter and tighter, but I just laid there, limp in her arms. What right did she have to cry? She'd never
met Hal. She didn't know anything about how important he was.
*
All that summer I never called Joey and he never called me. When July seventh came around I spent
my share of the trip money on a new bicycle and rode aimlessly up and down the Peninsula all summer
long.
I first saw Joey again a few days into the new school year. I was sitting at our usual lunch table with
the younger brothers club when I saw him coming out of the food line with his tray. He stood in the
middle of the cafeteria and scanned the courtyard for an open table. Our eyes met but neither one of us
said a word. We each just held our positions and stared through each other across the widening
distance.
http://www.the13thstory.com/krg/words/youngerbrothers.html
Appendix #12c
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Think Aloud Procedure
Making Thinking Public
The Literacy Dictionary (Harris and Hodges, 1995, IRA) defines a think aloud as “1.
oral verbalization, 2. in literacy instruction - a metacognitive technique or strategy in
which the teacher verbalizes aloud while reading a selection orally, thus modeling the
process of comprehension (Davey, 1983).”
Put another way, a think aloud is making thinking public. A teacher models what an
expert would be thinking as s/he were reading, visualizing, listening; or preparing to
write, speak or visually represent. The goal of thinking aloud is to show students
graphically what they might do to understand what they are reading, viewing or
listening to, as well as plan for writing or speaking.
Following is an example of a think aloud for figuring out the meaning of an unfamiliar
word in context:
“It’s important while we read to be able to figure out the meaning of an unfamiliar
word. When I come to a word I don’t know the meaning of, I read the words and
sentences around that word to try to figure out what the word might mean.
The other day I was reading this great mystery, The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. I
read the following paragraph with lots of challenging words:
‘Sam Westing was not murdered, but one of his heirs was guilty–guilty of some offense
against a relentless man. And that heir was in danger. From his grave Westing would
stalk his enemy and through his heirs he would wreak his revenge.’
It was a paragraph about Sam Westing who had just died and left a challenge behind to
find his killer(s). I knew most of the words. I knew ‘relentless’ meant that Sam
Westing never gave up until he got what he wanted. I knew that ‘stalk his enemy’
meant that even after death, Sam Westing would somehow go after and find his enemy.
But I wasn’t sure what ‘wreak his revenge’ meant. I knew that revenge meant Sam
Westing would get even with his enemy, so I figured that “wreak” must be a stronger
way to say, ‘get his revenge.’
I’ve heard the word ‘wreak’ before, and now I’ll keep it in my mind and may be able to
use it in writing sometime. I will know it when I see it in print”.
Appendix #13
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The Freedom Writers Diary
Entry 82
I would say that this has been the best day of my life! As we pulled up in our bus at the
Lincoln Memorial, I felt as if I was part of history. It was raining, but we still wanted to
see the statue of Abraham Lincoln. It has always been my dream to see the worldfamous statue of Abraham Lincoln.
At first I didn’t understand why Ms. G wanted us to go to Washington so badly. But
now that we are in our nation’s capital, I will never be the same. I finally realized what
being a Freedom Writer really means. Everyone was standing around the monument
reading the passages on the wall. We all wanted to know what each passage meant,
when it was written, and who wrote it.
After that I heard a small voice excitedly yell, “It’s time to go back outside in the rain.”
I knew Ms. G was up to something, because she is always trying to do something
spontaneous that has some kind of symbolism in it. This time, it would be the most
symbolic of all. We went outside and stood on the stairs of the monument and held
hands, facing the world.
To think that Dr. Martin Luther King recited his famous “I Have a Dream” speech here
where he dreamt that “little black children and little white children…will come
together.” Ironically, when I looked at the Freedom Writers holding hands in the rain, I
realized that we are his dream come true. Then all of a sudden, one, two, three, we
screamed, “Freedom Writers have a dream!” The rain stopped and the sound of our
voices echoed across the city.
Appendix #14
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The Freedom Writers Diary
Entry 32
A year has passed since two of my friends died. Man, everyone respected those two.
Those guys were the most loved cholos of the barrio. That’s how I wanted to be when I
grew up. All I wanted to do was impress them. While I was in school one day, they were
killed while trying to commit a robbery. To think I could have been with them.
After this incident, I started to see life from a whole new perspective. I had been taking
the wrong path all along. Now my best friend and I are the oldest cholos in the barrio. It
is pitiful that all the older guys are either six feet under or living behind bars. As the
weeks went by, I slowly changed my ways. I didn’t want the younger ones to look up to
me when I was a loser. I had done so much to hurt my community and now it was time
to do something to help it.
Now the young ones are looking up to me as a role model, so I try my hardest to give a
straight image on how things should be, and make them see right from wrong. My
neighbors adore me. I have a warm feeling deep down inside, as if I was the “chosen
one” in the barrio. But it hurts me to know that it took the lives of two dear friends for
me to turn my life around.
I guess it’s never too late to change in life. If I did it, others should be able to do it as
well. It really all depends on how badly one wants to change. I’m lucky to have another
opportunity at a clean start.
It’s just too bad the two cholos were never given the same opportunity.
Appendix #15
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Traits of Memoir

Focuses on a brief period of time or a series of related events significant to the writer.

Uses narrative structure (setting; plot development; conflict; characterization; and devices such
as imagery, foreshadowing, flashback, irony, symbolism, and descriptive detail).

Demonstrates, directly or indirectly, why the memory/event is significant to the writer—
reflection.

Uses first-person narration (I).

Has a “story” quality although the story is true.

Tends to be more subjective and personal than an autobiography.

May include selected diary or journal entries or letters to a close friend or family member or
selections from official documents.
Appendix #16a
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Traits of Reflective Writing

Considers or responds to a significant event or idea and what that idea means to the writer and
the larger world.

Answers the questions Why? and So what?

May be either serious or humorous in tone, though it tends to be serious.

Is often anchored in small, even familiar details or occasions that the writer makes more
meaningful.

Incorporates a variety of forms, including narration and description.

Makes it clear not only what the event means to the writer but what it might mean to the reader.
Appendix #16b
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©Macomb Intermediate School District 2007
Darkness at Noon by Harold Krents
Blind from birth, I have never had the opportunity to see myself and have been completely dependent
on the image I create in the eye of the observer. To date it has not been narcissistic.
There are those who assume that since I can’t see, I obviously also cannot hear. Very often people will
converse with me at the top of their lungs, enunciating each word very carefully. Conversely, people
will also often whisper, assuming that since my eyes don’t work, my ears don’t either. For example,
when I go the airport and ask the ticket agent for assistance to the plane, he or she will invariably pick
up the phone, call a ground hostess and whisper, “Hi, Jane, we’ve got a 76 here.” I have concluded that
the word “blind” is not used for one of two reasons: Either they fear that if the dread word is spoken,
the ticket agent’s retina will immediately detach, or they are reluctant to inform me of my condition of
which I may not have been previously aware.
On the other hand, others know that of course I can hear, but believe that I can’t talk. Often, therefore,
when my wife and I go out to dinner, a waiter or waitress will ask Kit if “he would like a drink” to
which I respond that “indeed he would.” This point was graphically driven home to me while we were
in England. I had been given a year’s leave of absence from my Washington law firm to study for a
diploma-in-law degree at Oxford University. During the year I became ill and was hospitalized.
Immediately after admission, I was wheeled down to the X-ray room. Just at the door sat an elderly
woman - elderly I would judge from the sound of her voice. “What is his name?” the woman asked the
orderly who had been wheeling me.
“What’s your name?” the orderly repeated to me.
“Harold Krents,” I replied.
“Harold Krents,” he repeated.
“When was he born?”
“When were you born?”
“November 5, 1944,” I responded.
“November 5, 1944,” the orderly intoned.
This procedure continued for approximately five minutes at which point even my saint-like disposition
deserted me. “Look,” I finally blurted out, “this is absolutely ridiculous. Okay, granted I can’t see, but
it’s got to have become pretty clear to both of you that I don’t need an interpreter.”
“He says he doesn’t need an interpreter,” the orderly reported to the woman.
The toughest misconception of all is the view that because I can’t see, I can’t work. I was turned down
by over forty law firms because of my blindness, even though my qualifications included a cum laude
degree from Harvard College and a good ranking in my Harvard Law School class. The attempt to find
employment, the continuous frustration of being told that it as impossible for a blind person to practice
law, the rejection letters, not based on my lack of ability but rather on my disability, will always
remain one of the most disillusioning experiences of my life.
Appendix #17a
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Fortunately, this view of limitation and exclusion is beginning to change. On April 16, 1976, the
Department of Labor issued regulations that mandate equal-employment opportunities for the
handicapped. By and large, the business community’s response to offering employment to the disabled
has been enthusiastic.
I therefore look forward to the day, with the expectation that it is certain to come, when employers will
view their handicapped workers as a little child did me years ago when my family still lived in
Scarsdale. I was playing basketball with my father in our backyard according to procedures we had
developed. My father would stand beneath the hoop, shout, and I would shoot over his head at the
basket attached to our garage. Our next-door neighbor, aged five, wandered over into our yard with a
playmate. “He’s blind,” our neighbor whispered to her friend in a voice that could be heard distinctly
by Dad and me. Dad shot and missed; I did the same. Dad hit the rim: I missed entirely: Dad shot and
missed the garage entirely. “Which one is blind?” whispered back the little friend.
I would hope that in the near future when a plant manager is touring the factory with the foreman and
comes upon a handicapped and nonhandicapped person working together, his comment after watching
them work will be, “which one is disabled?”
—————–
Raised in New York City, Harold Krents earned a B.A. and a law degree at Harvard, studied at Oxford
University, worked as a partner in a Washington, D.C., law firm, was the subject of a long-running
Broadway play, and wrote a popular television movie all despite the fact that he was born blind. His
“1-A” classification by a local draft board, which doubted the severity of his handicap, brought about
the 1969 Broadway hit play Butterflies Are Free by Leonard Gershe. Krents once explained that he
was merely the “prototype” for the central character: “I gave the story its inspiration - the play’s plot is
not my story; its spirit is.” In 1972 Krents wrote To Race the Wind, which was made into a CBS-TV
movie in 1980. During his career as a lawyer, Krents worked hard to expand legal protection for the
handicapped and fought to secure their right to equal opportunity in the business world. He died in
1987 of a brain tumor.
http://www.ldresources.org/?p=268
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Homeless
by Anna Quindlen
Her name was Ann, and we met in the Port Authority Bus Terminal several Januarys ago. I was doing
a story on homeless people. She said I was wasting my time talking to her; she was just passing
through, although she'd been passing through for more than two weeks. To prove to me that this was
true, she rummaged through a tote bag and a manila envelope and finally unfolded a sheet of typing
paper and brought out her photographs.
They were not pictures of family, or friends, or even a dog or cat, its eyes brown-red in the flashbulb's
light. They were pictures of a house. It was like a thousand houses in a hundred towns, not suburb, not
city, but somewhere in between, with aluminum siding and a chain-link fence, a narrow driveway
running up to a one-car garage, and a patch of backyard. The house was yellow. I looked on the back
for a date or a name, but neither was there. There was no need for discussion. I knew what she was
trying to tell me, for it was something I had often felt. She was not adrift, alone, anonymous, although
her bags and her raincoat with the grime shadowing its creases had made me believe she was. She had
a house, or at least once upon a time had had one. Inside were curtains, a couch, a stove, potholders.
You are where you live. She was somebody.
I've never been very good at looking at the big picture, taking the global view, and I've always been a
person with an overactive sense of place, the legacy of an Irish grandfather. So it is natural that the
thing that seems most wrong with the world to me right now is that there are so many people with no
homes. I'm not simply talking about shelter from the elements, or three square meals a day, or a
mailing address to which the welfare people can send the check--although I know that all these are
important for survival. I'm talking about a home, about precisely those kinds of feelings that have
wound up in cross-stitch and French knots on samplers1 over the years.
Home is where the heart is. There's no place like it. I love my home with a ferocity totally out of
proportion to its appearance or location. I love dumb things about it: the hot-water heater, the plastic
rack you drain dishes in, the roof over my head, which occasionally leaks. And yet it is precisely those
dumb things that make it what it is--a place of certainty, stability, predictability, privacy, for me and
for my family. It is where I live. What more can you say about a place than that? That is everything.
Yet it is something that we have been edging away from gradually during my lifetime and the lifetimes
of my parents and grandparents. There was a time when where you lived often was where you worked
and where you grew the food you ate and even where you were buried. When that era passed, where
you lived at least was where your parents had lived and where you would live with your children when
you became enfeebled. Then, suddenly, where you lived was where you lived for three years, until you
could move on to something else and something else again.
And so we have come to something else again, to children who do no understand what it means to go
to their rooms because they have never had a room, to men and women whose fantasy is a wall they
can paint a color of their own choosing, to old people reduced to sitting on molded plastic chairs, their
skin blue-white in the lights of a bus station, who pull pictures of houses out of their bags. Homes have
stopped being homes. Now they are real estate.
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People find it curious that those without homes would rather sleep sitting up on benches or huddled in
doorways than go to shelters. Certainly some prefer to do so because they are emotionally ill, because
they have been locked in before and they are determined not to be locked in again. Others are afraid of
the violence and trouble they may find there. But some seem to want something that is not available in
shelters, and they will not compromise, not for a cot, or oatmeal, or a shower with special soap that
kills the bugs. "One room," a woman with a baby who was sleeping on her sister's floor once told me,
"painted blue." That was the crux of it; not the size or location, but pride of ownership. Painted blue.
This is a difficult problem, and some wise and compassionate people are working hard at it. But in the
main I think we work around it, just as we walk around it when it is lying on the sidewalk or sitting in
the bus terminal--the problem, that is. It has been customary to take people's pain and lessen our own
participation in it by turning it into an issue, not a collection of human beings. We turn an adjective
into a noun: the poor, not poor people; the homeless, not Ann or the man who lives in the box or the
woman who sleeps on the subway grate.
Sometimes I think we would be better off if we forgot about the broad strokes and concentrated on the
details. Here is a woman without a bureau.
There is a man with no mirror, no wall to hang it on. They are not the homeless. They are people who
have no homes. No drawer that holds the spoons.
No window to look out upon the world. My God. That is everything.
__________________
1. cross-stitch and French knots on samplers: two kinds of fancy stitches on hand-embroidered cloths.
2. crux: the most important point.
http://pers.dadeschools.net/prodev/homelesstext.htm
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Chapter 1: A Woman on the Street
I was sitting in a taxi, wondering if I had overdressed for the evening, when I looked out the window
and saw Mom rooting through a Dumpster. It was just after dark. A blustery March wind whipped the
steam coming out of the manholes, and people hurried along the sidewalks with their collars turned up.
I was stuck in traffic two blocks from the party where I was heading.
Mom stood fifteen feet away. She had tied rags around her shoulders to keep out the spring chill and
was picking through the trash while her dog, a black-and-white terrier mix, played at her feet. Mom's
gestures were all familiar -- the way she tilted her head and thrust out her lower lip when studying
items of potential value that she'd hoisted out of the Dumpster, the way her eyes widened with childish
glee when she found something she liked. Her long hair was streaked with gray, tangled and matted,
and her eyes had sunk deep into their sockets, but still she reminded me of the mom she'd been when I
was a kid, swan-diving off cliffs and painting in the desert and reading Shakespeare aloud. Her
cheekbones were still high and strong, but the skin was parched and ruddy from all those winters and
summers exposed to the elements. To the people walking by, she probably looked like any of the
thousands of homeless people in New York City.
It had been months since I laid eyes on Mom, and when she looked up, I was overcome with panic that
she'd see me and call out my name, and that someone on the way to the same party would spot us
together and Mom would introduce herself and my secret would be out.
I slid down in the seat and asked the driver to turn around and take me home to Park Avenue.
The taxi pulled up in front of my building, the doorman held the door for me, and the elevator man
took me up to my floor. My husband was working late, as he did most nights, and the apartment was
silent except for the click of my heels on the polished wood floor. I was still rattled from seeing Mom,
the unexpectedness of coming across her, the sight of her rooting happily through the Dumpster. I put
some Vivaldi on, hoping the music would settle me down.
I looked around the room. There were the turn-of-the-century bronze-and-silver vases and the old
books with worn leather spines that I'd collected at flea markets. There were the Georgian maps I'd had
framed, the Persian rugs, and the overstuffed leather armchair I liked to sink into at the end of the day.
I'd tried to make a home for myself here, tried to turn the apartment into the sort of place where the
person I wanted to be would live. But I could never enjoy the room without worrying about Mom and
Dad huddled on a sidewalk grate somewhere. I fretted about them, but I was embarrassed by them, too,
and ashamed of myself for wearing pearls and living on Park Avenue while my parents were busy
keeping warm and finding something to eat.
What could I do? I'd tried to help them countless times, but Dad would insist they didn't need anything,
and Mom would ask for something silly, like a perfume atomizer or a membership in a health club.
They said that they were living the way they wanted to.
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After ducking down in the taxi so Mom wouldn't see me, I hated myself -- hated my antiques, my
clothes, and my apartment. I had to do something, so I called a friend of Mom's and left a message. It
was our system of staying in touch. It always took Mom a few days to get back to me, but when I heard
from her, she sounded, as always, cheerful and casual, as though we'd had lunch the day before. I told
her I wanted to see her and suggested she drop by the apartment, but she wanted to go to a restaurant.
She loved eating out, so we agreed to meet for lunch at her favorite Chinese restaurant.
Mom was sitting at a booth, studying the menu, when I arrived. She'd made an effort to fix herself up.
She wore a bulky gray sweater with only a few light stains, and black leather men's shoes. She'd
washed her face, but her neck and temples were still dark with grime.
She waved enthusiastically when she saw me. "It's my baby girl!" she called out. I kissed her cheek.
Mom had dumped all the plastic packets of soy sauce and duck sauce and hot-and-spicy mustard from
the table into her purse. Now she emptied a wooden bowl of dried noodles into it as well. "A little
snack for later on," she explained.
We ordered. Mom chose the Seafood Delight. "You know how I love my seafood," she said.
She started talking about Picasso. She'd seen a retrospective of his work and decided he was hugely
overrated. All the cubist stuff was gimmicky, as far as she was concerned. He hadn't really done
anything worthwhile after his Rose Period.
"I'm worried about you," I said. "Tell me what I can do to help."
Her smile faded. "What makes you think I need your help?"
"I'm not rich," I said. "But I have some money. Tell me what it is you need."
She thought for a moment. "I could use an electrolysis treatment."
"Be serious."
"I am serious. If a woman looks good, she feels good."
"Come on, Mom." I felt my shoulders tightening up, the way they invariably did during these
conversations. "I'm talking about something that could help you change your life, make it better."
"You want to help me change my life?" Mom asked. "I'm fine. You're the one who needs help. Your
values are all confused."
"Mom, I saw you picking through trash in the East Village a few days ago."
"Well, people in this country are too wasteful. It's my way of recycling." She took a bite of her Seafood
Delight. "Why didn't you say hello?"
"I was too ashamed, Mom. I hid."
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Mom pointed her chopsticks at me. "You see?" she said. "Right there. That's exactly what I'm saying.
You're way too easily embarrassed. Your father and I are who we are. Accept it."
"And what am I supposed to tell people about my parents?"
"Just tell the truth," Mom said. "That's simple enough."
From Chapter 1 of The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, pp. 3-5. 2005
http://www.bookbrowse.com/excerpts/index.cfm?book_number=1560
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Chapter IV First Communion
First Communion day is the happiest day of your life because of The Collection and James Cagney at
the Lyric Cinema. The night before I was so excited I couldn't sleep till dawn. I'd still be sleeping if my
grandmother hadn't come banging at the door.
Get up! Get up! Get that child outa the bed. Happiest day of his life an' him snorin' above in the bed.
I ran to the kitchen. Take off that shirt, she said. I took off the shirt and she pushed me into a tin tub of
icy cold water. My mother scrubbed me, my grandmother scrubbed me. I was raw, I was red.
They dried me. They dressed me in my black velvet First Communion suit with the white frilly shirt,
the short pants, the white stockings, the black patent leather shoes. Around my arm they tied a white
satin bow and on my lapel they pinned the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a picture with blood dripping from it,
flames erupting all around it and on top a nasty-looking crown of thorns.
Come here till I comb your hair, said Grandma. Look at that mop, it won't lie down. You didn't get that
hair from my side of the family. That's that North of Ireland hair you got from your father. That's the
kind of hair you see on Presbyterians. If your mother had married a proper decent Limerick man you
wouldn't have this standing up, North of Ireland, Presbyterian hair.
She spat twice on my head.
Grandma, will you please stop spitting on my head.
If you have anything to say, shut up. A little spit won't kill you. Come on, we'll be late for the Mass.
We ran to the church. My mother panted along behind with Michael in her arms. We arrived at the
church just in time to see the last of the boys leaving the altar rail where the priest stood with the
chalice and the host, glaring at me. Then he placed on my tongue the wafer, the body and blood of
Jesus. At last, at last.
It's on my tongue. I draw it back.
It stuck.
I had God glued to the roof of my mouth. I could hear the master's voice, Don't let that host touch your
teeth for if you bite God in two you'll roast in hell for eternity. I tried to get God down with my tongue
but the priest hissed at me, Stop that clucking and get back to your seat. God was good. He melted and
I swallowed Him and now, at last, I was a member of the True Church, an official sinner.
When the Mass ended there they were at the door of the church, my mother with Michael in her arms,
my grandmother. They each hugged me to their bosoms. They each told me it was the happiest day of
my life. They each cried all over my head and after my grandmother's contribution that morning my
head was a swamp.
Mam, can I go now and make The Collection?
She said, After you have a little breakfast.
No, said Grandma. You're not making no collection till you have a proper First Communion breakfast
at my house. Come on.
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We followed her. She banged pots and rattled pans and complained that the whole world expected her
to be at their beck and call. I ate the egg, I ate the sausage, and when I reached for more sugar for my
tea she slapped my hand away.
Go easy with that sugar. Is it a millionaire you think I am? An American? Is it bedecked in glitterin'
jewelry you think I am? Smothered in fancy furs?
The food churned in my stomach. I gagged. I ran to her backyard and threw it all up. Out she came.
Look at what he did. Thrun up his First Communion breakfast. Thrun up the body and blood of Jesus. I
have God in me backyard. What am I goin' to do? I'll take him to the Jesuits for they know the sins of
the Pope himself.
She dragged me through the streets of Limerick. She told the neighbors and passing strangers about
God in her backyard. She pushed me into the confession box.
In the name of the Father, the Son, the Holy Ghost. Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It's a day since
my last confession.
A day? And what sins have you committed in a day, my child?
I overslept. I nearly missed my First Communion. My grandmother said I have standing up, North of
Ireland, Presbyterian hair. I threw up my First Communion breakfast. Now Grandma says she has God
in her backyard and what should she do.
The priest is like the First Confession priest. He has the heavy breathing and the choking sounds.
Ah ... ah ... tell your grandmother to wash God away with a little water and for your penance say one
Hail Mary and one Our Father. Say a prayer for me and God bless you, my child.
Grandma and Mam were waiting close to the confession box. Grandma said, Were you telling jokes to
that priest in the confession box? If 'tis a thing I ever find out you were telling jokes to Jesuits I'll tear
the bloody kidneys outa you. Now what did he say about God in my backyard?
He said wash Him away with a little water, Grandma.
Holy water or ordinary water?
He didn't say, Grandma.
Well, go back and ask him.
But, Grandma ...
She pushed me back into the confessional.
Bless me, Father, for I have sinned, it's a minute since my last confession.
A minute! Are you the boy that was just here?
I am, Father.
What is it now?
My grandma says, Holy water or ordinary water?
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Ordinary water, and tell your grandmother not to be bothering me again.
I told her, Ordinary water, Grandma, and he said don't be bothering him again.
Don't be bothering him again. That bloody ignorant bogtrotter.
I asked Mam, Can I go now and make The Collection? I want to see James Cagney.
Grandma said, You can forget about The Collection and James Cagney because you're not a proper
Catholic the way you left God on the ground. Come on, go home.
Mam said, wait a minute. That's my son. That's my son on his First Communion day. He's going to see
James Cagney.
No he's not.
Yes he is.
Grandma said, Take him then to James Cagney and see if that will save his Presbyterian North of
Ireland American soul. Go ahead.
She pulled her shawl around her and walked away.
Mam said, God, it's getting very late for The Collection and you'll never see James Cagney. We'll go to
the Lyric Cinema and see if they'll let you in anyway in your First Communion suit. We met Mikey
Molloy on Barrington Street. He asked if I was going to the Lyric and I said I was trying. Trying? he
said. You don't have money? I was ashamed to say no but I had to and he said, That's all right. I'll get
you in. I'll create a diversion.
What's a diversion?
I have the money to go and when I get in I'll pretend to have the fit and the ticket man will be out of his
mind and you can slip in when I let out the big scream. I'll be watching the door and when I see you in
I'll have a miraculous recovery. That's a diversion. That's what I do to get my brothers in all the time.
Mam said, Oh, I don't know about that, Mikey. Wouldn't that be a sin and surely you wouldn't want
Frank to commit a sin on his Communion day.
Mikey said if there was a sin it would be on his soul and he wasn't a proper Catholic anyway so it
didn't matter. He let out his scream and I slipped in and sat next to Question Quigley and the ticket
man, Frank Goggin, was so worried over Mikey he never noticed. It was a thrilling film but sad in the
end because James Cagney was a public enemy and when they shot him they wrapped him in bandages
and threw him in the door, shocking his poor old Irish mother, and that was the end of my First
Communion day
http://www.bookbrowse.com/excerpts/index.cfm?book_number=202
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Listening Days
by Terry Tempest Williams
It's the hardest thing I've ever had to do--" says my grandfather Jack. "But everyone goes through it."
He shrugs his shoulders and lifts his eyebrows. "If you sit here long enough eventually you leave
with a philosophy."
Now, after many months of frailty, my grandfather has stopped eating. Call it the hunger strike of the
elderly, their last act of control. He waits. We wait. The days slowly pass in autumn.
"I am a falling leaf on our family tree," he tells my cousin and me, his veined hand swaying back and
forth in a downward motion.
We savor his words, desperate to know something of his ninety-one years. My grandfather is not a
verbal man. He prefers listening, his blue eyes steady.
In 1923, J. H. Tempest, Jr. received his amateur radio operator's license. W7JOE has been his call
name for almost seventy-five years. He was the youngest "ham" in Utah, and now he is the oldest.
When we were growing up in our grandparents' home, Jack was always in his room sitting in the
swayback chair tucked between his radios, listening. He was dwarfed by the huge machines. The
static, the Martian-like voices speaking from the metal boxes day and night, taught us that there was
a larger world outside, a world we didn't have access to but our grandfather did.
His conversations on air required no eye contact, only a turn of hand, fingers manipulating dials,
scanning voices until a tone or an idea stopped him. He would roll the black dial back and forth,
sharpening the frequency until the band was clear. Then he would listen. He would enter in when he
wanted to and leave when he was no longer interested.
I use the past tense because Jack has stopped listening to his radio. My grandmother always told us
that when Jack quit his radio he would be dead. Jack is not dead.
Our grandfather is breathing. We sit in his bedroom, my cousin and I, noting the rise and fall of his
chest beneath the down comforter. His eyes are open, staring at the ceiling.
"What are you thinking, Jack?" I ask as I rub his arm that is more bone than muscle.
"I'm not thinking, period. I'm a blank."
"So you're just existing?"
"That's right. I don't want to think." He takes his hand, makes a straight line in the air. "I'm flat."
He is flat in bed. He turns to us. "You wouldn't be asking me these questions if you were facing what
I am. You'd choose to be a blank too. If you think too much you can make yourself crazy."
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"Zen masters spend a lifetime striving for an empty mind," I say smiling.
He lies in bed like a corpse with his mouth open. My cousin leaves to return to her new baby boy. I
close my eyes and listen to Jack's breaths. They have a steady underground surge, like a tranquil sea.
While he sleeps, I sit nearby reading Krishnamurti's Journal, one of my grandmother's books. In the
late sixties, Jack accompanied her to Ojai to hear Krishnamurti speak. I am struck by a particular
passage:
To be full of knowledge breeds endless misery. The demand for expression, with its frustrations and
pains, is that man who walks.... Sorrow is the movement of that loneliness.... September 15, 1973... It
was a marvelous morning and you could have walked on endlessly, never feeling the steep hills.
There was a perfume in the air, clear and strong. There was no one on that path, coming down or
going up. You were alone with those dark pines and the rushing waters.... There was no one to talk to
and there was no chattering of the mind. A magpie, white and black, flew by, disappearing into the
woods. The path led away from the noisy stream and the silence was absolute. It wasn't the silence
after the noise; it wasn't the silence that comes with the setting of the sun, nor that silence when the
mind dies down. It wasn't the silence of museums and churches but something totally unrelated to
time and space.... On these walks, with people or without them, any movement of thought was
absent. This is to be alone.
It is another day. "How are you this afternoon, Jack?" I ask, taking off my jacket and pulling up a
chair alongside his bed.
"Here," he replies.
He wants to know what the weather is outside, what day of the week it is, and if my husband is in
town.
I tell him it is a glorious blue sky, a bit chilly, quintessential October, and that the temperature
dropped below freezing last night.
"It's Thursday, Jack, and yes, Brooke is in town."
"Good," he says, closing his eyes.
We sit comfortably with the silence.
"Did you know the average person blinks eighteen to twenty times a minute?" Jack says suddenly.
"No, I didn't."
"And that a person who is working at a computer only blinks four to five times a minute. What's that
going to do to our eyesight?" he asks. "It seems to me, eventually you're going to strain something."
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I look at my grandfather who is lying on his back in bed staring at the ceiling. He rarely blinks at all
in these last days of his life. It make sense to me that his mind, as agile as it has always been, would
be contemplating the effects of technology.
"Where did you hear those statistics?" I ask.
"On the air," he says, "awhile back."
More silence.
"Something's not right."
"What do you mean?" I ask.
"I mean all this fuss about information on the Internet. We're losing primary contact with each other.
No more rubbing shoulders. No more shaking hands. We've got to have human contact and we're
doing away with it. Everyone is so busy. We want too much and in the process of getting it we miss
so much." He pauses. "It's lonely." He turns his head on the pillow and looks at me. "I just want to
hear your voices."
I think of all the voices on the radio he has spent a lifetime listening to, and the silence that must be
enveloping him now without his "rig."
"Jack, how did you become interested in radio?"
"I don't know," he says. "It was another way to reach people. I was always interested in striving for a
better signal, a cleaner, crisper, more powerful signal that could communicate with someone
somewhere, anywhere."
He pauses.
"I spend a lot of time wondering."
"Wondering?"
"Wondering about sound waves, how electronic waves keep moving outward until they become
fainter and fainter, wearing themselves out until they are overcome by something else. Someday
equipment will be able to pick these sound waves up. Nothing is ever lost. The sound is still there.
We just can't hear it."
"Hmmm..." I say, shaking my head.
Another silence follows us.
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"And I'll tell you another funny thing: you can electronically eliminate all manner of noise on the air-manmade noise--but you can't get rid of natural static, static or interference caused by thunder and
lightning, rainstorms, or snowstorms. Ham radio operators always pay attention to weather--light,
too. In the day, radio bands expand way out. At night they contract, shut down. You see that the sun
pulls the signals out while sunspots can cause blackouts altogether. So you wonder about these
things."
He closes his eyes and smiles.
"What?" I ask.
"I was just thinking that in spite of all our technologies, maybe we haven't progressed that far as
human beings. We still have the same fundamental needs. Sometimes I wonder if we have evolved at
all."
I sit by him for another hour or so, kiss his forehead, and drive home.
To wonder. To contemplate that which is never lost but continues to move outward forever, however
faint, until it is overcome by something else.
To wonder. To throw pebbles in pools and watch the concentric circles that reach the shore in waves.
Waves of water. Waves of electricity. Illumination. Imagination. To say "I love you" one day and
shout with rage on another. Our words are still moving, churning; this sea of spoken languages
oscillates, around us.
What do we hear?
Harold Shapero writes in The Musical Mind that "a great percentage of what is heard becomes
submerged in the unconscious and is subject to literal recall. "
If we in fact have a "tonal memory," what do the voices of our ancestors, our elders have to say to us
now? What sounds do we hold in our bodies and retrieve when necessary? What sounds disturb and
what sounds heal? Where do we store the tension of traffic, honking horns, or the hum of fluorescent
lights? How do we receive birdsong, the leg rubbings of crickets, the water music of trout?
What do we know?
I wonder. To wonder takes time. I walk in the hills behind our home. The leaves have fallen, leaf
litter, perfect for the shuffling of towhees. The supple grasses of summer have become knee-high
rattles. Ridge winds shake the tiny seedheads like gourds. I hear my grandfather's voice.
All sound requires patience; not just the ability to hear, but the capacity to listen, the awareness of
mind to discern a story. A magpie flies toward me and disappears in the oak thicket. He is relentless
in his cries. What does he know that I do not? What story is he telling? I love these birds, their long
iridescent tail feathers, their undulations in flight. Two more magpies join him. I sit on a flat boulder
to rest, pick up two stones and begin striking edges.
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What I know in my bones is that I forget to take time to remember what I know. The world is holy.
We are holy. All life is holy. Daily prayers are delivered on the lips of breaking waves, the
whisperings of grasses, the shimmering of leaves. We are animals, living, breathing organisms
engaged not only in our own evolution but the evolution of a species that has been gifted with
nascence. Nascence--to come into existence; to be born; to bring forth; the process of emerging.
Even in death we are being born. And it takes time.
I think about my grandfather, his desire for voices, to be held as he dies in the comfort of
conversation. Even if he rarely contributes to what is being said, his mind finds its own calm. To him
this is a form of music that allows him to remember he is not alone in the world. Our evolution is the
story of listening.
In the evening by firelight in their caves and rock shelters, the Neanderthals sometimes relaxed to the
sound of music after a hard day at the hunt. They took material at hand, a cave bear's thigh bone, and
created a flute. With such a simple instrument, these stocky, heavy browed Neanderthals, extinct
close relatives of humans, may have given expression to the fears, longings, and joys of their
prehistoric lives. (John Noble Wilford, "Playing of Flute May Have Graced Neanderthal Fire," The
New York Times)
A bone flutelike object was found at Divje Babe in northwestern Slovenia recently, dated somewhere
between forty-three thousand to eighty-two thousand years old. Dr. Ivan Turk, a paleontologist at the
Slovenian Academy of Sciences in Ljubjana, believes this is the first musical instrument ever to be
associated with Neanderthals. It is a piece of bear femur with four holes in a straight alignment.
Researchers say the bone flute may be the oldest known musical instrument.
I wonder about that cave, the fire that flickered and faded on damp walls as someone in the clan
played a flute. Were they a family? Neighbors? What were their dreams and inventions? Did they
know the long line of human beings that would follow their impulses to survive, even flourish in
moments of reverie?
Returning to my grandparents' home, I notice the fifty-foot antenna that rises over the roof. I recall
Jack telling us as children how important it was for the antenna to be grounded in the earth, that as
long as it was securely placed it could radiate signals into the air all over the world. Transmit and
receive. I walk into his dim room and place my hand on my grandfather's leg. Bone. Nothing lost.
Overcome by something else. Ways of knowing. My fingers wrap around bone and I feel his life
blowing through him.
John H. Tempest, Jr., passed away on December 15, 1996, peacefully at home in the company of
family.
http://arts.envirolink.org/literary_arts/TTWilliams_listening.html
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Six-Word Memoirs
Here are some examples of six -word memoirs from
http://www.smithmag.net/sixwords/
 "Haunting dad, spotlight mom, retrieving marriage."
– Nell Casey
 "Big hair, big heart, big hurry."
– Larry Smith
 "Took a left turn, then flew."
– Hillary Carlip
Now you…
1. Choose your favorite six -word short story and, in a Quick Write, tell what it
means to you. How powerful is the story that these six words relate?
2. Now you write a six-word memoir. Share your six-word memoir with the
class and/or go to http://www.smithmag.net/sixwords/ and enter your six word memoir in a competition to be included in a published book.
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Descriptive Writing: Definition and Traits
Definition:
A descriptive piece of writing often focuses a person, a place, a memory, an experience
or an object. It has the following traits:
Traits:
 Answers question: What is it like?
 Has a defined subject.
 Is organized by space, an aspect, or writer’s perspective.
 Has a sense of purpose.
 Uses strong visual images.
 Draws on five senses.
 Takes a stance.
 Includes practical and precise detail.
 Supports an underlying point using creative approaches.
 Sees through a new lens.
 Employs word choice and sentence structure that support mood.
 Uses literary devices.
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The Polyphemous Moth
"Everywhere, things snagged me. The visible world turned me curious to books; the books propelled
me reeling back to the world.
At school I saw a searing sight. It turned me to books; it turned me to jelly; it turned me much later, I
suppose, into an early version of a runaway, a scapegrace. It was only a freshly-hatched Polyphemus
moth crippled because its mason jar was too small.
The mason jar sat on the teacher's desk; the big moth emerged inside it. The moth had clawed a hole in
its hot cocoon and crawled out, as if agonizingly, over the course of an hour, one leg at a time; we
children watched around the desk, transfixed. After it emerged, the wet, mashed thing turned around
walking on the jar's green bottom, then painstakingly climbed the twig with which the jar was
furnished.
There at the twig's top, the moth shook its sodden clumps of wings. When it spread those wings - those
beautiful wings - blood would fill their veins, and the birth fluids on the wings' frail sheets would
harden to make them tough as sails. But the moth could not spread its wings wide at all; the jar was too
small. The wings could not fill, so they hardened while they were still crumpled from the cocoon. A
smaller moth could have spread its wings to their utmost in that mason jar, but the Polyphemus moth
was too big. Its gold furred body was almost as big as a mouse. Its brown, yellow, pink, and blue
wings would have extended six inches from tip to tip, if there had been no mason jar. It would have
been big as a wren.
The teacher let the deformed creature go. We all left the classroom and paraded outside behind the
teacher with pomp and circumstance. She bounced the moth from its jar and set it on the school's
asphalt driveway. The moth set out walking. It could only heave the golden wrinkly clumps where its
wings should have been; it could only crawl down the school driveway on its six frail legs. The moth
crawled down the driveway toward the rest of Shadyside, an area of fine houses, expensive apartments,
and fashionable shops. It crawled down the driveway because its shriveled wings were glued shut. It
crawled down the driveway toward Shadyside, one of several sections of town where people like me
were expected to settle after college, renting and apartment until they married one of the boys and
bought a house. I watched it go.
I knew that this particular moth, the big walking moth, could not travel more than a few more yards
before a bird or a cat began to eat it, or a car ran over it. Nevertheless, it was crawling with what
seemed wonderful vigor, as if, I thought at the time, it was still excited from being born. I watched it
go until the bell rang and I had to go in. I have told this story before, and may yet tell it again, to lay
the moth's ghost, for I still see it crawl down the broad black driveway, and I still see its golden wing
clumps heave."
(An American Childhood, by Annie Dillard, Harper & Row, 1987. pg. 160-161.)
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The Giant Waterbug
From Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard
A couple of summers ago I was walking along the edge of the island to see what I could see in the
water, and mainly to scare frogs. Frogs have an inelegant way of taking off from invisible positions on
the bank just ahead of your feet, in dire panic, emitting a froggy “Yike!” and splashing into the water.
Incredibly, this amused me, and, incredibly, it amuses me still. As I walked along the grassy edge of
the island, I got better and better at seeing frogs both in and out of the water. I learned to recognize,
slowing down, the difference in texture of the light reflected from mudbank, water, grass, or frog.
Frogs were flying all around me. At the end of the island I noticed a small green frog. He was exactly
half in and half out of the water, looking like a schematic diagram of an amphibian, and he didn't jump.
He didn't jump; I crept closer. At last I knelt on the island's winter-killed grass, lost, dumbstruck,
staring at the frog in the creek just four feet away. He was a very small frog, with wide, dull eyes. And
just as I looked at him, he slowly crumpled and began to sag. The spirit vanished from his eyes as if
snuffed. His skin emptied and drooped; his very skull seemed to collapse and settle like a kicked tent.
He was shrinking before my eyes like a deflating football. I watched the taut, glistening skin on his
shoulders ruck, and rumple, and fall. Soon, part of his skin, formless as a pricked balloon, lay in
floating folds like bright scum on top of the water: it was a monstrous and terrifying thing. I gaped,
bewildered, appalled. An oval shadow hung in the water behind the drained frog; then the shadow
glided away. The frogskin bag started to sink.
I had read about the giant water bug, but never seen one. “Giant water bug” is really the name of the
creature, which is an enormous, heavy-bodied brown true bug. It eats insects, tadpoles, fish, and frogs.
Its grasping forelegs are mighty and hooked inward. It seizes a victim with these legs, hugs it tight, and
paralyzes it with enzymes injected during a vicious bite. That one bite is the only bite it ever takes.
Through the puncture shoot the poisons that dissolve the victim's muscles and bones and organs—all
but the skin—and through it the giant water bug sucks out the victim's body, reduced to a juice. This
event is quite common in warm fresh water. The frog I saw was being sucked by a giant water bug. I
had been kneeling on the island grass; when the unrecognizable flap of frogskin settled on the creek
bottom, swaying, I stood up and brushed the knees of my pants. I couldn't catch my breath.
That it's rough out there and chancy is no surprise. Every live thing is a survivor on a kind of extended
emergency bivouac. But at the same time we are also created. In the Koran, Allah asks, “The heaven
and the earth and all in between, thinkest thou I made them injest?” It's a good question. What do we
think of the created universe, spanning an unthinkable void with an unthinkable profusion of forms? Or
what do we think of nothingness, those sickening reaches of time in either direction? If the giant water
bug was not made in jest, was it then made in earnest? Pascal uses a nice term to describe the notion of
the creator's, once having called for the universe, turning his back to it: Deus Absconditus. Is this what
we think happened? Was the sense of it there, and God absconded with it, ate it, like a wolf who
disappears round the edge of the house with the Thanksgiving turkey? “God is subtle,” Einstein said,
“but not malicious.” Again, Einstein said that “nature conceals her mystery by means of her essential
grandeur, not by her cunning.” It could be that God has not absconded but spread, as our vision and
understanding of the universe have spread, to a fabric of spirit and sense so grand and subtle, so
powerful in a new way, that we can only feel blindly of its hem. In making the thick darkness a
swaddling band for the sea, God “set bars and doors” and said, “Hitherto shalt thou come, but no
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further.” But have we come even that far? Have we rowed out to the thick darkness, or are we all
playing pinochle in the bottom of the boat?
Cruelty is a mystery, and the waste of pain. But if we describe a world to compass these things, a
world that is a long, brute game, then we bump against another mystery: the inrush of power and light,
the canary that sings on the skull. Unless all ages and races of men have been deluded by the same
mass hypnotist (who?), there seems to be such a thing as beauty, a grace wholly gratuitous. About five
years ago I saw a mockingbird make a straight vertical descent from the roof gutter of a four-story
building. It was an act as careless and spontaneous as the curl of a stem or the kindling of a star.
The mockingbird took a single step into the air and dropped. His wings were still folded against his
sides as though he were singing from a limb and not falling, accelerating thirty-two feet per second per
second, through empty air. Just a breath before he would have been dashed to the ground, he unfurled
his wings with exact, deliberate care, revealing the broad bars of white, spread his elegant, whitebanded tail, and so floated onto the grass. I had just rounded a corner when his insouciant step caught
my eye; there was no one else in sight. The fact of his free fall was like the old philosophical
conundrum about the tree that falls in the forest. The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are
performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.
Another time I saw another wonder: sharks off the Atlantic coast of Florida. There is a way a wave
rises above the ocean horizon, a triangular wedge against the sky. If you stand where the ocean breaks
on a shallow beach, you see the raised water in a wave is translucent, shot with lights. One late
afternoon at low tide a hundred big sharks passed the beach near the mouth of a tidal river in a feeding
frenzy. As each green wave rose from the churning water, it illuminated within itself the six- or eightfoot-long bodies of twisting sharks. The sharks disappeared as each wave rolled toward me; then a new
wave would swell above the horizon, containing in it, like scorpions in amber, sharks that roiled and
heaved. The sight held awesome wonders: power and beauty, grace tangled in a rapture with violence.
We don't know what's going on here. If these tremendous events are random combinations of matter
run amok, the yield of millions of monkeys at millions of typewriters, then what is it in us, hammered
out of those same typewriters, that they ignite? We don't know. Our life is a faint tracing on the surface
of mystery, like the idle, curved tunnels of leaf miners on the face of a leaf. We must somehow take a
wider view, look at the whole landscape, really see it, and describe what's going on here. Then we can
at least wail the right question into the swaddling band of darkness, or, if it comes to that, choir the
proper praise.
At the time of Lewis and Clark, setting the prairies on fire was a well-known signal that meant, “Come
down to the water.” It was an extravagant gesture, but we can't do less. If the landscape reveals one
certainty, it is that the extravagant gesture is the very stuff of creation. After the one extravagant
gesture of creation in the first place, the universe has continued to deal exclusively in extravagances,
flinging intricacies and colossi down aeons of emptiness, heaping profusions on profligacies with ever
fresh vigor. The whole show has been on fire from the word go. I come down to the water to cool my
eyes. But everywhere I look I see fire; that which isn't flint is tinder, and the whole world sparks and
flames.
Title: PILGRIM AT TINKER CREEK , By: Dillard, Annie, Literary Cavalcade, 00244511, Feb2002, Vol. 54, Issue 5
Database: Academic Search Premier
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Descriptive Writing Chart
Traits of
Descriptive Writing
Answers the question What is it like?
Has a defined subject.
Is organized by space, an aspect, or
writer’s perspective.
Has a sense of purpose.
Uses strong visual images.
Draws on five senses.
Takes a stance.
Includes practical and precise detail.
Supports underlying point using
creative approaches.
Seen through a new lens
Employs word choice and sentence
structure that support mood
Uses literary devices.
Appendix #26
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XXI.
THE LOOPHOLE OF RETREAT
A small shed had been added to my grandmother's house years ago. Some boards were laid across the
joists at the top, and between these boards and the roof was a very small garret, never occupied by any
thing but rats and mice. It was a pent roof, covered with nothing but shingles, according to the southern
custom for such buildings. The garret was only nine feet long and seven wide. The highest part was
three feet high, and sloped down abruptly to the loose board floor. There was no admission for either
light or air. My uncle Philip, who was a carpenter, had very skillfully made a concealed trap-door,
which communicated with the storeroom. He had been doing this while I was waiting in the swamp.
The storeroom opened upon a piazza. To this hole I was conveyed as soon as I entered the house. The
air was stifling; the darkness total. A bed had been spread on the floor. I could sleep quite comfortably
on one side; but the slope was so sudden that I could not turn on the other without hitting the room.
The rats and mice ran over my bed; but I was weary, and I slept such sleep as the wretched may, when
a tempest has passed over them. Morning came. I knew it only by the noises I heard; for in my small
den day and night were all the same. I suffered for air even more than for light. But I was not
comfortless. I heard the voices of my children. There was joy and there was sadness in the sound. It
made my tears flow. How I longed to speak to them! I was eager to look on their faces; but there was
no hole, no crack, through which I could peep. This continued darkness was oppressive. It seemed
horrible to sit or lie in a cramped position day after day, without one gleam of light. Yet I would have
chosen this, rather than my lot as a slave, though white people considered it an easy one; and it was so
compared with the fate of others. I was never cruelly overworked; I was never lacerated with the whip
from head to foot; I was never so beaten and bruised that I could not turn from one side to the other; I
never had my heel-strings cut to prevent my running away; I was never chained to a log and forced to
drag it about, while I toiled in the fields from morning till night; I was never branded with hot iron, or
torn by bloodhounds. On the contrary, I had always been kindly treated, and tenderly cared for, until I
came into the hands of Dr. Flint. I had never wished for freedom till then. But though my life in
slavery was comparatively devoid of hardships, God pity the woman who is compelled to lead such a
life!
My food was passed up to me through the trap-door my uncle had contrived; and my grandmother, my
uncle Phillip, and aunt Nancy would seize such opportunities as they could, to mount up there and chat
with me at the opening. But of course this was not safe in the daytime. It must all be done in darkness.
It was impossible for me to move in an erect position, but I crawled about my den for exercise. One
day I hit my head against something, and found it was a gimlet. My uncle had left it sticking there
when he made the trap-door. I was as rejoiced as Robinson Crusoe could have been at finding such a
treasure. It put a lucky thought into my head. I said to myself, "Now I will have some light. Now I will
see my children. " I did not dare to begin my work during the daytime, for fear of attracting attention.
But I groped round; and having found the side next the street, where I could frequently see my
children, I stuck the gimlet in and waited for evening, I bored three rows of holes, one above another;
then I bored out the interstices between. I thus succeeded in making one hole about an inch long and an
inch broad. I sat by it till late into the night, to enjoy the little whiff of air that floated in. In the
morning I watched for my children. The first person I saw in the street was Dr. Flint. I had a
shuddering, superstitious feeling that it was a bad omen. Several familiar faces passed by. At last I
heard the merry laugh of children, and presently two sweet little faces were looking up at me, as
though they knew I was there, and were conscious of the joy they imparted. How I longed to tell them I
was there!
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My condition was now a little improved. But for weeks I was tormented by hundreds of little red
insects, fine as a needle's point, that pierced through my skin, and produced an intolerable burning. The
good grandmother gave me herb teas and cooling medicines, and finally I got rid of them. The heat of
my den was intense, for nothing but thin shingles protected me from the scorching summer's sun. But I
had my consolations. Through my peeping-hole I could watch the children, and when they were near
enough, I could hear their talk. Aunt Nancy brought me all the news she could hear at Dr. Flint's. From
her I learned that the doctor had written to New York to a colored woman, who had been born and
raised in our neighborhood, and had breathed his contaminating atmosphere. He offered her a reward if
she could find out any thing about me. I know not what was the nature of her reply; but he soon after
started for New York in haste, saying to his family that he had business of importance to transact. I
peeped at him as he passed on his way to the steamboat. It was a satisfaction to have miles of land and
water between us, even for a little while; and it was a still greater satisfaction to know that he believed
me to be in the Free States. My little den seemed less dreary than it had done. He returned, as he did
from his former journey to New York, without obtaining any satisfactory information. When he passed
our house next morning, Benny was standing at the gate. He had heard them say that he had gone to
find me, and he called out, "'Dr. Flint, did you bring my mother home? I want to see her. " The doctor
stamped his foot at him in a rage, and exclaimed, "Get out of the way, you little damned rascal! If you
don't, I'll cut off your head. "
Benny ran terrified into the house, saying, "'You can't put me in jail again. I don't belong to you now."
It was well that the wind carried the words away from the doctor's ear. I told my grandmother of it,
when we had our next conference at the trap-door; and begged of her not to allow the children to be
impertinent to the irascible old man.
Autumn came, with a pleasant abatement of heat. My eyes had become accustomed to the dim light,
and by holding my book or work in a certain position near the aperture I contrived to read and sew.
That was a great relief to the tedious monotony of my life. But when winter came, the cold penetrated
through the thin shingle roof, and I was dreadfully chilled. The winters there are not so long, or so
severe, as in northern latitudes; but the houses are not built to shelter from cold, and my little den was
peculiarly comfortless. The kind grandmother brought me bedclothes and warm drinks. Often I was
obliged to lie in bed all day to keep comfortable; but with all my precautions, my shoulders and feet
were frostbitten. O, those long, gloomy days, with no object for my eye to rest upon, and no thoughts
to occupy my mind, except the dreary past and the uncertain future! I was thankful when there came a
day sufficiently mild for me to wrap myself up and sit at the loophole to watch the passers by.
Southerners have the habit of stopping and talking in the streets, and I heard many conversations not
intended to meet my ears. I heard slave-hunters planning how to catch some poor fugitive. Several
times I heard allusions to Dr. Flint, myself, and the history of my children, who, perhaps, were playing
near the gate. One would say, "I wouldn't move my little finger to catch her, as old Flint's property."
Another would say, "I'll catch any nigger for the reward. A man ought to have what belongs to him, if
he is a damned brute." The opinion was often expressed that I was in the Free States. Very rarely did
any one suggest that I might be in the vicinity. Had the least suspicion rested on my grandmother's
house, it would have been burned to the ground. But it was the last place they thought of. Yet there
was no place, where slavery existed, that could have afforded me so good a place of concealment.
Dr. Flint and his family repeatedly tried to coax and bribe my children to tell something they had heard
said about me. One day the doctor took them into a shop, and offered them some bright little silver
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pieces and gay handkerchiefs if they would tell where their mother was. Ellen shrank away from him,
and would not speak; but Benny spoke up, and said, "Dr. Flint, I don't know where my mother is. I
guess she's in New York; and when you go there again, I wish you'd ask her to come home, for I want
to see her; but if you put her in jail, or tell her you'll cut her head off, I'll tell her to go right back."
http://xroads.virginia.edu/~HYPER/Jacobs/hjch21.htm
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Life Study Project: Portrait of the Subject in Their Element
Overview: Whether you are writing about Muhammed Ali or Mother Teresa, your grandfather or a
cherished aunt, your subject is most alive, is his or her truest self in a particular situation. This is when
you see what they are all about, what makes them unique or simply reveals their excellence. If it’s an
artist, it is at some point during the creative process; for mathematicians or scientists, it might be at the
chalkboard, or simply while thinking through an idea. Einstein, for example, used to write all over the
table cloths while illustrating his ideas, moving plates and glasses to the side to make room. (Waiters
would then fight over who got to keep the great scientist’s table cloth.) Whatever the subject of your
life study does, there is an element, a situation in which he or she is most at home. Your job is to figure
out what that situation is and show your subject in it.
You are not writing a report or a summary; you are, instead, writing a word portrait, one that shows
your subject doing what it is he or she does best. To write this portrait successfully, you must think
carefully about the verbs and nouns needed to evoke them. How do you describe the wrist movements
or hand gestures of a painter, sculptor, or composer so we can see them when we read? What words
will capture the intensity of the person’s eyes or the sound of his or her voice as the drama of his or her
life plays out? Finally, what is that setting—and how can you help your reader see it?—in which you
must describe the person at work if you are to be true to your subject?
Exemplars: Consider this excerpt written by Paul Krupnov, a freshman writing about the
mathematician John Nash. I have italicized Paul’s verbs to draw attention to them as they are the key
to his successful writing about Nash:
…He [John Nash] scrambles through [his papers], searching for a specific one,
the one where he made a rather important discovery. He picks up his pen, as if to
start writing again, but instead scratches his relatively large ears, still staring at
the many sheets of paper lying on the table. Finally, he finds it, and moving his
eyes back and forth along the many lines, he finds his error. He quietly murmurs
something to himself, reaches into the left pocket of his dark-colored jacket and
takes out a tiny piece of chalk. He once again murmurs something to himself,
something which obviously displeases him. Then, he stands up and turns around
to face an open window, one that is almost entirely covered in white writing. He
quickly erases the x2 from a previous equation, and in its place writes x3.
Seemingly pleased, he nods his head in contentment, and sits back down
Guidelines: Your "portrait" should:
 Use active, precise verbs that help the reader see your subject.
 Use concrete, precise nouns so the reader can, again, see what you are describing.
 Include little or no exposition or background; save that for the full report or your presentation.
 Include dialogue so we can hear your subject speaking, unless part of his or her character is
their silence, in which case you should find a way to represent that.
 Focus on a specific moment, in some cases only a minute long. Film the person with words.
Make sure that your portrait represents your subject, his or her character, the work and idea that
made you want to study the person in the first place.
 Consist of at least one page typed, double-spaced, 12-point font, serif font.
http://www.englishcompanion.com/assignments/projects/lifestudyprofile2.htm
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Getting the Most From Discussions and Presentations
Group Discussion Guidelines
How to get the most out of
listening…
 Be attentive and civil.
 Monitor message for clarity and
understanding.
 Gain the floor politely.
 Pose appropriate questions.
 Ask relevant questions.
 Tolerate lack of consensus.
 Provide verbal and nonverbal
feedback.
 Notice cues such as change of
pace and emphasis that indicate
a new point is about to be
made.
 Take notes to organize essential
information.
How to be a good team member…
 Fulfill roles and
responsibilities.
What to do in discussions…
 Pose questions.
 Listen to others.
 Pose relevant questions.
 Contribute ideas.
 Give and follow instructions.
 Reflect on and revise initial
responses.
 Acknowledge and build on
ideas of others.
 Offer dissent courteously.
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Professional Writers Descriptions of Places
The Kitchen* by Alfred Kazin
The kitchen held our lives together. My mother worked in it all day long, we ate in it almost all meals
except the Passover seder, I did my homework and first writing at the kitchen table, and in winter I
often had a bed made up for me on three kitchen chairs near the stove. On the wall just over the table
hung a long horizontal mirror that sloped to a ship's prow at each end and was lined in cherry wood. It
took up the whole wall, and drew every object in the kitchen to itself. The walls were a fiercely
stippled whitewash, so often rewhitened by my father in slack seasons that the paint looked as if it had
been squeezed and cracked into the walls. A large electric bulb hung down the center of the kitchen at
the end of a chain that had been hooked into the ceiling; the old gas ring and key still jutted out of the
wall like antlers. In the corner next to the toilet was the sink at which we washed, and the square tub in
which my mother did our clothes. Above it, tacked to the shelf on which were pleasantly ranged
square, blue-bordered white sugar and spice jars, hung calendars from the Public National Bank on
Pitkin Avenue and the Minsker Progressive Branch of the Workmen's Circle; receipts for the payment
of insurance premiums, and household bills on a spindle; two little boxes engraved with Hebrew
letters. One of these was for the poor, the other to buy back the Land of Israel. Each spring a bearded
little man would suddenly appear in our kitchen, salute us with a hurried Hebrew blessing, empty the
boxes (sometimes with a sidelong look of disdain if they were not full), hurriedly bless us again for
remembering our less fortunate Jewish brothers and sisters, and so take his departure until the next
spring, after vainly trying to persuade my mother to take still another box. We did occasionally
remember to drop coins in the boxes, but this was usually only on the dreaded morning of "midterms"
and final examinations, because my mother thought it would bring me luck.
Adapted from a paragraph in A Walker in the City, by Alfred Kazin (Harvest, 1969).
Subway Station* by Gilbert Highet
Standing in the subway station, I began to appreciate the place--almost to enjoy it. First of all, I looked
at the lighting: a row of meager light bulbs, unscreened, yellow, and coated with filth, stretched toward
the black mouth of the tunnel, as though it were a bolt hole in an abandoned coal mine. Then I
lingered, with zest, on the walls and ceilings: lavatory tiles which had been white about fifty years ago,
and were now encrusted with soot, coated with the remains of a dirty liquid which might be either
atmospheric humidity mingled with smog or the result of a perfunctory attempt to clean them with cold
water; and, above them, gloomy vaulting from which dingy paint was peeling off like scabs from an
old wound, sick black paint leaving a leprous white undersurface. Beneath my feet, the floor a
nauseating dark brown with black stains upon it which might be stale oil or dry chewing gum or some
worse defilement: it looked like the hallway of a condemned slum building. Then my eye traveled to
the tracks, where two lines of glittering steel--the only positively clean objects in the whole place--ran
out of darkness into darkness above an unspeakable mass of congealed oil, puddles of dubious liquid,
and a mishmash of old cigarette packets, mutilated and filthy newspapers, and the debris that filtered
down from the street above through a barred grating in the roof.
* Adapted from a paragraph in Talents and Geniuses, by Gilbert Highet (Oxford UP, 1957).
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Mabel's Lunch* by Wright Morris
Mabel's Lunch stood along one wall of a wide room, once a pool hall, with the empty cue racks along
the back side. Beneath the racks were wire-back chairs, one of them piled with magazines, and
between every third or fourth chair a brass spittoon. Near the center of the room, revolving slowly as if
the idle air was water, a large propeller fan suspended from the pressed tin ceiling. It made a humming
sound, like a telephone pole, or an idle, throbbing locomotive, and although the switch cord vibrated it
was cluttered with flies. At the back of the room, on the lunch side, an oblong square was cut in the
wall and a large woman with a soft, round face peered through at us. After wiping her hands, she
placed her heavy arms, as if they tired her, on the shelf.
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Adapted from a paragraph in The World in the Attic, by Wright Morris (Scribner's, 1949).
http://grammar.about.com/od/developingparagraphs/a/placedesc.htm
"The Santa Ana," By Joan Didion
“Uneasy In Los Angeles”
There is something uneasy in the Los Angeles air this afternoon, some unnatural stillness, some
tension. What it means is that tonight a Santa Ana will begin to blow, a hot wind from the northeast
whining down through the Cajon and San Gorgonio Passes, blowing up sand storms out along Route
66, drying the hills and the nerves to flash point. For a few days now we will see smoke back in the
canyons, and hear sirens in the night. I have neither heard nor read that a Santa Ana is due, but I know
it, and almost everyone I have seen today knows it too. We know it because we feel it. The baby
frets. The maid sulks. I rekindle a waning argument with the telephone company, then cut my losses
and lie down, given over to whatever it is in the air. To live with the Santa Ana is to accept,
consciously or unconsciously, a deeply mechanistic view of human behavior.
”I Recall Being Told”
I recall being told, when I first moved to Los Angeles and was living on an isolated beach, that the
Indians would throw themselves into the sea when the bad wind blew. I could see why. The Pacific
turned ominously glossy during a Santa Ana period, and one woke in the night troubled not only by the
peacocks screaming in the olive trees but by the eerie absence of surf. The heat was surreal. The sky
had a yellow cast, the kind of light sometimes called "earthquake weather." My only neighbor would
not come out of her house for days, and there were no lights at night, and her husband roamed the
place with a machete. One day he would tell me that he had heard a trespasser, the next a rattlesnake.
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“On Nights Like That”
"On nights like that," Raymond Chandler once wrote about the Santa Ana, "every booze party ends in
a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks. Anything
can happen." That was the kind of wind it was. I did not know then that there was any basis for the
effect it had on all of us, but it turns out to be another of those cases in which science bears out folk
wisdom. The Santa Ana, which is named for one of the canyons it rushers through, is foehn wind, like
the foehn of Austria and Switzerland and the hamsin of Israel. There are a number of persistent
malevolent winds, perhaps the best know of which are the mistral of France and the Mediterranean
sirocco, but a foehn wind has distinct characteristics: it occurs on the leeward slope of a mountain
range and, although the air begins as a cold mass, it is warmed as it comes down the mountain and
appears finally as a hot dry wind. Whenever and wherever foehn blows, doctors hear about headaches
and nausea and allergies, about "nervousness," about "depression." In Los Angeles some teachers do
not attempt to conduct formal classes during a Santa Ana, because the children become
unmanageable. In Switzerland the suicide rate goes up during the foehn, and in the courts of some
Swiss cantons the wind is considered a mitigating circumstance for crime. Surgeons are said to watch
the wind, because blood does not clot normally during a foehn. A few years ago an Israeli physicist
discovered that not only during such winds, but for the ten or twelve hours which precede them, the air
carries an unusually high ratio of positive to negative ions. No one seems to know exactly why that
should be; some talk about friction and others suggest solar disturbances. In any case the positive ions
are there, and what an excess of positive ions does, in the simplest terms, is make people unhappy.
One cannot get much more mechanistic than that.
“Easterners”
Easterners commonly complain that there is no "weather" at all in Southern California, that the days
and the seasons slip by relentlessly, numbingly bland. That is quite misleading. In fact the climate is
characterized by infrequent but violent extremes: two periods of torrential subtropical rains which
continue for weeks and wash out the hills and send subdivisions sliding toward the sea; about twenty
scattered days a year of the Santa Ana, which, with its incendiary dryness, invariably means fire. At
the first prediction of a Santa Ana, the Forest Service flies men and equipment from northern
California into the southern forests, and the Los Angeles Fire Department cancels its ordinary nonfirefighting routines. The Santa Ana caused Malibu to burn as it did in 1956, and Bel Air in 1961, and
Santa Barbara in 1964. In the winter of 1966-67 eleven men were killed fighting a Santa Ana fire that
spread through the San Gabriel Mountains.
“Figures In Local Imagination”
It is hard for people who have not lived in Los Angeles to realize how radically the Santa Ana figures
in the local imagination. The city burning is Los Angeles's deepest image of itself. Nathaniel West
perceived that, in The Day of the Locust, and at the time of the 1965 Watts riots what struck the
imagination most indelibly were the fires. For days one could drive the Harbor Freeway and see the
city on fire, just as we had always known it would be in the end. Los Angeles weather is the weather
of catastrophe, of apocalypse, and, just as the reliably long and bitter winters of New England
determine the way life is lived there, so the violence and the unpredictability of the Santa Ana affect
the entire quality of life in Los Angeles, accentuate its impermanence, its unreliability. The winds
shows us how close to the edge we are.
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“Front-Page News”
Just to watch the front-page news out of Los Angeles during a Santa Ana is to get very close to what it
is about the place. The longest single Santa Ana period in recent years was in 1957, and it lasted not
the usual three or four days but fourteen days, from November 21 until December 4. On the first day
25,000 acres of the San Gabriel Mountains were burning, with gusts reaching 100 miles an hour. In
town, the wind reached Force 12, or hurricane force, on the Beaufort Scale; oil derricks were toppled
and people ordered off the downtown streets to avoid injury from flying objects. On November 22 the
fire in the San Gabriels was out of control. On November 24 six people were killed in automobile
accidents, and by the end of the week the Los Angeles Times was keeping a box score of traffic
deaths. On November 26 a prominent Pasadena attorney, depressed about money, shot and killed his
wife, their two sons and himself. On November 27 a South Gate divorcée, twenty-two, was murdered
and thrown from a moving car. On November 30 the San Gabriel fire was still out of control, and the
wind in town was blowing eighty miles an hour. On the first day of December four people died
violently, and on the third the wind began to break.
Excerpts from Slouching towards Bethlehem, © by Joan Didion.
http://falcon.tamucc.edu/~tmurphy/writers/Ellis/ANA.HTML#There%20is%20something%20uneasy
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Trait Chart of Descriptive Writing
Passages/texts
Answers the
question What is
it like?
Text One
Text Two
Text Three
Text Four
Has a defined
subject.
Is organized by
space, an aspect,
or the writer’s
perspective.
Has a sense of
purpose.
Uses strong
visual images.
Draws on five
senses.
Takes a stance.
Includes
practical and
precise detail.
Supports an
underlying point
using creative
approaches.
Sees through a
new lens.
Employs word
choice and
sentence
structure that
support mood.
Uses literary
devices.
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Painting a Picture with Words: Descriptive Writing
5
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Tangible—reach and touch
it.
Etched with sure strokes.
Seen through a discerning
eye.
Irrefutable.
Lives and breathes.
Fine brush strokes.
Doesn’t miss a trick.
What matters most?
Distinct.
Attentive to telling details.
Captures the quintessential.
True to the original.
Graphic.
“You had to be there”
moments.
Precise.
Selective.
In focus.
Notices everything.
3
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1
The quick once-over.
Broad brushstrokes—
sweeping details.
Hints at critical details.
Never gets too close.
A light sketch.
Shows the man in the coat—
but not the tarnish on the
buttons.
Coming into focus.
General.
Panoramic.
Mix of critical and trivial.
Just out of reach.
The big picture.
Generic.
Partly in shadow. Partly
illuminated.
Notices the obvious.
Readily foretold.
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Details blurry or lost.
Paints outside the lines.
Insubstantial.
Obfuscated.
Seen through the fog.
Abstract.
Bodiless.
Misses even the obvious.
Out of focus.
Faint, colorless.
Holes in the canvas.
Nebulous.
Unanswered questions.
Reader struggles for clues.
Imprecise.
Feeble.
Clouded.
Fuzzy.
Misty
www.intranet.cps.k12.il.us/Assessments/Ideas_and_Rubrics/Rubric_Bank/WritingRubrics.pdf
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YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING by Joan Didion
Chapter 1
Life changes fast.
Life changes in the instant.
You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends.
The question of self-pity.
Those were the first words I wrote after it happened. The computer dating on the Microsoft Word file
("Notes on change.doc") reads "May 20, 2004, 11:11 p.m.," but that would have been a case of my
opening the file and reflexively pressing save when I closed it. I had made no changes to that file in
May. I had made no changes to that file since I wrote the words, in January 2004, a day or two or three
after the fact.
For a long time I wrote nothing else.
Life changes in the instant.
The ordinary instant.
At some point, in the interest of remembering what seemed most striking about what had happened, I
considered adding those words, "the ordinary instant." I saw immediately that there would be no need
to add the word "ordinary," because there would be no forgetting it: the word never left my mind. It
was in fact the ordinary nature of everything preceding the event that prevented me from truly
believing it had happened, absorbing it, incorporating it, getting past it. I recognize now that there was
nothing unusual in this: confronted with sudden disaster we all focus on how unremarkable the
circumstances were in which the unthinkable occurred, the clear blue sky from which the plane fell, the
routine errand that ended on the shoulder with the car in flames, the swings where the children were
playing as usual when the rattlesnake struck from the ivy. "He was on his way home from work --happy, successful, healthy --- and then, gone," I read in the account of a psychiatric nurse whose
husband was killed in a highway accident. In 1966 I happened to interview many people who had been
living in Honolulu on the morning of December 7, 1941; without exception, these people began their
accounts of Pearl Harbor by telling me what an "ordinary Sunday morning" it had been. "It was just an
ordinary beautiful September day," people still say when asked to describe the morning in New York
when American Airlines 11 and United Airlines 175 got flown into the World Trade towers. Even the
report of the 9/11 Commission opened on this insistently premonitory and yet still dumbstruck
narrative note: "Tuesday, September 11, 2001, dawned temperate and nearly cloudless in the eastern
United States."
"And then --- gone." In the midst of life we are in death, Episcopalians say at the graveside. Later I
realized that I must have repeated the details of what happened to everyone who came to the house in
those first weeks, all those friends and relatives who brought food and made drinks and laid out plates
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on the dining room table for however many people were around at lunch or dinner time, all those who
picked up the plates and froze the leftovers and ran the dishwasher and filled our (I could not yet think
my) otherwise empty house even after I had gone into the bedroom (our bedroom, the one in which
there still lay on a sofa a faded terrycloth XL robe bought in the 1970s at Richard Carroll in Beverly
Hills) and shut the door. Those moments when I was abruptly overtaken by exhaustion are what I
remember most clearly about the first days and weeks. I have no memory of telling anyone the details,
but I must have done so, because everyone seemed to know them. At one point I considered the
possibility that they had picked up the details of the story from one another, but immediately rejected
it: the story they had was in each instance too accurate to have been passed from hand to hand. It had
come from me.
Another reason I knew that the story had come from me was that no version I heard included the
details I could not yet face, for example the blood on the living room floor that stayed there until José
came in the next morning and cleaned it up.
José. Who was part of our household. Who was supposed to be flying to Las Vegas later that day,
December 31, but never went. José was crying that morning as he cleaned up the blood. When I first
told him what had happened he had not understood. Clearly I was not the ideal teller of this story,
something about my version had been at once too offhand and too elliptical, something in my tone had
failed to convey the central fact in the situation (I would encounter the same failure later when I had to
tell Quintana), but by the time José saw the blood he understood.
I had picked up the abandoned syringes and ECG electrodes before he came in that morning but I
could not face the blood.
In outline.
It is now, as I begin to write this, the afternoon of October 4, 2004.
Nine months and five days ago, at approximately nine o'clock on the evening of December 30, 2003,
my husband, John Gregory Dunne, appeared to (or did) experience, at the table where he and I had just
sat down to dinner in the living room of our apartment in New York, a sudden massive coronary event
that caused his death. Our only child, Quintana, had been for the previous five nights unconscious in an
intensive care unit at Beth Israel Medical Center's Singer Division, at that time a hospital on East End
Avenue (it closed in August 2004) more commonly known as "Beth Israel North" or "the old Doctors'
Hospital," where what had seemed a case of December flu sufficiently severe to take her to an
emergency room on Christmas morning had exploded into pneumonia and septic shock. This is my
attempt to make sense of the period that followed, weeks and then months that cut loose any fixed idea
I had ever had about death, about illness, about probability and luck, about good fortune and bad, about
marriage and children and memory, about grief, about the ways in which people do and do not deal
with the fact that life ends, about the shallowness of sanity, about life itself. I have been a writer my
entire life. As a writer, even as a child, long before what I wrote began to be published, I developed a
sense that meaning itself was resident in the rhythms of words and sentences and paragraphs, a
technique for withholding whatever it was I thought or believed behind an increasingly impenetrable
polish. The way I write is who I am, or have become, yet this is a case in which I wish I had instead of
words and their rhythms a cutting room, equipped with an Avid, a digital editing system on which I
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could touch a key and collapse the sequence of time, show you simultaneously all the frames of
memory that come to me now, let you pick the takes, the marginally different expressions, the variant
readings of the same lines. This is a case in which I need more than words to find the meaning. This is
a case in which I need whatever it is I think or believe to be penetrable, if only for myself.
Chapter 2
December 30, 2003, a Tuesday.
We had seen Quintana in the sixth-floor ICU at Beth Israel North.
We had come home.
We had discussed whether to go out for dinner or eat in.
I said I would build a fire, we could eat in.
I built the fire, I started dinner, I asked John if he wanted a drink.
I got him a Scotch and gave it to him in the living room, where he was reading in the chair by the fire
where he habitually sat.
The book he was reading was by David Fromkin, a bound galley of Europe's Last Summer: Who
Started the Great War in 1914?
I finished getting dinner, I set the table in the living room where, when we were home alone, we could
eat within sight of the fire. I find myself stressing the fire because fires were important to us. I grew up
in California, John and I lived there together for twenty-four years, in California we heated our houses
by building fires. We built fires even on summer evenings, because the fog came in. Fires said we were
home, we had drawn the circle, we were safe through the night. I lit the candles. John asked for a
second drink before sitting down. I gave it to him. We sat down. My attention was on mixing the salad.
John was talking, then he wasn't.
At one point in the seconds or minute before he stopped talking he had asked me if I had used singlemalt Scotch for his second drink. I had said no, I used the same Scotch I had used for his first drink.
"Good," he had said. "I don't know why but I don't think you should mix them." At another point in
those seconds or that minute he had been talking about why World War One was the critical event
from which the entire rest of the twentieth century flowed.
I have no idea which subject we were on, the Scotch or World War One, at the instant he stopped
talking.
I only remember looking up. His left hand was raised and he was slumped motionless. At first I
thought he was making a failed joke, an attempt to make the difficulty of the day seem manageable.
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I remember saying Don't do that.
When he did not respond my first thought was that he had started to eat and choked. I remember trying
to lift him far enough from the back of the chair to give him the Heimlich. I remember the sense of his
weight as he fell forward, first against the table, then to the floor. In the kitchen by the telephone I had
taped a card with the New York --- Presbyterian ambulance numbers. I had not taped the numbers by
the telephone because I anticipated a moment like this. I had taped the numbers by the telephone in
case someone in the building needed an ambulance.
Someone else.
I called one of the numbers. A dispatcher asked if he was breathing. I said Just come. When the
paramedics came I tried to tell them what had happened but before I could finish they had transformed
the part of the living room where John lay into an emergency department. One of them (there were
three, maybe four, even an hour later I could not have said) was talking to the hospital about the
electrocardiogram they seemed already to be transmitting. Another was opening the first or second of
what would be many syringes for injection. (Epinephrine? Lidocaine? Procainamide? The names came
to mind but I had no idea from where.) I remember saying that he might have choked. This was
dismissed with a finger swipe: the airway was clear. They seemed now to be using defibrillating
paddles, an attempt to restore a rhythm. They got something that could have been a normal heartbeat
(or I thought they did, we had all been silent, there was a sharp jump), then lost it, and started again.
"He's still fibbing," I remember the one on the telephone saying.
"V-fibbing," John's cardiologist said the next morning when he called from Nantucket. "They would
have said 'V-fibbing.' V for ventricular."
Maybe they said "V-fibbing" and maybe they did not. Atrial fibrillation did not immediately or
necessarily cause cardiac arrest. Ventricular did. Maybe ventricular was the given.
I remember trying to straighten out in my mind what would happen next. Since there was an
ambulance crew in the living room, the next logical step would be going to the hospital. It occurred to
me that the crew could decide very suddenly to go to the hospital and I would not be ready. I would not
have in hand what I needed to take. I would waste time, get left behind. I found my handbag and a set
of keys and a summary John's doctor had made of his medical history. When I got back to the living
room the paramedics were watching the computer monitor they had set up on the floor. I could not see
the monitor so I watched their faces. I remember one glancing at the others. When the decision was
made to move it happened very fast. I followed them to the elevator and asked if I could go with them.
They said they were taking the gurney down first, I could go in the second ambulance. One of them
waited with me for the elevator to come back up. By the time he and I got into the second ambulance
the ambulance carrying the gurney was pulling away from the front of the building. The distance from
our building to the part of New York --- Presbyterian that used to be New York Hospital is six
crosstown blocks. I have no memory of sirens. I have no memory of traffic. When we arrived at the
emergency entrance to the hospital the gurney was already disappearing into the building. A man was
waiting in the driveway. Everyone else in sight was wearing scrubs. He was not. "Is this the wife," he
said to the driver, then turned to me. "I'm your social worker," he said, and I guess that is when I must
have known.
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“I opened the door and I seen the man in the dress greens and I knew. I immediately knew." This was
what the mother of a nineteen-year-old killed by a bomb in Kirkuk said on an HBO documentary quoted
by Bob Herbert in The New York Times on the morning of November 12, 2004. "But I thought that if, as
long as I didn't let him in, he couldn't tell me. And then it --- none of that would've happened. So he kept
saying, 'Ma'am, I need to come in.' And I kept telling him, 'I'm sorry, but you can't come in.' "
When I read this at breakfast almost eleven months after the night with the ambulance and the social
worker I recognized the thinking as my own.
Inside the emergency room I could see the gurney being pushed into a cubicle, propelled by more
people in scrubs. Someone told me to wait in the reception area. I did. There was a line for admittance
paperwork. Waiting in the line seemed the constructive thing to do. Waiting in the line said that there
was still time to deal with this, I had copies of the insurance cards in my handbag, this was not a hospital
I had ever negotiated --- New York Hospital was the Cornell part of New York --- Presbyterian, the part
I knew was the Columbia part, Columbia-Presbyterian, at 168th and Broadway, twenty minutes away at
best, too far in this kind of emergency --- but I could make this unfamiliar hospital work, I could be
useful, I could arrange the transfer to Columbia-Presbyterian once he was stabilized. I was fixed on the
details of this imminent transfer to Columbia (he would need a bed with telemetry, eventually I could
also get Quintana transferred to Columbia, the night she was admitted to Beth Israel North I had written
on a card the beeper numbers of several Columbia doctors, one or another of them could make all this
happen) when the social worker reappeared and guided me from the paperwork line into an empty room
off the reception area. "You can wait here," he said. I waited. The room was cold, or I was. I wondered
how much time had passed between the time I called the ambulance and the arrival of the paramedics. It
had seemed no time at all (a mote in the eye of God was the phrase that came to me in the room off the
reception area) but it must have been at the minimum several minutes.
Excerpted from THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING © Copyright 2005 by Joan Didion. Reprinted
with permission by Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. Knopf
ISBN: 140004314X
http://www.bookreporter.com/reviews2/140004314X-excerpt.asp
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How to Write a Descriptive Essay
by Jesse Seldess, Professional Writer
More than many other types of essays, descriptive essays strive to create a deeply involved and vivid
experience for the reader. Great descriptive essays achieve this affect not through facts and statistics
but by using detailed observations and descriptions.
What do you want to describe?
As you get started on your descriptive essay, it's important for you to identify exactly what you want to
describe. Often, a descriptive essay will focus on portraying one of the following:
a person
a place
a memory
an experience
an object
Ultimately, whatever you can perceive or experience can be the focus of your descriptive writing.
Why are you writing your descriptive essay?
It's a great creative exercise to sit down and simply describe what you observe. However, when writing
a descriptive essay, you often have a particular reason for writing your description. Getting in touch
with this reason can help you focus your description and imbue your language with a particular
perspective or emotion.
Example: Imagine that you want to write a descriptive essay about your grandfather. You've chosen to
write about your grandfather's physical appearance and the way that he interacts with people. However,
rather than providing a general description of these aspects, you want to convey your admiration for
his strength and kindness. This is your reason for writing the descriptive essay. To achieve this, you
might focus one of your paragraphs on describing the roughness of his hands, roughness resulting from
the labor of his work throughout his life, but you might also describe how he would hold your hands so
gently with his rough hands when having a conversation with you or when taking a walk.
How should you write your description?
If there's one thing you should remember as you write your descriptive essay, it's the famous saying:
show don't tell. But what's the difference between showing and telling? Consider these two simple
examples:
I grew tired after dinner.
As I leaned back and rested my head against the top of the chair, my eyelids began to feel
heavy, and the edges of the empty plate in front of me blurred with the white tablecloth.
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The first sentence tells readers that you grew tired after dinner. The second sentence shows readers that
you grew tired. The most effective descriptive essays are loaded with such showing because they
enable readers to imagine or experience something for themselves.
As you write your descriptive essay, the best way to create a vivid experience for your readers is to
focus on the five senses.
sight
sound
smell
touch
taste
When you focus your descriptions on the senses, you provide vivid and specific details that show your
readers rather than tell your readers what you are describing.
Quick Tips for Writing Your Descriptive Essay
Writing a descriptive essay can be a rich and rewarding experience, but it can also feel a bit
complicated. It's helpful, therefore, to keep a quick checklist of the essential questions to keep in mind
as you plan, draft, and revise your essay.
Planning your descriptive essay:
What or who do you want to describe?
What is your reason for writing your description?
What are the particular qualities that you want to focus on?
Drafting your descriptive essay:
What sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures are important for developing your description?
Which details can you include to ensure that your readers gain a vivid impression imbued with
your emotion or perspective?
Revising your descriptive essay:
Have you provided enough details and descriptions to enable your readers to gain a complete
and vivid perception?
Have you left out any minor but important details?
Have you used words that convey your emotion or perspective?
Are there any unnecessary details in your description?
Does each paragraph of your essay focus on one aspect of your description?
Are you paragraphs ordered in the most affective way?
http://www.writeexpress.com/descriptive-essay.html
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Descriptive Essay Rubric
Audience
and
Purpose
Organization
Elaboration
Use of
Language/
Usage,
Mechanics,
Grammar
6
Establishes a
clear purpose
and creates a
memorable main
impression,
supported with
effective use of
many sensory
details. Exhibits
an idea that is
developed in
depth.
5
Establishes a
purpose and
creates a strong
main impression
supported with
relevant sensory
details. Exhibits
an idea that may
be limited in
depth.
4
Establishes a
purpose and
creates a main
impression,
supported with
sensory details.
Exhibits an idea
limited in depth.
3
Attempts to
establish a
purpose and may
create a main
impression, but
does not
adequately
support it with
sensory details.
Exhibits
elementary
development of
idea.
2
Attempts to
establish a
purpose in the
introduction.
Sensory details
may be present,
but do not add up
to a clear main
impression.
Lacks clarity of
idea.
1
Does not
establish a clear
purpose and
contains details
that are
unfocused or do
not work in
support of a clear
main impression.
Little or no
development of
ideas.
Is well organized
from beginning
to end, with a
logical
progression of
ideas with clear
and effective
transitions
helping to link
words and ideas.
Has a clear focus
and an
outstanding intro
and conclusion
Is clearly
organized,
although an
occasional/minor
lapse may occur.
Some transitions
are evident
Usually has a
clear focus.
Has a logical
progression of
ideas and an
adequate intro and
conclusion.
Is consistently
organized,
although
perhaps
simplistically.
Transitions are
inconsistent or
simplistic. Is
usually focused.
Has a simplistic
progression of
ideas and a
simplistic intro
and conclusion.
Is inconsistent
and may have
organization in
parts, but lacks
organization in
other parts.
Transitions are
poor or lacking.
Has a minimum
intro and/or
conclusion
Has serious
errors in
organization
Thought patterns
are difficult, if
not impossible,
to follow.
Lacks
introduction
and/or
conclusion
Has a brief,
skeletal
organization.
Lacks
organization and
is confused and
difficult to
follow; may be
too brief to assess
organization. Is
missing intro
and/or
conclusion.
Vivid, sensory
details are
effective,
explicit, and
support main
idea. Creative
use of figurative
language
provides
interesting
comparisons.
Sensory details
strongly support
main idea.
Figurative
language begins
to make
interesting
comparisons.
Sensory details
support main
idea, but lack
vividness or are
too few in
number.
Figurative
language is used
to create
comparisons.
Details in
support of main
idea are not
consistently
effective.
Attempts at
figurative
language are not
always
successful or
interesting.
Has limited use
of sensory details
in support of
main idea and
unsuccessful use
of figurative
language.
Details lack
elaboration and
are inappropriate
and/or
repetitious.
Details are not
pertinent.
No sensory
details are used
in support of
main idea; no
figurative
language is
apparent.
Details are
random,
inappropriate, or
barely apparent.
Varies sentence
structures and
makes good
word choices;
few, if any,
errors are
evident relative
to length and
complexity.
Varies sentence
structures
somewhat and
makes good word
choices; some
errors are present,
but they do not
interfere with
reader
understanding.
Sentence
structures and
word choices
may be
appropriate but
are occasionally
awkward; errors
in spelling,
grammar, or
punctuation may
occur but do not
interfere with
reader
understanding.
Control of
sentence
structure is
inconsistent.
Incorrect word
choices are
present. Multiple
errors and/or
patterns of errors
are evident.
Sentence
structure is
problematic and
word choice is
frequently
inaccurate.
Errors in
spelling,
grammar, and
punctuation
hinder
reader
understanding.
Little or no
control over
sentences is
apparent, and
incorrect word
choices may
cause confusion.
Errors are
frequent and
severe and hinder
reader
understanding.
Adapted www.phschool.com/sales_support/marketing_websites/PH_Scoring/Gr.-7/Descriptive_7.pdf -
Appendix #35
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Ideas are tough; irony is easy
Pulitzer Prize-winner Annie Dillard speaks
By Grace Suh
Others may describe Annie Dillard as a Pulitzer-Prize winning author, but she calls herself a soccer
mom. In an interview, reading, and open-forum session at Calhoun yesterday, Dillard talked about
God, aging, and the stuff of life.
"People are always trying to convince themselves that their times are really important," she said. "But
if you really, truly understood that you are going to die, and how many people there are now and how
many people there have ever been, just beads in this never-ending string, how, then, do we live? How
can you take yourself seriously?"
Dillard's writing career began early in high school when she began composing poetry. It was at Hollins
College in Virginia that she met Calhoun Master and Mrs. William Sledge. Their friendship has
spanned many decades. "You know, she looks exactly the same as she did when she was 18, every hair
in place," she said of Betsy Rose, now more familiar to Yalies as Mrs. Sledge.
For Dillard, college is a wonderful opportunity. "You're an idiot for not spending time with each other.
You'll never have friends like these again," she said. "But by the time I graduated, I couldn't do
anything except read and take notes." Dillard graduated as an English major.
Her works include An American Childhood and Teaching a Stone to Talk, but Dillard is perhaps best
known for Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, the book which won her the Pulitzer Prize at age 29.
"By the time I finished the book, I weighed about 98 pounds," Dillard said. "I never went to bed. I
would write all night until the sun was almost coming up." She admits that she has changed since then,
but says she doesn't regret "fanaticism of youth."
Her life now is vastly different from what she had imagined in her twenties, yet she doesn't mind
keeping to schedules and thinking about such mundane matters as carpools and house plants. Indeed,
she says that the most inspirational moment in her life was having a child. "Well, maybe except for
getting pregnant," she said.
Although times have changed, Dillard maintains her love of literature. She cited Henry James, Thomas
Hardy, and Ernest Hemingway as a few of her all-time favorite fiction writers. She greatly admires
works by Yale English professor Robert Stone, including A Flag for Sunrise and Dog Soldier.
Although she loves all types of literatures, she doesn't like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Jane Austen. She
feels these authors deal too much in social issues.
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Critics often draw comparisons between Dillard and Thoreau, another nature writer. "It's a real honor
to be compared to a great writer like Thoreau," she said. However, Thoreau has influenced her life in
more ways than one. Dillard explained how she met her husband, Bob Richardson. "He wrote a book
about Henry David Thoreau. About 40 pages in, I realized that I was going to have to write this guy a
fan letter." She wrote the letter and invited him to call if he found himself out East. "And so he came
East, we had lunch, and then we got married," she said. "That was about nine years ago."
Dillard draws from all aspects of her experiences, but she admits that composing a written piece of art
can be difficult. "I'm not very good at finding things to write about," she said. "I'm willing to pay 25
cents a piece for ideas; 50 if yours is chosen." For Dillard, humor is an important aspect of her style-she even keeps an index of jokes to remember. "Sarcasm has no place in literature," she said, "but
irony has the highest place."
On a more serious note, Dillard also addressed her own spirituality. God and religion are recurring
themes throughout her works. "I knew in my twenties that I was going to end up a Catholic, horrifying
as the thought was, because I was raised a Presbyterian." She attended an Episcopalian church in
college and eventually converted to Catholicism. "When I went to the third world countries, I always
went into Catholic churches." Because of her early success, she relished the solace and peace of
anonymity in church. Of the two pieces Dillard read, one was a poem about the spiritual life "The Sign
of Your Father."
Dillard is currently working on a new book. "It's impossible to describe," she said. "It's a personal
narration about God and the problem of pain. It has a lot of Jewish theology in it, a lot of Catholic
theology, and scenes from hospitals and births, birth defects, and a lot of geology of sand. It's about the
birth and death of the generations."
To aspiring writers, Dillard gives this advice: "You have enough experience by the time you're five
years old. What you need is the library. What you have to learn is the best of what is being thought and
said. If you had a choice between spending a summer in Nepal and spending a summer in the library,
go to the library."
But Dillard doesn't live entirely in the world of ideas. To those Yalies pondering the deep meaning
behind "Living Like Weasels," keep in mind that, even for Annie Dillard, sometimes a weasel is just a
weasel.
http://www.yaleherald.com/archive/xxii/10.4.96/ae/dillard.html
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April 1992
When the West was new:
Annie Dillard's "The Living"
Interview by Peggy Langstaff
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Annie Dillard has been called a latter-day
Thoreau, a mystic, a naturalist and a superior stylist of a difficult form of
non-fiction, the familiar essay. Lauded for her debut work, "Pilgrim at
Tinker Creek," which appeared in the mid '70s and which is still
considered her masterpiece, Dillard has tried her skills at a variety of
forms -- verse, criticism, and memoir among them -- receiving rave
reviews nearly every time out.
This month Dillard's first effort at yet another genre, the novel, is being
published. The Living (HarperCollins, $22.50) is really quite a departure from
her previous work. The publisher has ordered a major first printing, unusual for a
work by an author who refuses to promote her works on TV and in other media.
Dillard admits that at this point in her life she had grown exceedingly tired of "the sound of my own
voice," and wanted to try something entirely new. I spoke with Annie Dillard recently by phone at her
home in Middletown, Conn., to hear what she had to say about this new chapter in her writing life.
PL: Tell us a little about the novel in general. What's it about? How would you describe it?
AD: The Living is a novel about the pioneer generation in Puget Sound in the 19th century. It takes
place from 1855 to 1893 and concerns three men, the opening up of the Pacific Northwest, the
settlement of that enormous forest, the distinctiveness of the region, the splendid landscape and the
brave people who went out there.
PL: How accurate a portrayal is it of the times? Did you do a lot of research?
AD: I lived out there for five years. I spent part of that time on an island that had no amenities
whatsoever. Not only did it have no electricity, but no telephone link with the mainland, no stores, no
paved roads, no anything. It was very much a 19th-century life. We drew our water and heated it and
so forth. And I also lived in town on Bellingham Bay in a restored old house that was built in the
1890s, and I became very interested in the history of the region which is sort of American history writ
small.
The book tells the whole history of the region accurately. I did an enormous amount of research, all
terrifically fun. It took three years altogether to write and I spent 16 months in just pure research. I
decided early on to write it as if it were a 19th-century novel, as if Thomas Hardy wrote it. So it's a
completely old-fashioned novel, and the language is old-fashioned.
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I used a contemporary Webster's, an Oxford English Dictionary which gives the dates of first usage,
and an enormous dictionary of American slang in two volumes. At the beginning I would read only
19th-century books so that I would be sure not to use any anachronistic language. After a while I got a
feel for it.
PL: What are some of the themes you cover? Tell us a bit about the characters, too.
AD: There are many, many characters in the book, and their lives all change in different ways. A lot of
it is quite dark. The region itself is full of contrasts, the dark forest and the light water, and there is
quite a bit of violence and murder in the book.
Economics figure prominently. Essentially the book addresses our problems today, basically what to
do if America is not number one. The Pacific Northwest pioneers had huge optimism: "Here, we're
going to be the great new coast, we're going to be rich with the Asia trade." Then everything would
collapse and the people were back again drinking their cow's milk and having no income at all. One of
the main things the region had to deal with was intermittent economic collapse. But my main concern
is with the settlers as they go in one generation from the absolute wild forest to the modern merchant
city.
PL: Was it easy making the transition from non-fiction to fiction? How did you go about it?
AD: I haven't written a novel before, and about halfway through I figured out how to do it. It's just an
enormous pleasure. Suddenly it seemed as though everything was possible. It was like an enormous
mural or big orchestra. Because it's such a large-scale book, there were so many people in it and so
many things happened to them and they do so much, I felt that I could cram almost all of human
experience into it. I've never had more fun writing . . . I found as I was writing the novel that you
discover an order for the work and the meanings obtain within the work. I had a kind of vision of the
world, of the generations of us people being so alive and so vivid to ourselves -- "here we are alive,
here we are, these are our exciting times, this is our thrilling new, fast, modern world."
Well, they had the same sense, too. So you read about these people so vivid to themselves who are
right on the cutting edge of the present looking at the clouds changing overhead, and we read this now
in 1992 instead of 1882 when most of the action takes place, knowing that all these people are dead.
And knowing therefore that we will be just as dead.
PL: Is this a kind of book, would you say, that will make the reader long for simpler times when good
and evil were more clearly discernible and pioneer lives were filled with action and adventure? In other
words, is this a variant of "escapist" fare?
AD: On, no! This book is no agricultural idyll. I'm nowhere saying that the 19th century is a better
time. Everything that characterizes the United States, its optimism and its greed, its sort of
transcendental impulse and its piety, along with its deception and racism, it's all there.
Peggy Langstaff lives and writes on a farm in Tennessee.
http://www.bookpage.com/BPinterviews/dillard492.html
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Traits of Poetry
 Captivates and involves reader.
 Has a logical sequence.
 Uses form to interpret ideas creatively and effectively.
 Uses conciseness of language.
 Has vivid, detailed images.
 Shows strong emotion.
 Uses rich, imaginative language.
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Poetry Quotations
“Poets are like magicians, searching for magical phrases to pull rabbits out of people’s
souls.” –Glade Byron Addams
“[A poem] begins in delight and ends in wisdom.” – Robert Frost
“Poetry is a packsack of invisible keepsakes.” – Carl Sandburg
“A poem begins with a lump in the throat.” – Robert Frost
“Poetry is the language in which man explores his own amazement.”
–Christopher Fry
“Poetry is the revelation of a feeling that the poet believes to be interior and personal
which the reader recognizes as his own.” – Salvatore Quasimodo
“Poetry is life distilled.” –Gwendolyn Brooks
“Poetry is thoughts that breathe, and words that burn.” – Thomas Gray
“Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.” –
Robert Frost
“Poetry is ordinary language raised to the nth power. Poetry is boned with ideas, nerved
and blooded with emotions, all held together by the delicate, tough skin of words.” –
Paul Engle
“Poetry is the rhythmical creation of beauty in words.” – Edgar Allan Poe
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Close and Critical Reading
What does the text say? (Briefly summarize the text at a literal level.)
How does it say it? In other words, how does the author develop the text to convey his/her
purpose? (What are the genre, format, organization, features, etc.?)
What does the text mean? (What message/theme/concept is the author trying to get across?)
So what? (What does the message/theme/concept mean in your life and/or in the lives of others?
Why is it worth sharing/telling? What significance does it have to your life and/or to the lives of
others?)
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Introduction to Poetry
Billy Collins
I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide
or press an ear against its hive.
I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,
or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.
I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the shore.
But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.
They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.
from The Apple that Astonished Paris, 1996
http://www.loc.gov/poetry/180/001.html
Appendix #40
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Traits of Poetry for “Introduction to Poetry”
“Introduction to Poetry”
Traits of Poetry
Captivates and involves reader
Has a logical sequence.
Uses form to interpret ideas
creatively and effectively.
Uses concise language.
Uses vivid, detailed images.
Shows strong emotion.
Uses rich, imaginative language.
Appendix #41
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kidnap poem
ever been kidnapped
by a poet
if i were a poet
i'd kidnap you
put you in my phrases and meter
you to jones beach
or maybe coney island
or maybe just to my house
lyric you in lilacs
dash you in the rain
blend into the beach
to complement my see
play the lyre for you
ode you with my love song
anything to win you
wrap you in the red Black green
show you off to mama
yeah if i were a poet i'd kid
nap you
- Nikki Giovanni
http://www.math.buffalo.edu/~sww/poetry/giovanni_nikki.html#kidnap%20poem
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Traits of Poetry for “kidnap poem”
Traits of Poetry
“kidnap poem”
Captivates and involves reader
Has a logical sequence.
Uses form to interpret ideas
creatively and effectively.
Uses concise language.
Uses vivid, detailed images.
Contains strong emotion.
Uses rich, imaginative language.
Appendix #43
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Poems on Poems
http://www.tnellen.com/cybereng/poetry/index.html
Things
Valentine for Ernest Mann
You can't order a poem like you order a taco.
Walk up to the counter, say, I'll take two
and expect it to be handed back to you
on a shiny plate.
Went to the corner
Walked in the store
Bought me some candy
Ain't got it no more
Ain't got it no more
Still, I like your spirit.
Anyone who says, Here's my address,
write me a poem, deserves something in reply.
So I'll tell you a secret instead:
poems hide. In the bottoms of our shoes,
they are sleeping. They are shad- ows
drifting across our ceilings the moment
before we wake up. What we have to do
is live in a way that lets us find them.
Went to the beach
Played on the shore
Built me a sandhouse
Ain't got it no more
Ain't got it no more
Went to the kitchen
Lay down on the floor
Made me a poem
Still got it
Still got it
-Eloise Greenfield
Once I knew a man who gave his wife
two skunks for a valentine.
He could'nt understand why she was crying.
I thought they had such beautiful eyes.
And he was serious. He was a serious man
who lived in a serious way. Nothing was ugly
just because the world said so. He really
liked those skunks. So, he re-invented them
as valentines and they became beautiful.
At least, to him. And the poems that had been
hiding
in the eyes of skunks for centuries
crawled out and curled up at his feet.
Maybe if we re-invent whatever our lives give
us,
we find poems. Check your garage, the odd
sock
in your drawer, the person you almost like, but
not quite.
And let me know.
-Naomi Shihab Nye
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What’s in My Journal
After English Class
Odd things, like a button drawer. Mean
things, fishhooks, barbs in your hand.
But marbles too. A genius for being agreeable.
Junkyard crucifixes, voluptuous
discards. Space for knickknacks, and for
Alaska. Evidence to hang me, or to beatify.
Clues that lead nowhere, that never connected
anyway. Deliberate obfusca- tion, the kind
But today, the teacher told us what everything that takes genius. Chasms in character.
Loud omissions. Mornings that yawn above
stood for.
a new grave. Pages you know exist
The woods, the horse, the miles to go, the
but you can’t find them. Someones terri- bly
sleep-inevitable life story, maybe mine. -William Stafford
They all have hidden meanings.
I used to like Stopping by Woods on a Snowy
Evening.
I liked the coming darkness,
The jingle of harness bells, breaking--and
adding to
--the stillness,
The gentle drift of snow. . . .
It's grown so complicated now that,
Next time I drive by,
I don't think I'll bother to stop.
-Jean Little's _Hey World, Here I am_
Keep me from going to sleep too soon
Or if I go to sleep too soon
Come wake me up. Come any hour
of night. Come whistling up the road
Stomp on the porch. Bang in the door
Make me get out of bed and come
And let you in and light a light.
Tell me the northern lights are on
And make me look. Or tell me clouds
Are doing something to the moon.
See that I see. Talk to me
'Till I'm half as wide awake
As you are. -Robert Francis
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How To Eat a Poem
Ars Poetica
A poem should be palpable and mute
As a globed fruit,
Don't be polite.
Bite in.
Pick it up with your fingers and lick
t he juice that
may run down your chin.
It is ready and ripe now, whenever
you are.
Dumb
As old medallions to the thumb,
Silent as the sleeve-worn stone
Of casement ledges where the moss has
grown--
You do not need a knife or fork or
spoon
or plate or napkin or tablecloth.
A poem should be wordless
As the flight of birds.
*
A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs,
For there is no core
or stem
or rind
or pit
or seed
or skin
to throw away.
Leaving, as the moon releases
Twig by twig the night-entangled trees,
Leaving, as the moon behind the winter
leaves.
Memory by memory the mind--
by Eve Merriam
A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs.
*
A poem should be equal to:
Not true.
For all the history of grief
An empty doorway and a maple leaf.
For love
The leaning grasses and two lights
above the sea-A poem should not mean
But be.
by Archibald MacLeish
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Trait Chart of Poetry Traits
Poems/texts
Poem One
Poem Two
Poem Three
Poem Four
Captivates and
involves reader
Has a logical
sequence.
Uses form to
interpret ideas
creatively and
effectively.
Uses concise
language.
Uses vivid,
detailed images.
Contains strong
emotion.
Uses rich,
imaginative
language.
Appendix #45
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Some suggestions for writing a poem follow: A poem starts with a thought, an idea, or an emotion
felt from the heart. Poems can be happy, or sad, deep-thinking or off the wall, humorous, or even
maudlin. The choice is up to you and your imagination as to what you will create.
In addition to your imagination. the only other tools you will need is paper and a pencil. You might
keep a rhyming dictionary on hand, along with a thesaurus and a regular dictionary to help you out.
Your first step is to write down that idea or thought that you have and want to turn into a poem. Next,
we are going to turn that thought into a free verse poem. There are two different types of poems,
structured and free verse. One example of a structured poem is a limerick. Free verse is much easier to
write as there are no steadfast rules for writing them. Some free verse doesn't even have any rhymes or
meters to them. Meter is defined as a rhythm in verses, or a pattern of syllables.
So, now, rewrite your thoughts into lines. Don't worry about spelling or punctuation at this point, just
change your thoughts to lines. Don't worry about how long or short each line is either. Now is the time
to look at your lines and remember that the poem should have a beginning, a middle, and an end, just
like a story, a book, and a movie has. You may need to add more information in order to turn your
thoughts into a start, a middle, and a finish. Keep in mind that these parts need not be "written in
stone.” The words of a poem are pliable while you are in the creation stages. They are to be molded
and changed until you find the exactly right words you need to complete a line or stanza.
Reread your poem several times and listen to the words and to the rhythm of each line. Now is the time
to shorten or lengthen each line in order to create a smooth-sounding poem. Even though it is a free
verse poem, you can choose to make each line rhyme with the next line if you want to. If you do, you
can use the rhyming dictionary to aid you in finding the appropriate words.
Now go back and reread your poem again. Check for proper punctuation as well as for the proper
spelling of each word. Think up an appropriate title for your poem. It would be a good idea to set your
poem aside for awhile and then return to it later. Reread it again with a fresh mind and make any
necessary changes.
If you decide to continue writing poetry, it would be a good idea to investigate some books about
creating poetry, and to attend some local workshops. Check out the available resources on the Internet
as well as what is available at your local public library.
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Appendix #46
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Poetry Rubric
Exceeds the
Standards
Meets the
Standards
Nearly Meets
the Standards
Emerging
4
3
2
1
Message and
Structure
The poem
effectively
utilizes the
required
structure/format
to convey a
message that
captivates the
reader.
The poem uses
the required
structure/format,
though it may be
forced, to convey
a focused
message that
interests the
reader.
The poem
attempts to use
the required
structure/
format, but there
may be lapses.
In addition, the
message has
some focus, but
lacks continuity.
The poem fails
to use the
required
structure/
format. In
addition, it is
unfocused and
fails to capture a
message.
Use of
Language
and Sensory
Images
Word choice is
consistently
careful and
often
particularly
precise,
powerful; and/or
images are vivid
and detailed.
Writing
demonstrates
intensely felt
emotion or
image.
Word choice is
generally
precise. There is
clear use of
sensory images
to portray ideas
or emotions.
Word choice is
confusing,
repetitive, or
imprecise. There
is some use of
image or
emotion.
Word choice is
consistently
confusing or
unclear. Images
are difficult to
visualize.
Punctuation
Punctuation
enhances
expression of
thoughts and
images.
Punctuation is
meaningful
throughout.
There is some
meaningful
punctuation.
Punctuation is
random and
arbitrary.
Poetry
Poetry rubric adapted from: http://www.eop.mu.edu/greg/Sample_Poetry_Rubric.html
Appendix#47
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Kidnapped
RUPERAKE PETAIA
Star in the Marble
I was six when
Mama was careless
she sent me to school
alone
five days a week
In my childhood
I used to crack marbles,
looking for the stars in them.
And every time I cracked a marble
I found a broken star.
One day I was
kidnapped by a band
of Western philosophers
armed with glossy-pictured
textbooks and registered reputations
'Holder of BA
and MA degrees'
One day I turned school-age.
My health teacher, middle-aged
with a handkerchief tucked into his belt
to show his cleanliness, told me
marbles were dirty
and dangerous when swallowed.
I was held in a classroom
guarded by Churchill and Garibaldi
pinned up on one was
and
Hitler and Mao dictating
from the other
Guevara pointed a revolution
at my brains
from his 'Guerilla Warfare'
Each three-month term
they sent threats to my Mama and Papa
Mama and Papa loved
their son and
paid ransom fees
each time
So I dropped marbles
and took up Book-keeping in School Certificate
and said to myself:
'Boy, you're educated,
Go ye and be a banker.'
For a year I worked in a bank
but the place smelled of starch
and I was getting breakable, marble-like.
I remembered what my teacher said
about marbles
and I quit for health reasons.
Now I am a faithful puppet
in a Government puppet show.
Man, my life has truly been
one long string of searches,
still searching for that star
in the marble.
Each time
Mama and Papa grew
poorer and poorer
and my kidnappers grew
richer and richer
I grew whiter and
whiter
On my release
fifteen years after
I was handed
(among loud applause
from fellow victims)
a piece of paper
to decorate my walls
certifying my release.
Appendix #48a
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Formative questions:
1. How long is the poem? How many lines and stanzas does it have? Does the poem use rhyme?
Do you notice anything unusual about the punctuation? What effect, do you think, does this
have on the reader?
2. What is the tone/feeling of the poem? What type of language has the poet used to create this
feeling?
3. Identify a language technique used in the poem. What is the effect of using this technique in the
poem?
4. This is a very political/socially aware poem. What are the issues? What stance/position has the
poet taken on these issues?
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Read with a pencil: Read a poem with a pencil in your hand.
Mark it up; write in the margins; react to it; get involved with it. Circle important, or striking, or
repeated words. Draw lines to connect related ideas. Mark difficult or confusing words, lines,
and passages.
Read through the poem, several times if you can, both silently and aloud.
Examine the basic subject of the poem.







Consider the title of the poem carefully. What does it tell you about the poem's
subject, tone, and genre? What does it promise? (After having read the poem, you will
want to come back to the title in order to consider further its relationship with the
poem.)
What is your initial impression of the poem's subject? Try writing out an answer to the
question, "What is this poem about?"--and then return to this question throughout your
analysis. Push yourself to be precise; aim for more than just a vague impression of the
poem. What is the author's attitude toward his or her subject?
What is the poem's basic situation? What is going on in it? Who is talking? To whom?
Under what circumstances? Where? About what? Why? Is a story being told? Is
something--tangible or intangible--being described? What specifically can you point to
in the poem to support your answers?
Because a poem is highly compressed, it may help you to try to unfold it by
paraphrasing the poem aloud, moving line by line through it. If the poem is written in
sentences, can you figure out what the subject of each one is? The verb? The object
of the verb? What a modifier refers to? Try to untie any syntactic knots.
Is the poem built on a comparison or analogy? If so, how is the comparison
appropriate? How are the two things alike? How different?
What is the author's attitude toward his subject? Serious? Reverent? Ironic? Satiric?
Ambivalent? Hostile? Humorous? Detached? Witty?
Does the poem appeal to a reader's intellect? Emotions? Reason?
Consider the context of the poem

Are there any allusions to other literary or historical figures or events? How do these
add to the poem? How are they appropriate?

What do you know about this poet? About the age in which he or she wrote this poem? About other
works by the same author?
Study the form of the poem

Consider the sound and rhythm of the poem. Is there a metrical pattern? If so, how
regular is it? Does the poet use rhyme? What do the meter and rhyme emphasize? Is
there any alliteration? Assonance? Onomatopoeia? How do these relate to the poem's
meaning? What effect do they create in the poem?
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


Are there divisions within the poem? Marked by stanzas? By rhyme? By shifts in
subject? By shifts in perspective? How do these parts relate to each other? How are
they appropriate for this poem?
How are the ideas in the poem ordered? Is there a progression of some sort? From
simple to complex? From outer to inner? From past to present? From one place to
another? Is there a climax of any sort?
What are the form and genre of this poem? What should you expect from such a
poem? How does the poet use the form?
Look at the word choice of the poem






One way to see the action in a poem is to list all its verbs. What do they tell you about
the poem?
Are there difficult or confusing words? Even if you are only the slightest bit unsure
about the meaning of a word, look it up in a good dictionary. If you are reading poetry
written before the twentieth century, learn to use the Oxford English Dictionary, which
can tell you how a word's definition and usage have changed over time. Be sure that
you determine how a word is being used--as a noun, verb, adjective, adverb--so that
you can find its appropriate meaning. Be sure also to consider various possible
meanings of a word and be alert to subtle differences between words. A good poet
uses language very carefully; as a good reader you in turn must be equally sensitive to
the implications of word choice.
What mood is evoked in the poem? How is this accomplished? Consider the ways in
which not only the meanings of words but also their sound and the poem's rhythms
help to create its mood.
Is the language in the poem abstract or concrete? How is this appropriate to the
poem's subject?
Are there any consistent patterns of words? For example, are there several
references to flowers, or water, or politics, or religion in the poem? Look for groups of
similar words.
Does the poet use figurative language? Are there metaphors in the poem? Similes?
Is there any personification? Consider the appropriateness of such comparisons. Try
to see why the poet chose a particular metaphor as opposed to other possible ones. Is
there a pattern of any sort to the metaphors? Is there any metonymy in the poem?
Synechdoche? Hyperbole? Oxymoron? Paradox? A dictionary of literary terms may be
helpful here.
Finishing Up

Ask, finally, about the poem, "So what?" What does it do? What does it say? What is its purpose?
The Writing Center The University of Wisconsin, Madison
http://www.wisc.edu/writing/Handbook/ReadingPoetry.html#basic
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Expository Essay/Informational Writing: Definition and Traits
Definition: writing that enhances the reader’s understanding of a topic by
instructing, explaining, clarifying, describing, or examining a subject or
concept.
Traits:
 Gives information/facts.
 Gives necessary explanations to understand the information
 Is organized by sequence, problem/solution, cause/effect,
compare/contrast, position/support, description by categories, process
description, etc.
 Has features that may include index/contents, photographs/captions,
maps/diagrams, glossary, bibliography, etc.
Appendix #49
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In Pursuit of Thinness by Susan Chisholm
Throughout history and through a cross-section of cultures, women have transformed their appearance
to conform to a beauty ideal. Ancient Chinese aristocrats bound their feet as a show of femininity;
American and European women in the 1800s cinched in their waists so tightly, some suffered internal
damage; in some African cultures women continue to wear plates in their lower lips, continually
stretching the skin to receive plates of larger size. The North American ideal of beauty has continually
focused on women's bodies: the tiny waist of the Victorian period, the boyish figure in vogue during
the flapper era, and the voluptuous curves that were the measure of beauty between the 1930s and
1950s. Current standards emphasize a toned, slender look, one that exudes fitness, youth, and health.
According to psychologist Eva Szekely, "Having to be attractive at this time . . . means unequivocally
having to be thin; in North America today, thinness is a precondition for being perceived by others
and oneself as healthy" (Szekely 19). However, this relentless pursuit of thinness is not just an example
of women trying to look their best; it is also a struggle for control, acceptance and success.
In attempting to mold their appearance to meet the current ideal, numerous women are literally
starving themselves to death. The incidence of eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia,
has "doubled during the last two decades" (Comerci 1294). This increase is no longer limited to
women in their teens and twenties, but is increasingly diagnosed in patients in their thirties and forties.
"No doubt, the current socio-cultural emphasis on thinness and physical fitness as a symbol of beauty
and success has contributed to this age distribution" (Comerci 1294).
One of the negative psychological side effects associated with eating disorders is the patient's
distortion of their own body image, body image being defined as "the picture a person has in his mind
of his own body, that is, the way his body appears to him" (Murray 602). For the anorexic this
distortion is exaggerated, the patient feels fat even while emaciated; however, many women who are
caught up in the relentless pursuit of thinness also experience some degree of disturbed body image.
The experiences and practices of women who "simply diet" are not radically different from those who
are diagnosed with eating disorders. For some women, achieving the "perfect" body form becomes the
most important goal in life.
Feelings about body are closely related to a woman's sense of self; the "body is perceived as acceptable
or unacceptable, providing a foundation for self-concept" (Orbach 78). It is alarming, then, that almost
80% of women think they're overweight (Kilbourne). Body image has very little to do with the way a
person actually looks; many women who appear to fit the ideal body type are actually dissatisfied with
their appearance (Freedman). Women with perfectly normal bodies see themselves as being heavy; so
that the definition of "normal" becomes inaccurate and this perceived normalcy is represented by a
very small percentage of women. It follows that if body image is so closely linked to self-image, it is
important for women to learn to feel comfortable with the body they live in, despite any
"imperfections". Consistently aiming for perfection is a "self-defeating goal that only sets you up for
failure" (Freedman 218).
All evidence indicates that "our sense of our bodies develops in the process of learning, and these are
social processes, not psychobiological ones given at birth" (Szekely 42). So, why is it that during this
process of development so many women become dissatisfied, self-critical, and judgmental about their
Appendix #50a
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own bodies? One of the reasons may have to do with the media and various forms of advertising. Ads
sell more than just products; they present an idea of normalcy, who we are and who we should be
(Kilbourne). Advertising is a major vehicle for presenting images and forming attitudes. The majority
of ads incorporate young, beautiful, slender models to present their products and services. While
individual ads may not be seen as a big issue, it is the cumulative, unconscious impact that has an
effect on attitudes toward women, and in women's attitudes toward themselves. As women are
consistently exposed to these feminine forms through both print and television, it becomes difficult to
distinguish what is normal, and even more difficult not to compare themselves to this form. It is not
just women who judge themselves, but also men who begin to liken these models to the women in their
own lives and then make comparisons. Advertising creates an "ultimate standard of worth, so that
women are judged against this standard all the time, whether we choose to be or not" (Kilbourne).
Throughout the media, there seems to be a "particular contempt these days for women who are fat or
are in any way overweight . . . above all, we're supposed to be very thin" (Kilbourne). This notion of
the ideal body that is propagated by the popular media can be linked with economic organizations
whose profit is solely gained through products that enhance this image (Szekely 103). The images that
are presented in advertising are designed to create an illusion, a fantasy ideal that will keep women
continually consuming. Advertisers are well aware of the insecurities that most women feel about their
own bodies. The influential power of the diet, fashion, cosmetic and beauty industries and their
advertising strategies target this; their "profits are sustained on the enormity of the body insecurity"
(Orbach 79).
The effect of many current advertising methods is that the "body is turned into a thing, an object, a
package" (Kilbourne). In many ads, bodies are separated into individual parts: legs, breasts, thighs,
waists; the result is that the body becomes separated from the woman. It then becomes acceptable for
the woman's body to be scrutinized. Women's bodies receive large amounts of attention and comment
and are a "vehicle for the expression of a wide range of statements" (Orbach 13). Judgements may be
made and opinions may be formed about a woman by her appearance alone. A woman who is judged
as overweight is often thought of as a woman with little self-control, and from this premise further
assumptions may be made. This type of generalization occurs on a daily basis, by both men and
women, and it affects the way we behave towards one another.
Our preoccupation with appearance affects much more than the image that is presented on the outside.
Feelings toward our own appearance affect the choices we make and the goals we pursue; "more than
ever, it seems we are constricted by beauty standards . . ." (Freedman 3). The recent emphasis on
fitness, youth, beauty and thinness has caused many women to try harder than ever to attain the current
body ideal. The tremendous increase in plastic surgery operations, liposuction, breast implants, tummy
tucks, and face-lifts, to name a few, attest to the extreme adjustments that many women feel they must
make in order to attain the body ideal, in turn making positive adjustments to their own self-esteem.
"One object of women's hard work which, potentially is also a means of their success, is the body . . .
women have been given the message that their efforts in improving and perfecting their bodies would
be rewarded by success" (Szekely 191), on both a social and professional level. With that thought in
mind, women have come to relate to their bodies "as their objects/tools/weapons in the marketplace of
social relations" (Orbach).
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Perhaps a woman's ability to control her own body size and weight can be seen as a metaphor, a
substitution for control that may be lacking in other areas of her life. While women continue to
struggle for equality on an economic scale and within their relationships, they still maintain control
over their own bodies. It is important that women begin to accept themselves for who they are,
regardless of their body type, and to feel comfortable with the body they live in. If women continue to
pursue the "elusive, eternally youthful body beautiful" (Orbach 13), they'll only be setting themselves
up for failure.
Works Cited
Comerci, George D. Medical Complications of Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa. The Medical
Clinics of North America. Volume 74, No. 5. September, 1990.
Freedman, Rita. Bodylove: Learning to Like Our Looks??And Ourselves. New York: Harper, 1988.
Horne, R. Lynn et al. "Disturbed Body Image in Patients with Eating Disorders." American Journal of
Psychiatry. 148:2, February 1991: 211-215.
Kilbourne, Jean. Still Killing Us Softly: Advertising's Image of Women. [Video] Cambridge
Documentary Films, 1987.
Murray, Ruth L.E. The Concept of Body Image. The Nursing Clinics of North America, Volume 7, No.
4. December, 1972.
Orbach, Suzie. Hunger Strike: The Anorectic's Struggle as a Metaphor for Our Age. New York: Avon,
1986.
Szekely, Eva. Never Too Thin. Toronto: The Women's Press, 1988.
http://web.uvic.ca/wguide/Pages/SampleEssaysExpos.html
Appendix #50c
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Traits of Informational Writing for “In Pursuit of Thinness”
“In Pursuit of Thinness”
Traits of
Informational Writing
Gives information/facts.
Gives necessary explanations to
understand the information.
Is organized by sequence,
problem/solution, cause/effect,
compare/contrast, position/support,
description by categories, process
description, etc.
Has features that may include:
index/contents,
photographs/captions,
maps/diagrams, glossary,
bibliography, etc.
Appendix #51
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Main Idea Organizer: Reading, Writing, Viewing, Listening
Name: ___________________________________
SUBJECT: What is the writing about?
Detail (examples, stories, quotations, explanations)
Detail
Detail
MAIN IDEA
(243) Jim Burke, Writing Reminders: Tools, Tips, and Techniques, 2003, Heinemann.
Appendix #52a
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“In Pursuit of Thinness” by Susan Chisholm
Main Idea Organizer: Reading, Writing, Viewing, Listening
Name: __________________
SUBJECT: What is the writing about?
Thinness (Women’s obsession with thinness)
Detail (examples, stories, quotations, explanations) Detail
Struggle for Control


Detail
Struggle for Acceptance
Mold body through diet

(incidence of eating disorders,
such as anorexia nervosa and
bulimia, has "doubled during 
the last two decades")
(Comerci 1294)
"No doubt, the current sociocultural emphasis on thinness
and physical fitness as a
symbol of beauty and success 
has contributed to this age
distribution." (Comerci 1294). 
Struggle for Success
Media and various forms of
advertising

"One object of women's hard
work which, potentially is
also a means of their success,
is the body . . . women have
been given the message that
their efforts in improving and
perfecting their bodies would
be rewarded by success."
(Szekely 191)

Struggle for economic success
eludes women.
Advertising creates an
"ultimate standard of worth,
so that women are judged
against this standard all the
time, whether we choose to
be or not" (Kilbourne).
Plastic surgery
Cosmetics

Negative psychological side
effects associated with eating
disorders are the patient's
distortion of their his or her
own body image.
Is this a quotation? It has a
pronoun/antecedent agreement
problem.
MAIN IDEA
The relentless pursuit of thinness is not just an example of women trying to look their best; it is also a
struggle for control, acceptance, and success.
(243) Jim Burke, Writing Reminders: Tools, Tips, and Techniques, 2003, Heinemann.
Appendix #52b
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Starved to Perfection
-Holly Brubach
The recent controversy over allowing severely emaciated girls to walk the fashion runways was mostly
played out in letters to the editor and in designer caucuses behind closed doors. The public greeted the
news with a shrug, revealing the extent to which most people now regard anorexia nervosa as just
another occupational hazard. Models starve themselves the way football players take steroids,
jeopardizing their health and longevity for celebrity and wealth.
More surprising, perhaps -- and certainly no less alarming -- is the realization that dieting has become
so commonplace that the skeletons on the catwalk simply strike us as more expert at it than the rest of
us. We're the amateurs, skipping lunch and taking the tops off our sandwiches, and we're the ones
Courtney E. Martin is addressing in ''Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: The Frightening New
Normalcy of Hating Your Body'' (Free Press), a smart and spirited rant that makes for thoughtprovoking reading. She opens with some sobering statistics: seven million American girls and women
with eating disorders, and up to 70 million people worldwide. ''Ninety-one percent of women recently
surveyed on a college campus reported dieting; 22 percent of them dieted 'always' or 'often.' In 1995,
34 percent of high-school-age girls in the United States thought they were overweight. Today, 90
percent do.
''We eat healthy portions in social situations or out on dates,'' Martin adds, ''but when we are home, we
feel relief that we can go back to our skimpy dinners without feeling observed . . . a bowl of spinach
and a piece of dry toast, a chicken breast plain and cold. 'Everybody does it,' a friend tells me. 'It's just
normal now.' But does that means it's O.K.?'' Martin wonders. ''Does that mean I should watch a
generation of promising young women devote the better part of their intellects to scheduling visits to
the gym and their next meal? . . . Is this really what it means to be a woman?''
Martin asks more questions than she answers, and what information she does provide is mostly culled
from interviews. Speaking for the women of her generation, now in their mid-20s, she contends that
their distorted attitudes when it comes to food are the byproduct of their mothers' revolutionary zeal.
''We are the daughters of feminists who said, 'You can be anything,' and we heard, 'You have to be
everything,' '' she writes.
The conclusions Martin comes to in the course of her rambling investigation rarely venture onto
medical ground. That territory is best explored in the company of the late Dr. Hilde Bruch, who first
charted it nearly 30 years ago in ''The Golden Cage: The Enigma of Anorexia Nervosa'' (Harvard
University Press). It is still an extraordinary achievement. A professor of psychiatry at Baylor College
of Medicine, Bruch wrote with clarity, insight and compassion of her cases during the anorexia
outbreak of the early '70s, an epidemic that seemed to arise out of nowhere, with no official diagnosis.
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(Anorexia didn't make its debut in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders until
1980.) It was, Bruch remarked in retrospect, a time when ''no anorexic patient had ever heard of such a
condition'' and each invented the illness for herself -- a situation that strikes us as unthinkable today,
when sufferers trade starvation tips on the Internet.
Whatever early hopes Bruch's lucid analysis may have inspired, the prospect of a cure through greater
understanding has been confounded by the intractability of the anorexic mind. Citing research on war
prisoners, Bruch attributed some of anorexia's most severe symptoms, like splitting of the ego and
depersonalization, directly to the effects of sustained malnutrition. Her prescription, then, begins with
eating.
Eating is what Martin would have us do, too -- or, rather, more eating and less thinking about it when
we're not. But how to achieve this? It's one thing to decide that we're going to reclaim the time we
spend thinking about a doughnut and devote it to reading Proust instead, but no sooner are we deep
into the details of his insomnia than a voice in the back of our heads whispers, ''Doughnut!'' and the
argument with ourselves starts all over again.
Martin suggests spiritual solutions. She urges us to recognize that ''we are not our bodies,'' ''that how
we feel about our bodies does not have to be indicative of how we feel about ourselves.'' And yet,
surely one of the more bewildering paradoxes here is the fact that anorexics, while closely identified
with their bodies' appearance, are completely divorced from their bodies' experience, refusing to
acknowledge hunger and fatigue, imposing their iron wills on flesh and bone.
The force of the cultural riptide is not to be underestimated. The anorexic, Bruch wrote, ''has lost her
belief in her right to take up space in the world.'' Over the course of the past three decades, men have
been pursuing unnatural bulk and women exaggerated thinness, as if the world were such a small and
symbiotic place that the weight they gain is the weight that we must lose, as if we need to minimize
ourselves to make room for them.
Source Citation:Brubach, Holly. "Starved to Perfection.(T: Beauty)(Biblio File)." The New York
Times (April 15, 2007): 42(L). New York Times. Gale. Library of Michigan. 25 Aug. 2007
<http://0-find.galegroup.com.elibrary.mel.org:80/itx/start.do?prodId=SPN.SP00>.
Gale Document Number: A162053240
Full Text: COPYRIGHT 2007 The New York Times Company
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Traits of Informational Writing for “Starved to Perfection”
“Starved to Perfection”
Traits of
Informational Writing
Gives information/facts.
Gives necessary explanations to
understand the information.
Is organized by sequence,
problem/solution, cause/effect,
compare/contrast,
position/support, description by
categories, process description,
etc.
Has features that may include
index/contents,
photographs/captions,
maps/diagrams, glossary,
bibliography, etc.
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EXPOSITORY ESSAY
Although explaining a topic can be done in several ways, the most common approach to developing an
expository paragraph requires using specific details and examples. No matter what type of paragraph
you are writing, you will need specific details and examples to support the controlling idea in your
topic sentences. The controlling idea is the word or phrase in the topic sentences that states an idea or
an attitude about the topic; this idea or attitude is frequently referred to as a generalization. A
generalization is a statement that applies in most cases to a group of things, ideas, or people. A
generalization can be a value judgment or an opinion. ("Mr. Mantia is a nice person") or a factual
statement ("The English language has borrowed many terms from French").
Specific details
The topic sentence "Going to college can be expensive" should yield a paragraph that provides some
information or explanation about the controlling idea - expensive. The topic sentence might be
developed as follows:
"Going to college can be expensive. Everyone knows that tuition and room and board aren't cheap, but
there are other expenses that make going to college even more expensive. For instance, the cost of
books and supplies is high. In addition, there are all kinds of special fees tacked onto the bill at
registration time. Students usually have to pay for parking and even for adding and dropping courses
after registration. The fees never seem to end."
Does this paragraph effectively demonstrate that going to college can be expensive? Although the
writer mentions a few of the expenses that students must incur, the writer has not provided the reader
with enough hard evidence to support the controlling idea - expensive. Specific details would help
support this statement more strongly. Just as specific descriptive details help to support the controlling
idea in a description and make the description more vivid and interesting, specific details help "prove"
or support the generalization in an expository paragraph. This paragraph can be improved by using
specific details:
"Going to college can be expensive. Everyone knows that tuition and room and board can cost
anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000 per semester, but there are other expenses that make going to
college even more expensive. For instance, books typically cost between $150 and $400 each term.
Supplies, too, are not cheap, for as any students knows, paper, notebooks, writing utensils, and the
many other supplies needed usually cost more at the college bookstore than at local discount
department store. For instance, a package of notepaper costing $1 at a discount store might cost $2 at
a college bookstore. In addition, there are all kinds of special fees tacked onto the bill at registration
time. A student might have to pay a $30 insurance fee, a $15 activity fee, a $10 fee to the student
government association, and anywhere from $20 to $100 for parking. If a student decides to add or
drop a course after registration, there is yet another fee. The fees never seem to end."
Instead of just referring to the expenses of attending college, in this revised version the writer uses
specific details - in this case, factual details to illustrate or prove the generalization.
In expository writing, the writer is like a lawyer who is trying to prove a point; a lawyer cannot make a
generalization without giving proof to support his or her statements. Good proof is factual detail.
http://www.essaymall.com/Expository_essay.php
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"Lifting the Veils of Autism, One by One by One."
-Erica Goode
He is blond and 3 years old, 33 pounds of compressed energy wrapped in OshKosh overalls.
In an evaluation room at Yale's Child Study Center, he ignores Big Bird, pauses to watch the bubbles
that a social worker blows through a wand, jumps up and down. But it is the two-way mirror that
fascinates him, drawing him back to stare into the glass, to touch it, to lick it with his tongue.
At 17 months, after several ear infections and a bout of the flu, the toddler's budding language skills
began to deteriorate, his parents tell the evaluators. In the playroom, he seems intent on his own
activities and largely oblivious to the adults in the room. Only when the therapist bends down to tickle
him does he give a blinding smile and meet her gaze with startling blue eyes.
Sixty years after it was first identified, autism remains one of the most puzzling of childhood disorders.
Its cause or causes are still unknown. But in recent years, investigators have begun to dislodge some of
its secrets.
Studies have offered clues to the brain mechanisms that may lie behind some features of autism -- the
tendency to focus on objects rather than human faces, for example -- and geneticists have begun to
home in on genes that may be involved. Scanning has provided glimpses of ways autism may affect
brain development: the brains of autistic children, studies find, appear to be larger than normal for
some time after birth.
In the future, experts say, such research may yield effective medical treatments to augment or even
replace the intensive behavioral therapy that is the prescription most autistic children now receive.
In learning more about autism, a disorder that in some form affects at least 425,000 Americans under
18, scientists may also increase knowledge about language development, emotion, even friendship and
love.
''Ultimately, research on autism may teach us a lot about what it means to be social,'' said Dr. Thomas
Insel, the director of the National Institute of Mental Health.
Autistic children were once thought to have a form of childhood schizophrenia. Prone to repetitive,
sometimes self-destructive behaviors and driven by ''a powerful desire for aloneness and sameness,'' as
Dr. Leo Kanner of Johns Hopkins put it in a now classic 1943 paper, they often spent their lives in
institutions. Parents watched helplessly as their children disappeared into a world beyond their reach.
But much has changed. The notion that autism was caused by ''refrigerator'' mothers and absent fathers,
promoted by psychoanalysts in the 1950's and 1960's, has yielded to the realization that the disorder is
strongly rooted in genetics and abnormalities of brain development and function. Environmental
influences early in life may also play a role.
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At the same time, a sharp rise over the last decade in the number of autism cases diagnosed in the
United States and other countries has raised public awareness and helped secure more government
financing for research.
In the 2003 fiscal year, the National Institutes of Health spent an estimated $81.3 million on autism
research, compared with $9.6 million in 1993.
The last two decades have brought a sea change in the way scientists view autism and those who suffer
from it.
Researchers now recognize, for example, that autism is not synonymous with mental retardation: more
than 80 percent of children with autism were once thought to be mentally retarded.
More recent estimates place the number at 70 percent, or lower if related disorders are included.
Dr. Kanner believed autism to be a product of upper-middle-class homes, a conclusion based on the
children he examined, who were the progeny of doctors, lawyers and scientists. But it is now clear that
autism crosses class boundaries.
Boys are four times as likely as girls to have the disorder. This sex ratio has led one researcher, Dr.
Simon Baron-Cohen, director of the autism research center at Cambridge University in England, to
speculate that autism is a form of ''extreme maleness,'' but the theory has yet to be supported by
research.
More rigorous studies have allowed clinicians to identify autism in children of younger and younger
ages. In the past, the disorder often was not diagnosed until children were 4 or 5. But by studying home
movies of birthday parties or first baths, investigators have found telltale signs of autism in children of
12 months or younger.
Dr. Geraldine Dawson, director of the University of Washington's autism center, for example, studied
infants from 8 to 10 months old who were later identified as autistic. The infants, she said, often failed
to respond when parents called their names.
''Even very young babies, when you call their name, will turn and look at you,'' Dr. Dawson said.
As toddlers, autistic children show other differences. For example, they make eye contact less
frequently, and, unlike most 1-year-olds, do not point at objects or people.
Autism's hallmarks are a delay in language development, an inability to relate to other people and
stereotyped or rigid behavior. But researchers have found that children vary greatly in the nature and
the severity of their disabilities.
''If you put 100 people with autism in a room, the first thing that would strike you is how different they
are,'' said Dr. Fred Volkmar, a professor of child psychiatry at Yale and an expert on autism. ''The next
thing that would strike you is the similarity.''
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Some children attend regular schools, others are so disabled they require institutional care. Some
children speak fluently, others are mute. Some are completely withdrawn; others successfully navigate
a path through the outer world.
In fact, studies show that many children with autism can improve with treatment, and some -- from 15
to 20 percent, experts say -- recover completely, holding jobs and living independent lives.
Yet the realization that autism takes many forms has also made its diagnosis more complicated. In
1994, psychiatrists added a new diagnostic category -- Asperger's syndrome -- to the psychiatric
nomenclature, to take account of children who displayed some features of autism but did not meet the
full diagnostic criteria.
Many researchers view Asperger's as distinct from autism. But the differences become blurred in cases
where children have normal or above normal I.Q.'s. In such instances, experts say, whether Asperger's
or autism is diagnosed is often arbitrary.
''I don't think anyone's got good evidence for a clear distinction between people with high-functioning
autism and Asperger's,'' said Dr. Tony Charman, a researcher in neurodevelopmental disorders at
University College London.
The Disconnect : Calculations, Yes; Eye Contact, No
As a child, Donald Jensen lay in bed at night, tracing numbers in the air with his finger. He memorized
lottery numbers. He was riveted by the pages of the calendar.
Now 19, his facility with mathematical calculation seems magical. Given any date -- Jan. 7, 1988, for
example -- he can, in an instant, identify the day of the week it fell on. (It was a Thursday.) He
virtually never makes mistakes.
Yet even in childhood, there were signs that Donald was exceptional in other ways. He was
mesmerized by the washing machine, becoming upset if the laundry was finished before he got up in
the morning. He started talking late. Once, when his grandmother slipped on some ice in the yard and
fell, he continued to chatter about numbers, seemingly oblivious to her plight.
Problems in school led doctors to diagnose autism when Donald was 6, his uncle, Glen Jensen, said.
As an adult, Donald's gifts -- he is among the 1 to 10 percent of people with autism known as autistic
savants -- connect him to the world. ''What day were you born?'' he asks visitors.
But the things that Donald cannot do also separate him from other people. He rarely makes eye
contact. Ask him how he calculates dates or what numbers mean to him and the inquiries are met with
silence. His ability to empathize with other people has grown over the years -- ''John was angry today,
and that was upsetting to me,'' he will say -- but unexpected events disturb him, and his conversations
sometimes take the form of asking questions over and over.
What lies at autism's core? Over the decades, researchers have come up with a variety of theories. But
most were based on what clinicians observed, not on what might be going on in the brain. Only
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recently have sophisticated technologies allowed researchers to begin bridging the gap between the
consulting room and the laboratory.
Dr. Ami Klin, an associate professor of child psychology and psychiatry at Yale, and his colleagues
began with the observation that people with autism often have a great deal of intellectual knowledge,
but lack ''street smarts,'' and are unable to use what they know in social situations.
''Many of our clients know the currencies of all countries in the world, but they cannot go to
McDonald's and buy a burger and count the change,'' Dr. Klin said. ''They know all the bus ramps, but
can't take a bus.''
In a series of experiments to find out why it is so difficult for someone with autism to function in the
world, the Yale team , including Warren Jones, a research associate, developed a device for tracking
eye movements that could be mounted on the brim of a baseball cap. Then they had subjects, who
either had autism or did not, watch a video clip from the 1967 film ''Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf''
and monitored their gaze.
The normal subjects closely tracked the social interactions among the actors in the films, focusing
especially on the actors' eyes. In contrast, people with autism focused on objects in the room, on
various parts of the actors' bodies and on the actors' mouths.
In one scene, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor kiss. The subjects without autism looked at the
actors' embrace; the autistic subjects' eyes went elsewhere: one man stared at a doorknob in the
background.
Such research suggests that from birth, the brains of autistic children are wired differently, shaping
their perception of the world and other people. ''In normal development,'' he said, ''being looked at,
being in the presence of another, seeking another -- most of what people consider important emerges
from this mutually reinforcing choreography between child and adult.''
If this duet cannot take place, Dr. Klin said, ''development is going to be derailed.''
Studies using brain scanning techniques like fast M.R.I. lend weight to the idea that for people with
autism, perception molds behavior.
''There is a deep relationship between what we see and what we know,'' said Dr. Robert Schultz, an
associate professor at Yale's Child Study Center.
Researchers have long known, for example, that people with autism have difficulty recognizing faces.
In non-autistic subjects, a brain area called the fusiform gyrus is activated in response to the human
face. But when pictures of unfamiliar faces are shown to children or adults with autism, studies show,
the region is less active.
Dr. Schultz said that autistic people appear to identify faces the way other people identify objects, by
piecing features together. While most people are better at recognizing images of faces when they are
right-side up, autistic subjects identify them faster when they are upside-down.
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A recent study, presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of
Science in Seattle this month, illustrates this. Dr. Dawson, of the University of Washington, and a
colleague reported that when autistic adolescents and adults were shown pictures of faces, another
brain area involved with object recognition was activated, while the fusiform gyrus remained quiet.
Yet when the researchers showed photos of the subjects' mothers, the fusiform brain did light up.
Work by Dr. Isabel Gauthier, an assistant professor of psychology at Vanderbilt University, suggests
that, in fact, the fusiform gyrus is not programmed to react to faces per se but to things that people care
about and learn to distinguish in detail.
Dr. Gauthier trained people to become experts on ''greebles,'' a class of simply-drawn imaginary
beings. When the subjects became adept at telling one greeble from another, she found, the fusiform
gyrus lighted up in response to pictures of the creatures. Similarly, when car experts were asked to
identify different car models, the region was activated, Dr. Gauthier reported last year in the journal
Nature.
The research suggests that children with autism can be trained to become better at face recognition -something that scientists at Yale and other universities are trying. But the seeming indifference to the
human face that often accompanies autism has led the Yale resarchers to propose that the fusiform
gyrus may be a component of the social brain, intimately tied up with basic emotional responses like
fear, anxiety and love.
In fact, some studies have found abnormalities in the amygdala, a brain region involved with emotion
and social awareness. But the findings are inconclusive, and differences in autistic brains have been
found in structure, including the temporal lobes and the cerebellum.
The Physical: A Telling Find: Bigger Brains
In his early description of autism, Dr. Kanner noted that heads of the children were larger than normal.
Modern researchers have confirmed this observation, finding that for some period of time during
childhood, autistic children have bigger brains than their non-autistic counterparts. In 2001, Dr. Eric
Courchesne, a professor of neuroscience at the University of California at San Diego, and his
colleagues found that 4-year-olds with autism showed increases in the volume of the brain's gray
matter, where the cell bodies of neurons are located, and white matter, which contains nerve fibers
sheathed with an insulating substance called myelin.
In a 2003 study in The Journal of the American Medical Association, Dr. Courchesne reported that at
birth, the heads of infants with autism were smaller than normal, but then showed ''sudden and
excessive'' growth in size from 1 to 2 months and from 6 to 14 months. By adolescence, however, the
children's brains were the same size as those of other children or slightly smaller.
Dr. Martha Herbert, an instructor in pediatric neurology at Harvard, has begun to zero in on precisely
where this growth spurt occurs. At the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in October, she
reported that in autistic children, the outer zones of white matter became enlarged compared with
normal brains beginning after age 6 months and continuing into the second year of life. Those outer
zones, Dr. Herbert said, are insulated later in development than the areas of white matter deeper in the
brain.
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''It seems that something is going on that gets more intense,'' Dr. Herbert said.
In another study, Dr. Manuel Casanova, a professor of neurology and neuropathology at the University
of Louisville, found an increase in autistic brains in the stacks of neurons known as mini-columns that
extend through the layers of the neocortex. The brains of people with autism not only had more minicolumns, Dr. Casanova found, but the neurons that made up the columns were less variable in size than
in normal brains.
Such findings are intriguing, but their meaning is not clear.
One possibility is that the enlargement in white matter reflects an overabundance of myelin, which
could disrupt the timing of communication signals throughout the brain. But this growth in volume, Dr.
Herbert said, could also represent an increase in nerve fibers, the migration of other types of cells or
some type of inflammation.
Dr. Casanova, for his part, theorizes that the proliferation of mini-columns might result in a deluge of
stimulation, or as he puts it, ''way too much information.''
''The sound of rain on a roof might seem like driving nails into a tin roof, a fluorescent light might
become extremely perturbing,'' Dr. Casanova said.
Dr. Nancy Minshew, a professor of psychiatry and neurology at the University of Pittsburgh, argues
that autism's core lies in higher brain areas, rather than in deeper structures that govern emotion.
''When I started about 20 years ago, I looked at autism and said this disorder is in the cortex of the
brain,'' Dr. Minshew said. ''It's the classical disorder of cognition.''
The Genetics: Child Rearing Not at Fault
In 1964, Bernard Rimland, a British psychologist with an autistic son, put forward the view, then
controversial, that genes, not faulty child rearing, lay behind the disorder.
Most experts now agree that autism is strongly determined by heredity. Studies indicate, for example,
that if parents have one child with autism, the chance that they will have a second autistic child is 2 to
6 percent -- about 100 times the general risk.
Twin studies also argue for a large genetic component. Identical twins, the studies suggest, run a 60 to
85 percent chance of having autism or a similar disorder if their twins have it. For fraternal twins, the
chances are 10 percent.
Two very rare forms of autism -- one associated with the congenital disease known as tuberous
sclerosis and the other with fragile X syndrome -- are known to be caused by chromosomal defects.
But in most cases, autism is thought to have a more complex genetic origin, involving multiple genes
acting together.
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''The bulk of people with autism develop it because they have inherited a particular genetic
predisposition,'' said Dr. Anthony Bailey, a professor of psychiatry at Cambridge.
Finding those genes, however, is a difficult task. The disorder is relatively uncommon, and most
people with autism do not have children, making it difficult to track successive generations of a family.
To get around these obstacles, some researchers are studying families having two or more members
with autism and searching for similarities in the genome that could provide the crucial link to the
disorder.
Cure Autism Now, an advocacy group based in Los Angeles, has started a program to collect DNA
samples from such families and use them for research.
Large-scale studies are in progress at a variety of institutions in the United States and other countries.
DeCode Genetics, an Icelandic company that last year identified a gene that may contribute to
schizophrenia, announced in January that it would use the Icelandic population to search for genes
underlying autism and similar disorders like Asperger's.
Some researchers are also hunting for genes that may underlie specific aspects of autism.
Dr. Daniel Geschwind, director of the neurogenetics program at the University of California, Los
Angeles is hoping, in a study of autistic children and their families, to find genes that contribute to the
delayed development of language.
No specific gene for autism has yet been pinpointed. But promising areas have been identified on a
variety of chromosomes, including the 2, 3, 7, 13, 15 and the X chromosome.
''My sense is that we are close to the tipping point in this illness,'' said Dr. Insel of the National
Institute of Mental Health, ''and that over the next couple of years we will have, not all of the genes,
but many of the genes that contribute.''
At the same time, the disorder is not entirely genetic, indicating that some environmental influences,
either during a mother's pregnancy or in the first years of life, have roles in setting off the disorder,
perhaps by changing the way genes function without actually altering DNA.
Over the years, many candidates have been proposed, including German measles during pregnancy;
yeast infections; the sedative drug thalidomide; childhood vaccines; viruses; the labor-inducing drug
Pitocin; and dietary, hormonal or immune system changes during pregnancy.
But so far, researchers say, solid evidence for any single factor has not emerged. Still, several research
groups are trying to address the issue of environmental triggers. A study based at Columbia University,
for example, will follow 100,000 pregnancies in Norway, examining a variety of environmental
influences, including infections, vaccinations, mercury exposure and prenatal stresses.
Experts disagree about the importance of environmental influences. But there is a consensus that
autism probably has more than one cause, its symptoms the common end point of different biological
pathways.
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Yet it may be some years, experts say, before scientists are able to link the findings from genetic
studies and brain research with the outer signs of the perplexing world that people with autism inhabit.
When it comes to autism, said Dr. David Amaral, a professor of psychiatry at the University of
California at Davis,''In many respects, we're still in the dark ages.''
Source Citation:Goode, Erica. "Lifting the Veils of Autism, One by One by One." The New York Times (Feb 24, 2004 pF1(L)
col 01 (84 col): F1(L). New York Times. Gale. Library of Michigan. 25 Aug. 2007
<http://0-find.galegroup.com.elibrary.mel.org:80/itx/start.do?prodId=SPN.SP00>.
Gale Document Number: A113548497
Full Text: COPYRIGHT 2004 The New York Times Company
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Traits of Informational Writing for “Lifting the Veils of Autism, One by One by One”
“Lifting the Veils of Autism”
Traits of Informational Writing
Gives information/facts.
Gives necessary explanations to
understand the information.
Is organized by sequence,
problem/solution, cause/effect,
compare/contrast, position/support,
description by categories, process
description, etc.
Has features that may include
index/contents, photographs/captions,
maps/diagrams, glossary, bibliography,
etc.
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Listening: Autism
Go to http://abc.go.com/
Commercials will play on the right hand side of the screen. Hit the “off” button on the video. Then hit
the news tab at the top. At the top of the page there is a search box. Type in the words “TV &
Autism.”
In the video search results, click on TV & Autism: Controversial New Theory: Man speculates TV
may have triggered his son’s developmental problems.
Summary of six-minute video:
Controversial New Theory Links Autism to TV
By Studying His Own Son, an Economist Developed a Theory That Links Autism to TV Viewing
Habits
As more children are diagnosed with autism than ever before, the disorder largely remains a mystery in
the medical community.
Now, Michael Waldman, a Cornell University economics professor, has written a research paper
suggesting that scientists study the connection between early childhood television viewing and autism.
His basic thesis: Excessive TV viewing by children with a genetic disposition to autism makes them
more likely to develop the disorder.
Waldman became aware of the possible link when his son, 2½ at the time, was diagnosed with an
autism spectrum disorder. His son's troubles began after the birth of the Waldmans' second child, a
daughter. The summer after the baby girl was born, life became hectic at the Waldman home, and the
boy began watching more TV. Within a few months, the boy's behavior deteriorated and soon he was
diagnosed with autism.
"The first thing we did was follow the specialists' directions. There were special classroom settings, a
psychologist, etc. I never thought about not following their advice," Waldman said.
Evaluating the Environment
However, his immediate reaction was that the change in his son's behavior must have been triggered by
something in his home environment.
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"There was a huge change in his life when my daughter was born. He was 2½ when he was diagnosed,
and usually the diagnosis comes much earlier. Within four months of my daughter being born, he was
diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder," Waldman said.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, autism spectrum disorders can often be reliably
detected by the age of 3 years, and in some cases as early as 18 months. But it is estimated that only 50
percent of children are diagnosed before kindergarten.
Considering the circumstances of his son's diagnosis, Waldman thought about what had changed since
the birth of his daughter.
"I realized that he had been watching much more television during that time, because we were so busy
with my daughter. So I turned off the TV," he said. "On a day to day basis, we didn't notice a change.
But week to week and month to month, the change was dramatic. He was making rapid progress.
Within six to eight months, all of his attention and language problems were gone."
Waldman didn't stop there. He continued researching and, and using his skills as an economist, found a
statistical connection between "the dramatic increase in autism diagnosis rate ... and the simultaneous
dramatic increase in early childhood viewing."
Further, he found a statistical connection between high autism rates and areas of the country that
experienced bad weather -- areas where kids were more likely to be indoors, watching TV.
Unpopular With Parents, Psychologists
Waldman's findings have been less than popular with parents. His son's own psychologist was
unmoved by his theory. Members of the medical community have criticized Waldman's study because
he's an economist, not a doctor. They also argue that just because two variables are related does not
mean someone can claim that one causes the other.
But Waldman maintains he's not trying to pin autism on any one source, or make the claim that
watching TV at a young age causes the disorder. He believes scientists should look into every possible
cause for autism.
"I'm not trying to blame anybody, but one in every 150 children is diagnosed with autism, and I think
we should look under ever single, plausible stone," he said. "I don't want to make anyone feel bad,
including my wife. But I've found some intriguing evidence, and two development pediatricians are
seeing the same thing. I don't think you can turn away from it."
Controversial New Theory
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Main Idea Organizer: Reading, Writing, Viewing, Listening
Name: __________________________
SUBJECT: What is the video segment about? TV & Autism
Detail (examples, stories, quotations, explanations)
Detail
Detail
MAIN IDEA
(243) Jim Burke, Writing Reminders: Tools, Tips, and Techniques, 2003, Heinemann.
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Bearing up: Endangered Species
Grizzly bears have made an astonishing comeback in Yellowstone National Park
THE grizzly bear (Ursus horribilis) once roamed America from the Great Plains to the Pacific Ocean.
By 1975, its numbers had fallen so far that it was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species
Act. Today, scientists estimate that there are 1,200 grizzly bears in America outside Alaska. Of these
bears, the largest population lives in and around the Yellowstone National Park in the states of Idaho,
Wyoming and Montana. The recovery of this population has been so successful that it could be taken
off the endangered list.
The grizzly bear's most recent decline in the Yellowstone area began in the 1960s, when hungry bears
began to rummage through rubbish skips and picnic baskets. Bears and humans grew overly
accustomed to one another and, on a single night in 1967, two backpackers were killed in separate bear
attacks as they slept in Glacier National Park in Montana.
Fearing similar tragedies, Yellowstone Park officials decided it was time for grizzly bears to return to a
wild diet. Bears unable to quit junk food were shot: 220 were killed between 1969 and 1971. Worried
that more losses would condemn the species to eventual extinction in the region, the federal
government listed grizzly bears as a threatened species, and biologists initiated recovery efforts.
The comeback may represent the biggest accomplishment of the Endangered Species Act to date. In
the early 1980s, the park had 200 bears; today, the figure is 600. The population is growing at between
4% and 7% a year. Many scientists think that the park is already home to as many bears as its 2.2m
acres can support. Radio collar signals show grizzlies ranging well beyond park borders, across 9m
acres.
The plight of the white-bark pine--a favourite food for the bears--might yet alter this healthy picture.
At present, grizzly bears are kept in remote areas by the presence of the pine. In years when the trees
produce fewer cones inside the park and its immediate surrounds, more bears venture out into human
settlements to look for food. And, not surprisingly, more bears get shot. White-bark pine is currently
under attack--by the mountain pine beetle and a fungal disease called blister rust.
The mountain pine beetle is a new threat. Historically, the beetle could not attack the pines because
they grew in harsh climates with extreme winter frosts. Ecologists think that global warming may have
led to warmer winters, allowing the beetles to expand into the pine's habitat. The pines have no
evolved defence against the beetle and are succumbing fast.
A second threat to white-bark pine is blister rust, which is killing many trees. Occasional resistant
individuals occur but, in the short to medium term, a severe population decline is expected.
Government scientists estimate that, if all the white-bark pine went, bear population growth would fall
to just 1% a year.
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Biologists who want to see grizzly bears succeed in the American west are aware that they must also
win the support of local people. The growing number of bears outside the park is troubling farmers and
ranchers. Cattle losses to grizzly bears in Wyoming, alone, were estimated at $117,000 in 2004.
Defenders of Wildlife, an organisation devoted to the protection of native species in their natural
homes, is one of several groups that compensates local landowners for any livestock lost to grizzly
bears. It has paid more than $100,000 in compensation since 1997 and has invested another $364,000
in projects to prevent future problems created by predators. Concern for bear protection has even led to
the development of a new eco-label: Predator Friendly. Started by a group of sheep ranchers, the label
certifies that farmers will not shoot wolves, grizzly bears or mountain lions that prey upon their
livestock. The farmers can then charge a premium for their carnivore-friendly products.
Staff at the Wind River Bear Institute, another organization dedicated to bear conservation, teach
individual bears to stay away from human settlements. Using dogs that were originally bred for
hunting brown bears in Finland, they herd bears away from ranches or residential areas. Preliminary
results in Glacier National Park suggest the method works.
One of the biggest challenges to bear conservationists over the coming decades will be to connect
existing bear populations to one another. The Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative aims to
create a strategically situated corridor of wildlife habitat that would allow grizzly bears to move around
human settlements for 1,990 miles, from Yellowstone National Park northwards almost as far as the
Arctic Circle. The Nature Conservancy of Canada has already signed a deal with Tembec, a large
Canadian timber company, to protect 100,000 acres in British Columbia. A number of bridges have
also been built across roads to help grizzly bears move between pieces of habitat in the Rockies.
Suzanne Lewis, the superintendent of Yellowstone National Park, describes the initiative as "daunting,
but exciting"--suggesting the project may, indeed, prove a fitting next chapter in the nerve-wracking
history of the grizzly bear.
Source Citation:"Bearing up; Endangered species." The Economist (US) 377.8451 (Nov 5, 2005): 89US. General
Reference Center Gold. Gale. Library of Michigan. 26 Aug. 2007
<http://0-find.galegroup.com.elibrary.mel.org:80/itx/start.do?prodId=GRGM>.
Gale Document Number:A138323761
Full Text :COPYRIGHT 2005 Economist Newspaper Ltd.
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Main Idea Organizer: Reading, Writing, Viewing, Listening
Name: __________________________
SUBJECT: What is the article about? Bearing up: Endangered Species
Detail (examples, stories, quotations, explanations)
Detail
Detail
MAIN IDEA
(243) Jim Burke, Writing Reminders: Tools, Tips, and Techniques, 2003, Heinemann.
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Birds with a sweet beak: sweet treats give migrating songbirds an energy boost
when they need it most
- Laura Erickson.
Acorn and Red-bellied Woodpeckers * Jays * Eastern and Western Bluebirds * Robin * Catbird *
Northern Mockingbird * Brown Thrasher * Starlings * Cedar Waxwing * Yellow-breasted Chat *
Scarlet and Western Tanagers * Spotted and Eastern Towhees * Cardinal * Orioles * Rose-breasted
and Black-headed Grosbeaks * House Finch
In recent years, books promoting diets low in carbohydrates have soared to the top of best-seller lists.
Fortunately, birds are functionally illiterate, so they haven't jumped on the bandwagon. Hawks and
owls, of course, are on a fairly strict "Atkins diet" without even knowing it, as are many flycatchers, at
least during the breeding season. But most songbirds sneak in at least a few carbohydrates here and
there, and some, such as the Eastern Kingbird, switch to a very high-carb frugivorous diet while they
are on their tropical wintering grounds.
Birds need high-energy foods to sustain high-energy activities and their rapid metabolic rate. When
food is plentiful, they lay on extra body fat that they can readily burn off during times of scarcity or
when they require extra calories during migration, egg production and incubation, and molting. Fruits
and berries are also high in vitamins.
Not Just for Hummingbirds
Just as human marathoners often chow down on high-carb spaghetti dinners the night before their 26.2mile race, many spring migrants gorge on meals high in carbs, both in the natural world and at our
feeders, before major migration events. Tanagers and most warblers, for example, fly all the way from
Central and South America to North America, and some travel as far as northern Canada and Alaska,
an exhausting journey that can last a month or more from start to finish. Individual birds cover
hundreds of miles on nights when weather conditions are favorable and bide their time, laying on more
fat and resting up, when conditions for long flights are less promising.
Each spring many Ruby-throated Hummingbirds fly directly over the Gulf of Mexico from the
Yucatan Peninsula to the Louisiana or Texas coast, a minimum of 500 miles non-stop, without any
possibility of finding rest or food until they arrive. Before the tiny birds take off, they lay on extra
body fat by gobbling up insects and spiders, and load up their stomach and crop with carbs to get off to
an energetic start. Once the hummingbirds arrive in the United States, they migrate by day, feeding
along the way, proceeding as the earliest flowers open up. Hormones impel the migrants forward days
or weeks before the vast majority of nectar-bearing flowers will open, but the birds have discovered an
excellent back-up source of carbs--Yellow-bellied Sapsucker drill holes.
Ruby-throats arrive in the northern reaches of their range about 10-14 days after sap suckers arrive in
theirs, and the hummingbirds apparently time their migration to take advantage of this excellent source
of carbohydrates. Even after migration, northerly humming birds tend to place their nests near
sapsucker wells and often follow sapsuckers in their daily movements. A great many other birds,
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including kinglets, warblers, and phoebes, are also attracted to sapsucker wells. In northern Minnesota,
where I live, I invariably discover my first Ruby-crowned Kinglets and Yellow-rumped Warblers of
the year in the same branches in my aspen tree where my first Yellow-bellied Sapsucker has been
working.
We think of sugar water as an ideal food for hummingbirds and orioles, but other birds also enjoy it,
including woodpeckers and even warblers. During Minnesota's exceptionally cold, rainy May in 2004,
one male Cape May Warbler learned to fly up from a nearby branch, hover at my perchless
hummingbird feeder for three or four seconds, and then return to the branch to take a breath. He'd
repeat the action seven or eight times before flying off. The Cape May is the only warbler with a
tubular tongue adapted to sipping nectar, so it is the one most likely to appear at fruit and nectar
feeders. Hummingbird feeders with perches large enough to accommodate orioles are also likely to
attract other species occasionally, especially Downy Woodpeckers.
Jelly and marmalade are popular with many backyard birds. For some reason, orioles continue feeding
on the treats even after they've abandoned oranges for the season, and catbirds are especially fond of
grape jelly. But it's important never to set out too much at once. Last spring, a dozen orioles, five
tanagers, two catbirds, and at least 20 Cape May Warblers were visiting my feeders. On a day when I
was going to be away all morning, I put a full cup of grape jelly into one bowl, figuring that was about
the amount the birds would go through in that time. I came home to discover a Red-breasted Nuthatch
totally mired in the jelly, his body almost completely immersed, only his eyes and beak still above the
surface.
The Perils of Preserves
Had I not come home when I did, he almost certainly would have succumbed to hypothermia.
Fortunately, the nuthatch happened to be accustomed to my voice and to feeding out of my hand, so he
didn't panic when I fished him out and bathed and dried him. Also luckily, I've been trained and
licensed to rehabilitate wild birds, so I knew what to do: I held him under a gentle stream of warm
water, rinsing him and carefully rubbing away the jelly. I didn't use any detergents, which are
invaluable in cutting through grease and oil but also wash away natural body oils that are critical in
waterproofing feathers. After bathing, I blotted off the water with soft paper towels, then let him nibble
at his feathers to dry and realign them.
"Jelly Belly" needed three complete baths over almost four hours. Between each cleaning he patiently
sat on my finger (right), preening and eating mealworms. After I released him, he didn't return again all
day, but the next morning there he was, good as new. Just a hint of purple remained on his belly
feathers to remind me of his ordeal and the importance of offering jelly only in small amounts.
Other early-spring sources of carbohydrates include the old fruits and berries still clinging to shrubs
and trees from last year. Robins, waxwings, and orioles are drawn to these, and when we offer similar
sweet treats at our feeders, a surprising number of species may visit, including some we seldom think
of as "feeder birds." Orioles, attracted by the color orange, quickly notice halved oranges, and other
birds, noticing the orioles, sometimes check out the feeder as well. When I add thawed frozen
strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries, and chopped grapes or apples, robins, catbirds, tanagers, and
even warblers quickly appear and devour them. In appropriate habitat, bluebirds also visit feeders for
fruits.
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The old maxim "You are what you eat" could be said of waxwings, whose nature is as sweet as their
diet. Waxwings seldom if ever appear at feeders, but in spring we often find them dining on last year's
crab apples and the first apple blossoms. And waxwings' convivial nature would certainly be called
"sweet" in a human. The birds defend no territories against their own kind and often pass berries and
flower petals from one bird to another, sharing the treats with their entire flock. I used to be mystified
by this behavior until I was rehabilitating a Bohemian Waxwing one winter. At the time, hundreds of
waxwings were feeding on mountain ash berries in my yard, so I brought in a handful of the fruits for
the bird I was caring for. It eagerly ate five or six, but after 15 minutes or so, the berries came out the
other end, completely undigested. Before I fed more berries to the bird, I rolled them between my
thumb and fingers for a while, softening their waxy coatings. These were digested. Apparently,
waxwings' charming habit of sharing food not only helps seal social bonds but also aids the birds'
digestion.
In contrast, other birds on such sweet diets are astoundingly pugnacious. On several occasions, I've
seen Cape May Warblers chase Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers from the hapless woodpeckers' own drill
holes, despite the fact that at 50 grams (1.8 ounces), a sapsucker weighs nearly five times as much as a
Cape May Warbler (11 grams, 0.39 ounces). Of course, I've also seen Ruby-throated Humming birds
chase off sapsuckers, and hummingbirds average a mere three grams (slightly more than a tenth of an
ounce)--the sapsuckers outweigh them by a factor of 16!
Anyone who has watched hummingbirds battling for supremacy at a feeder knows better than to call
the handsome little birds "sweet," despite their sugary diets. But whether it's sweets to the sweet or
sweets to the pugnacious and feisty, high-carb diets provide energy and nutrition to some of our
favorite birds, sweetening our lives in the bargain.
Fruits That Birds Will Flock To
These fruits are sure to attract birds to a platform feeder, basket, or holder in your yard this spring.
* Frozen or fresh strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cherries
* Banana pieces
* Raisins, currants, dates
* Melon chunks or slices
* Chopped grapes, apples, pears
* Halved oranges
* Drained, halved coconut
The Cape May Warbler has well earned its reputation for being a sweet tooth. In addition to visiting
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the occasional hummingbird feeder, the bird has been observed sipping from wells drilled by
sapsuckers, eating the nectar-rich catkins of peach-leaved willows, and, on its tropical wintering
grounds, defending the massive yellow flower heads of century plants. What's more, reports dating
back to the early years of the last century reveal a decided fondness for grape juice.
W. F. McAtee published one of the first accounts. He observed Cape May and Tennessee Warblers
piercing grapes in Bloomington, Indiana, during the autumn of 1903. The warblers were constantly
busy catching insects, McAtee wrote. "Frequently, however, they dashed into the vines and thrust their
bills quickly into a grape. Sometimes they withdrew them quickly; again they poked around in the
interior of the grape a little, and always after these attacks, they lifted their heads as in drinking. This
action suggested a reason for piercing the grapes, that I am satisfied is the true one, that is, the
obtaining of liquid refreshment."
Reports of juice-swilling Cape May Warblers came from central West Virginia as well. "Their method
was to puncture the skin of the berry at one point, extract a little juice, and move on to the next," wrote
Maurice Brooks in the Auk in 1933. "They would systematically work over every berry in the cluster,
if undisturbed, and they soon became exceedingly tame. It is no exaggeration to say that there were
hundreds of the birds in the locality."
Ornithologist and specimen collector Frank L. Burns observed similar behavior in a Pennsylvania
vineyard in September and October of 1913. The sugary juice and abundant insect prey appeared to
provide ample fuel for the Cape Mays' autumn migration. "Specimens secured early in this remarkable
flight carried no fat, in fact were rather lean," Burns wrote, "but after some days of feeding became fat,
inactive and even sluggish; an adult female shot in the act of eating from a grape, and brought to me
for identification by a neighbor, was positively enveloped in fat."
Source Citation: Erickson, Laura. "Birds with a sweet beak: sweet treats give migrating songbirds an energy
boost when they need it most." Birder's World 19.2 (April 2005): 48. General Reference Center
Gold. Gale. Library of Michigan. 26 Aug. 2007
<http://0-find.galegroup.com.elibrary.mel.org:80/itx/start.do?prodId=GRGM>.
Gale Document Number: A136253876
Full Text: COPYRIGHT 2005 Kalmbach Publishing Company
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Traits of Informational Writing for “Birds with a Sweet Beak”
“Birds with a Sweet Beak”
Traits of
Informational Writing
Gives information/facts.
Gives necessary explanations to understand
the information.
Is organized by sequence,
problem/solution, cause/effect,
compare/contrast, position/support,
description by categories, process
description, etc.
Has features that may include
index/contents, photographs/captions,
maps/diagrams, glossary, bibliography, etc.
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Go to http://www.ask.com
A box appears. Below the box is the word “Advanced.” Click on the word “Advanced.” The following box will appear.
all of the words
Find results with
avian flu
Advanced Search Tips
the exact phrase
at least one of the words
none of the words
Location of words
Anyw here on the page
Domain
Language
Any language
Country
Any country
Page modified
Anytime
Advanced Search
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Ask.com (2nd Page)
Type in the words “avian flu” and hit on the advanced search bar at the bottom of the page.
On the left hand side of the next page will be choices for narrowing or expanding your search.
Narrow Your Search
Avian Flu Symptoms
Avian Flu Virus
Avian Flu Transmission
Avian Flu Causes
History of Avian Flu
Where Did the Avian Flu Start?
Avian Influenza
Avian Flu Symptoms in Humans
What Is the Definition of the Avian Flu?
Avian Flu in Canada
More »
Expand Your Search
Bird Flu
H5n1
Click the mouse on the one that most interests you, or refine your search to discover the articles that
will lead you to your particular interest.
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Web Site/Web Page Evaluation Rubric - For Students in Grades 9 – 12
Authority
Scope of Content
Objectivity & Accuracy
Style & Functionality
Criteria: Scale
SUPERIOR
ADEQUATE
MINIMAL
INADEQUATE
Clearly provides all of the
following:
 author/organization.
 reliable credentials
and/or affiliations.
 content which has been
reviewed, critiqued or
verified.
 publisher’s address
(physical or email),
and/or phone number.
 active links to other
reliable information.
Somewhat clearly provides
only the following:
 author/organization.
 address (physical or
email).
 brief reference to
affiliations.
Extremely clear
presentation of:
 relevant
information (no
gaps or omissions).
 new information
integrated into topic
area.
 a list of sources
(bibliography).
 current date of
copyright and/or
last update for
user’s topic.
Clear presentation of
 relevant
information (no
gaps or omissions).
 a list of sources
(bibliography).
 current date of
copyright and/or
last update for
user’s topic.
Somewhat confusing
because it provides only:
 author/organization.
Somewhat confusing
presentation of:
 relevant
information (some
gaps or omissions).
 some but not all
sources listed
(bibliography).
 date of copyright
and/or last update
but possibly not
current for the
user’s topic.
Obscure because it does not
provide any of the following:
Confusing presentation
of:
 author/organization.
 Credentials.
 review/critique of
content.
 address (physical or
email), and/or phone.
 links to other reliable
information.
 relevant
information
(obvious gaps or
omissions).
Missing
 list of sources
(bibliography).
 date of copyright
and/or last update.
Harper Creek Community Schools
Exceeds the expectation
of:
 clearly stated purpose.
 clear indication of
intent (popular,
scholarly, satiric,
serious).
 verifiable facts
presented without bias
(according to the intent
of the site).
 free of errors (content,
grammar, mechanics).
Exceptionally helpful site
because it contains:
 clear organization.
 a menu or table of
contents.
 understandable
vocabulary.
 visual effects/icons
which enhance but do
not substitute for
content.
 links to stable sites.
Meets the expectation of:
 clearly stated purpose.
 clear indication of
intent (popular,
scholarly, satiric,
serious).
 verifiable facts
presented without bias.
(according of the intent
of the site).
 free of errors (content,
grammar, mechanics).
Falls short of expectations
but still contains:
 verifiable facts
presented without bias.
 Free of errors (content,
grammar, mechanics).
Helpful site because it
contains:
 clear organization.
 understandable
vocabulary.
 visual effects/icons that
are appropriate for
content.
 links to stable sites.
Facts cannot be verified
and/or are presented with
bias.
Difficult site because it:
 lacks organization.
 has a vocabulary that is
too challenging
 uses visual
effects/icons are not
appropriate for content.
 presents links to sites
that no longer exist.
Somewhat difficult site
because it:
 lacks clear
organization.
 contains some
vocabulary that is too
challenging.
 sometimes substitutes
visual effects/icons for
content.
 links to sites that may
no longer exist.
January 2000
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Appendix Peer Response Guide
Author ___________________
Revising Partner _____________________
Title of Paper ________________________________
Listen carefully to the author read his or her paper aloud, and then write down and discuss the
following questions with him or her. Try to answer each question specifically and completely.
Purpose
 What is the thesis statement? Write it here and offer suggestions for clarification if needed.

What are the main points of the paper?
*
*
*
*
Are these clearly identified in a blueprint statement? If not offer a suggestion on how to do this.

How well does the paper stick to the topic presented in the thesis? Point out places where the
writing sticks well to the purpose and/or where it strays from the topic.
Organization
 How could the introduction more effectively grab the reader’s attention?

Do the main points follow a logical order? Where might the flow of the paper be improved by
adding transitions?

How could the conclusion be improved to leave the reader with a stronger impression?
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Details

Point out places where the writer needs to explain something more clearly.

Is there enough background information provided for a reader who might not have any
background on the topic? Where might more background be needed?

How do the details presented help support the thesis statement? If they don’t seem to support
the thesis, brainstorm ways the writer could add or subtract things to help illustrate the topic
more specifically.
Voice and Tone

Point out places where the writing is interesting and readable and/or stuffy, clichéd, or dull.

Does the paper hold your interest all the way through? Point out places where the paper could
be made more interesting and brainstorm ways the writer might be able to make it more
exciting.
Additional Comments:
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Reflective Writing Prompt
Write a letter to a reviewer. Review that writings you have completed in
this unit. Select three pieces you feel represent you as a writer.
Use the rubric as you write your letter to the reviewer. Use the following
questions to help you in brainstorming as you prepare to write your letter
to a reviewer:
1. How did you grow as a writer?
2. What was hard? Easy?
3. What did you enjoy the most? The least?
4. Why and how did you make the changes you made in this piece?
5. Looking at this piece now, what would you change?
6. What piece would you do over and why?
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Scoring Guide for Reflection on Writing
4
The written response demonstrates the ability to reflect critically on
writing; ideas are supported by specific examples or details from the
writing piece. Organization and form enhance the central ideas and
move the reader through the text. The voice and tone are authentic and
compelling. There may be minor surface feature errors.
3
The written response demonstrates the ability to reflect on writing; ideas
are somewhat supported by examples or details from the writing piece.
Organization and form are appropriate and present the ideas coherently.
The voice and tone support the ideas conveyed. Surface feature errors
may be noticeable.
2
The written response demonstrates some ability to reflect on writing;
ideas are presented as generalizations about writing or simple
summaries of piece. The voice and tone may be inappropriate or
uneven. Limited control of surface features may make the writing
awkward to read.
1
The written response demonstrates the attempt to reflect on writing;
ideas are supported by few, if any, details and examples. There is little
discernible shape or direction. There is little control over voice and
tone. Limited control of surface features may make the writing difficult
to read.
From Michigan Educational Assessment Program
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Multigenre Research Project
Guidelines and Requirements
SELECT A PERSON: This person can be from the past or present—a writer or a person who uses
writing in a meaningful way. There is only one prerequisite for your choice: he/she must be a person
whose life illustrates one of the following themes:


Writing is a way of knowing, showing, and becoming.
or
Writing keeps thinking dynamic.
Read autobiographical or biographical texts: Read at least seven credible web sites on the person
you have selected. Sources can include interviews, videos, documentaries, magazine, and newspaper
articles, films, music, Internet, textbooks, poems—anything you can think of for possible data.
Keep A Writer’s Notebook: The writer’s notebook will consist of various prewriting and shaping
activities regarding your biographical research listing, mapping, diary entries, poems, bio graphs, etc.)
This is also where you will keep three required RESEARCH AUDITs. These audits will be multi-page
accounts of your journey through the research process. The audits are the best way to individually
conference with me (teacher) and get personal feedback from me (teacher) three times during the
process. Here, you will record your efforts, feelings about what you’ve learned, questions you have
about your subject, and ideas you have for your genres. “The bulk of this writing is to be expressive
writing-informal, personal, unpressured words on paper seeking to recover information, make
connections, and generate thinking with your close-to-speak voice” (Romano). Use the pronoun I. By
the third audit, you must include the five written presentation genre ideas to date as well as the
artifact/oral presentation ideas. This notebook, containing a total of seven prewriting and three audits,
will constitute a major grade.
Keep A Research Journal: The research journal will consist of specific note taking of your research
books, articles, etc. The journal will also contain a bibliography conforming to MLA standards.
Final Project: This section consists of two parts.
Written Presentation: Includes a Preface; five different genre entries plus annotations of each genre
at the end of each; a Works Cited (a list of references actually cited in your genres); a cover sheet; and
an optional final Bibliography, which is a complete list of all sources on which you have taken notes.
All should be in a folder and typed.
Artifact/Oral Presentation: This is a visual product, coupled with an oral presentation, related to
your project. This is a way for you to share with the class. A portion of your work and knowledge
gained through research of your selected person as well as the history and issues that took place in the
life of your person. If appropriate, include a genre sample with your artifact presentation (ex: a poem,
letter, review, etc.).
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Examples of possible artifact presentations might include the following:

creating an interactive power/Power Point presentation on computer.

writing and performing a song or ballet or instrumental piece.

pointing and displaying a picture, sketch or sculpture.

producing a video, slide show (Ex: A & E biography).

writing and performing a dramatic monologue.

creating and demonstrating a process.

crafting a hat box, truck, scrapbook or memorabilia—including original, creative writings and
homemade artifacts. (No simple “cut ‘n paste”)!

setting up an ambience-museum tour setting, mystery setting, etc.
There are infinite possibilities for this presentation. You are only limited by your imagination and
time! EACH STUDENT WILL HAVE A TOTAL OF 15 MINUTES MAX (10 MINIMUM) TO SET
UP AND DELIVER, SO BE REHEARSED AND READY!!!
- adapted from B. Hoag T.C. Clark High School, San Antonio, Texas. Presentation at NCTE 20012002 “Oh the Places We Will Go…”
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Alternative Plan for a Multigenre Research Project
Purpose: To use a mix of academic, trade, and popular sources to create a coherent “argument” about
your topic and to use critical thinking skills and methods of inquiry to find appropriate research to
support your argument. Refer to chapters about research in Norton.
Audience: Your paper should be geared toward an academic audience.
Genre: You will be able to choose three of the five genres. You must use one genre of exposition and
one visual.
Stance: Your stance is one that is informed, formal, and one that is making an argument.
Media/Design: You will be able to manipulate media and design to suite your purpose and genre.
The guidelines apply to a typed paper (page length); however, you may choose to do a multi-media
paper which would either be in the form of a web-page or a Power Point presentation. The text in
these choices should be equivalent to ten double spaced pages. The multi-media project would also
have academic exposition as well as visuals.
What is a multi-genre essay?
It's a collection of pieces written in a variety of genres, informed by your research on a particular
subject, that presents one or (more likely) more perspectives on a research question or topic. A multigenre paper is personal, creative, and can’t be copied from some other source. It involves you, as a
writer, making conscious decisions about what information is important and how it should be
presented to the reader.
(from http://www.sheboyganfalls.k12.wi.us/cyberenglish9/multi_genre/
multigenre.htm #Types%20of%20Genres:)
Why use more than one genre?
There are ideas and perspectives that cannot be achieved through a linear expository paper.
Consequently, when one uses more than one genre, more of the research found can be shared.
A multigenre project is a compilation of research on a given topic presented in a way that is specific to
the writer. We will talk about a number of different genres, and we will look at examples of
multigenre papers. These papers also mix academic writing and less formal writing together giving
you a way to bridge yourself into “academic-ease.”
The Assignment:
Format –
 Page length: 10 pages, not including title page, Table of Contents, or Works Cited page.
 Number of genres: at least five different genres. One must be expository prose (at least 3
pages), and one must be visual.
 The paper must have a repetend (defined below).
 The paper must have ten sources, four of which must be scholarly.
 The paper must have a title page, and the title should be a significant clue about what the paper
is about; there is no page number on this page.
 The paper must have a Table of Contents with genres listed with their corresponding pages.
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


The paper must have a Preface of at least 150 words that clues the reader in to what you are
going to be presenting. A preface is similar to an abstract. Essentially the preface summarizes
your paper briefly to allow the reader to begin reading with more clarity.
The paper must have a Works Cited page and the sources must be cited in MLA format
including in text citations.
The paper must have page numbers in the upper right hand corner. On page one, there is a
number one. On the following pages, including the Works Cited page, there is name and page
number.
Form Review of the minimum requirements:
Page 1: Title Page
Page 2: Table of Contents
Page 3: Preface
Pages 4-13: Multigenre project (Your first section should be exposition in which your thesis is
revealed. However, this section does not have to be the entire three pages at once.)
Page 14: Works Cited Page
More Information:
Repetend: The purpose of a repetend is to create unity and coherence in a multigenre piece. It also
allows the reader to hear the writer’s voice and have a string that carries through the entire piece.
Using a repetend is like using a thesis to tie a traditional research paper together. Ideas for creating a
repetend follow (you may think of something different):
 Include the same phrase, sentence, or passage in each genre page as a heading or somewhere
else in the text.
 Include a description or design in each piece (written or graphic), placed strategically for easy
recognition.
 Include a running commentary from you, the writer, following or preceding each genre piece
(taken from previously cited web page).
If you feel the most comfortable using expository prose, you may use this as your repetend.
Expository Prose: This genre is the typical form that essays are written in. At least one of your
sections must take on this form. Exposition typically has a beginning, middle, and an end and it should
carry an academic tone.
Genre Review: You should have at least five genres.
1) One of the genres has to be exposition, and it needs to be at least three pages long.
2) One of the genres, and no more than two, must be visual.
3) You should have at least one genre from the sub genre list and one genre, not including
exposition, from the major genre list.
4) When possible, you should cite your sources in the text (i.e. exposition, newspaper
article, etc.). If you write a poem or some other creative genre, you will cite your
source(s) directly underneath it.
Remember that you are taking your research, internalizing it, and representing it in a specific genre. If
you use a poem, it will represent your research in some way. The poem is your original work – not
from your source.
From www.ipfw.edu/engl/writingprogr
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TYPES OF GENRES ACCEPTABLE
GENRE: A broad term that most often refers to either a general classification of writing, such as a novel or
poem, or to categories within these classifications.
INSTRUCTIONS: Below are examples of literary genres which may be use to fulfill requirements for the multigenre project. While there is no specified length, students are expected to use judgment, remembering that this
is the product of extensive literary research. You are to select five different genres.
Advice columns
Allegories anecdotes
Autobiographies
Ballads
Biographies
Book reviews
Cartoons/comic strips (substantial & inclusive of dialog, not just pictures)
Diaries
Essays
Fiction (adventure, comedy, horror, fantasy, historical, mystery, romance, science fiction)
Fairy tales
Folk tales
How-to articles
Dialog
Short story
Reflexive narrative
Word puzzles (complex, with key)
Interviews
Journals
Letters (apology, business, friendly, complain, congratulation, rejection, editorial, job application, etc.)
Movie reviews
Myths
Newspaper articles (obituaries, sports, feature, editorials, society, etc.)
Plays
Poetry (narrative, lyric, ballad, etc.)
Radio scripts
Resumes
Speeches
Tall tales
TV/movie scripts
Songs
Stream of consciousness writing
What is a multi-genre project? “A complex, multi-layered voiced blend of genres-melding facts, interpretation,
and imagination-a work that combines poems, monologues, character sketches, photographs, drawings, songs,
newspaper interviews, narratives, stream-of-consciousness, and interpretive pieces, etc. generated from
biographical fact” (Romano).
The end result will look like a sort of collage of a person’s life rather than the traditional, chronological
report. Giving the reader/listeners glimpses of significant moments and a feel for the way your subject
experienced and viewed life is the purpose of the combined written and artifact presentation.
- B. Hoag T.C. Clark High School, San Antonio, Texas
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Los Angeles County, CA
This information is provided by the candidate
March 7, 2000 Election
Full Biography for Erin Gruwell
Candidate for United States Representative; District 38
Democrat Erin Gruwell
Teacher Erin Gruwell has already done what many thought impossible. She is helping nearly 150
inner-city high school students - kids who had been ignored or written off by the education system achieve their dream of going to college.
Gruwell's tenacity and commitment to her students is chronicled in the recently published Freedom
Writers Diary - How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World
Around Them.
Gruwell, a 30-year-old native of Southern California, is now bringing to her campaign for Congress
the same energy and dedication that twice earned her Teacher of the Year honors.
Gruwell has won national attention for her teaching. She and her students have appeared on "The Rosie
O'Donnell Show," "Primetime Live" and Barbara Walters' "The View." Her class has been chronicled
in the Los Angeles Times, the Long Beach Press Telegram, by the Associated Press and on National
Public Radio.
Gruwell has won numerous teaching and humanitarian awards, including the Spirit of Anne Frank
Award, the Long Beach Unified School District Teacher of the Year, The Long Beach PTA Teacher of
the Year, the Credential Counselors and Analysts Teacher of the Year for the State of California, the
Channel 4 (NBC) Crystal Apple Award, the Channel 2 (CBS) What's Right With Southern California
Award, the American Jewish Committee Micah Award, the 100 Black Men Award in education, the
National Conference of Community, the Justice Gene Lentzer Human Relations Award and the Junior
Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Educator Award for the State of California.
Gruwell also founded and is president of the Tolerance Education Foundation, a non-profit
organization, which helps fund her students' college education.
Gruwell earned her Masters Degree from California State University at Long Beach and has taught at
Woodrow Wilson High in Long Beach since 1994. She is currently the Distinguished Teacher in
Residence at CSULB. Her family's roots in Long Beach go back to WWII when her grandfather
worked in the local shipyards. Both her father and step-mother earned degrees at California State
University at Long Beach. Gruwell is a 1991 graduate of the University of California-Irvine, and has
been honored as one of UCI's Top 30 graduates. She is single and lives in Long Beach.
http://www.smartvoter.org/2000/03/07/ca/state/vote/gruwell_e/bio.html
Web site listed below reveals what Steven Spielberg gave to her campaign.
http://www.campaignmoney.com/biography/steven_spielberg.asp
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Interview with Erin Gruwell (1)
"Why hadn't I gone to law school like I'd originally planned?" Erin 6ruwell asked herself during her first tense
moments as a teacher. Confronted with hostile students who weren't used to getting--or giving--respect, Gruwell
initially "felt like a failure." Her perseverance, which she recounts in her memoir, Teach With Your Heart, is
now the stuff of legend--and a feature film. JS recently spoke with Gruwell.
JS: When and where did your career begin?
EG: I began student-teaching in 1993, in Long Beach, California. The Freedom Writers began in 1994. The
biggest challenge was responding to the aftermath of the 1992 riots and murders [that broke out] in the wake of
the Rodney King verdict. Long Beach was severely impacted. I was coming into an environment where there
was devastation. The cause-and-effect of murder really has a lingering effect with kids. There was just a
perpetuation of violence.
JS: How did you get your students to respond to you?
EG: I was living in Newport Beach at the time. It is an affluent community, with not a lot of diversity,
unfortunately. The contrast made my students suspicious of me. They immediately pigeonholed me. I worked
really hard to prove to them that stereotypes on any level--economic, racial, gender--first, I wouldn't stand for
them, and second, I would prove those stereotypes wrong.
I really felt it was very important with teenagers to be candid, not to sugarcoat things. Through To Kill a
Mockingbird, The Diary of Anne Frank, Elie Wiesel's Night, and other works of literature, we looked at racism,
violence, and tolerance in [the students'] communities.
JS: What are you doing these days?
EG: My students and 1 started the Freedom Writers Foundation, a nonprofit organization. We're training
teachers to engage and inspire their students. We're also raising scholarship money. The proceeds from The
Freedom Writers Diary [the book on which the film is based] paid for college for many of my students.
JS: What advice do you have for other teachers?
EG: In this age of unfunded mandates, to bring passion back to our profession, teachers have to teach to
students--not to tests. We've lost that along the way because of this government obsession with test-taking. It is
doing a disservice to our profession. It is really important for teachers to reach students through all their learning
modalities.
A lot of kids aren't great test takers. Not every kid can sit in a classroom and listen to a lecture. 1 always found it
important to infuse elements of pop culture in my class. I have to be very clever--use photos, video clips,
snippets from movies, have students role-play, ask questions, draw, and act ... all of those things we did in
kindergarten. When you go into a kindergarten class today, you see this unbridled enthusiasm. We've lost that in
this era of test-taking. When you have that kind of environment that is stimulating, nonthreatening, very
Socratic, that's where learning takes place.
Source Citation:"'Teach with your heart': a conversation with Erin Gruwell.(Interview)." Junior Scholastic 109.17 (April
30, 2007): T-3(1). General Reference Center Gold. Gale. Library of Michigan. 29 Aug. 2007
<http://0-find.galegroup.com.elibrary.mel.org:80/itx/start.do?prodId=GRGM>.
Gale Document Number:A163261552
Appendix #72b
Full Text :COPYRIGHT 2007 Scholastic, Inc.
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Interview with Erin Gruwell (2)
Erin Gruwell was an idealistic new teacher in 1994, when she arrived at Woodrow Wilson High
School in Long Beach, California. The school's tough, urban neighborhood was rife with gang
violence, racial warfare, and poverty. Her students had been labeled "unteachable" by school
administrators.
The students, in turn, felt deserted by the system. They mocked Erin's efforts and bet on how long she
would last. Then, one day, Erin intercepted a student's racial caricature. Furious, she invoked the
racism that led to the Holocaust. Receiving only blank stares, she realized the students had never heard
of the Holocaust. But when she asked how many of them had been shot at, almost every student raised
his or her hand.
Erin dispensed with the textbooks and brought in books by teens who had lived through racism and
warfare, such as Anne Frank and Zlata Filipovic. This time, the students made a powerful emotional
connection. With Erin, they began to document their own lives in individual, anonymous diaries. They
called themselves the "Freedom Writers," to honor the Civil Rights activists known as the Freedom
Riders. As they wrote, the class made a firm and lasting commitment to change.
The collection of journal entries was eventually published as The Freedom Writers Diary: How a
Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them (Main
Street Books, 1999).
Instructor recently spoke with Erin Gruwell, who now heads the Erin Gruwell Education Project
(www.gruwellproject.org), a nonprofit charitable organization.
INSTRUCTOR: The Freedom Writers project was a remarkable achievement. What sparked its
creation?
ERIN GRUWELL: So many of my students had the "fight-or-flight" mentality--since their community
had just experienced the race riots of 1992. And nearly 126 murders had occurred in Long Beach
between 1992-1993. In reaction to the violence, I decided to teach my students the importance of
putting down their fist, or spray can, or even a gun, and picking up a pen instead.
INSTRUCTOR: Once you realized that the students could be reached through their personal
experiences, how did you alter your curriculum?
GRUWELL: I based most of my teaching on themes. Teaching tolerance was a driving theme.
Incorporating learning communities and project-driven exercises made the material much more
tangible for my students. When we read Anne Frank's diary, my students actually wrote letters to Miep
Gies, the woman who helped Anne Frank. We read Night, by Elie Wiesel, went to see Schindler's List,
and met Holocaust survivors.
INSTRUCTOR: How did the books you shared encourage students to write? What did they write
about?
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GRUWELL: One of my students wrote that he felt like he "lived in an undeclared war," so I used
books written by teenagers who had lived in wars. Reading their harrowing tales inspired my students
to be more honest and forthright in their own journals. They wrote about personal problems involving
pain, alienation, and racism. We realized how these issues were universal. Writing became very
cathartic for the class.
My students had to see the relevance of writing in their lives. Once they saw the power of the pen,
there was no stopping them. We signed honor codes so that the students would not sensationalize their
stories and would trust one another.
INSTRUCTOR: Your students finished high school as radically different people than they were when
they began. What changes did you see?
GRUWELL: My students entered my classroom afraid to sit next to one another or even talk to a
person of a different race. They left my classroom as a family. We worked hard on breaking down
stereotypes and dismantling comfort zones to see past color and creed.
INSTRUCTOR: You must have worried about whether or not all your students would make it. What
challenges and fears did you face?
GRUWELL: Long Beach was a city in transition. There was a lot of gang violence and racial tension,
so I was constantly afraid that my students would be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Since I
grew up in a gated, suburban community, some of the urban issues were foreign to me. My students
taught me a lot.
INSTRUCTOR: There must have been some logistical hurdles, too. How did you handle the issues of
computer usage and of organizing students' writing files?
GRUWELL: We were fortunate in that a CEO of a computer company donated 35 computers for our
project. Students double-spaced their entries and used the same typeface and size to protect their
identities. To maintain their anonymity, they used numbers instead of names.
Once we got the computers, my students wanted to use them around the clock. The majority of the
students did not have computers in their homes, so they wanted to stay after school. On some nights,
we were in my classroom until 11:00 P.M.!
INSTRUCTOR: Did you manage to get the students' families excited and involved in the project?
How?
GRUWELL: I invited my own family to our events to show the importance of family involvement.
Soon my brother and my father became permanent fixtures at all of our projects. My students called
me "Ms. G." and began calling my dad "Papa G." A group of mothers became so involved in our
project that we affectionately named them the "Dream Team Moms"--a title they still wear with pride!
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INSTRUCTOR: A lot of teachers may read this article and wonder how they can replicate your
success. What's your advice to them?
GRUWELL: Allow your students to teach you about what they know and where they come from.
Make your curriculum relevant to their lives.
INSTRUCTOR: Where are the original Freedom Writers now?
GRUWELL: The Freedom Writers and I are still a family. We have reunions all the time. Most of
them are finishing college, and 30 of them are at California State University, Long Beach, on full
scholarships from the Erin Gruwell Education Project, a nonprofit I created to help my students
graduate from college. I am one of their professors at the university.
INSTRUCTOR: What's next for the Freedom Writers Project?
GRUWELL: We are planning to recreate the symbolic freedom ride from the Civil Rights era by
visiting the southern states along the original route and hosting educational workshops. We are also
creating educational materials for teachers. Miramax is even turning our story into a feature film in
2005!
To learn more: The Erin Gruwell Education Project, P.O. Box 41505, Long Beach, CA 90853;
phone: 562-433-5388; fax: 562-433-5367; info@gruwellproject.org or www.gruwellproject.org.
Source Citation:"The freedom writers: some considered her class a lost cause, but in her first year of
teaching, Erin Gruwell transformed her students into a community of writers." Instructor
(1990) 114.4 (Nov-Dec 2004): 27(2). General Reference Center Gold. Gale. Library of Michigan. 29
Aug. 2007
<http://0-find.galegroup.com.elibrary.mel.org:80/itx/start.do?prodId=GRGM>.
Gale Document Number:A126749050
Full Text :COPYRIGHT 2004 Scholastic, Inc.
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“Freedom Writers” Review
Byline: Anna Quindlen
The new movie "Freedom Writers" isn't entirely about the themes the trailers suggest. It isn't only
about gang warfare and racial tensions and tolerance. It isn't only about the difference one good teacher
can make in the life of one messed-up kid. "Freedom Writers" is about the power of writing in the lives
of ordinary people. That's a lesson everyone needs. The movie, and the book from which it was taken,
track the education of a young teacher named Erin Gruwell, who shows up shiny-new to face a class
of what are called, in pedagogical jargon, "at risk" students. It's a mixed bag of Latino, Asian and black
teenagers with one feckless white kid thrown in. They ignore, belittle and dismiss her as she proffers
lesson plans and reading materials seriously out of step with the homelessness, drug use and violence
that are the stuff of their precarious existences.
And then one day, she gives them all marbled composition books and the assignment to write their
lives, ungraded, unjudged, and the world breaks open.
"My probation officer thinks he's slick; he swears he's an expert on gangs."
"Sorry, diary, I was going to try not to do it tonight, but the little baggy of white powder is calling my
name."
"If you pull up my shirtsleeves and look at my arms, you will see black and blue marks."
"The words 'Eviction Notice' stopped me dead in my tracks."
"When I was younger, they would lock me up in the closet because they wanted to get high and beat up
on each other."
Ms. G, as the kids called her, embraced a concept that has been lost in modern life: writing can make
pain tolerable, confusion clearer and the self stronger.
How is it, at a time when clarity and strength go begging, that we have moved so far from everyday
prose? Social critics might trace this back to the demise of letter writing. The details of housekeeping
and child rearing, the rigors of war and work, advice to friends and family: none was slated for
publication. They were communications that gave shape to life by describing it for others.
But as the letter fell out of favor and education became professionalized, with its goal less the
expansion of the mind than the acquisition of a job, writing began to be seen largely as the purview of
writers. Writing at work also became so stylistically removed from the story of our lives that the two
seemed to have nothing in common. Corporate prose conformed to an equation: information x
polysyllabic words + tortured syntax = aren't you impressed?
And in the age of the telephone most communication became evanescent, gone into thin air no matter
how important or heartfelt. Think of all those people inside the World Trade Center saying goodbye by
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phone. If only, in the blizzard of paper that followed the collapse of the buildings, a letter had fallen
from the sky for every family member and friend, something to hold on to, something to read and
reread. Something real. Words on paper confer a kind of immortality. Wouldn't all of us love to have a
journal, a memoir, a letter, from those we have loved and lost? Shouldn't all of us leave a bit of that
behind?
The age of technology has both revived the use of writing and provided ever more reasons for its
spiritual solace. E-mails are letters, after all, more lasting than phone calls, even if many of them r 2
cursory 4 u. And the physical isolation they and other arms-length cyber-advances create makes
talking to yourself more important than ever. That's also what writing is: not just a legacy, but therapy.
As the novelist Don DeLillo once said, "Writing is a form of personal freedom. It frees us from the
mass identity we see in the making all around us. In the end, writers will write not to be outlaw heroes
of some underculture but mainly to save themselves, to survive as individuals."
That's exactly what Gruwell was after when she got the kids in her class writing, in a program that's
since been duplicated at other schools. Salvation and survival for teenagers whose chances of either
seemed negligible. "Growing up, I always assumed I would either drop out of school or get pregnant,"
one student wrote. "So when Ms. G started talking about college, it was like a foreign language to me."
Maybe that's the moment when that Latina girl began to speak that foreign language, when she wrote
those words down. Today she has a college degree.
One of the texts Erin Gruwell assigned was "The Diary of a Young Girl" by Anne Frank. A student
who balked at reading a book about someone so different, so remote, went on to write: "At the end of
the book, I was so mad that Anne died, because as she was dying, a part of me was dying with her." Of
course Anne never dreamed her diary would be published, much less read by millions of people after
her death at the hands of the Nazis. She wrote it for the same reason the kids who called themselves
Freedom Writers wrote in those composition books: to make sense of themselves. That's not just for
writers. That's for people.
Named Works: Freedom Writers (Motion picture) Criticism and interpretation
Source Citation:Quindlen, Anna. "Write for Your Life; Wouldn't all of us love to have a journal, a
memoir, a letter, from those we have loved and lost? Shouldn't all of us leave a bit of that
behind?." Newsweek (Jan 22, 2007): 74. General Reference Center Gold. Gale. Library of
Michigan. 29 Aug. 2007
<http://0-find.galegroup.com.elibrary.mel.org:80/itx/start.do?prodId=GRGM>.
Gale Document Number:A157662917
Full Text :COPYRIGHT 2007 Newsweek, Inc. All rights reserved. Any reuse, distribution or
alteration without express written permission of Newsweek is prohibited. For permission:
www.newsweek.com
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Multi-Genre Project Evaluation Rubric
Strong
Purpose: The research paper meets a
clearly defined purpose (e.g. to
persuade, inform). The purpose is
compelling because it goes beyond
simply completing the assignment.
Adequate
The research paper meets a clearly defined
purpose (e.g. to persuade, inform). But the
purpose is less compelling because it is geared
primarily toward completing the assignment.
Audience: The research paper is
addressed clearly to an academic
audience and a sub-audience can be
found – a peer group who needs to be
informed about the topic, a group who
might have a stake in the topic, etc.
Persona: The writer’s prose establishes
a consistent and appropriate relationship
with readers – one that is formal,
informed, and/or concerned.
The research paper is addressed to an academic
audience sometimes and addressed to a
secondary audience sometimes. There are
places where audience is unclear.
Development: The writer develops
three to five main claims which are
supported adequately via research. The
argument concedes when necessary and
the argument includes the writer’s
academic voice to carry the reader from
point to point.
Organization: The research paper has a
clear thesis which maps the rest of the
paper. The main points follow in a
logical order. The introduction acts to
entice the reader to move forward and
the conclusion answers, “so what?”
Research: The writer has used
academic and reliable sources which
relate to the topic. They are integrated
into the paper to help strengthen the
writer’s voice. The sources are cited
correctly in MLA format.
For the most part, the writer develops three to
five main points although some may lack
backing. In some places, the writer fails to
include his or her own voice to help transition
between points.
Style: The prose is engaging, clear, and
coherent. Word choice is appropriate
and academic, and sentences generally
flow from one to another. Transitions
between paragraphs are effective.
The prose is generally clear and coherent. Word
choice is generally appropriate, but a few
inappropriate words weaken the prose. A few
sets of sentences may be choppy, disrupting
flow.
Readability: The prose is free of
distracting errors in grammar,
mechanics, and spelling.
Although the prose is free of sentence-level
errors (e.g. comma splices, fused sentences,
fragments) it may contain a few obvious
mechanical or spelling errors.
A good amount of revision has been done
between one set of drafts (i.e. from draft one to
draft two, but not from draft two to draft three).
Revision: Substantial revision has taken
place in between all drafts.
The writer’s prose establishes a relationship that
is usually consistent, but that may shift
inappropriately at one or two points.
The research paper has a thesis, but it does not
direct the paper in all parts. A few elements
appear in places that weaken the writer’s
purpose, or unnecessary repetition may detract
from a reader’s sense of coherence.
The writer has used one academic source and a
few reliable sources which relate to the topic.
They are integrated into the paper, but in some
parts they do not help strengthen the writer’s
argument. The sources are cited correctly most
of the time in MLA format.
Weak
The research paper meets no clearly
defined purpose, or it may switch
purposes unexpectedly. The writer
seems only to have submitted
something to complete the
assignment.
The research paper has no clearly
defined audience. The prose may
imply inappropriate shifts in
audience.
The writer’s prose establishes a
relationship that is often
inconsistent, that shifts
inappropriately at more than a few
points.
The writer generally fails to develop
three to five main points. The
research given does not support the
argument. There is no writer’s voice
to carry the reader from point to
point.
The research paper is organized in a
manner generally inappropriate for a
logical argument. The thesis does
not guide the paper. Unnecessary
repetition detracts from a reader’s
sense of coherence.
The writer has used no academic
sources and many unreliable
sources. The sources may not relate
to the topic. The sources are not
integrated with the writer’s voice
and they do not help strengthen the
argument. In many places the
sources are not cited correctly in
MLA format.
The prose is unclear in more than a
couple of places. It may also be
choppy in more than a few places.
The prose contains distracting
sentence-level errors. It may also
contain more than a few obvious
mechanical or spelling errors.
No apparent revision has taken
place.
www.ipfw.edu/engl/writingprogram/W131%20sandman%20multigenre.doc
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The Pocahontas Myth
In 1995, Roy Disney decided to release an animated movie about a Powhatan woman known as
"Pocahontas". In answer to a complaint by the Powhatan Nation, he claims the film is "responsible,
accurate, and respectful."
We of the Powhatan Nation disagree. The film distorts history beyond recognition. Our offers to assist
Disney with cultural and historical accuracy were rejected. Our efforts urging him to reconsider his
misguided mission were spurred.
"Pocahontas" was a nickname, meaning "the naughty one" or "spoiled child". Her real name was
Matoaka. The legend is that she saved a heroic John Smith from being clubbed to death by her father in
1607 - she would have been about 10 or 11 at the time. The truth is that Smith's fellow colonists
described him as an abrasive, ambitious, self-promoting mercenary soldier.
Of all of Powhatan's children, only "Pocahontas" is known, primarily because she became the hero of
Euro-Americans as the "good Indian", one who saved the life of a white man. Not only is the "good
Indian/bad Indian theme" inevitably given new life by Disney, but the history, as recorded by the
English themselves, is badly falsified in the name of "entertainment".
The truth of the matter is that the first time John Smith told the story about this rescue was 17 years
after it happened, and it was but one of three reported by the pretentious Smith that he was saved from
death by a prominent woman.
Yet in an account Smith wrote after his winter stay with Powhatan's people, he never mentioned such
an incident. In fact, the starving adventurer reported he had been kept comfortable and treated in a
friendly fashion as an honored guest of Powhatan and Powhatan's brothers. Most scholars think the
"Pocahontas incident" would have been highly unlikely, especially since it was part of a longer account
used as justification to wage war on Powhatan's Nation.
Euro-Americans must ask themselves why it has been so important to elevate Smith's fibbing to status
as a national myth worthy of being recycled again by Disney. Disney even improves upon it by
changing Pocahontas from a little girl into a young woman.
The true Pocahontas story has a sad ending. In 1612, at the age of 17, Pocahontas was treacherously
taken prisoner by the English while she was on a social visit, and was held hostage at Jamestown for
over a year.
During her captivity, a 28-year-old widower named John Rolfe took a "special interest" in the
attractive young prisoner. As a condition of her release, she agreed to marry Rolfe, who the world can
thank for commercializing tobacco. Thus, in April 1614, Matoaka, also known as "Pocahontas",
daughter of Chief Powhatan, became "Rebecca Rolfe". Shortly after, they had a son, whom they named
Thomas Rolfe. The descendants of Pocahontas and John Rolfe were known as the "Red Rolfes."
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Two years later on the spring of 1616, Rolfe took her to England where the Virginia Company of
London used her in their propaganda campaign to support the colony. She was wined and dined and
taken to theaters. It was recorded that on one occasion when she encountered John Smith (who was
also in London at the time), she was so furious with him that she turned her back to him, hid her face,
and went off by herself for several hours. Later, in a second encounter, she called him a liar and
showed him the door.
Rolfe, his young wife, and their son set off for Virginia in March of 1617, but "Rebecca" had to be
taken off the ship at Gravesend. She died there on March 21, 1617, at the age of 21. She was buried at
Gravesend, but the grave was destroyed in a reconstruction of the church. It was only after her death
and her fame in London society that Smith found it convenient to invent the yarn that she had rescued
him.
History tells the rest. Chief Powhatan died the following spring of 1618. The people of Smith and
Rolfe turned upon the people who had shared their resources with them and had shown them
friendship. During Pocahontas' generation, Powhatan's people were decimated and dispersed and their
lands were taken over. A clear pattern had been set which would soon spread across the American
continent.
Chief Roy Crazy Horse
It is unfortunate that this sad story,
which Euro-Americans should find embarrassing,
Disney makes "entertainment" and perpetuates a dishonest and self-serving myth
at the expense of the Powhatan Nation.
http://www.powhatan.org/pocc.html
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Stereotyping in the Movies
Stereotypes are simple, one-dimensional portrayals of
people — usually based on sex, race, religion, profession or
age. We all stereotype people to some degree as we try to
make sense of the world.
Filmmakers often rely heavily on stereotypes, because they're a quick and simple way to establish a
movie character's traits. Blonde women are dumb, for example; foreigners are villains, Mexicans are
lazy, and blacks are great athletes. Teenaged characters are variously shown as sex-crazed, uncivilized,
moralistic or shallow, and they tend to be lumped into groups of either popular kids or geeks.
The film industry today is more sensitive to issues of culture and gender than it once was, but many
movies still perpetuate common misconceptions about groups of people. Such oversimplified and
inaccurate portrayals can profoundly affect how we perceive one another, how we relate to one another
and how we value ourselves.
Because children have a limited experience of the world, they're particularly vulnerable to being
influenced by media stereotypes. Even animated movies have their share of stereotypes, because
they're familiar and easily understood. Those cookie-cutter Disney heroines are always curvaceous,
have the same attractive features (regardless of race) and rarely take physical risks.
The kindly grandfather in Pinocchio, the wicked stepmother in Cinderella and the heroic male lion in
the Lion King are all stereotypes known and understood by children.
Parents should teach their kids to recognize media stereotypes, and to understand how they influence
us.


Have your kids watch out for stereotypical portrayals of children and teens in movies. Seeing
inaccurate portraits of themselves will help them to understand the concept of stereotyping.
When you watch older films with your children, look out for dated stereotypes and discuss them.
The portrayal of Native Americans in westerns is a good example of how negative stereotypes can
distort the history and our understanding of another culture.

Discuss with your kids the qualities that are most commonly used to define male and female
characters, and talk about how such portrayals limit people's views of real-life gender roles.

When you choose films for younger children, look for strong female characters and caring male
characters—and films that emphasize friendship and mutual respect between the sexes. Look for
sympathetic and insightful views of other cultures, races and religions. (Foreign films are great in
this respect.)

Expose your kids to movies that break down barriers between people and address issues of sexism
and racism.
http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/parents/movies/concerns/stereotyping_movies.cfm
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Chart for Critical Viewing of the Freedom Writers
Social
Myth/Stereotypes
Older women are
jealous and
competitive of
younger women.
Men are lazy, non
commutative and
sexual beings.
Camera
Angles
Body Types
Character
Traits/Attributes
Older woman
attempts to
squash
enthusiasm i.e.
“revise lesson
plans,” “too
difficult.”
“waste of time”
Eye line match
of older woman
at pearls
encircling
younger
woman’s neck.
Older woman
matronly – body
type is
emphasized with
button tight
across her chest.
Negative – older
woman
Jealous – older
woman
Positive and
committed – younger
woman
Man’s only
dialogue,
“What?”
Camera on man
is a High Angle
shot, thus he is
smaller and it
looks down on
him.
Costumes
Dialogue
Older woman is
in brown dowdy
sweater outfit.
Younger woman
in colors of
red/white and
blue. Red the
color of
passion/life.
Husband lies in
rumpled bed in a
blue T-shirt that
emphasizes his
eyes.
Wife – dressed
for work in a
suit.
Young woman –
slender.
Appears
physically fit,
athletic. T-shirt
emphasizes this
look.
Reeks of sensuality
i.e. bedroom eyes. In
fact, the camera fades
as a sexual smile
appears on his face as
he looks at his wife
as if she were an
object.
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Chart for Critical Reading of the Freedom Writers
Social
Myth/Stereotypes
Costumes
Camera
Angles
Dialogue
Body Types
Character
Traits/Attributes
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Camera Angle Vocabulary
FRAMING SHOTS
1. Long Shot (LS)
A long shot is a shot from some distance. The full body or the scene around an
object is shown.
2. Close-up (CS)
A close up is when the image shot takes up at least 80% of the frame. There is
also the extreme close-up that would be one part of the body or a portion of an
object.
3. Medium Shot (MS)
The medium shot is between a LS and CS; people are seen from the waist up.
4. Establishing Shot (ES)
The establishing shot is often a long shot or series of shots that sets the scene.
CAMERA ANGLES:
Low Angle (LA):
The camera shoots the subject from below. Has the effect of making subject look larger
than normal: strong, powerful, threatening.
High Angle (HA):
The camera is above the subject. Usually has the effect of making the subject look
smaller than normal: weak, powerless, trapped.
Eye-Level (EL)
The eye-level shots are 90-95% of the shots seen because it is most natural. Camera is
even with the characters’ eyes.
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