Friday, December 18, 2015

Circle Story

Holiday-themed circle story

No new homework.  Make sure that you have submitted all of your other assignments.

Thursday, December 17, 2015



  • Finish showing character writing (handout, 11-12 sentences)
  • Edit the I-Remember passage.  You will need a total of 2 pages (2.5 if you wrote it on paper) to get full credit.  If you do not have this much writing, you probably still do not have enough detail.
  • I-Remember (final) due tomorrow.  Make sure you have followed the directions from the previous blog entry.  The document needs to be printed/highlighted and labeled or completely handwritten/highlighted and labeled prior to the beginning of class.  If you print it or hand it in later, it will be considered late.

Focused Practice: Showing


  • Characterization Check-In Quiz
  • Showing v. Telling
    • Avoid writing short character sketches.  Show how the character is.  You are not talking to a police sketch artist!

  • Be prepared for a characterization quiz when we return
  • Your final I-Remember exercise is due Friday!  It needs to be printed before class.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Showing Not Telling Writing Project


  • Review Tips handout
  • I-Remember Showing Project
    • You will need to locate the I-Remember Exercise that you added to in class and that you highlighted for telling sentences.  
    • You will need to expand this exercise into 2 pages (2.5 if you are hand writing your piece)
    • You need to start a new document for this exercise.  Remember that you are revising, not just making minor edits here and there.  If you merely add to what you have, you will be tempted to keep most of your writing the same.
    • Choose 3 tips from the handout to make your telling writing into showing writing.
      • If you do not have 3 telling sections, think of where you can add information to your new piece.
      • You must try 3 different tips.  If you use 1 more than once, that is fine, but it will not count towards the 3.  
    • Highlight where you used the tips, and explain which tip you used.  If you are typing, use different colored highlighting with a key at the end.  If you are handwriting, highlight and write the technique used in the margin.
    • You may still have a little telling here and there--remember you also do not want to overshow--but the majority of your writing should be showing.


  • This exercise is due first thing on Friday.

Characterization: Show Don't Tell p. 2


  • Finish presentation
  • Look at own piece, highlight where you tell
  • Trade with a partner, do the same for your partner's work
  • Nothing for tonight.  Make sure that you are caught up.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Showing v. Telling


  • Presentation
  • Sample Writing
  • Make sure that your 4 I remember paragraphs are complete as well as the addition of a half of a page to one of them.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Getting into Character


  • Write 3 questions you might ask someone you are first meeting
  • Speed Interviewing of other Characters
  • Choose one I Remember prompt, and add a paragraph to it.  You will be developing this prompt into a full scene in your character's life.
  • Finish adding the paragraph to your I-Remember prompt for tomorrow

I Remember Exercise


  • Answer the I Remember prompts for your character
    • I remember my first vacation...
    • I remember my strange uncle...
    • I remember when I decided to get a pet...
    • I remember...
  • Each I Remember should be a paragraph in length
  • Complete the I Remember exercises for tomorrow's class

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Characterization: Creating a Character


  • Continue answering the questions for your protagonist
  • Complete any questions that you did not finish

Monday, December 7, 2015

Characterization Continued


  • Sharing overwriting pieces
  • YWP handout on characterization
    • additional terms: flat and round characters, protagonist and antagonist (physical, abstract)
  • Characterization Questions

Friday, December 4, 2015

Catch-All Day

This is your chance to make up anything that you may have noticed you are missing.  Use it to your advantage.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015



  • Review journal
  • River charts
  • River chart discussion
  • Review diction for Thursday

Monday, November 30, 2015

One-Syllable Stories

Style: One-Syllable Stories


  • Read "Some Small Talk, Sweet Talk, From Will Parr to the World"
  • Discuss the style and syntax
  • Creating your own one-syllable stories

The boy sat on the dock and wept.
He cried for the loss of love. A tear in his heart so big it seemed too much to bear.
He glanced up at the fish in the lake and wished to be with them. To be free with them for a few days is all he asked for. To not think about the life he must face. He would not go back to the house. Not back to the home where he knew her. Where her bones would be lain. Not back to the house where his mom had died.

"Dear God," she wrote, "I have been good all my life. I lived in a way I thought you would want. Be it man or beast, I treat all with love. But I ask, is life how it should be? And," she went on, "Why did you leave?" She paused on the next words. "Did you leave me?" she asked in her head, "or did I leave you?" She threw the note and pen to the hard floor and cried. "Who left who? Do I have a soul? Is this life all there is?"
 She feared the truth she knew.

Finish writing lab based on examples

Monday, November 23, 2015

Portfolio Review and a Look at our Diction


  • Portfolio Review I Questions
  • Diction Chart
    • You need to complete this for 7 words
    • You should be using the work that you identified at the end of your review questions

  • You need to complete the reflection questions if you did not finish in class

Friday, November 20, 2015

More Figurative Practice


  • Practice Figurative Language Sheet
  • Study for Tuesday

Overwriting Practice


  • Share thesaurus resources
  • Overwriting exercise
  • Study figurative language for quiz

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Diction Continued


    • Thesaurus Task

      Objective: To analyze possible tools in order to choose the best words for our writing

      1. You will be assigned one of the resources below:
        1. Sage thesaurus app
        2. Print thesaurus
        5.'s thesaurus app

      1. Go on to your assigned resource and play around with it.
      1. Research your chosen thesaurus resource and answer the following questions:
      1. How user-friendly is your choice?  (Is it easy to understand or confusing?)
      2. Does it offer a variety of synonyms?  How useful are these?  Give an example of some synonyms for  a word of your choice.  
      3. What is most useful about your choice?  In other words, what is your favorite feature?
      4. Would you recommend your choice?  Why?

      **Be prepared to discuss these tomorrow

  • Finish thesaurus analysis to present tomorrow



  • Diction Notes
  • Sample analysis--Shakespeare v. Jarrell
  • None for tonight

Monday, November 16, 2015

Figurative Language Review


  • A look at missing work
  • Figurative Language Review Sheet
  • Study for figurative language quiz on Thursday

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Workshop and Rubric Overview


  • Review of rubric for final project
  • Fill out rubric for self based on what you have so far

  • Finish presentation for tomorrow

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Figurative Language Practice


  • Worksheet Review
  • Figurative Language Practice Writing
  • Workshop Time
  • Finish presentation for Thursday

Monday, November 2, 2015

Figurative Language Review


  • Figurative Language Check-In
  • Figurative Language Packet
  • Continue working on presentation (*due Thursday*)

Friday, October 30, 2015

Halloween Mystery Bags


  • Complete your writing lab based on the following:  
    • You have been given an item in your bag.
    • Your item should be your main character, a part of your main character, or something that belongs to your main character.
    • You need a full page.
    • You need two figurative devices underlined.  Think back to your portions of the chart.

  • Finish Prompt

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Figurative Language


  • Looking at sample passages
  • Figurative Language Chart (Google Doc, fill out your section)
  • Continue working on corrections, due tomorrow

Passage 1
Passage 2
What’s the difference?
She’s beautiful.
Her hair was the orange of maple leaves in autumn; her eyes were as blue as the night sky in a painting by van Gogh.

Your eyes are as blue as the sky.
Your beauty cannot fade.
Your hair is soft as silk.
With you, I’m never afraid.
Your eyes are blue as a bolt of lightning
That imprints itself on the sky
Your hair, like a cashmere sweater,
Warm reassurance provides.  

A train is leaving to New York.
It has many coaches.
Steam can be seen floating around it.  
The ten o-clock train to New York
coaches like loaves of bread powdered
with snow.
Steam wheezes between the couplings.

I remember you waving goodbye to me.
I can picture you and your surprises.
It is hard to believe you are passed on,
Leaving my heart so blue.  
I remember you running beside the train
waving good-bye.
I can produce a facsimile of you standing
behind a column of polished oak to
surprise me
Am I going toward you or away from
you on this train?

The sea had a green tint to it.  It was tumultuous that evening and left the onlookers filled with fear.   
The green sea swept into the shallows and seethed there like slaking quicklime.  It surged over the rocks, tossing up spangles of water like a juggler catching them deftly again behind.  It raced knee deep through the clefts and crevices, twisted and tortured in a thousand ways, til it swept nuzzling and sucking into the holes at the base of the cliff.

  • Group work on larger chart.  Your segments will be due on Friday.  Prepare to explain what you came up with. Make sure that you are using credible sites to help you. 

Example 1
Example 2
Figurative Language

Expressing ideas indirectly; language used in a special way to create a special effect made up of words and phrases which don’t mean what they first appear to mean.










  • Corrections due tomorrow
  • Make-up work due tomorrow

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Test Corrections


  • Test corrections
  • Number of the question you got wrong
    • Wrong answer:
    • Correct answer:
    • Why the correct answer is correct
  • Use the above format for all questions you lost credit on
  • Finish test corrections for Friday

Comparing Rhymes


  • Looking at the Introduction to Songs of Experience
  • SPOTTTS on "A Poison Tree" --at the end include a couple of sentences explaining how the rhyme scheme complements or does not complement the poem
  • Complete SPOTTTS

Monday, October 26, 2015

Presentation Workshop


  • Review components of a good presentation
  • Things to make sure you include in your presentation
    • Title slide with your song's name, your performing artist's name, and your name
    • Intro slide
    • Concluding slide (maybe make this the slide about the meaning of the song)

  • Presentations will be due next Monday

Friday, October 23, 2015

What is a Good PowerPoint?


  • Review of Johnny B. Goode Sample
  • PowerPoint Dos and Don'ts
  • Make sure you have handed in your Part II edits

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Rhyme Revisted


  • Make sure that Part 2 is completed and updated
  • In one to two sentences, explain why you think Blake chose the ABAB rhyme scheme of the sample poem.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Test Review and Workshop Part II


  • Review Notes
  • Game Review
  • Workshop Part II
  • Complete Part II of Project
  • Study for tomorrow

Monday, October 19, 2015

Workshop Time: Part II

Please copy the information below into a Google Doc. Answer the questions and share it with me.

Start a set of notes about the song in a Google Doc to be shared with me.
    1. How does this song make creative use of poetic lines?  (Look back to your notes and think back to your most recent poetry assignment--line length, white space, end stop, enjambment, etc.)

    1. How does this song make use of poetic musicality (rhyme, alliteration, assonance, ...maybe even meter)?  Please include the line of the example you are citing.
      1. What is the rhyme scheme?

    1. Does it use consonance?

    1. Alliteration?

    1. Assonance?

    1. Does it have a set meter or rhythm?
    2. Does your song use other devices (simile, metaphor, etc.)? If your song has an important or obvious one, be sure that you talk about it.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Poetry of Music


  • Project Directions
  • Sample Student Project
  • Workshop: Complete Part 1
  • Finish Part 1 if you haven't in class.  I need both a link to your lyrics and a link to your video for Monday.
  • Remember that our test is pushed back to Tuesday.  Make sure that you review your notes.

The Poetry of Music Project


Ms. Hoffmann
Creative Writing
Music as Poetry Assignment

In extending our examination of how music is like poetry, we will be looking at how songs use poetic devices.  In order to start this process, there are some steps that you need to complete in class today.

Part 1:

  1. Choose a song that you like.  (It also should be a song that you have access to via YouTube or mp3 file to share.)

Title: _________________________
(Remember that you need to punctuate song titles.  They are punctuated like poems and album titles are punctuated like book titles.)

Author: _______________________
(Who actually wrote the lyrics?  You may need to Google Search for the answer.  Sometimes it is the performer, and sometimes it isn’t.)

Performing Artist: _________________________
(Some songs get covered a lot, so I need to know which version you are using.)

  1. Now, make sure that song is school-appropriate.  You may have to find the "clean" version of a song, or you may have to go looking for another one all together.  Run your choice by me if you are uncertain of what school-appropriate means.  

  • Does the version of the song you are using refrain from swearing?

  • Does the song you are using have appropriate content?

  • Does the song you are using have a music video that is appropriate to show to the class? If not, is there an appropriate lyric video that you can display?

  • Has no one else claimed your song already?  (First come, first serve.)

  • Does the song have some depth to it?  You are going to need to discuss the song’s meaning.  If you cannot figure out the meaning or are not comfortable discussing it, you need a different song.

If you checked off all of the boxes above, you need now to write me an e-mail that contains a link the lyrics of the version of the song that you are using as well as a YouTube link.  Once I receive your e-mail and approve your song, you may begin Part 2.

Part 2:

  1. Start a set of notes about the song in a Google Doc to be shared with me.
    1. How does this song make creative use of poetic lines?  (Look back to your notes and think back to your most recent poetry assignment--line length, white space, end stop, enjambment, etc.)

    1. How does this song make use of poetic musicality (rhyme, alliteration, assonance, ...maybe even meter)?  Please include the line of the example you are citing.
      1. What is the rhyme scheme?

      1. Does it use consonance?

      1. Alliteration?

      1. Assonance?

      1. Does it have a set meter or rhythm?

Part 3:

You will need to put your presentation into a slideshow or Prezi like the example we saw in class.  More details about the presentation will be forthcoming.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Writing our Own Musical Lines


  • Review Notes
  • Worksheet: writing musical devices into poetic lines
  • Finish worksheet if you did not in class

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Writing Lab 5

You are flipping through the channels on TV one Saturday, waiting for your pizza to be delivered. On the coffee table sits an open can of soda. You don’t remember getting the soda, but you live alone and haven’t had anyone over recently, so it must be yours. You take a sip as the

The Music of Poetry II


  • Finish Listening
  • Musical Device Notes
  • Poetry Project and Journal due tomorrow

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Music of Poetry


  • Meter Check-In Quiz
  • The origins of poetry
    • Sappho and the Greeks:
    • Medieval English Ballads:
    • Later English Ballads (1700s):
    • To be continued tomorrow...
  • Finish line and stanza poem for Friday
  • Be sure to complete the journal that goes along with it

Monday, October 5, 2015

Peer Review Questions

Answer the following questions about your peer's writing in a Google Doc.  Be sure to title the document, put your name, and put the name of the person whose work you are reviewing.  You need to share this with me once you are finished.

Note:  All answers should be in complete sentences and where appropriate point to specific portions of the text/quote the text.  (You are being graded partially on completeness.)

*Peer Review Questions:
Name of the Person Reviewed:
Title of the Piece:
  • What is happening in the poem?  What seems to be its meaning?
  • What stands out to you as a reader?  Why does this portion of the poem stand out?
  • Is there any suspense in the piece?  Where and why?
  • Does the poem meet all of the criteria in the final piece checklist?
  • What is one suggestion you have for revisions?
  • What is one aspect of the piece that you really like?

Meter Continued


  • Review Meter Identification Sheet
  • YouTube Review:
  • Iambic Pentameter Handout
  • Have a draft ready for peer review tomorrow
  • Final poem project and journal due on Friday

Friday, October 2, 2015

Meter and Rhythm


  • PPT Notes
  • Worksheet
  • Finish worksheet if didn't in class
  • 10/9 poem project due with completed journal

Writing Lab Day

Writing Lab Day

Write a scene in which the following happens:  Your character wakes up and reads his or her obituary.  He or she goes to call a friend, but the electric cuts out, and cell reception fails.  What is going on?


  • Finish writing your scene.  You need to develop at least a full page for credit.
  • Poetry project deadline extended until 10/9

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

More on Punctuation and Poetic Line Review


  • Punctuating Sample Sentences
    • Why does it matter to place punctuation correctly?
  • ee cummings' "[i carry your heart with me (i carry it in]"
  • Review of Poetic Line Test
    • You may retake if you schedule with me and your PLP advisor on Monday
  • Workshop 
  • Poems due Friday with journal response (see previous blog post)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Pausing for Punctuation


  • Journal: Types of Punctuation
  • Dear John Punctuation
  • Final poem due Friday
  • Please make sure that you complete the journal that goes with your final submission: 

Journal Entry:

In a separate Google Doc, explain the following about your final piece.  What did you achieve in your final piece?  (Think back to your planning page.  Use it to help you answer this question.  What did you keep from your original plans?)  How did you use line length, white space, end stop and/or enjambment to add to your piece?  (Keep in mind which of these you do need to include in order to receive full credit.  It is all listed on our grading checklist from the beginning of the project.)  

*This is a part of your final grade!*

Friday, September 25, 2015

Writing Workshop Continued


  • Workshop Continued
  • Progress Reports
  • Sign Progress Reports (if below 75%)
  • Final draft of poem due 10/2

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Poetic Line Project Workshop


  • Workshop Time
  • Conferences: Planning Pages and Grade Reports
  • "Dust of Snow" SPOTTTS analysis now is due tomorrow
  • Edits to planning pages that you started in class need to be finished for tomorrow.  We will continue working on the projects at that time.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015



  • What does a good SPOTTTS analysis of "Fame is a Fickle Food" look like?
  • "Dust of Snow" SPOTTTS analysis due tomorrow
  • Be prepared for workshopping tomorrow

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Lines and Stanzas Quiz, SPOTTTS Review


  • Quiz
  • Review components of SPOTTTS
  • Make sure you have the planning worksheet done for tomorrow.  It should have been completed for today, but you all lucked out!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Poetic Line Emulation Project


  • Directions
  • Analysis of Sample Student
  • Fill out Planning Page
  • Finish Planning Page

Name: Creative Writing Ms. Hoffmann Date: Poetic Line Emulation Complete the following steps in order to finish your first poetry emulation piece. 1. You should already have completed your free write that we started in class. 2. What is one aspect of your story that you want to stand out to the reader?  What do you  feel is most important about the story?  Why? ______________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ 3. How will you emphasize this portion of your piece?  Which poetic device related to line  structure will you use?  Why? ______________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________  4. Where would be a good place in your piece to create suspense for your reader?  How can you use enjambment to achieve this?   ______________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________  5. How do you plan to group your stanzas (symmetrically, organically, according to a  certain form)?  Why? ______________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________  Checklist for final piece Does your final poem contain: … A creative use of line length that is meaningful for your poem? … An end­stopped line? … An instance of enjambment? … Use of white space that makes sense for your subject? (No, you cannot submit a  poem that is all white space.) … Stanza groupings that make sense for the way in which you developed your  poem?
Is your poem a page in length?
Does it have a beginning, middle, and end?

Work Title:

Poetic Line Emulation Grade

  • Worksheet completed with plans------------------------------       / 10

  • Paragraph journal explanation---------------------------------       /5

  • Finished Piece
    • Creative use of line length-----------------------------       /5

  • End-stopped line-------------------------------------       /5

  • Enjambment------------------------------------------      /5

  • Use of white space-----------------------------------       /5

  • Meaningful stanza groupings--------------------------       /5

  • Total           /40

Friday, September 18, 2015

Writing Workshop Day 3

Prompt: Write a story about someone who wakes up, goes into the bathroom, and finds seven adult teeth in the medicine cabinet.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Discussion of Whitman's structure + SPOTTTS of "Fame..."


  • Finish questions
  • Begin analysis of "Fame..."
  • Complete your SPOTTTS analysis of "Fame..."
  • In a paragraph at the end, explain how line length, enjambment or end stops, white space, stanza structure, or anything else of your choosing from our notes contribute to the meaning of the poem.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Looking at Lines and Stanzas in Context


  • Discussion of homework
  • Reading and translating Whitman's "A Noiseless Patient Spider"
    • Fill out chart
  • Understanding why Whitman crafted his piece the way that he did  (TBC)
  • None.  Make sure you have everything else completed.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Line and Stanza Con't.


  • Review terms from PPT
  • Finish PPT
  • Vocab from "A Noiseless Patient Spider"
  • Finish defining the vocab terms from class.  Please provide me with a link to your work.

Friday, September 11, 2015



  • Finish Sample SPOTTTS (you can access it online in Google Docs for reference)
  • Begin own on Hughes' "Mother to Son"
  • Finish your solo SPOTTTS analysis

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Sample SPOTTTS Continued


  • Hand in work completed with sub
  • Review components of SPOTTTS
  • Sample Analysis: Shakespeare's Sonnet 18
  • Complete the Occasion, Title, and Tone for Sonnet 18

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Intro to SPOTTTS


  • HW completion discussion
  • Expanding our definition of poetry
    • What we saw at the stations
    • Looking at the handout definition
  • SPOTTTS analysis steps
  • Sample SPOTTTS 
  • Hang onto all handouts for Thursday
  • Come to class ready to write

Friday, September 4, 2015

What is a Poem?


  • Journal: Write a paragraph-long encyclopedia entry detailing what a poem is.  What does something need to be a poem. Be as detailed as possible.  Pretend that you are explaining a poem to someone who has never heard of it before.
  • Stations:  
    • Fill out your chart with the following
      • Poem's title and author
      • What you notice about the poem.  Does it fit with any of our poetry definitions?
      • What do you wonder about the poem?  Is anything about the poem surprising?
  • Choose one of that station poems.
  • Write a paragraph explaining how the poem fit or defied your definition of a poem.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Writing Lab


  • Find something outside.  Write a journal entry or some other writing from its perspective.
  • Build up your journal into a single page.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Finish Speaking and Listening Protocol


  • Finish Presentations
  • Discussion of how it went
  • Intro to prompt
  • None

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Save the Last Word for Me Continued


  • Example sharing
  • Actual groups
  • None.  Be prepared to finish discussions tomorrow.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Save the Last Word for Me: Our Thoughts on Good Writing

Answer the following questions for our "Save the Last Word for Me" Protocol:

1. What piece is your selection from?  Who wrote it?

2.  What was the number one thing that made you select the piece?  What resonated or stuck with you the most.  Please include a quote that you can share in your group.

3. What were your "good" writing criteria?  Explain how this piece fit at least two of them.  (You may explain how it fit criteria from class or how it used different literary devices--imagery, symbolism, simile, etc.--but you may not just say that it just did.  You have to make the connections.)

Friday, August 28, 2015

Intro Day Continued and Writing Circles


  • Review of The Garlic Ballads homework
  • Writing Circle: Circle story "It was at that exact moment that, suddenly,..."
  • Bring in a reading that you enjoy--or at least like better than other pieces.  We will be working with these on Monday.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

What Makes for Good Writing


  • Brainstorming free write
  • The Garlic Ballads section 1 reading
  • Discussion of what we notice
  • Nobel Prize Criteria for good writing + discussion of it
  • Read the next section of The Garlic Ballads and write down observations in your work packet

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


Welcome to class!  Please obtain a binder to store handouts and your syllabus. This binder should be exclusively for Creative Writing.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Making Setting Work Harder


  • Finish yesterday's exercise
  • Read a portion of "Xochimilco"
  • Complete Creative Exercise
    • Choose a room to describe (or a spot long as you can picture it)
    • Choose a character with some sort of connection with the room
    • Give the character two personality traits or values
    • Convey the traits or values through only the room's description
  • Complete the assignment
  • Start working on your portfolio--you will need all of your portfolio materials for Tuesday

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Setting up the Setting


  • Analyze the setting in the exposition of Marc Wilkins' "Two Midnights in a Jar"
  • Follow the steps to set up a setting of your own the way Wilkins does
  • Finish steps 6 & 7 if you haven't in class