Writing Contest – Big Brothers/Big Sisters

In honor of mentoring month (in January) Big Brothers Big Sisters is sponsoring a small writing contest open to all ages K-12th and adult. The deadline to submit entries is Nov 30. There is no cost to enter.  I have entry forms available.  There are prizes!

From the entry form:

“Theme: How has a mentor positively affected your life? For this contest, a mentor is defined as a person who is at least 2 years older than you who has helped you with something in your life. Examples of a mentor could be a friend, parent, guardian, relative, teacher, coach, church member, neighbor, etc. How has that person helped you or what did they teach you? What was good about the experience? How did it change your life? To respect the privacy of your mentor, please only use their first name or a pseudonym. Poetry entries do not need to identify their mentor within their poem, however they should provide a short introduction prior to their poem to identify who their mentor is and what experience they will be referencing. For example: My poem is about my Aunt Sue who helped me learn how to sew.”

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Status of the Class with Figurative Language

Figurative language allows the author to add depth and richness to their writing.  For example:

  • My dog is a carnivore.  Good, solid factual sentence, but it lacks pizzazz.
  • In the kitchen, when I’m cooking, my dog is a tap dancer.  Can you picture my dog, Pitt, dancing around the kitchen trying to get some food?  This example is a metaphor and adds pizzazz!

Today I want you to post a brief  description of your writing AND I want you to add some pizzazz!  Describe your writing using personification, simile, metaphor or onomatopoeia.

Remember –

  • personification gives human thoughts, feelings, characteristics, personality to an inanimate object.  Such as; my desk misses me today while I’m home sick.
  • simile is a comparison that uses like or as.  I’m as sick as a flat tire today.
  • metaphor describes one thing as if it were another.  The hurricane cold hit after days of spinning just off shore.
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  • conference with Ms. Suzanne by Nov. 2 (Friday)
  • writing due Friday, November 9, 2012


  • typed, size 12 in an easy to read font
  • 4 – 6 pages
  • double space
  • at least one draft attached with final copy
  • peer review and Ms. Suzanne notes on draft
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from Kurt Vonnegut

“It’s like making a movie:  All sorts of accidental things will happen after you’ve set up the cameras.  So you get lucky.  Something will happen at the edge of the set and perhaps you start to go with that; you get some footage of that.  You come into it accidentally.  You set the story in motion and as you’re watching this thing being, all these opportunities will show up.”  Kurt Vonnegut, November 1985

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Thursday = Peer Review Day

On Thursday, we will share our writing with another student.  Here’s how to make this time the most effective:

  • author reads story aloud to reviewer
  • reviewer interrupts to ask questions and make comments
  • author writes the comments, etc on their draft
  • switch – reviewer becomes author and repeat!
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Writing Mini Lesson – Titles

Good Titles fit the whole piece of writing and attract a reader’s attention.


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Mini-lesson: a Pebble

The Rule of Write about a Pebble from http://msmcclure.com/?page_id=6226


“Say it, no ideas but in things.”

~ William Carlos Williams

This mini-lesson grew out of a writing conference writing guru, Nancie Atwell, had with a student who had a brilliant concept that was not coming to fruition in his writing. His idea was that small things we take for granted are rich and interesting. His intention was inventive, but his writing missed the mark by focusing on his chosen small thing, pebbles, in general rather than on one specific, identifiable pebble. Thus was born “The Rule of Write about pebble. This rule is about writing concrete details and writing from observed experiences so that each piece you write is evocative and provides the reader with a “being there” experience. Poet William Carlos Williams instructed thus: “Say it, no ideas but in things.”

More specifically, keep the following things in mind to follow “The Rule of Write about a Pebble” as you conceive topics and begin drafting:

Don’t write about a general idea or topic; write about a specific, observable person, place, occasion, time, object, animal, or experience. Its essence will lie in the sensory images the writer evokes: observed details of sight, sound, smell, touch, taste; and strong verbs that bring the details to life.

Don’t write about ____________ . Write about ____________ .

Don’t write about pebbles. Write about a pebble.

Don’t write about fall.  Write about this fall day. Go to the window; go outside.

Don’t write about sunsets.  Write about the amazing sunset you saw last night.

Don’t write about dogs or kittens.  Observe and write about your dogyour kitten.

Don’t write about friendship. Write about your friend, about what he or she does to be a good friend to you.

Don’t write about love. Write specifically about someone or something you love: these are the greatest love poems.

Don’t write about sailing. Remember and write about a time you went sailing.

Don’t write about babies. Write about your baby sister, your baby cousin.

Don’t write about reading. Write about your experience reading one book.

Don’t write about pumpkins. Write about the pumpkin you carved last night, the pumpkin you grew from seeds, your family’s jack-o’-lantern that the cruel high school boys smashed on the road.

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In October We Write

Hello students!  It feels great to get back into writing – doesn’t it?  Please do a status of the class comment to this post.  Just write a sentence or two letting us know what you are currently working on.  Thanks.

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Status of the Class

What are your classmates working on?

  • Varsonofy is writing a new comedy fiction.
  • Mike is revising his story from last year, “To Kill a Dragon”.
  • Katya writes a non fiction piece about her first time fishing.
  • Iganty is writing a fantasy fiction.
  • Max is writing a fictional adventure story.
  • Ksenia writes a love story – it’s fiction.
  • Alexander is writing a fiction story about paintballing.
  • Kirian continues his fantasy adventure fiction tale.
  • Kosta writes a non-fiction about fishing in Bristol Bay.
  • Evgeny is writing a true story about a lost family.
  • Firce writes a special ops fiction top secret adventure.
  • Alic will entertain us with zombies – clearly fiction.
  • Yakov is brainstorming.
  • Leedia continues a fiction story.
  • Mariamia is writing a new fiction story.


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Status of the Class

Please comment to this post with a short one to two sentence description of what you are working on today in Writing Workshop.

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