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Messages - saera

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I love this! It's ridiculous but as the video says, the excerpt was written semi-intelligently by a computer. And I find it incredible that this random chapter still sounded like it could be a legitimate part of the Harry Potter series. It sounds like J.K. Rowling's writing style. This could be a great (and incredibly humorous) way to introduce and/or begin a discussion about voice in writing!

...Which reminds me of a story I stumbled upon on awhile back that has now been moved to Archive of Our Own. A fan decided to rewrite Harry Potter with one small but significant change: Harry is sorted into Slytherin, not Gryffindor. The story series is called Green-Eyed Snake. You can read the story yourself to see how it all plays out, but the fan author seems to be working on rewriting all the books (without a distinct end goal, just chugging along forward--they're currently working on the fourth Harry Potter book, originally Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, now renamed Harry Potter and the Death Mark). One of the most amazing parts to me is that besides using excerpts of the original Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling (with all due credit and proper acknowledgment!), this fan author quite seamlessly integrates these excerpts by mimicking the writing style, the unique and quirky voice that appears consistently throughout the series. This consistency is what enabled the computer to pick up on the patterns within the voice, but more importantly, voice (still most effectively created by a human, in my opinion) sets an overall tone for a writing piece within which plot tension and emotions and such can move.

See more about how to introduce your class to fanfiction and online writing communities in this post!

Feedback--Peer Review / Top 10 Peer Review Mistakes - YouTube Video
« on: May 04, 2018, 12:12:19 AM » (4 minutes)

Titled "Writing Peer Review (Peer Critique) TOP 10 Mistakes," or as I like to call it "How NOT to Give Good Feedback," this video is an utterly adorable and fun video with ten examples of ways peer feedback could be discouraging, unhelpful, or generally useless. The video shows 4th and 5th graders in pairs giving and receiving feedback for their partners, but ineffectively. Includes: pickiness, apathy, inattentiveness,over-generalization, condescension, insensitivity, arrogance, irrelevance, haste, and over-sensitivity. This video can effectively spark a discussion for students of ways to temper delivery of negative feedback with constructive comments and suggestions. No subtitles beyond YouTube's auto-generated English ones.

Summary & Paraphrase / How to Paraphrase - YouTube Video
« on: May 03, 2018, 11:55:02 PM » - (2 min, 26 sec)

A short and concise video explaining paraphrasing based largely off of citation how-to website OWL at Purdue with pleasant music, fun animated characters, and simple phrases of explanation on screen. Depending on the level of proficiency of your class, you can comfortably read aloud the words onscreen as the video plays.

Harry Potter Lessons! / Magic Spells Quiz
« on: May 03, 2018, 11:37:45 PM »

Made with a fellow teacher, this quiz was used as a warm up intro activity that connected the various spells in Harry Potter to their Latin roots, having (high school, intermediate level TESL) students practice identifying roots in new words in order to figure out the meaning (besides context or Googling for a dictionary definition). After the quiz (which we don't intend to score seriously as a quiz grade), we planned to have the students discuss their favorite spells and whether they saw any connections between the words used in a spell and the effect of the spell to get them thinking.

We originally had the quiz as all words but during lesson plan workshopping took the suggestion that we use pictures instead; hopefully they're clear for the spells' effect. Three of the five spells are used in the first book, so this will be suitable for any unit related to Harry Potter whether students have read far past the first book or not, and even with students who have only read the first book, the presence of these other spells is intended to make students begin guess at meaning and effect!

This lesson is generally intended as pre-reading in that it prepares students to go out and read more, equipping them with skills to tackle challenging material and wrestle words with which they're not yet familiar.

Organization / Character Web
« on: May 03, 2018, 04:21:46 PM »
When creating a series of lesson plans for reading a fictional book, I searched around for some different character webs to use: first, for an assignment writing a character sketch for existing characters, and second, for a later creative writing assignment with the same characters. I ended up making my own (via Microsoft Publisher) with a fellow teacher to encompass many different aspects of a character, namely appearance, personality, goals and beliefs, likes and dislikes, family and friends, hobbies, and quotes. Within a unit, this character web can be used to keep track of a character throughout the reading of a book or for the creation of a new one.

Getting to Know You Activities / Name Game
« on: May 03, 2018, 02:45:14 PM »
An interesting icebreaker I experienced at an event was called the Name Game, a bit of an introspective exercise. Since it's a series of questions, you could give some time to read the questions and think of answers, and then share in pairs, small groups, or to the whole class.

You can use your first, middle, or last name. IF you don't know the meaning of your name, you can Google it.

1. Who named you?
2. Does your name have a meaning or is there a story associated with your name?
3. How has it been growing up with your name?
4. What does your name mean to you?
5. Have you thought of changing your name? If so, what and why?

Reading/Writing Humor / Irony, but Funny Irony
« on: April 02, 2018, 11:44:05 PM »

I feel like there's a lot of fun potential packed into this!
Certainly plenty of examples of how deliberate contradiction creates humorous irony.
Topics to be explored include: the three types of irony, how to create a list, how to number a list, where is appropriate to write creative ideas, the effect of repetition (structural as well), etc.

Creative Writing / Re: Fanfiction Writing Introduction Activity
« on: March 06, 2018, 02:38:38 PM »
Excellent introduction to online fanfiction communities! Livejournal, Dreamwidth, and Tumblr are also popular for hosting fanfiction, if you're in the right tags/areas. Another concept to possibly touch upon as potential writers is the type or amount of tools the website provides for the composition, formatting, proofreading, and feedback of a piece of writing: beta connections, fonts and accessibility, reviews, etc.

Rachita Rana, Sarah Martin, Nalaka Hewage


Video + Worksheet
-Find a YouTube video or take the video linked within the article (Ask a Spaceman) to give engaging and visual context for the concepts introduced in the article.
-Create a worksheet with a list of some important vocabulary words, particularly the specialized terminology involved, such as: grappling, Big Bang, Nobel laureate, Cepheid, light-years, observatory, etc.
-With the worksheet, they can take initiative and find (online or by asking others) not just the definitions but also the real life contexts of these words.

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