One Image: Multiple Interpretations

Daily Prompt

WN #29: Writing from a List

Make a list of what makes you happy.

Write for ten minutes.

Make a promise to yourself to experience at least one of these a day over Spring Break.


Here’s the image from yesterday:


Today, I want you to take the time to write a more polished piece of writing inspired by this image.  You may write in any form.  Your interpretation can be loosely connected to the image.

Once you’ve written a piece, post it on your blog, then share a link to it in the comments below.  I look forward to reading your interpretations!

Inspired by Images

Daily Prompt

WN #28: Spring Break

Get it out of your system.  Freewrite for five minutes about the topic, exploring what you will be doing, what you hope to be doing, and if you’re looking forward to it or not.


Students, April is National Poetry Month.  In this class, there will be many wonderful ways to get involved and celebrate the art of poetry.  Here are some highlights:

NaPoWriMo: National Poetry Writing Month.  Join me as I take on the challenge of writing and posting 30 poems in 30 days.  Click here to submit your blog and earn a prize for completing this lofty goal!  The challenge begins this Wednesday, April 1st.

Creative Communications Poetry Contest: submit a poem to this contest (very easy to do) and your work may be published in a collection of poems.  Deadline: April 16th.  I would LOVE to see everyone submit.

Dear Poet: we will be watching current poets read their work and then emailing them our thoughts in letter form. Some students’ letters (emails) will be answered by the poets and shared on in May.

Poetry Slam: April 30th, we will have a poetry celebration in our class where we will share our own work while enjoying good food and good conversation.  For those willing, we will videotape the poetry reading and post it on our class blog for future students to watch and learn from.

30 Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month:  here’s a list of different ways to celebrate.  Some of these we will do in class; others you may wish to try on your own!

Okay, for today’s lesson.  This week, we’re all going to write on one image so we can truly appreciate all the unique ways we can interpret the same subject.

Here’s the image:


Write down everything you see.  Don’t interpret yet.  Just make observations.


Everyone share out.


Now, write down some interpretations.  What’s going on?  What’s the story here?


Write for a full ten minutes.


Share out.


Tomorrow, you will have time to start crafting a more polished piece inspired by this image.

Posting your first book review: a how-to guide

Hi folks!  Today is the day to post your book reviews.

To do so, go to our class paged titled, Book Reviews.

From there, select Book Reviews: Collection #2 (Spring 2015)

In the comments, add a link to your blog post containing your book review. The following info should also be in the comments:

  • title of the book
  • author
  • favorite quote of yours from the book

When you get a chance, I encourage all of you to read each other’s reviews and post feedback on each other’s blogs.

Happy writing and reading!

Writing a Book Review: Day Three

Daily Prompt

WN #27: Questions

Write a question at the top of your notebook.

For five minutes, write a response to it (if you’re feeling more daring, exchange notebooks with a peer and answer each other’s questions).

It’s time to have a peer give you constructive criticism on your review.

Have at least two peers read your review and offer feedback.  To get the most out of this, write down WHAT you are looking for feedback on at the top of your paper.  For example, do you want advice on your intro?  Do you worry you’re repeating yourself?  Give your peer editors a focus.

When editing, be sure to write directly on your peers’ drafts so they can read your comments.

Don’t be afraid to correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors.  This is a kind thing to do so they don’t post something unprofessional on their blogs!

Once you’ve read some of your peers’ reviews, take the time to read the comments you received on yours and make adjustments, as needed.

Happy Writing!

Writing a Book Review: Day Two

Daily Prompt

WN #26: Student-created prompts

An elephant, a superhero, a bubble, and the color periwinkle.

Create whatever comes to mind!

Write for ten minutes.

It’s time to continue working on book reviews.

Today, we’re going to look at writing challenges.  Use these as a guide if you “get stuck” when writing your review.

Use the remainder of the hour to write your reviews while I conference with students.

Also, be sure to bring a copy of your book review (typed or untyped) to share with your peers for reviewing and editing.

Happy Writing!

Writing a Book Review: Day One

Daily Prompt

WN #25: Story Starter

There’s a note on the windshield of your car. The note says, “I’ve taken your most prized possession. If you want to see it again, in tact, meet me tonight at baseball field around the corner of the local high school. And bring your glove.” What makes this note so curious is that you’ve never played baseball, though you take no chances because your most prized possession is extremely valuable to you. Write this scene.

(from Reader’s Digest writing prompts)

Free write for seven minutes.

This week’s focus is on how to write a book review.  You will all be writing one and posting it on your blogs this Friday.

Let’s start by reading one: The Book Thief: a real steal

Let’s discuss what we notice this book review does and what elements it contains.

Here are a couple more well-written reviews by students last semester:

Extremely Sad and Incredibly Beautiful

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Here’s a link that will take you to all of the student book reviews.  Keep in mind some are more well-written than others.

Here’s a book review written by a professional reviewer.  You can actually do this for a living!

A New York Times Book Review

Let’s review some book review writing tips.

With the time remaining, start crafting your review by responding to the questions in the writing tips.

Tomorrow, we will discuss some writing challenges and spend some focused time writing rough drafts.

Oh, how’s our chain story coming along?


Reading like a Writer

Daily Prompt #24:  Catharsis

Write about whatever’s on your mind right now.

Write for five minutes.

Today is the last built-in day to read your current novel.  Book reviews are due this Friday, so the remainder of the week will be spent learning how to write a review.

Something you’ll have to identify in your review of the book is the writer’s style.  As you read, think about adjectives you could use to describe the style.  The list of terms I’m providing can help steer you in the right direction.  I recommend you attach it somewhere in your notebook.

After reading, flip to the reader’s section of your notebook.  Then, decide on one or two words that best describe the style and then explain why you think that. Discussing sentence structure, punctuation, characterization, plot, and other elements can all help you determine what a writer’s style is.

Happy reading!

Workshop Day

Daily Prompt #23:  Inspired by your peers

“I had a name.” Tears fell.                      ~Elzin

Take this six-word story written by a peer and incorporate into your own piece of flash fiction.  Write for ten minutes.

Hi folks!  Today is designed to work for you.  In other words, take the time to work on whatever inspires you.  Many of you are working on longer pieces, some want to revise an old prompt, while others might want to start an entirely new idea.  Feel free to read more of your novel too to prepare yourself for writing the book review next week.

Doing tasks not related to this class (sleeping, doing other homework, you get the idea) are, of course, not options.

Enjoy this time to unleash your creativity!

Don’t forget: lab 300 tomorrow so you can work on your blogs.


Reading like a Writer

Daily Prompt #22:  Inspired by an Image

Photo Credit:

Try your hand at caption writing today.  Write as many captions as you can in five minutes, incorporating as many types of punctuation as you can.

Be prepared to share.

Today is another chance to enjoy reading your novel and analyzing it as only a writer can.

Today’s focus is on – you guessed it – punctuation and syntax.

As you read, be mindful of how the author writes structurally.  What types of sentences?  What types of punctuation? What’s the frequency?  Do you see any mistakes?  Do they seem purposeful, or are they an example of poor editing? Use your cheat sheets this week as a guide.

After reading, open up your journals to your “reading like a writer” section.  Take a few minutes to write a reflection of your observations.  How do the author’s syntactical and punctuation choices create a style for the author and how would you define it?  As always, be prepared to discuss.

Happy reading!

Sorry. I couldn’t resist.