Friday, May 12, 2017

Week 30: Enhancing Writing with Figurative Language (week of 5/12/2017)

First of all, THANK YOU to all of you who came to visit at open house. It was nice to finally put some faces with the names and great to see you again.

This week, we dove deeper into figurative language and really studied its effect on writing. After completing our notes, we practice our new skills by analyzing song lyrics and a poem. It was clear to me in these two assignments that my students were ready to move onto bigger and better things (because they did so well), so we ended our week really focussing in on personification. Personification is giving any non-human thing human-like qualities. Disney does an amazing job at personifying animals ("Finding Nemo", "The Lion King", Mickey, Minnie, etc.), objects (Lumiere, Cogsworth, Plumette, and basically all the characters inside the castle in "Beauty and the Beast", feelings or ideas (Fear, Anger, Disgust, Joy, and Sadness from the absolutely brilliant "Inside Out"), and even plants and weather in "Fantasia" and "Fantasia 2000" (as well as the animated shorts created throughout the year).

After taking a look at personified qualities and character traits in
J. Ruth Gendler's "The Book of Qualities", I had students practice writing personifying "betrayal" with me. We looked at what betrayal actually is and then assigned actions, looks, smells, tastes, colors, feelings, and sounds to it. After brainstorming, we took a look at a sample from one of my former students. When we'd gotten a really good look at the assignment, I set my students free to brainstorm. They chose ANY character trait, quality, or feeling they wanted and began the process. I've seen a lot of amazing, and deep, ideas so far. I'm really excited to see the final product and have it shared with my classes.

We'll be concluding our year with figurative language and creative writing in a poetry unit. I've incorporated some of my favorite forms of poetry and hope that my students really enjoy where we take our writing.

Question for the dinner table/drive home:
1. What is personification? How will I be able to tell if something has been personified? What are some examples of personification from popular books or movies?
2. Which character trait or quality did you personify? How did you make it come to life in your writing?
3. What is one thing you've done this year that you're especially proud of? What makes you proud of it?

Warmest wishes,
Kevin Laffin

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