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This idea comes from Julie Bogart, Founder of Brave Writer, author of The Writer’s Jungle

  • The Topic Funnel takes a list of ideas ~ as broad or narrow as it starts, from “things I love to do” to “kinds of WWII bombers” and gets to a narrow slice of the topic before the writer begins.

  • Big FUNNEL. Start with your general topic and make a list of what comes to mind. PICK ONE THING from your list. Toss that into the FUNNEL again.

  • Next smaller FUNNEL. Make a list about the ONE THING from your first list. PICK ONE THING from this list. Toss that into the FUNNEL again.

  • Next smaller FUNNEL. Make your list about the ONE THING from the previous FUNNEL. PICK ONE THING...

  • and so on until you have a list of details that tell your specific, SMALL MOMENT story.

  • Write a STATEMENT about the story. Example: I once nearly blew my brother up.

  • FLIP the statement to a QUESTION. First person, past tense is often the strongest way to word it. What happened when I…? OR What’s the story of...? OR How did I…?

King John

Deb's simplified version, based entirely on the Sparks Notes... (especially for Netta... ;-)


KING PHIL'S LACKEY: "Hey King John, hand over the crown to Arthur or King Phil's gonna fight you."

KING JOHN: "No way. I'm King."


SOON TO BE SIR BAST'D: "It's mine. I'm older. I get to inherit and you can have a cat and some boots."

BAST'D'S LITTLE HALF-BROTHER: "Yeah, but you're not 'legitimate' you little bast-"

KING JOHN: "BOYS! STOP IT. I'm King John and I say the older son gets the land even if he is a bast-"

ELEANOR: "John," says his mother, "doesn't he look like your brother, Ricky? The one they liked so much in Robin Hood?"

JOHN: "That would be just like my good for nothing brother... leaving his little bast-"

ELEANOR: "Yes, yes, dear.  That's  enough now." To the soon-to-be-bast'd. "Oh you there, yoohoo... Let your little brother have the stupid old lands. Wouldn't you rather be a knight? We'd even call you 'Sir Bast'd of Richard the Lionhearted.' We'd sort of make you part of the family. "

SIR BAST'D: "Cool."

Back in France:

KING PHIL: "Look at that filthy English town in my lovely France. They better agree with me to dump King John for little Arthur. I am the French King, and I  prefer Arthur."

FRENCH KING'S LACKEY: "Hey, you there in the town. Vote for Arthur or we'll attack!"

JOHN: "Not so fast!"

PHIL: "Oh, drat. King John.  Sigh."

SIR BASTARD: "Vote for King John or else."

CONSTANCE: "I am Constance. My Arthur is the best choice for King. "

ELEANOR: "No, no. I am Eleanor. The rightful king's mother. Don't listen to that hag. Vote for John. "

CONSTANCE: "You're the hag!"

ANGRY PEOPLE OF "ANGERS" (GET IT?): "We promise, as loyal citizens,  to support the rightful king.  Umm. Whoever he is."

JOHN: "Fine, we'll 'army' wrestle to see who wins.... GET IT? Army wrestle..."

PHIL: "Mais oui. To the death."

Two hours later... no one has triumphed.

SIR BAST'D: "Come on, just tell us which king you choose."

PEOPLE OF ANGERS: "We will let you decide, oh Royal people with the big armies."

JOHN: "Yo, Phil, doesn't that make you mad?"

SIR BAST'D: "Tell you what, boss, let's join together to defeat the town and we can finish this fight later."

JOHN: "Whatcha say, Phil?"

PHILIP: "Okey-doke. Oui. Let's attack them."

SCARED CITIZENS OF ANGERS: "Wait! We have a better idea. You, King Philip,  you have a son, Little Louie, yes?"

PHIL: "Oui?"

SCARED CITIZENS OF ANGERS: "And you, King John, you have a niece, Blanche, no?"

JOHN: "Yeah?"

SCARED CITIZENS OF ANGERS: "They should marry. Then, you will be all kiss-kiss. France... England....what's the difference any more?"


NOBLES: "Cool!"

SIR BAST'D: "Sheesh." Shakes head with eye roll. "Nobles."

CONSTANCE: "No. This is no good. You terrible French King.  You have abandoned my little Arthur."

PHILIP &JOHN: "Too bad. Here comes the bride...."

Enter Gandolf. What? Are you sure? Okay, fine. Enter Pandolf, ambassador from the Pope.

PANDOLF: "Eh-hem, King John?"


PANDOLF: "The Pope is not pleased... you're in big trouble. He ordered you to do what he ordered you to do about that archbishop."

JOHN: "So? He's not the boss of me."

PANDOLF: "Is so."

JOHN: "Is not."

PANDOLF: "You are excommunicated. You there, King Philip,  overthrow this man at once. "

PHIL: "Um. But he's family now... the wedding...?"

PANDOLF: "You were on the Pope's team first. Overthrow John at once. "

PHIL: "Yeah, yeah.  Fine. Come on Arthur, let's go get you a kingdom."

JOHN: "Sheesh,  this war is taking forever.  Mom, hang on to our lands here. I'm going home. Bast'd! Get there first and get me some money.  Take it from the monasteries."

SIR BAST'D: "Sure,  Boss."

JOHN: "You there, Hubert.  Take care of our little guest, Arthur.  By take care of,  I mean 'take care of,' if you get my drift." Runs finger meaningfully across throat.

PANDOLF: "Louie, my boy, you can take the throne.  You have as much right to it as Arthur,  considering that you're John's nephew and all."

LOUIS: "Oui. And my papa is also a king.  Don't forget."

PANDOLF: "So you'll attack  England?"

LOUIS: "Vive l'guerr."

PANDOLF: "Hunh?"

LOUIS: "Merde. I said GO WAR!"

HUBERT: "Okey-doke,  Arthur,  time to go nighty - night."

ARTHUR: "You don't want to kill little old me."

HUBERT: "Shoot. You're right.  Dang it.  Fake it, though.  No one can know you're alive."

ARTHUR: Throwing his arms around Hubert, "You're the best. Mum's the word."

Three days later...

JOHN: "Oh Hubert,  just the man I was looking for.  These nobles want to know where Arthur is. They'd like me to release him."

HUBERT: "Dude, sorry. Arthur's dead."

NOBLES: "Treachery! We shall go join Louis's army and defeat you."  Exit Nobles.

JOHN: "Hubert, you are in sooo much trouble. You tricked me into killing Arthur.  This is all your fault!"

HUBERT: "Aw, yer Royalness, I was just having a bit of fun.  Arthur's not dead."

JOHN: "What? Oh, you! Quick,  run after the Nobles and tell them!"

SIR BAST'D: "Here's the loot you wanted.  Um. The people are not so happy about you robbing the monasteries."

JOHN: "Tough luck for them."

Arthur trips and falls out the window and dies just as the Nobles come back.

NOBLES: "So glad Arthur is alive. That Hubert.  He's such a joker. Aaaack. What's this bloody thing on the ground under the window?  Good gravy, it's bloody Arthur!"

Hubert runs in.

HUBERT: "See? Right as rain he is... aaack. What's this bloody mess?"

NOBLES: "It's bloody Arthur."

HUBERT: "Oops."

NOBLES: "Murderer!"

HUBERT: "Don't look at me.  He was alive when I left."

Nobles storm off to join Louis's army.

JOHN: "Look,  Pandolf,  I'm  in a bit of a spot.  Umm. All my nobles and well, most of my army have run off with that traitor Louis."

PANDOLF: "Excellent."

JOHN: "Not so much,  actually.  Um. Listen, this thing with the Pope...."


JOHN: "If I do the thing with the archbishop or whatever,  could you square it with the French...?"

PANDOLF: "I don't see why you couldn't have just done it in the first place."

JOHN: "Yeah, yeah.  Blah, blah, blah.  So, you gonna help a brother out or what? "

PANDOLF: "I can try."

SIR BAST'D: "Sir, the Nobles,  they've gone over to the French."

JOHN: "You don't say. No worries.  Pandolf is off to smooth things over."

SIR BAST'D: "Pandolf? I thought he was the one who...."

JOHN: "Try to keep up, Sir Bast'd,  try to keep up."

SIR BAST'D: "Whatever.  Wish me luck. I'm off to fight the French."

NOBLES: "Louie, oh Louie. Wait up. We vow to help you overthrow John.  Did you see what he did to poor little Arthur?"

PANDOLF: Panting. "Wait. I changed my mind. Don't overthrow John.  The Pope won't like it."

NOBLES: "But, you said-"

PANDOLF: "Oh, do try and keep up."

LOUIS: "Non. I will NOT be bossed around! I WILL overthrow King John.  I will,  I will!"

SIR BAST'D: Panting. "Wait! Dude, you are in for a thrashing."

LOUIS: "So you say! We will fight. I am not afraid." Sticks his tongue out.

FRENCH NOBLEMAN: Bleeding. "Mon amies, my friends, gather round."

NOBLES: "What you on about?"

FRENCH NOBLEMAN: "You must not trust Louis.  He plans to kill you all after you help him defeat John."

NOBLES: "Say what?"

FRENCH NOBLEMAN: "Ces't vrais. He is not trustworthy.  Go back and fight for King John. Anyway, I predict that Louis's reinforcements will be lost at sea.  He is doomed."

NOBLES: "Okey-doke." They head back to England.

SIR BAST'D: "Yo, Hubert,  wait up."

HUBERT: "Bast'd?  Is that you?"

SIR BAST'D: "King John has been poisoned."

HUBERT: "Seriously? Who by?"

SIR BAST'D: "Well, you know, he made a lot of monks mad when he had me rob them..."

NOBLES: "Oh, King John.  Oh  don't die. We're back. We're on your side, ever fathful. Look, we brought your son, Little Henry..."

SIR BAST'D: "Oh, John, my King. Boss. don't die. We'll win this thing yet, even if many of my men got drowned in a tide."

JOHN: "In a what?"

SIR BAST'D: "In a tide."

JOHN: "A what?"

SIR BAST'D: "A tide. Never mind."

King John dies.

SIR BAST'D: "Oh. He's dead. NOOOOOO! I'll kill that Bast'd Louis!"

LOUIS: From offstage.  "I heard that!"

PANDOLF: Rushing in. "Wait! I have a treaty!"

NOBLES: "Wait. He has a treaty."

SIR BAST'D: "Now? NOW? What good is it NOW?! Oh well. All right, everyone, take a knee. Hail King Henry. Swear your oaths. That's right."

NOBLES: "We'll always be loyal, King Henry, just like we were to your dad. We promise."

SIR BAST'D: Under his breath "Sure you will... Honestly, if you can stick to that promise, England will totally rock. Loyalty, get it?" Sighs. "As if." Shakes his head and rolls eyes.  "Nobles. Sheesh."

The End

Upcoming Shakespeare at the Del Mar Theater


KING LEAR -- February 25th and March 1st at The Del Mar

The Stratford Festival presents an HD live capture of their production of KING LEAR

directed by Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino and starring Colm Feore.

An aging monarch resolves to divide his kingdom among his three daughters, with consequences he little expects. His reason shattered in the storm of violent emotion that ensues, with his very life hanging in the balance, Lear loses everything that has defined him as a king – and thereby discovers the essence of his own humanity.

Running Time: 173

Rated: NR

Wednesday, February 25th at 7:30pm - BUY TICKETS HERE

Sunday, March 1st at 11:00am - BUY TICKETS HERE




Royal Shakespeare Company presents

LOVE'S LABOUR'S LOST -- March 5th and March 8th

at The Del Mar

Summer 1914. In order to dedicate themselves to a life of study, the King and his friends take an oath to avoid the company of women for three years. No sooner have they made their idealistic pledge than the Princess of France and her ladies-in-waiting arrive, presenting the men with a severe test of their high-minded resolve.

Shakespeare's sparkling comedy delights in championing and then unravelling an unrealistic vow, and mischievously suggesting that the study of the opposite sex is in fact the highest of all academic endeavours. Only at the end of the play is the merriment curtailed as the lovers agree to submit to a period apart, unaware that the world around them is about to be utterly transformed by the war to end all wars.

Christopher Luscombe directs one acting company in both Love's Labour's Lost and Love's Labour's Won (usually known as Much Ado About Nothing). Christopher's directing credits include The Comedy of Errors and The Merry Wives of Windsor for Shakespeare's Globe as well as The Madness of George III and Spamalot in the West End.

Running Time: 135 + 20 min. interval

Rated: NR

Thursday, March 5th at 7:30pm - BUY TICKETS HERE

Sunday, March 8th at 11:00am - BUY TICKETS HERE



Royal Shakespeare Company presents

LOVE'S LABOUR'S WON  (COMEDY OF ERRORS)-- April 9th and April 12th

at The Del Mar

Autumn 1918. A group of soldiers return from the trenches. The world-weary Benedick and his friend Claudio find themselves reacquainted with Beatrice and Hero. As memories of conflict give way to a life of parties and masked balls, Claudio and Hero fall madly, deeply in love, while Benedick and Beatrice reignite their own altogether more combative courtship.

Shakespeare's comic romance plays out amidst the brittle high spirits of a post-war house party, as youthful passions run riot, lovers are deceived and happiness is threatened – before peace ultimately wins out.

Christopher Luscombe directs the second of Shakespeare's matching pair of comedies that rejoice in our capacity to find love in the most unlikely places. Better known as Much Ado About Nothing, the play is performed under the title Love's Labour's Won, a name possibly attributed to it during Shakespeare's lifetime.

Running Time: 140 + 20 min. interval

Rated: NR

Thursday, April 9th at 7:30pm - BUY TICKETS HERE

Sunday, April 12th at 11:00am - BUY TICKETS HERE




Globe on Screen presents

TITUS ANDRONICUS -- April 2nd and May 31st at The Del Mar

Experience the Globe on Screen production of TITUS ANDRONICUS captured in high definition. Returning to Rome from a war against the Goths, the general Titus Andronicus brings with him the queen Tamora and her three sons as prisoners of war. Titus' sacrifice of Tamora's eldest son to appease the ghosts of his 21 dead sons, and his decision to refuse to accept the title of emperor, initiates a terrible cycle of mutilation, rape and murder, At the centre of the nightmare moves the self-delighting Aaron.

Spectacularly, even grotesquely violent and daringly experimental, Titus was the smash hit of Shakepeare's early career, and is written with a ghoulish energy he was never to repeat elsewhere.


Running Time: 185

Rated: NR


Thursday, April 2 at 7:30pm - BUY TICKETS HERE

Sunday, May 31 at 11:00am




Hip Hop or Shakespeare?

"To destroy the beauty from which one came."
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"Maybe it's hatred I spew, maybe it's food for the spirit."


"Men would rather use their broken weapons than their bare hands."


"The most benevolent king communicates through your dreams."


2014-2015 Wednesday Writing Focus and Inquiry with Deb

Focus with Deb

Word Play: Shakespeare, Rap, Slam Poetry, Novels



THIS FOCUS GROUP BEGINS AT 9:30 AND GOES UNTIL 10:30. PLEASE BE ON TIME! We are looking at the power of words and word choice and will begin with a look at Shakespeare, Hip Hop, and Rap

SHAKESPEARE: We went to LOVE'S LABOUR'S WON NEXT WEEK: KING JOHN— April 23 and April 26. I WILL HOST a group for King John at the Del Mar on Thursday, April 23rd at 7:30 pm. Meet in front of the theater by 7:15. $13 each. Parents are welcome to join for $15 each. COMING UP: Antony and Cleopatra—May 21 and May 24; Julius CeasarMay 28th and June 7th, Titus Anronicus, May 31 at The Del Mar


April 8 and 15: We are writing and sharing our writing. Focus on writing scenes with action, dialogue, sensory detail, simile, metaphor, word play.

March 11-25, HOMEWORK DUE APRIL 8—Please bring something written to class to share. Play with the different writing elements we've investigated: Slam Poetry and Raps; Metaphor and Simile; Personification; Book Jacket Blurbs; Dialogue and Speech Tags; Show Don't Tell; T-shirt/Bumper Sticker Slogans; Hunting down There was/There were?There is//There are; Passive Voice vs. Strong Verbs; Six Word Memoirs. COMING UP: We have five sessions left to look at Alliteration, Rhythm, Sound Play and Iambic Pentameter; Plot Structures; Writing Scenes.

We went to see Love's Labor Lost.

3/3 We began to look at spoken word/slam poetry. I shared my Hamlet rap and challenged them to write the rap of King Lear. HOMEWORK DUE March 11: Bring in ANYTHING written to share. Find a simile or metaphor somewhere in writing that you really like.

We went to see King Lear!

2/11 Reduced Shakespeare Hamlet (and Pirate Play Hamlet!). Homework remains the same: Children's Story Synopsis of any Shakespeare play OR rehearse and perform a short Shakespeare scene OR write a short scene in Shakespearean language or with Shakespearean insults. Have FUN! What we are looking at is both the LANGUAGE of SHAKESPEARE and the STORY. You can pull them apart to write the STORY without the LANGUAGE or infuse the LANGUAGE into a different STORY. Due Feb. 1

2/4 Hamlet Synopsis. Homework: Children's Story Synopsis of any Shakespeare play OR rehearse and perform a short Shakespeare scene OR write a short scene in Shakespearean language or with Shakespearean insults. Have FUN! Due Feb. 11

1/27 Shakepearean Insult Skits. Homework: Children's Story Synopsis of Hamlet


Shakespeare Games and Resources

Batman or Shakespeare?

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Final Sword Fight


King Lear

Lear, the aging king of Britain, decides to step down from the throne and divide his kingdom evenly among his three daughters. First, however, he puts his daughters through a test, asking each to tell him how much she loves him. Goneril and Regan, Lear’s older daughters, give their father flattering answers. But Cordelia, Lear’s youngest and favorite daughter, remains silent, saying that she has no words to describe how much she loves her father. Lear flies into a rage and disowns Cordelia. The king of France, who has courted Cordelia, says that he still wants to marry her even without her land, and she accompanies him to France without her father’s blessing.


Lear quickly learns that he made a bad decision. Goneril and Regan swiftly begin to undermine the little authority that Lear still holds. Unable to believe that his beloved daughters are betraying him, Lear slowly goes insane. He flees his daughters’ houses to wander on a heath during a great thunderstorm, accompanied by his Fool and by Kent, a loyal nobleman in disguise.

Meanwhile, an elderly nobleman named Gloucester also experiences family problems. His illegitimate son, Edmund, tricks him into believing that his legitimate son, Edgar, is trying to kill him. Fleeing the manhunt that his father has set for him, Edgar disguises himself as a crazy beggar and calls himself “Poor Tom.” Like Lear, he heads out onto the heath.

When the loyal Gloucester realizes that Lear’s daughters have turned against their father, he decides to help Lear in spite of the danger. Regan and her husband, Cornwall, discover him helping Lear, accuse him of treason, blind him, and turn him out to wander the countryside. He ends up being led by his disguised son, Edgar, toward the city of Dover, where Lear has also been brought.

In Dover, a French army lands as part of an invasion led by Cordelia in an effort to save her father. Edmund apparently becomes romantically entangled with both Regan and Goneril, whose husband, Albany, is increasingly sympathetic to Lear’s cause. Goneril and Edmund conspire to kill Albany.

The despairing Gloucester tries to commit suicide, but Edgar saves him by pulling the strange trick of leading him off an imaginary cliff. Meanwhile, the English troops reach Dover, and the English, led by Edmund, defeat the Cordelia-led French. Lear and Cordelia are captured. In the climactic scene, Edgar duels with and kills Edmund; we learn of the death of Gloucester; Goneril poisons Regan out of jealousy over Edmund and then kills herself when her treachery is revealed to Albany; Edmund’s betrayal of Cordelia leads to her needless execution in prison; and Lear finally dies out of grief at Cordelia’s passing. Albany, Edgar, and the elderly Kent are left to take care of the country under a cloud of sorrow and regret.

Focus with Deb


Writer's Toolkit


THIS FOCUS GROUP BEGINS AT 11:10 AND GOES UNTIL 12:10. PLEASE BE ON TIME! We are looking at tools for writers AND at creating a safe writing community as the primary goals of the group.

Game Theory

“Get to round ten or we’ll all die,” Henry yelled into the headset. He left the controller on the couch and headed into the kitchen to grab a beer from Xane’s fridge. Sadly, nothing but Gatorade. Sigh. But wait, what was that at the back of the fridge...

“Turn off the hellhound settings,” Kief laughed, “or we won’t even get past round five.”

“Dude, you knife ‘em,” yelled Jonah.

“That doesn’t work,” said Dillon quietly. “Galva knuckles.”

No one listened. Phoenix was still trying to figure out the controls. “What does right bumper do? Is this for crouch?” As he punched madly at the controller he launched a hand grenade right into the circle of players.

Brennan turned around rapidly, screaming “Run for cover.”  

Phoenix dolphin dived into the lava.

At that precise moment Xane watched open-mouthed as the hand grenade bounced in-game and crashed out of the Samsung 75-inch plasma holographic projection television screen right into the middle of the living room floor.

Electrical cords writhed with electricity, snapping and flailing into the room, wrapping around ankles and wrists. Moments later, Henry returned to the living room sipping from the bottle of  Juggernaut he’d found in the fridge.

“Hey, guys, you won’t believe this. Look what I found… What the--” said Henry, “Guys?” he said. No one was in the room. Everything looked normal, except for a blackened, smoking hole in what had been a perfectly nice lime green shag rug in the middle of the floor.

He heard voices on the T.V. and looked up to see his friends inside the game.

Phoenix’s pants were on fire and he was screaming. As Henry watched in awe, Kief grabbed a fire extinguisher from the wall and flooded Phoenix with foam. “Dude, stay out of the lava.” He pulled the DSR 50 sniper rifle from his back and quick-scoped zombies away from Phoenix. “And watch out for zombies.”

“Henry, revive Phoenix. Go!” yelled Xane.

Henry rushed to grab the controller. He accidentally dropped the Juggernaut and it seeped into the burned carpet. On the TV screen he saw his friends get smattered with liquid pouring from above.

“Open your mouths. It’s Juggernaut,” Henry yelled, tapping wildly at the controller. He watched as the giant syringe penetrated Phoenix’s chest.

“Ow,” said Phoenix. “I’m okay. Wait. Is everyone okay?”

Xane grabbed a shotgun off the wall and joined Kief in murdering zombies, their giant burnt bodies dropping like hailstones to the street. “Yeah, I’m freaking fine.”

Jonah and Dillon also affirmed that they still alive. “We’re all here,” Jonah said.

“Where’s Brennan?” Phoenix asked, looking around.

Peering through the fog and smoke and burning newspaper fluttering in the air, they searched the street. A wave of zombies crashed through the doors of the bank and headed toward the group.

Phoenix took off suddenly right at the mob of zombies, racing through their lumbering forms yelling, “Brennan!!! I’m coming!”

“We should just leave him,” Xane muttered, gesturing toward Phoenix, “he’s hopeless.”

Kief smiled. “Naw, come on dude. Let’s go save the newb.”

Casually, they mowed the zombies down and joined Phoenix on the steps of the bank. Brennan lay there, a smoking hole in the armour on his chest, gasping for breath.

Xane bolted, running across the street toward the bar.

“Where are you going?” Kief yelled.

“Quick Revive,” Xane said and raced inside.


COMING UP: HOMEWORK DUE APRIL 8 Please lead an interesting life over break and look for great stories to tell/write. Practice Freewrites (5-10 minutes daily. Get your brain full first and then write the whole time) and bring something to share next class. We have five more sessions and I'm hoping each student will have written something he's proud of to share.

March 11-25 We've continued to listen to Gary Paulsen's true stories (both his dangerous antics as a 13 year old boy and the true stories behind his Hatchet novel series). We've played few quick writing games and shared some of our own stories. We looked at There is / There are/ There was/ There were as useful for Freewriting but good things to re-consider during Revision. We practiced Freewrites and discussed making movies out of words for the reader.

3/3: We listened to the rest of Angel Peterson and the next chapter of GUTS. We did another freewrite. HOMEWORK: Do a five-ten minute Freewrite (on your own or with a secretary or a speech-to-text device) at least once during the week. Keep the words coming the whole time. Bring in some writing to share. Due March 11.

2/25: We played a game to make some stories, and we listened to some of Gary Paulsen's book GUTS. We did our first freewrite.

2/11: We began Gary Paulsen's How Angel Peterson Got his Name to hear some stories of utter foolhardiness from his thirteenth year. Come back in with a story written down, a small moment of your life or one from the life of someone you know. Our themes for this week are "It seemed like a good idea at the time" or "Wildlife or critter stories." Those are for inspiration; don't worry if yours heads somewhere else! Try to tell it with lots of detail. We will share these in class. Also, think about your two truths and a lie. Due Feb. 18

2/4 Come back in with a story written down, a small moment of your life or one from the life of someone you know. Try to tell it with lots of detail. We will share these in class. Also, think about your two truths and a lie. DUE Feb 11.

1/27 Topic Funnel and Small Moment Story (Detonator). Homework: Add words to your small moment story.


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We will focus on personal narratives known as SMALL MOMENT stories (a Lucy Calkins concept).


Start by finding your BIG THING THAT HAPPENED. That’s the big box. Now, decide if you have two moments before or two moments after that moment to tell. Limit the story to the action just before and just after the BIG THING> Plan your big moment, work through the nearby moments. Tell your story to your partner. Think of details and dialogue. Picture it, hear it, re-live it. Now, WRITE!

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This version (on YouTube) is missing the beginning. Here's a link to watch a better version





Claudius has killed Hamlet's father, the King of Denmark. Hamlet's mother married Claudius two months later because she didn't know.

The guards of the castle see the ghost of Hamlet's father. And the ghost tells Hamlet that his uncle, Claudius, killed him, so Hamlet goes crazy.

The King and Queen think that he is acting strange because he is in love with Ophelia. So they put him in a room with Ophelia to find out for sure. But Hamlet is mean to her, so his uncle thinks Hamlet must know he killed his father and that's why he's mad.

AND: What happens when Claudius watches the play within a play? Hmmm??? Does he look guilty? Oh, yes he does!

Ophelia goes crazy because Hamlet says he doesn't love her and she drowns herself. Her brother, Laertes, blames Hamlet and challenges him to a duel. 

SMALL DETAIL: who else did Hamlet kill? Um... with an actual sword. In a way that would make Laertes mad—so mad that Laertes would AVENGE someone's death? (Unlike, um... HAMLET, who won't avenge his father's death? Sheesh). 

At the duel, Claudius puts poison in a glass of wine and on the swords because he wants to kill Hamlet. The Queen drinks the wine by mistake and dies. Hamlet and Ophelia's brother stab one another with the poison swords and they both die, but Hamlet kills the king just before he dies.