Thursday, January 7, 2010

Grammar Time!

Shhh...Silent Sustained Reading is happening!

Writer's Notebook

Let's re-acquaint ourselves with our friends...yes, the ducks. First read this excerpt from a blog post of mine discussing the novel The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, which, by the way, I highly recommend!


In this novel, Connie Goodwin begins the research process to discover more information about Deliverance Dane, a thus -far unknown witch during the time of the Salem Witch Trials. Throughout her journey, Connie meets other family members of Deliverance, one in particular being Prudence who keeps a journal…barely, but a journal.

Connie paged deeper into the journal, finding several entries of an almost identical content. She sifted through the stultifying repetition, trying to read between the lines to uncover details that Prudence would not have thought to state explicitly….Connie could feel frustrated that this distant daughter of taciturn Puritans would not have had the cultural knowledge necessary to reflect in print on her inner life.

Yes, Prudence’s lack of elaboration proves most frustrating for main character Connie, for her job is much harder because, basically, Prudence is just too closed-mouthed!

Here she held in her hands a daily log of the entire second half of another woman’s life, and Connie felt like she knew her even less. Prudence’s cold practicality, her obstinate refusal to reveal her feelings, no matter how culturally proscribed, created in Connie a whistling void of incomprehension. She wanted to throw the journal across the room, to bunch its fragile pages up in her hands and rip them into shreds, to shake Prudence out of her reserve. But Prudence sat removed from her [Connie's] frustration, insulated by a two-hundred-year-wall.

Did you catch that hidden agenda for every writer? Do you sense Connie’s great wish for Prudence to write more…and more? Yes…write! Details and lots of them.

Details is what makes the difference between an interesting and a boring blog, story, letter…whatever the genre of choice might be. You see, I have felt Connie’s frustration after reading a set of students’ paper , especially those who skimmed on the details, those who did not paint that picture with vivid words.

Now, it's your turn: create a scene in which your duck describes the setting of his/her/its world. Finished? Now return to the setting...enhance with even more details.

Can you complete this challenge? Include an inverted sentence in your very descriptive setting. Check out this example:

Situated on the bend of a horseshoe-shaped dirt road that intersects a back country highway is the place I called home as a child. (Click here to see source.)


  1. Post a picture of your duck here.
  2. Using your duck as your inspiration, create examples of your assigned literary terms.

Next, let's hand back and file paperwork.


Today, you will need a set of ear the basket by the door. Then click here to listen to a podcast reviewing appositives.

Next, let's review diagramming and participials. The inverted sentence above begins with a participial phrase (yes, all that in bold)...check that out!


  1. See previous post about blog topic assignments.
  2. Read...and read your out-of-class read.

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