Friday, March 13 - Sunday, March 22: SPRING BREAK

HAPPY SPRING BREAK! You have reached the end of Week 8 of the semester, which means the semester is more than half-way over - and it is time for Spring Break! The Week 8 Read and Respond assignment (blog commenting) is available now, along the other end-of-week assignments for Week 8, but they are not due until the weekend after Spring Break, March 22. For those of you who are working ahead, Week 9 and Week 10 are available during this time as well.

Storybook Stack. If you turned in a Storybook on or before Wednesday, you should have comments back from me and points recorded in the Gradebook. If you turned something in on Thursday or before noon on Friday, I will get comments back to you before Spring Break. During Spring Break, I won't be reading any Storybook assignments, so if you turn something in during Spring Break, it will go into the stack and I'll update the contents of the stack first thing on Monday morning, March 23.

Working ahead on your Storybook. If you want to work ahead on your Storybook, please do so! You can actually write the second and third and fourth stories over Spring Break if you want, and have them all lined up and ready to go. Your second story is due at the end of Week 8 (right after Spring Break), with the third story in Week 10, and then the fourth and final story in Week 12 - but there is no reason why you should wait if you are wanting to get ahead in the class. Especially for those of you who want to finish up the class early, getting ahead on your Storybook project is one of the best ways to do that.

Shortening a LONG story. (repeat announcement) Quite a few of you have struggled with finding a way to take a very long original story as your source (it is not uncommon for fairy tales to be 2000 or 3000 words long, or even more) and to turn that long source into a story that is 1000 words long. There's one strategy that almost always works - which is to NOT EVEN LOOK at the source story while you are writing. Instead, read the source story once just to get a first impression. Then, read the story again, and take notes, by hand - make them brief notes, no complete sentences, and absolutely no quotes. Only take notes about what matters to the plot - no descriptions, no direct speech, just the plot and characters. Then, write your version of the story, from your notes only, and do NOT LOOK at the original story at all. Keep your version short. Then, if you end up with some words to spare, go back and add in details and description where you think they will be most effective.

Fall 2009 enrollment. (repeat announcement) I know that many of you are graduating this spring (congratulations!), but for those of you who will be in school next year, I wanted to give you a chance to reserve a place in one of these online classes for Fall, if you are interested. The online courses all fill up very fast, but if you let me know BY MARCH 25 that you would like to take one of these classes in the Fall, I will reserve a space for you. You can get more information about each of the three classes at, which links to the websites for each class.


(image from the SpringHaiku Blog)