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This is a great way to get you to
think and write more creatively.
How many times have your teachers told you that
your writing needs more creativity, length, sentence
variety, etc.?

• That kind of information is worth about as much
  as a snow blower in the Mojave Desert on a 102
  degree afternoon. That kind of information does
  not show you SPECIFICALLY HOW to fix your
  writing. However, Smiley-Face tricks show you how
  you can enhance your writing like never before.
• What are smiley-face tricks? Smiley-face tricks
  are writing “riffs” or “moves” that a writer has
  (and uses) in order add pizzazz or spice to his or
  her writing (along with adding creativity, length,
  sentence variety, etc.). In basketball, a player
  might have moves that consist of “driving the lane”
  or the “fade away” shot. In ballet, the dancer
  might perform a pirouette or maintain a fifth
  position. However, whether you are a basketball
  player, ballet dancer, or writer, you need “riffs” or
  “moves” in order to execute what exactly it is that
  you want to do. By utilizing smiley-face tricks
  correctly, I guarantee an improvement on your
  writing. The 8 smiley-face tricks that you are
  responsible for mastering are as follows.
1) MAGIC 3 (or 4, 5, 6, etc.):
• Three examples in a series can create
  a poetic rhythm, or at least add
  support for a point, especially when
  the three items have their own
Example of Magic 3
If I had a sticker on my shirt that read
   “Loser” or if my hair looked like a
   zombies or if I had spinach stuck
   between my teeth, she would tell me
   the truth no matter what.
Another example of Magic 3
• Sometimes I wonder why the geeks get
  picked on. It’s always, “Hey, look, it’s nerd
  boy again, going to his daily session of chess
  club,” or “Where you think you’re going,
  smarty pants, I thought we had a deal––you
  carry my lunch tray, and I won’t give you a
  wedgie,” or “Brain on feet, do my homework
  for a while––say till school’s out––and I’ll try to
  get you a date with the girl who has glasses
  thicker than yours
•      A. "She blinked her blue-green eyes, chewed on a
    lacquered nail and frowned at the interviewer.”
•      B. "I'm afraid to jump," said one chicken.
•      "Oh, " said the others.
•      "Me too."
•      "Me three."
•      "Me four."
•      "What if we can't jump that far?"
•      "What if we fall in a ditch?"
•      "What if we get sucked into the mud?"
•      The chickens tutted, putted, and flutted. They butted
    into themselves and each other until... (Helakoski)
• Like the magic 3 except the examples are
Last night was awesome! We did the following:
  Worked arduously on our homework to where our
  brains were frazzled beyond repair; drank so much
  coffee to where we started acting like a bunch of
  knife-wielding ring-tailed lemurs; engaged in a ton
  of it-is-not-so-important-but-it-is really-fun
  conversation; and played “Yikes! You’re Blue”—the
  Hold-Your-Breath game until one of us had to be
She really likes Snooky a lot. You can tell by the way
  she: gets nauseas to the point of vomiting when
  he’s around; screams, “Yee haaaaaa! Whoop-de-
  doo” at the mere mention of his name; and
  perpetually denies her admiration for him when
  her friends tease her about her Snooky-adoration.
Exercise for Magic Three:
• Exercise: Write a paragraph about a person using
  the Magic Three to describe that person’s
2. Figurative Language
• Nonliteral comparisons–– such as similes,
  metaphors, and personifications–– add
  “spice” to writing and can help paint a
  more vivid picture for the reader.
~SIMILIES~ comepare using like or as...stiff AS a board
~METAPHORS~ compares without using like or as...
her face is an opsn book
~HYERBOLE~ an extreme exaggeration... so hungry i
could eat a horse
~ONOMATOPOEIA~ a word that sounds like what it
means... BAM! BOOM! ZAP! CRUNCH!
 ~ALLITERATION~ repetition of beginning consonant
sound...peter piper picked a peck of pickled
noise and music to the piece of writing
~ASSONANCE~ related to alliteration, the dark side of
it, repetition of vowel sound in neighboring words...rain
in spain....but it doesn't have to rhyme...hEat of the mEan
girls' argument is a near rhyme
Example of Figurative Language:
It was a hot July morning and the last few
   days of freedom before school were
   slipping by faster than a greased ten-
   foot-long boa constrictor at the ice
   capades. In other words, I only had a
   week and a half to play my brains out,
   both inside and outside, and a week and a
   half before the evil schoolwork monsters
   took over my time, a week and a half
   before the life as I had known it these past
   two months was over.
   "When the teacher asks us all to hold
hands and Wyatt reaches for mine, this jolt of
electricity floods out of his fingers and
ricochets through my whole body like I'm
this human pinball machine and Wyatt's the
  Make Your Own Similes and metaphors
  That girl was as skinny as________________________.
  The chickens were as nervous as__________________.
  Grandma's hug was as warm as__________________.
  The librarian was wound as tightly as_______________.
  He was as skittish as___________________________.
  Her stomach growled like________________________.
  The howl ripped through the air like a______________.
  The breeze from the window was like_______________.
  Fear crawled over him like_______________________.

Instead of general, vague descriptions,
specific sensory details help the
  reader visualize the person, place,
  thing, or idea that you are describing.
Example of Specific Details for Effect
“The smell rushed at me as soon as I
  stepped inside. The hallway had that
  onions smell. It lingered on top of musty
  cigarette smoke, the kind that never
  quite comes out of the carpet, no matter
  how long ago the smoker left. My arms
  rippled with goose bumps. I'd been here
 Exercise: Describe a place you have seen.
 Use specific details and appeal to at least 3
 of the 5 senses as you describe the scene.
4. Repetition for Effect––
Writers often repeat specially
 chosen words or phrases to
 make a point; to stress certain
 ideas for the reader.
Example of Repetition for Effect:
  She said it was as though I had my own carriage
 I could ride on Thursdays or any day or at the
 snap of my fingers, like she does. She knows I’m
 only allowed a driver on Sundays. She knows the
 old woman lives three estates and one house
 down the way–– the long, long, way. She knows I
 have to walk the road and back, and she knows
 the maid was supposed to hem up that stupid
 petticoat–– too long and all. the only reason I
 was asked to do such an outrageous favor for
 her was because everybody else on the estate
 was concentrating on her–– how lovely her hair
 looked, how lovely her dress fit, and how lovely
 her gold broach looked with the pearls she had
 had to buy herself.
Another Example of Repetition For
"I’m going away from this place. Away from
  my disapproving mother, away from my
  groping brother and away from this
  infernal heat.” (Leslie)
• Write a paragraph about your typical
  school-day morning. Use repetition to
  emphasize a particular thought or idea.
5. Expanded Moment
Instead of “speeding” past a moment,
often emphasize it by “expanding” the
“I wonder where them dumb old girls went?” one
   asked. “They’re probably off painting their
   nails,” the other said. A few more insults like
   that, and by then my friend and I had heard
   enough. I looked at Annie and noticed she had
   the same look on her face. Two windows stood
   before us so we walked to one quietly and
   looked at each other. She had that same
   expression on her face that she had before she
   rolled down “Dead Man’s Hill” in a barrel. I knew
   what she was thinking. She mouthed, “One, two,
   three....” Then we jumped from our fifteen-foot-
   high tree house and landed miraculously on our
   feet. We scared the living daylights out of those
   boys, and they took off running like two little
   sissy girls. Annie and I burst out laughing until
Another Example:
Placing my foot on the edge of the shovel, I push down
with my arms and leg. My muscles strain as the blade
breaks through the soil. Once it’s in, I tilt the handle back
toward the ground and push until the earth is loosened. I
dump the pile of soil onto the ground. Bending down I grab
clumps of earth and begin shaking away the loose dirt and
returning stray worms to their underground homes. The
unneeded grass is deposited in my garbage sack. The
ground is tilled to break up the clumps of sod and to
smooth the dirt. Using my hand spade, I dig small holes in
which to plant my future flowers. I then tuck my tulip and
daffodil bulbs into their new beds so they can sleep warmly
through the winter.
Write a scene where you wake up in a dark
 house after hearing an odd sound. Expand
 the moment to build suspense.
6. Humor
 Professional writers know the value
 of laughter; even subtle humor can
 help turn a “boring” paper into one
 that can raise someone’s spirits.
Example of Humor:
“Why you lyin’, cheatin’, stinkin’, hairy, little double
  crossin’, yellow-bellied sapsucker! Me and Pa
  done looked all over fifteen dadgum counties for
  you, and yer just roaming around out here in a
  bear suit laying monkey eggs or something all
  over creation. You think gasoline comes cheap
  nowadays? That receipt had a three-digit figure
  on it! Pa’s gonna turn you over his knee and beat
  the livin’ daylights outa you! I’m tellin’ you, girl,
  I’m a slap you so hard your uncle’s gonna say
  ‘Ouch!’ Now take off that mask!” The creature
  did as it was told and removed the mask. “Good
  lord, sis! Am I going blind or are you just gettin’
  uglier? For the love of Snoopy put that thing back
  on before you get arrested!”
 Write a paragraph that places a character
 in an environment or situation you
 wouldn't expect him to be. Example: A city
 boy in a ballet class or a pig in a chicken
 coop. Exaggerate the circumstances to
 create humor.
7. Hyphenated Modifiers
 Sometime a new way of saying
 can make all the difference;
 hyphenated adjectives often cause
 the reader to
 “sit up and take notice.”
 Little did I know that when Mom
 asked if I like the new neighborhood
 in town that that one innocent
 question would be the beginning of
 the destruction of my life. I was
 going to choose “yes” as my
 answer, but I had one of those I-
 "She rolled her eyes at her mother and
 turned her nose up with a "god-I-can't-
 believe-you-actually-said-that sniff."
 Write your own hyphenated modifiers.
 1. Mom and Dad went in the back room for one of
 2. The most popular girl in school threw me one of
 3. The dog had a_______________________face.
 4. His fingernails were of the____________variety.
 5. She put her feet into the _____________shoes.
8. Full-Cirlce Ending
 Sometimes writers need a special
 ending, one that effectively “wraps
 up” the piece. One “trick” is to
 repeat a phrase from the beginning
 of the piece.
   Example of a Full Circle Ending:
Do I seem mad to you? I’m not mad! I’m furious! Does my face seem
  as red as an apple? It’s not! My face is a fire! The divorce was
  taking my heart and crushing it into oblivion. My tears were a
  flowing steam, my brain an exploding bomb. My dad had this I-
  don’tcare- about-my-family-I’m gonna-get-wasted kid of look,.
  But do I seem mad? He used to have my sister and me in his
  back pocket, but now he has his new I-like-you-right-now-but-
  when-we-get-serious-I’ll-stab-youin- the-back “perfect”
  girlfriend there instead. But do I seem mad? Dad just got
  married. They had been dating for about an hour and he popped
  the question. But do I seem mad? I just sit there with my fake
  smile while she puts on the biggest show and says, “Oh, I love
  your kids, they’re so cute” and fake smiles back at me. But do I
  seem mad? My dad used to be my best friend and protector of
  my childhood. Now he is my enemy. But do I seem mad? His
  new wife has me in her death-grip, waiting for me to do
  something bad. She is a cobra waiting to strike. But do I seem
  mad? I’m not mad! I’m furious!
• A 300-400 word descriptive narrative essay about
  a time in your life when you made a choice that
  did not make you feel good. You may want/need
  to embellish (to improve by adding details; often
  fictitious details.) the story a bit. The idea is for
  you to tell a story that is both descriptive and
  entertaining. Use 5-7 Smiley Face Tricks in your
  essay. Have fun with this. To help with ideas, you
  can brainstorm by listing words that relate to your
  topic or by stream of consciousness writing