Thursday, August 20, 2015

Welcome to Mr. McLaughlin's Classes Blog

Welcome to this blog created for students who take classes with Mr. McLaughlin. I hope that this is going to be a great way to share photos, calendars, student testimonials, archived work, models, "hands-on" work done in conservatory based classes, homework in academic based classes, etc. This is also a great tool to share class information with students who miss class or do not have vital class information.

Please keep in mind that this is intended to be a site primarily to archive our work, assist students who have been ill and to serve students in cases or real emergency. This site is not intended to shift responsibility from you to the teacher when it comes to take class notes, write assignments down, etc.

We've used this for a few years and it's proven to be an effective a tool for learning and promoting excellence in student achievement. I hope this is easy to manage and useful. Welcome to class. Students who wish to receive some extra credit should post their name and period of their class in the comment section of this blog post.

Simply go down to the hyper-link at the bottom of this post that says comments, click on it, type in your full name and class period and leave the comment for moderation.

We hope you know that we are interested in your success at Lewis Central.  We want you to become better speakers, writers, readers and people.  If you're nervous, you're normal.  All we ask is that you enter with an open mind and try your best.

Thanks for visiting. We hope you come back often.


Monday, August 25, 2014

What is an essential question?

When learning with an essential question, you have to think critically. Instead of simply looking up answers, you must study, conduct independent research based on what interests you, you must think, and create original answers that are meaningful to you. An essential question:

1. provokes deep thought.

2. solicits information-gathering and evaluation of data.

3. results in an original answer.

4. helps students conduct problem-related research.

5. makes students produce original ideas rather than predetermined answers.

6. may not have an answer.

7. encourages critical thinking not just memorization of facts.

More on the meaning and purpose of essential questions through the eyes of assessment guru Grant Wiggins on the Authentic Education Website HERE.

Scholastic explains the essential question HERE.
be found

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Mobile/Show & Tell Speech

The Mobile/Show & Tell SpeechGetting to Know Some of Your Stories & Learning How to Use the Podium

What You Need: Two Hangers, Some Creativity, Five Objects & Five Stories
Helpful Hints: Bring Your Objects on Time, Stay Away from Lists of Facts, Have Fun

The Mobile Speech is the second different speech you will give. You have already given the first and second day Ice-Breaker Speeches. Most have you spoken at least three times already. Nice work.

You will build a mobile and hang objects that represent different aspects of you. You should work to choose objects that are creative and unique. Please keep valuable items off of the mobile. The mobile will be built entirely in class.

The main points for the speech are:

Value (Center): Choose an object that represents one of your values. Then, tell us a story that would "show us" that this is true in how you behave. Please stay away from values that most of us already hold important: family, activities, religion, education. Make your value an idea and not a thing. Usually when we value a thing, it's because there's something else behind it. Try to choose some other abstract idea like: liberty, the environment, peace, etc.

Embarrassing or Proud Moment (First Arm): Embarrassing moments need to be appropriate for a class room. They should also be something that's sort of funny as you look back on it. Stay away from bad embarrassing moments. We all have these stories. Tell the story of your embarrassing proud moment.

Hobby, Past Time or Activity (Second Arm): Tell us a story about what you like to do.

A Favorite OR a Pet Peeve (Third Arm): A favorite vacation, a favorite day, a favorite pet, a favorite place etc. You can also choose a "Pet Peeve" <--something that really bugs you. Personality Trait (Fourth Arm): Would your friends and family say that you are moody, funny, loyal, honest, flexible? What is one of your personality traits?

Double Click Here for an Electronic Version Evaluation Sheet You Were Given in Class.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Communication Cycle

Why Communications Skills Are So Important:
The purpose of communication is to get your message across to others clearly and unambiguously.

Doing this involves effort from both the sender of the message and the receiver. And it's a process that can be fraught with error, with messages often misinterpreted by the recipient. When this isn't detected, it can cause tremendous confusion, wasted effort and missed opportunity.

In fact, communication is only successful when both the sender and the receiver understand the same information as a result of the communication.

By successfully getting your message across, you convey your thoughts and ideas effectively. When not successful, the thoughts and ideas that you send do not necessarily reflect your own, causing a communications breakdown and creating roadblocks that stand in the way of your goals – both personally and professionally.

In a recent survey of recruiters from companies with more than 50,000 employees, communication skills were cited as the single more important decisive factor in choosing managers. The survey, conducted by the University of Pittsburgh’s Katz Business School, points out that communication skills, including written and oral presentations, as well as an ability to work with others, are the main factor contributing to job success.

In spite of the increasing importance placed on communication skills, many individuals continue to struggle, unable to communicate their thoughts and ideas effectively – whether in verbal or written format. This inability makes it nearly impossible for them to compete effectively in the workplace, and stands in the way of career progression.

Getting your message across is paramount to progressing. To do this, you must understand what your message is, what audience you are sending it to, and how it will be perceived. You must also weigh-in the circumstances surrounding your communications, such as situational and cultural context.

Communications Skills - The Importance of Removing Barriers:
Problems with communication can pop-up at every stage of the communication process (which consists of sender, encoding, channel, decoding, receiver, feedback and context - see the diagram below) and have the potential to create misunderstanding and confusion.
To be an effective communicator and to get your point across without misunderstanding and confusion, your goal should be to lessen the frequency of these problems at each stage of this process with clear, concise, accurate, well-planned communications. We follow the process through below:

As the source of the message, you need to be clear about why you're communicating, and what you want to communicate. You also need to be confident that the information you're communicating is useful and accurate.

The message is the information that you want to communicate.

Encoding...This is the process of transferring the information you want to communicate into a form that can be sent and correctly decoded at the other end. Your success in encoding depends partly on your ability to convey information clearly and simply, but also on your ability to anticipate and eliminate sources of confusion (for example, cultural issues, mistaken assumptions, and missing information.) A key part of this is knowing your audience: Failure to understand who you are communicating with will result in delivering messages that are misunderstood.

Messages are conveyed through channels, with verbal including face-to-face meetings, telephone and videoconferencing; and written including letters, emails, memos and reports.

Different channels have different strengths and weaknesses. For example, it's not particularly effective to give a long list of directions verbally, while you'll quickly cause problems if you criticize someone strongly by email.

Just as successful encoding is a skill, so is successful decoding (involving, for example, taking the time to read a message carefully, or listen actively to it.) Just as confusion can arise from errors in encoding, it can also arise from decoding errors. This is particularly the case if the decoder doesn't have enough knowledge to understand the message.

Receiver...Your message is delivered to individual members of your audience. No doubt, you have in mind the actions or reactions you hope your message will get from this audience. Keep in mind, though, that each of these individuals enters into the communication process with ideas and feelings that will undoubtedly influence their understanding of your message, and their response. To be a successful communicator, you should consider these before delivering your message, and act appropriately.

Your audience will provide you with feedback, verbal and nonverbal reactions to your communicated message. Pay close attention to this feedback, as it is the only thing that allows you to be confident that your audience has understood your message. If you find that there has been a misunderstanding, at least you have the opportunity to send the message a second time.

The situation in which your message is delivered is the context. This may include the surrounding environment or broader culture (i.e. corporate culture, international cultures, etc.).

Removing Barriers At All These Stages

To deliver your messages effectively, you must commit to breaking down the barriers that exist in each of these stages of the communication process.

Let’s begin with the message itself. If your message is too lengthy, disorganized, or contains errors, you can expect the message to be misunderstood and misinterpreted. Use of poor verbal and body language can also confuse the message.

Barriers in context tend to stem from senders offering too much information too fast. When in doubt here, less is oftentimes more. It is best to be mindful of the demands on other people’s time, especially in today’s ultra-busy society.

Once you understand this, you need to work to understand your audience’s culture, making sure you can converse and deliver your message to people of different backgrounds and cultures within your own organization, in your country and even abroad.

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Essential Question in English 10A: START HERE

10A Important words within the ESSENTIAL QUESTION FOR THIS COURSE

es•sen•tial [i sénshəl] ADJECTIVE

1. necessary: of the highest importance for achieving something  "It's essential that we arrive on time."  "an essential ingredient"; 2. basic: being the most basic element or feature of something or somebody  "reinforcing the essential organizational framework" ; 3. defining: constituting the property or characteristic of something that makes it what it is

Friday, August 30, 2013

6 Trait Writing: Great Writing is Intentitional, It's No Accident

There is absolutely no better way to understand the 6+1 Trait® Scoring analytical model than to use it yourself. Whether you are a teacher or a student, this instructional tool will help you better understand each of the six traits of writing.

You will first have to select which area of writing you want to focus on. Select from the list below to further study an individual trait.


The Ideas are the heart of the message, the content of the piece, the main theme, together with all the details that enrich and develop that theme. The ideas are strong when the message is clear, not garbled. The writer chooses details that are interesting, important, and informative–often the kinds of details the reader would not normally anticipate or predict. Successful writers do not tell readers things they already know; e.g., "It was a sunny day, and the sky was blue, the clouds were fluffy white …" They notice what others overlook, seek out the extraordinary, the unusual, the bits and pieces of life that others might not see.

Click here to learn more about IDEAS, the heart of the message, the interior decoration of writing

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

"Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

"Harrison Bergeron" is a satirical, dystopia. 

Satire uses of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc,  Satires are literary compositions, in verse or prose, in which human folly and vice are held up to scorn, derision, or ridicule.

is a vision of an often futuristic society, which has developed into a negative version of Utopia, in which society has degraded into a repressive, controlled state. A dystopia is often characterized by an authoritarian or totalitarian form of government.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


To Kill a Mockingbird: Vocabulary with Definitions

Chapters 1-2

1. apothecary—one who prepares and sells medicines
2. assuaged—made less severe or burdensome
3. indigenous—occurring or living naturally in an area
4. malevolent—having or exhibiting hatred
5. mortification—a feeling of shame or humiliation
6. piety—religious devotion and reverence to God
7. sojourn—a brief, temporary stay
8. unsullied—spotlessly clean and fresh
9. vexations—irritations or annoyances
10. wallowing—heavily indulging in; rolling in

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Independent Novel Menu 1: Novel Specific Vocabulary

Part One: Novel Specific “Student-Chosen” Vocabulary Assignment

Choose ONE of the following assignments. Include a title and any necessary headings.

Independent Novel Menu 2: Vocabulary, Literary Terms

MENU TWO: LITERARY TERMS: If you know all of these terms and can prove it with Mr. McLaughlin, you do not need to complete this menu. Everyone will take a paper/pencil exam on these terms at the end fo the two weeks and two weekends.

Independent Novel Menu 3: The Journal Entries


Your task is to complete 10 JOURNAL RESPONSES (single-spaced, half-page, minimum in 12 point font and full-page maximum)to what you are reading. Divide your novel roughly into 10-14 sections (you have two full weeks and two weekends to complete the novel). For each entry include the date and the pages read.

To receive an "A" on this section of the menu, the student must complete 10 journal entries at an "A" level  To receive a "B" the student must complete "8" journals at a "B" level.  To receive a "C" the student must complete a minimum of "6" journal entries at a "C" level.

Independent Novel Menu 4: The Project


After you have finished your novel choose one project to complete. This project is a chance to challenge your creative side and show what you learned, enjoyed, or pondered on as you were reading. Each student must also complete a writing assignment based on the novel. A grade specific set of criteria can be seen following the list of projects.

Independent Novel Menu 5: Writing the Literary Analysis


Your final review must be typed in 12 point Times New Roman font. Your margins must be 1” maximum and the review/theme analysis must be double-spaced. You need to have an MLA heading on the paper. In the opening paragraph, you must include the title and the author of the novel.

Independent Novel Sample Paper

This paper demonstrates a good use of support to prove its point.  The paper, however, could afford to have a stronger attention getter/lead/hook.  So, if you use this paper as a model, be aware that it still needs work.

Be aware, that this typed paper needs to be in Times New Roman 12 pt. font, should be double-spaced, should have an MLA heading and the pages should have a 1" margin.

Hit the "READ MORE" link for some other helpful hints, directions and models. One doesn't need to read all of the links.  Please browse them and find one that best fits your style.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Montgomery Bus Boycott

"My feets is weary, but my soul is rested."
The Montgomery Bus Boycott officially started on December 1, 1955. That was the day when the blacks of Montgomery, Alabama, decided that they would boycott the city buses until they could sit anywhere they wanted, instead of being relegated to the back when a white boarded. It was not, however, the day that the movement to desegregate the buses started. Perhaps the movement started on the day in 1943 when a black seamstress named Rosa Parks paid her bus fare and then watched the bus drive off as she tried to re-enter through the rear door, as the driver had told her to do. Perhaps the movement started on the day in 1949 when a black professor Jo Ann Robinson absentmindedly sat at the front of a nearly empty bus, then ran off in tears when the bus driver screamed at her for doing so. Perhaps the movement started on the day in the early 1950s when a black pastor named Vernon Johns tried to get other blacks to leave a bus in protest after he was forced to give up his seat to a white man, only to have them tell him, "You ought to knowed better." [2] The story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott is often told as a simple, happy tale of the "little people" triumphing over the seemingly insurmountable forces of evil. The truth is a little less romantic and a little more complex.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

SWEET POTATO PIE by Eugenia Collier

Sweet Potato Pie by Eugenia Collier

When the Civil War ended, many owners of large Southern plantation split their land up into small plots and set up sharecropping arrangements with former slaves and poor whites. The sharecroppers farmed the land, turning over a share of the crop to the landowners. In return, the landowners gave them seed, tools, and a place to live. Most sharecroppers worked very hard but lived in great poverty, subject to the whim of landowners, weather, and insect blights.

In this selection, Eugenia Collier gives readers a glimpse of what life was like for a family of sharecroppers.

Sweet Potato Pie Resources

Harlem: A History in Pictures

To the narrator, visiting the Harlem area of New York City is like returning "to some mythic ancestral home." This Web site provides a glimpse into the history and importance of Harlem. After reading the information, record in the Web Links Activity Log some of the reasons why Harlem is considered by many to be the cultural and political center of the African American world.

Cooking African American Style

African American food, especially sweet potato pie, plays a central role in Eugenia Collier's story. Visit this site to learn more about the origins of African American cooking. Be sure to click on the Desserts link at the bottom of the page and try out the recipe for sweet potato pie.

Monday, October 17, 2011

How to Make a Handout

Making Handouts

Have you ever created a handout at the last minute before teaching a session? We often hastily prepare them without considering what elements make them most effective, but a first-rate handout can make a successful session even better.

Why should you make handouts?
Help students remember your presentation long after it is over.

Present information visually, which meets the needs of visual learners.

Allow students to concentrate on your presentation rather than trying to write down everything you say.

Provide students with a guide to help them with future research.

Give you something to refer back to when planning future sessions.

When should you create them?

Handouts should be created at the same time that you are planning your session. This ensures that the information you include will be tailored to that specific course. It's a good idea to make copies of your handouts ahead of time to avoid problems such as copier jams five minutes before your session begins.

When do you hand them out?
Opinions differ on when to pass out your handouts - some think it's best to give them out at the beginning or end of the session, and others prefer the point at which the information is most relevant. Just remember that your students will probably look at them right when they receive them and will miss whatever you say in the next several minutes.

What information should you include?

An outline of the key ideas in your presentation.

Specific information from your session to which your students will want to refer in the future.

Further information or a bibliography for further research.

Illustrations, charts, graphics, etc.

Make part of your handout an activity guide that provides directions, steps or a worksheet.

Remember, say no more than what is necessary - the urge to say too much can ruin a good handout.

What are some design tips?
Recommended Font Size for

14-16 point
Subtitles/subdivisions 12-14
Body 10-12

Set off distinct parts of the handout using italics, shading, bolding, boxed headlines or underlining.

Bullet lists to make them easier to scan and understand.

Leave at least a .75" margin on every side.

Try organizing information into a two-column format.

Serif fonts (such as Times New Roman) are more distinctive in print than sans serif fonts (such as Arial).

Use no more than three fonts in a single handout.

Make sure to leave plenty of white space to avoid confusion.

If you do have multiple handouts, make them distinguishable from each other by using multiple colors.

When you are done, look at your handout and ask yourself the following questions:
Does the information flow?

Is the handout visually appealing?

If a student were to forget everything you presented, would the information included in the handout help him/her recall the main ideas?

Is your contact information included?

Are helpful Websites or tips for finding additional information needed/included?

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE. Wallace, Marie. "Guide on the Side: Why and How to Avoid Trashy Handouts." May 1999. 10 Mar 2003.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Extra Credit Opportunity--Leave a Comment Here

Congratulations for showing the initiative to earn some extra credit in your Speech I class. That's the way to start!

You need to go down to the pencil icon on the bottom of this post. Click on it and leave a comment after you take a look at the blog. Let us know what you think about it.

Please make sure that you leave your full name and the class period that you are in. I am excited to have you in class. Just already have an "A+". Way to go.

Mr. McLaughlin

Demonstration Speech Packet Materials


Electronic Version of Handouts that You'll Receive in Class

Here's a check list to help you prepare for your speech. CLICK HERE for a Demonstration Speech Checklist for Students Master.doc

Pre-Formatted Outline Made Easy

We've made doing an outline easy. These don't need to be typed, but you can use this if you need extra help and choose to type your outline. It's really easier to use this tool.
CLICK HERE for a Demonstration Speech Pre-formatted outline.doc

CLICK HERE to view the Demonstration Teacher Evaluation, page 1.doc

CLICK HERE to view the Demonstration Teacher Evaluation, page 2.doc

Your Self-Evaluation

CLICK HERE to view Demonstration Student Self-Evaluation.doc
Teacher Evaluation Form

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Listening Inventories with Improvement Plans

Listening Self-Analysis Part I

______1. I have always considered listening an automatic process not a learned behavior that I could work to improve.

______2. When I think a topic is uninteresting, I stop and think about something else.

______3. I react so emotionally to certain topics that it is hard for me to listen to speeches about them.

______4. Certain words trigger extreme responses in me.

______5. I am easily distracted by noises or movement in the room where someone is speaking.

______6. I don’t like to listen to speakers unless they are experts on their topics.

______7. Certain types of people are so objectionable that I don’t like to listen to them.

______8. I tend to feel sleepy when someone talks in a monotone.

______9. I become so dazzled by an impressive presentation that I often don’t listen to what the speaker is really saying.

______10. I don’t like to listen to speeches that run counter to my values.





Listening Self-Analysis Part II

______11. When I disagree with a speaker, I try to think up counterarguments during the

______12. I know so much about some topics that I can’t learn anything else from a speaker.

______13. I consider the speaker to be the one responsible for the effectiveness of communication.

______14. I usually have so much on my mind that I find it hard to listen to others.

______15. I often stop listening when a difficult subject is being discussed.

______16. I can look as though I’m listening even when I’m not.

______17. I listen only for the facts and ignore the rest of a message.

______18. I try to write down everything a speaker says.

______19. I get so caught up with a speaker’s appearance that I often don’t attend to the message.

______20. I often jump to conclusions and put words in a speaker’s mouth.





Wednesday, August 31, 2011

English 10B ACT/SAT Vocabulary Preparation: Unit One

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2008 Period 4,
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2008 Period 1

1.1 ALOOF (uh LOOF) distant, reserved in manner, uninvolved.Memory Link: ROOF--the aloof cat on the roof

Most everyone though Theodore ALOOF when actually he was only very shy.

Nothing ruins a fine dinner at a good restaurant like an ALOOF waiter who makes the entire experience uncomfortable.

At the wedding reception, the bride's relatives were very ALOOF, hardly speaking to the groom's guests and family.

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2008 Period 4,
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2008 Period 1
1.2 AUSTERE (aw STEER) stern, as in manner; without excess, unadorned, severely simple and plain.
Memory Link: STEER--a plainly dressed steer at a fancy party

Jill's father was AUSTERE, rarely smiled and was always stern with her about having dates with boys that he didn't know.

The AUSTERITY of life in the village was understandable. Many were jobless and evidence of poverty was everywhere.

Her home was AUSTERELY decorated, very plain furniture without frills and only items that were necessary.


1.3 BULWARK (BULL wurk) a defensive wall; something literal or figurative serving as a principal defense.
Memory Link: BULL WORK--bulls working to build a wall

Quebec City is the only city in North America with a BULWARK built entirely around it.

The budget for national defense is an economic burden for all taxpayers, but we must never forget our armed services are the BULWARK of defense for the nation.

Our mother was a BULWARK against bad times; no matter how bad things became, she always wore a smile and had a cheerful word.

1.4 CACOPHONY (kuh KAFH uh nee) harsh sounds.
Memory Link: COUGH--a bunch of smokers hacking and coughing in a smoking lounge
A CACOPHONY isn't noise alone, it is disturbing noise such as when people shout all at once.

Gene thinks all rock music is a CACOPHONY to be avoided whenever possible.

An unpleasant CACOPHONY of sound was produced when the orchestra tuned their instruments. But once they began to play together the sounds became euphonious.

1.5 CEREBRAL (suh REE brul) of or relating to the brain; an intellectual person
Memory Link: CEREAL--a skinny little boy eating his Cheerios to be a smart guy like his dad

CEREBRAL for a football player, the wily Kansas quaterback rarely called a play that wasn't well planned and thought out.

Dr. Clark was too CEREBRAL to be a boy scout leader. Instead of saying "pitch your tents overy by the cliff," he would confuse everyone with his big words and say, "construct the canvas shelters in the proxity of the promonotory."

1.6 CONNOISSEUR (kahn uh SUR) an expert, particularly in matters of art and taste
Memory Link: KING OF THE SEWER--the rat, king of the sewer, examining all the great garbage to eat
My uncle is a CONNOISSEUR of fine wines.

Art dealer, Jorge Guizar, is a CONNOISSEUR of Mexican art of the 19th century.

When it came to coins, Jerry proclaimed he was a CONNOISSEUR, because he had collected them all his life.

1.7 FORBEAR (for BAYR) to refrain from; to abstain; to be patient or tolerant
Memory Link: FOUR BEARS--forbear from feeding the four begging bears at Jellystone Park
To FORBEAR your opinion on any controversial matter until you have first heard all of the facts is generally the wisest course of action.

Jonathan said his motto was to never FORBEAR a good party for another time when you can have one today.

Henry FORBORE his decision to close the store, deciding to wait until after the Christmas season.

1.8 INCONGRUOUS (in KAHN grew us) not appropriate, unsuited to the surroundings; not fitting in
Memory Link: IN CONGRESS--the Alaskan senator wearing a fur cap, a jacket with fringe, knee high boots and a a bowie knife around his well dressed colleagues

Ed appeared INCONGRUOUS wearing his tuxedo to on an old-fashioned hayride.

The INCONGRUITY with Joseph's chosen career was that he had a Ph.D in chemistry, but preferred to work as a mullet fisherman.

INCONGRUOUSLY, Dianne speant several days a week at the library, even though she professed that she didn't like to read.

1.9 LAMENT (la MINT) to express sorrow or regret; to mourn
Memory Link: CEMENT--mobsters mourning the burying of a friend in cement shoes

The song, "Cowboy's LAMENT," is a ballad about the lonely life of those who drive cattle for a living.

The nation LAMENTS the passing of the President while at the same time celebrating his achievements while in office.

It is LAMENTABLE that Roscoe quit college in his sophomore year; his professors considered hime the brightest engineering student in his class.

1.10 LANGUISH (lang GWISH) to become weak or feeble: sag with loss of strength.
Memory Link: LAND FISH--a fish walking in the desert

An outdoorsman all his life, Mr. Franklin quickly LANGUISHED in his job as a night watchman.

It was so hot in the theatre, Charolotte soon began to LANGUISH.

(To LANGUISH is to be LANGUID) The fish in the aquarium hardly stirred, moving LANGUIDLY when they moved at all.

1.11 ORATOR:
Memory Link:

Please write three sentences using the following derivatives of the words: ORATE, ORATION, ORATOR

Idea & Content Writing Excercise

Special thanks to for this material.

Rewrite a nursery rhyme (Three Blind Mice, Jack and Jill, etc.) from a character's point of view.
You can post your response (500 words or fewer) here

If you could take a trip anywhere in the world where would it be and why?
You can post your response (500 words or fewer) here

Write a 26-line poem using all the letters of the alphabet, where the first line starts with the letter "A," the second "B," the third "C," etc., culminating with the final line starting with "Z."
You can post your response (500 words or fewer) here

You bump into an ex-lover on Valentine's Day—the one whom you often call "The One That Got Away." What happens?
You can post your response (500 words or fewer) here

What was the first CD (or record or cassette) you ever purchased? Write about the way that particular album made you feel then. Write about how it makes you feel now.
You can post your response (500 words or fewer) here

You were recently laid off. Instead of moping around, you've viewed it as a chance to start fresh. Pick a new career and write about your first day on the job.
You can post your response (500 words or fewer) here

What's your number one pet peeve? Develop a punishment for anyone caught in the act.
You can post your response (500 words or fewer) here

Take a character from one of your stories and examine his or her ipod playlist. What 10 songs best describe the character?
You can post your response (500 words or fewer) here

You're at a U2 concert when you receive a text from a friend that says, "You'll never believe what just happened to me!" In the form of a text chat, find out what happened to your friend.
You can post your response (500 words or fewer) here

What's the worst present you've ever received? How did you react and what, ultimately, did you do with the gift?
You can post your response (500 words or fewer) here

A man buys a parrot, and is horrified when he discovers the only thing it can say is, “If you ever tell anyone what you saw, I’ll kill you.” (submitted by Khara House)
You can post your response (500 words or fewer) here

You've been hired by a bumper sticker manufacturer to come up with ideas. Write a clever or witty phrase you'd love to see on a bumper sticker. (If you want, write several.)
You can post your response (500 words or fewer) here

You head to the mall for some holiday shopping and, just as you're about to park, someone steals your parking spot. Do you do something for revenge or do you stay in the holiday spirit and not let it bother you—and let karma do the dirty work?
You can post your response (500 words or fewer) here

If you had to choose between yesterday and tomorrow, which would you pick and why?
You can post your response (500 words or fewer) here

You're cleaning out your garage and, hidden away in a back corner, you find an old shoebox. The box is heavier than it should be. When you open it up, you find cash—$40,000, to be exact. Where did the cash come from, who hid it there and why?
You can post your response (500 words or fewer) here

You're walking through a cemetery and you pass the grave of a World War II veteran. Write a scene from his life story.
You can post your response (500 words or fewer) here

You're taking a business trip and, as luck would have it, you're upgraded to first class—something you've never done before. As you sit down in your new, more comfortable chair, you notice that the person sitting next to you is a famous musician. Write this scene.
You can post your response (500 words or fewer) here

Thinking back to your childhood and the many Halloween costumes you wore, which costume was your favorite and why?
You can post your response (500 words or fewer) here

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Putting the Pieces Together

You've given your Mobile Speech and probably have learned who in your small group is your partner. Now it's time to put your first prepared speech for the entire class together. You'll remember the picture of the crazy tree from class? One branch grew watermelons, one branch grew cherries, one branch grew plums and one branch grew cherries. Remember?

Well, that's a comparison of a good speech and a good piece of writing. Each main point is like one of the tree branches. Although each branch grows fruit, it is a different type of fruit (a main point). Your job is to choose the two best pieces of fruit (supporting information stories) for that main point. Remember, it's your job to choose THE BEST fruit for your audience. Whenever, we speak, we are preparing something for someone else to eat (hear/process).

Use the skills of delving, open ended questioning, wait time, rephrasing and rapport skills to gather the other stories you need to harvest the best pieces from this tree (person).

Here are the pieces that you will need to be eligible to speak:

Checklist and PreSpeaking Block.doc

Peer Biography Checklist & GP SP AAS.doc

Teacher Peer Biography Evaluation Sheet.doc

Peer Biography Student Self Evaluation.doc

Here is what you will be allowed to carry up to the podium with you. Your partner will sit to your right. Go the link below the picture for a full page electronic version of this.

CLICK HERE for Graphic Organizer Large Note Card for Peer Biography Speech.doc

Monday, August 29, 2011

An Explanation and Examples of Clinchers

Types of Clinchers:

1. Appeal to Specific Audience Action(s) or Actuation

Some argue that all communication is persuasive. If persuasion is the act of changing or reinforcing a belief, an attitude or a value, few could effectively argue otherwise. Actuation or an appeal to audience action is a vital part of any overtly persuasive speech. Often this appeal occurs in the conclusion of a speech or at least is restated there.
An effective appeal for action comes in the conclusion of this speech on the dangers of light trucks, vans, and minivans:

"The government and the industry are not looking out for us; we must protect ourselves. So often we take our mode of transportation for granted. We can no longer afford to be so foolish, especially when the price could be our lives. Only by examining the inherent dangers in these vehicles and who is responsible for them can we begin to establish safer transportation for everyone. So as you head home tonight look at the light truck you are in or those light trucks on the road beside you, consider what little protection there is, buckle up, and hope for a safe trip home."
Combining a call to action with a reference to his introduction, another speaker urged his audience to act on the issue of pesticide control. Note how the speaker uses fragments effectively to plant thoughts:

"The Pied Piper fooled his prey. We are also being fooled. Fooled by the Federal Gov­ernment and fooled by chemical lawn spray companies. There is no reason that 800 people should die or 800,000 people injured every year as a result of these chemical poisonings. One brief letter. One small action. These can help better insure that we are not led to our unsuspecting injuries or deaths. Meagan Connelley recovered from her chemical poisoning. Bur now she must hide from the Pied Piper of Pesticides as he plays on. She can only hope that legislation will be enacted to provide better control over the use of these pesticides in our lawns. For Meagan's sake, and for our own personal safety, can't we be that hope?"

Speeches classes and teachers have been notorious in using "write your congressman/woman" as a means of actuation. This is an effective appeal. However, audiences of today have grown accustomed to many requests for action. These range from buying a product on television to opening a piece of "junk mail." The effective speaker offers his/her audience a buffet of possible actions which reflect the audience member's commitment to the issue. In a speech on environmental awareness and recycling, one speaker effectively chose the following clincher statement for her audience:

"Our landfills are filling up at a record-breaking pace. Our water is being polluted intentionally and unintentionally. Each of us can do small things to protect our environment for those that follow. What can each of us to help protect our environment? There's plenty of choices for each of us.
The most obvious is to not litter in our community. Even the best of us is guilty of occasionally littering. It is a sad state of affairs when our quick personal needs infringe on the rights of others. Or the next time that the convenient store clerk tries to place two items in a sack, carry them in hand. Or if the bagger at the superma rket asks you "paper" or "plastic" choose paper. Paper biodegrades in landfills much more quickly than plastic.
The same is true for protecting our water supply. Take, for example, brushing your teeth in the morning. If everyone in the United States would simply fill up a glass of water vs. leaving the water running, we could preserve 26 million gallons of water a year. Paying attention to our cities and municipalities when it comes to watering our lawns in the dead heat of August, we would save almost 400 million gallons of water a year. Both of these require little effort on our part and imagine the benefits we could gain as a society.
And for those of you who really want to help in a more active way, please consider joining Green Peace. I have brought membership applications with me today and stamped envelopes. All you need to do is fill out the form and drop it in the mail in one of the stamped envelopes I'm providing this morning. As a member of Green Peace, 96% of your donation will be used to make our planet a cleaner place to live.
And for those of you who want to really help out in our community, please join us this Saturday morning as we take our turn in walking a two-mile stretch of highway and cleaning up the mess that others have left for our children. We always have donuts and coffee for our volunteers--bring your own cup--and usually go do something fun after we're done. This weekend we'll be going to see the movie Pay It Forward.
Only with a strong commitment from individuals, single households and citizens with good conscience can we stop this problem once and for all.
One wise man said that 'the environment is not ours, we are borrowing it from our children." For our children's sake, I hope you join this worthwhile cause."

This speaker has given the audience all kinds of choices in the above clincher. She has made the choices easy for members of her audience to choose depending on his/her level of commitment. There are also some "hidden" or "implied" benefits to adopting the speaker's plan of action. One is a relief from "cognitive dissonance" or the guilt we might feel for our own poor choices in the past. Another is the chance to become a part of a valued group.

Although writing our congressman/woman or senator are still important with some issues, there are other more "meaty" and realistic ways to use actuation.

Depending on audience, occasion, and your own interests and purposes, you can effectively and memorably end your speech by drawing on an effective clincher.

2. Reference to the Introduction: Bookends

Reference to the Introduction. In our discussion of closure, we mentioned referring to the introduction as a way to end a speech. "Finishing a story begun in the introduction, answering a rhetorical question posed in the introduction, or reminding the audience of the startling fact or statistic you presented in the intro­duction is each an excellent way to provide closure. Like bookends at either side of a group of books on your desk, a related introduction and conclusion provide unified support for the ideas in the middle."

The following speaker's topic dealt with personal problems caused by the current farm crisis. She had opened her speech with an illustration of an Iowan named Dale Burr, whose anguish had led to a murder-suicide. Her conclusion was this:

"Just think . . . if someone had helped Dale Burr cope with the stress he was facing, maybe he and three others might not have died on that cold December day."

Another speaker had begun his speech on the need for catastropic health insurance by quoting Robert Browning an explaining the significance of the quotation to the audience:

"Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, The last of life, for which the first was made."
He concluded his speech by referring to that Browning quotation which by that time in the speech had gained a new significance to the audience. His clincher statement was:

"Robert Browning tells us the last of life is as precious as the first. While the future will always hold uncertainty, with catastrophic health insurance we can more fully prepare for whatever is yet to be."
A third speaker had introduced his speech by talking about the downfalls in­evitably suffered by the heroes of Greek mythology. He drew an analogy between the risks they faced and the risks inherent in the use of antibiotics-the dangers of overuse. Here is how that speaker ended his speech:

"The demise of Medusa carries with it one final message. With her death, Perseus received two drops of blood. One drop had the power to kill and spread evil; the other, to heal and restore well-being. Similarly, antibiotics offer us two opposite paths. As we painfully take stock in our hubris, in assuming that we can control the transformation of nature, we may ponder these two paths. We can either let antibiotics do the work of our immune systems and proper farm management which may return us to the times when deathly plagues spread across the world, or we can save these miracle drugs for the times when miracles are truly needed."

3. Inspirational Appeal or Challenge
Although summarizing a speech is a fairly straightforward task, reemphasizing the thesis in a memorable way, motivating the audience to respond, and providing effective closure to the speech may require more creative thinking and planning.
Any of the methods of introduction discussed earlier can help you conclude your speech.

Startling statistics, startling facts and a fear appeal are used in this conclusion on emissions from motor vehicles:

"I'm frightened. Frightened that nothing I could say would encourage the 25% of emissions tampering Americans to change their ways and correct the factors that cause their autos to pollute disproportionately. Frightened that the American public will not respond to a crucial issue unless the harms are both immediate and observable. Frightened that the EPA will once again prove very sympathetic to industry. Three simple steps will alleviate my fear: inspection, reduction in lead content, and, most importantly, awareness."

Quotations, for example, are frequently used in conclusions, as in this speech on geographical illiteracy:

"For in the words of Gilbert Grosvener, President of the National Geographic Society, 'A knowledge of geography-where you are in relation to the rest of the world is essential for an understanding of history, economics and politics. Without it, the prospects of world peace and cooperation, as well as a grasp of human events is beyond our reach. With it, we not only understand others, but we can berter understand ourselves.'"

You may also turn to illustrations, personal references, or any of the other methods of introduction to conclude your speech. Go back and look at them. Although considering audience, purpose and occasion are vital, you are really only limited by your own imagination. "The sky's the limit."