AP Language & Composition

Creative Writing
Hawthorne Biography
Scarlet Letter Criticism
In Depth...Machiavelli Biography
Ripped from Your Papers #1
Ripped from Your Papers #2
Ripped From Your Papers #3
Ripped From Your Papers #4
Vocabulary Lesson 1
Vocabulary Lesson 2
Vocabulary Lesson 3
Research Sources
AP Practice Test Calendar
Multi Choice Tips and Hints
Ethos, Pathos, Logos - The Foundation of Argument
AP Language & Composition
Your Study Habits
Tone and Attitudes
Active Reading and Annotation
AP Prose Style Calendar
AP Prose Style Chapter Outlines 1-6
AP Prose Style Chapters 7-12
AP Prose Style Ch. 13-16
AP Glossary & Schedules
Glossary Presentations How To
Glossary Tests Study Tips
Passage Analysis Quick Guide
Patterns of Development Schedule, Term 2
Patterns: Description Notes
Narration Mode Notes
Example Mode
Process Analysis
Comparison Contrast Notes
Classification and Division
Cause and Effect
Outside Reading Schedules/Booklists (scroll all the way down)
Persuasive Speech/Researched Argument
They Say/I Say
They Say I Say Slides Introduction
Cornell Notes How To
Creative Writing

Currently accepting course signups for 10th, 11th, and 12th graders for next school year - 2009-10! Hurry, since spaces are limited - first come, first served! Be a part of this very popular and fun elective class! How to sign up? See your counselor or sign up at your course selection night!

Mrs. Gini Grossenbacher

Fall Term 2008



Come and help us celebrate Sheldon High School! Husky student and parent incentives!


EGUSD Mission Statement: The Elk Grove Unified School District will provide a learning community which will challenge all students to realize their greatest potential.


Course Description:  Students will be encountering, discussing, and practicing writing in a variety of forms.  Over the course of eighteen weeks, students will work with description, poetry, memoirs, short stories, playwriting and screenwriting.  Prompted by media, course discussion, fine art integration, and text examples, students will critique the work of published writers. Students will study the basic elements of fiction and poetry and learn how to incorporate these effectively in their own work.  In a workshop format the class will imitate style, revise, edit, provide peer feedback, and produce original works.  In a performance format, students will orally share and perform selected pieces.  Students will establish Pen Pals with a Smedberg student culminating in a visitation to read each other’s creative work. Published authors will visit the class to inform students about writing for publication. In a journal, binder and portfolio, students will gather, present, and critique their best works as culminating projects for each session. At the end of the term, a class magazine will be published featuring self-selected best writing and artwork from each student in the course. Students will be encouraged to follow suggested routes in order to professionally publish their own work. Students often continue to take Creative Writing courses in college after having this class.

Please note:  This course is open to all students who wish to enhance their reading and writing abilities.  Students will be expected to read and write daily, no matter their beginning level of expertise.  Writing homework will be assigned nightly. Sheldon’s Creative Writing students show a high level of commitment in joining our artistic community of writers-in-progress.  Students will be expected to join in the open-minded, gentle critique which takes place among groups of aspiring writers everywhere, no matter their ages.



A Place Where the Sea Remembers, Sandra Benitez (counts toward 700 pages)

Kindred, Octovia Butler (counts toward 700 pages)

Personal SSR reading books – 700 pages per Session (may “double dip” with other classes)

Course Binder and Journal

The most important text in this course is your classmates' poems, plays, and stories, which we will discuss in workshop. 


Excerpts and lectures based on:


Models for Writers, Rosa Escholz

selections from Writer’s Digest Magazine

The Creative Writing Handbook, Jay Amberg and Mark Larson

The Portable MFA, The New York Writer’s Workshop

Writing Down the Bones, Natalie Goldberg

Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott

Immediate Fiction, Jerry Cleaver

Flash Fiction Forward, Thomas and Shapard


Films: Used for elements of fiction, playwriting, screen elements or writing prompts –

 rarely will a film be viewed in its entirety.  Not all films may be viewed.

All films are rated  PG or PG-13.


Star Wars

Finding Neverland

Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl

House of Flying Daggers

The Color Purple

Rear Window

Edward Scissorhands

Lord of the Rings

The Tuskegee Airmen

The Dead Poet’s Society

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (DISNEY CARTOON VERSION)

The Freedom Writers

What Dreams May Come


TEXTBOOKS:  Please be advised that students are financially responsible for all textbooks and library books they check out from the library. This means that students must pay for all books that are lost or stolen from their possession. Students keep textbooks in their classrooms at their own risk. Many times a student gets a textbook mixed up with another classmate. When this happens, the student is still responsible for the book he/she checked out. If a student needs to pay for a book, payment plans can be arranged with the library. Call 681-7500 ext. 8088 if you have questions regarding the textbook policy.


The following is a partial outline of the course sequence.

Other activities will be added as we go along.




Term 1 & 2 : Multi-genre creative writing approach
Multi-draft poetry, story, drama

Writer’s Workshop

Writer’s Journal

Critical thinking

Private vs. Public Discourse

SSR/Outside reading

      Literature Circles & book groups: Novel &

           Poetry collections

      Library book talks

      Book Projects


Critique groups

Observation Project

On-campus field trips

Creative dramatics






Theme 1: Identity & Voices

                Showing writing

                Jabber, Jabber, Jabber


                Linguistic Tower

                Reading and writing for two voices and genres

                Oral performance: work for two voices

                Author spotlight: Amy Tan and Sojourner Truth


Theme 2: Nature

                Landscape & Art

                “Seeing in the Mind”

                Color Theory

                Contrasting Moods

                Point of View Poetry

                Word Association Poems

                Word Warm-ups

                Plato: Allegory of the Cave

                Descriptive Poetry

                Description of Person

                Author spotlights: William Stafford; Ralph Waldo Emerson


Theme 3: Planet Earth and Beyond

                 Socratic Seminar: Environmental Issues and Explorations

                Objects of Desire

                Plot, plot

                Olfactory Poetry

                Creative Pepper Upper

                Found Poetry


                Informal Skits

                Café Friday

                Author Spotlight: Henry David Thoreau


Theme 4: War and Peace

                Focus on conflicts home and abroad

                Point of View

                Letters, Diaries,

                Short story: conflict

                Excerpts: The Things They Carried

                The Wrong Brother

                Bad Appetites

                Author Spotlight: Yousef Koumanyakaa, Tim O’Brien


Theme 5: Future Lives

                Journals 2-5-10 years from now

                Your Daily Grind

                Art Investigation: “Poet Leaving Home”

                Lost and Found

                Small group sharing: Erikson’s psychosocial stages of development

                Poetry; letters to self and others

                Café Friday

                Prophecies and predictions

                Author spotlight: Barbara Ehrenreich


Theme 6: Best Friends

                Where Have You Gone

                A Small Snack


                Walking in Someone Else’s Shoes

                Character sketch

                Techniques for Understanding Literature


                Author spotlight: Jeannette Walls


Theme 7: Love and Romance

                To Outline or Not?

                The Sheldon Sampler

                If Breakfast Be

                The Wrong Date and Time



                Triple Dare…

                Techniques for Understanding Literature

                Short story: focus on dialogue

                Café Friday

                Cartoon strip

                Author Spotlight: Stanley Kunitz


Theme 8: Mistakes – Big and Little

                Focused Freewriting

Dear John

                Personal Journals


                Figurative Language

                Langston Hughes: “ Mother to Son”

                Confessional Poetry

                Begin One Act work

                Author Spotlight: Tennessee Williams


Theme 9: Dreams

                The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of

                Dream Collage and Poetry

                Dreams: Jung, Freud, and Fritz Perls

                Film excerpts: What Dreams May Come

                One Act Play

                Lit Circle meeting: A Place Where the Sea Remembers

                Café Friday

                Author spotlight: Sandra Benitez


Term 1 Final: Perform One Act Play


Term 2:


Theme 10: Myths, Folklore and Fable

                Star Wars Investigations: Focus on archetypes

                The Time of Their Lives


                Film Excerpts: Edward Scissorhands

                Myths, Legends and pop icons

                Greek mythology


                Tall tales


                Storyboard/graphic myth        

                Author spotlight: Ovid


Theme 11: Cities

                Art Investigation: Wayne Thiebaud

                Don’t Know Much Geography , But I Should



                Travel Brochure

                Thirteen Ways Poetry

                Multimedia/PowerPoint to Music multi-genre performance

                Café Friday

                Author spotlight: Robert Frost


Theme 12: Picture this

                Art Investigation: Famous Photographs

                Photographer Edward Weston

                Picture This

                Writing Songs

                Photo Essay Mini-magazine

                Photo essay Presentation

                Author spotlight: Tim Bellows + Kerby Smith


Theme 13: Masks

                Art Investigation: Metropolitan Museum collection of masks

                Pay No Attention


                Masked presentations

                Café Friday

                Author spotlight: Paul Laurence Dunbar


Theme 14: Japanese Culture

                Art Investigation: calligraphy,  watercolor + Kimono slides

                Poetry: Haiku, Tonka, Senru

                Video clip: Calligraphy in Japan

                Integrated poetry, painting, and calligraphy panel

                Author spotlight: Yu Chang


Theme 15: What if?

                X marks the spot


                Return to Seeing in the mind

                Class Literary Magazine contributions

                Utopia simulation

                Children’s book on What if?
                Café Friday

                Author spotlight: Franz Kafka


Theme 16: Freedom

                Art investigations: Hung Liu “Shoemakers”

                Class Literary Magazine assembly

                Web page reflecting freedom

                Video clips: The Color Purple

                Kindred book discussion: time slip novel

                Clay sculpture + French scene based on Kindred

                Presentations to 7th grade Smedberg class

                Author spotlight:  Billy Collins


Theme 17: Wins and Losses





                Storyboard/graphic scene of wins/losses using your favorite actors from TV/film

Oprah interview simulations with favorite actors

                                Letters to favorite actors

Café Friday

Author spotlight: Laurell K. Hamilton


Theme 18: Celebrities

                Thumbnail sketches

                Biographical sketches

                Guess who/what descriptions

                Hot seat – role playing

                Ballads dedicated to celebrities

                Satire: Roasting celebrities

                Poster display


Theme 19: Gateways

                Artwork investigation: Norman Rockwell Museum Gateway projects

                Prepare exhibitions



Term  2 Final: Final exhibitions with selected portfolio work






















Learning the landscape

Artwork investigations

Poetry writing:



                Free verse

             Found and Headline

             Letter poetry using color

             Olfactory poem

             Tonka, Haiku, Senryu, Renga

             Blind Poetry

             Two Voices 

              The Villanelle

              Dream Poem + Collage

             Six Ways of Looking

             Fractured Fairytales

             Myths and icons

             Imitation and parody

             Poetry notebook

Traveling through the Dark:

                Angles of vision

                Recasting the text

                Performance groups

Writing Down the Bones selected readings

Observation to reflection unit

Color theory: simple to complex

Fellow student observation + illustration

Dream writing exercises

The Metaphor

The Memoir

Guest Poet


Session 2: Focus on narration, short story, playwriting, screenplay + filming

Writer’s Workshop

SSR/Outside reading

      Literature circles & book groups: novel & poetry Collections

      Library book talks

     SAT Practice timed writings      

Writer’s Journal

Class magazine

Self-assessment essay


Short story (2 full process pieces or two processed chapters of novel with outline of rest of book)

         Narrative soup

          Group writing

         Narrative topics

         Character analysis + sketch

         Point of view


         Scenes and irony





              Elements of Playwriting

                                Formatting the script

                          Narrative arc

                          “Slice of Life” scene + performances

                         Characterization in drama

                            Reader’s theater performances

             Elements of screenwriting


                     Camera angles






                     Group screenplay

             Film production and performances


Guest author

Critique groups

Sheldon High Drama department productions


For the complete California State Standards, see the EGUSD website:  www.edcenter.egusd.k12.ca.us



                It is important to remember that students are responsible for the textbooks they check out from the library—no exceptions. Even if a student accidentally gets his/her book switched with another student in class, he/she is still responsible for the textbook checked out under his/her name. To find out more about the textbook policies, please call the librarian at (916)681-7500 ext. 8088 or go to the Sheldon High School website.



                E Grades is a communication tool that allows parents/guardians/students to access student grades. Go to Sheldonhuskies.com for the egrade link and grade reports posting schedule.

                Creative Writing egrades will be uploaded at the same time as all progress reports, quarter and term grades.



Grade Calculations:


30% - Timed Essays, Creative Writings

30% - Projects

10%  - Outside Reading Requirement

30% - Class and homework


Academic Code of Conduct - Plagiarism

Plagiarism is when a student copies or paraphrases someone else’s words, work, or ideas without giving credit to the original author/speaker “source”.  Outside sources which need to be given credit include, but are not limited to, books, websites, periodicals, newspapers, material from electronic databases, radio or television programs, interviews, speeches and/or letters and correspondence, including e-mail. If a student commits plagiarism in any portion of an academic exercise, the student will receive a zero on the assignment and also disciplinary consequences from the administration (see Student Handbook: Disciplinary Consequences For Behavior Violation Of Code Of Conduct). An academic exercise includes, but is not limited to, a homework/practice assignment, essay, and/or research paper


Dear Parents and Students,

As a lover of writing, and a person working on her own novel, I appreciate the opportunity to work with you in this course.  I know we will have many enriching discussions and eye-opening discoveries as we pursue our talents and enhance our writing abilities. Please do not hesitate to provide me feedback at any time about our course so that we may always be open to improvement!


Ms. Grossenbacher, Instructor


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