Skellig essay ‘playlist’

1)   Choose the theme you will be exploring.  Turn this word into a sentence explaining what David Almond is trying to say about that theme and how he is doing so.  This will be your thesis.  For example, you could use this sentence:

_________________________ is an important theme in the novel Skellig.  David Almond explore this theme through …(how)… He shows us that ….(what)…

An example from ‘Two Weeks with the Queen’:

Growing up is an important theme in the novel Two Weeks with the QueenMorris Gleitzman explores this theme through the maturation of the protagonist, ColinHe shows us that difficult events help us mature, and as we do so we become less self-centred and more thoughtful about the needs of others.

2)   Select three supporting points from the novel that help show us this idea.  You could focus on symbols, events, characters and their actions, relationships and so on.

 An example from ‘Two Weeks with the Queen’:

  • Colin’s behaviour at the beginning of the story
  • Colin’s actions to help Ted
  • Colin’s decision to return to Australia to be with Luke

3)   Topic sentences for body paragraphs.  For each of your three points, write a topic sentence connecting the topic of that paragraph with your thesis.

An example from ‘Two Weeks with the Queen’:

  • Colin’s whining, selfish behaviour and treatment of Luke at the beginning of the story are characteristic of an immature person, desperate for attention.
  • Colin’s actions to help Ted show a shift in thinking; instead of acting out to satisfy his own needs, he begins to do things to help others instead.
  • Colin’s decision to return to Australia to be with Luke shows his ultimate change into a more empathetic young man.  He has given up his futile quest for glory and instead accepted the reality of the situation; something we all have to do as we mature.

4)   Order your ideas.  These points need to be placed in a logical order.  Here are three options:

a)    Simple -> Complex: Basic information first, followed by increasingly specific and/or complex ideas

b)   Order of importance:  going from least important to most important, or most important to least important.

c)    Chronological: are events in a time sequence?  What comes first?  What comes next?

 An example from ‘Two Weeks with the Queen’: Since he is growing up, going from immature brat (at the beginning of the novel) to mature and caring young man (by the end), it make sense to put the ideas in chronological order.

  • Colin’s whining, selfish behaviour and treatment of Luke at the beginning of the story are characteristic of an immature person, desperate for attention.
  • Colin’s actions to help Ted show a shift in thinking; instead of acting out to satisfy his own needs, he begins to do things to help others instead.
  • Colin’s decision to return to Australia to be with Luke shows his ultimate change into a more empathetic young man.  He has given up his futile quest for glory and instead accepted the reality of the situation; something we all have to do as we mature.

5)   Find illustrations / evidence.  Now, you need to find illustrative quotes from the novel to help show/support your topic sentence.  Look for interesting descriptions, character actions, dialogue and so on.  You should find at least one for each topic sentence.

6)   Next, explain each quote.  How does that example prove your point?  Might there be any other examples?  What else could you say about this topic?

7)   You have finished your body paragraphs.  Now all you need to do is create an introduction and a conclusion.

Introductions

Conclusions

* Have attention grabbers, ‘hooks’* Include your thesis

* May outline points you will discuss

* May link to your first paragraph

* Refocus on main idea / thesis* Summarise points of essay

* Leave the reader with a challenge or poignant thought; link to the future?

8) Draft the essay in Google docs.  Don’t forget to proofread and edit (read aloud when doing this!)

“If a paragraph was a burger…”

Students in grade 8 created a visual burger metaphor to show their prior knowledge and understanding about paragraphs.  Specifically:

1) What are the different parts of a paragraph?
2) What is the function / importance of each of these parts?
3) How do all these parts ‘fit together’ to form a cohesive whole?

After reviewing some PIE/PEE strategy notes, students should look back at the burger metaphor and compare ideas.  Complete a short ‘I used to think… Now I think…” in the comments box below re: paragraph structure.

 

 

1. What is a paragraph?

Paragraphs…

  • are made up of sentences (usually more than one sentence? 5-6 sentences?are usually about one “topic”/”part”/”segment”/”scene”

  • start on a new line; first sentence is indented (5 spaces/TAB)

  • have sentences which have something in common (each sentence leads into the next sentence)

  • separate different ideas (by grouping related ideas together)

  • organize your writing

  • organize the structure of your writing

  • make it easier to read/look nicer

  • allow the reader to come up for air/surface/take a breath

 2. Are there different kinds of paragraphs?

YES!!!

  • different genres have different “paragraphs” (organizational structures) – poetry (stanzas), songs (verses), prose (paragraphs)

  • fiction vs. non-fiction (articles, essays!)

  • purpose: e.g. introduction, conclusion, body paragraphs, descriptive, expository, dialogue…etc.

  • short/long (depends on the genre)

  • contains quotations/doesn’t contain quotations

  • sentences? – many/few, long/short/(a mixture), etc.

 Go to the next page (below) to learn more about the difference between paragraphs in fiction and non-fiction AND to look at a sample paragraph.

3. What is the difference between paragraphs in fiction vs. non-fiction (essay)?

 

Fiction

Non-Fiction (essays)

Size

Many different sizes

Same size (except for introduction and conclusion)

Purpose

Purpose: describe setting, describe character, dialogue, action

Purpose: information about a topic, factual evidence (examples/quotations), analysis/interpretation

Structure

Structure (when do we switch to a new paragraph?): small scene change, character-to-character dialogue, time moving on (actions, new things happening)…usually chronological

Structure: one paragraph = one main topic/subtopic, one example (quotation) and one interpretation.  Use the PEA (Point, Example, Analysis) structure.

Writing Essay Paragraphs

Point – introductory sentence, topic statement, what you think about the topic, setting up your example…

Illustration / Example – quotation (PAGE NUMBER). Introduce with a COLON!!!

Explanation / Analysis – explaining the quotation – explaining the writer’s techniques/choices – prove your point

Throughout the novel, Michael is portrayed as a lonely and depressed young man.  His isolation is so obvious that it is recognized by his teacher, Mrs. Dando, who tries, although in vain, to cheer him up: “She took a fruit gum out of her pocket and held it out to me. A fruit gum. It was what she gave the new kids when they were sad or something” (12).  In this quotation, David Almond introduces the minor character of Mrs. Dando to demonstrate the visibility of Michael’s loneliness and unhappiness.  The fact that she gives Michael a fruit gum shows us that she is a kind person who is worried about him.  On the other hand, because this novel is narrated in first-person, through Michael’s character, we can clearly see that he finds this gesture shallow and meaningless.  His repetition of “a fruit gum” seems to imply a mocking tone and his recognition that she gives fruit gums to “new kids” who are “sad or something” shows that he does not appreciate what she is doing, because it does not help him deal with his problems.  What Michael is actually seeking is a close friend that he can talk to about the serious problems involving his sister and family.

 

 

Reading Journals

Reading journals contain short responses to stories you are reading at the moment.  They are a great way to develop a variety of reading skills.

Purpose:
• To help you capture your developing responses as a reader
• To help you understand what you are reading
• To show how you are improving as a reader

What you could write about (pick one or two per entry):
Speculations about how the story might develop (what will happen next?)
Accounts of things that have happened to you that you are reminded of by events in the book
Reflections on things in the book that really strike you
Reactions to characters and what they do
Comments on how the author is telling the story
Connections to other books, films, plays or poems that you have read
Questions you think of as you are reading
Inferences about the underlying messages of the text
Identification of the author’s purpose, important details, main ideas and themes
Evaluations and opinions about the text

When you could write a response:
• At the beginning of a book
• As you are reading
• After an interesting part of a story
• At the end of a book (definitely!)

Symbols in Skellig

What do the following things have in common?

* Birds
* Skeletons and bones
* The Archaeopteryx
* Nests and eggs
* Wings
* Poems
* Chinese food (27 and 53 anyone?)
* Aspirin
* Arthritis

No idea?  Well, before we started reading ‘Skellig’ by David Almond, Grade 8 students attempted to make some connections as a way of predicting what this novel would be about.  Now, as we are reading the novel, we are starting to notice some of these symbols popping up quite frequently.  What do they mean?  Why did David Almond decide to put these things into his book?

If a symbol (or idea) recurs throughout a story, it is known as a motif.  These two literary devices can point the way towards suggested themes and messages within a text.  As we approach the end of the novel, keep an eye out for these important symbols and motifs and think to yourself: “What is the significance of this?  Why did David Almond include it in his story?”

If you happen to notice other symbols or motifs as we read, make a comment below!