Announcements: 4/6/20

Daily Prompts:

In the spirit of some Impressionist painters (think water lilies and haystacks), find a view out a window or a spot inside the house to draw at different times of the day. Notice how the light changes and how shadows may be cast. Do the colors or lightness/darkness change depending on the time of day? Here is a resource to help you.

Art of Writing:

Today, you are going to make two characters for a story you are going to write tomorrow.  

Characterization is an essential part of story telling.  When writing a story, how do you make one character stand out from another one with something other than their name.  Don’t just have disembodied heads floating around speaking to each other.  Give your characters depth with things like a personality, physical traits, a name, meaning, purpose, likes and dislikes, how they relate to their self and others.  Maybe only some of these things make it into your story, and that is okay, but the more you know about your character and their backstory (how they got to where they are now) the more dynamic your story can be.

If none of that made sense, do this little thought exercise:  Think about a character you really like from something you have read or watched.  Now, think about why you like them.  Now, think about the fact that someone wrote that character with traits that would make you like them.  

If that wasn’t enough, then think about all the things you think make a BAD character.  The cliches and the tropes and the lack of detail or whatever.  Think about that and DON’T do that to your characters (we are going to have a lot of fun with that coming up real soon).

So, your task today is to make two characters. This can be done one of two ways. Important: Do the following characterization as a list or as bullet points. you will put it all together tomorrow. Also, if you want interesting characters, well, then, give them interesting or even opposing traits (ex. Character loves swimming but hates the water.)

First way:  Use your imagination

1) Use that wonderful imagination of yours and design a character from scratch.

2) Start with physical traits – What do they look like?  What kind of clothes do they wear?  How do they keep their hair?  How do they walk?  Do they have certain gestures?  What does their voice sound like?    Also, don’t forget to give them a name – first, middle, and last.  (These are just a few things you could concentrate on)

3) Likes and dislikes – pretty straight forward.  What do they generally like and dislike?  

4) Relationships – who else is in their life?  Family?  Pets?  Friends?  How do they act around these people.

5) Meaning/Purpose/Personal Philosophy – What does this person do with their life?  What do they think of it?  Is there something else they would like to do?  Why do they do any of this?  Are they religious?  Spiritual?  Vegan?  Eat all the meat they can find?  See where I’m going with this.

Second way:

1) Go to youtube or some other media venue and watch something totally random that includes at least one or two people that you have never seen before. 

2) Study them and write down everything you can about them in regards to how they appear or act or gesture, etc.

3) Then, with this start, go ahead and go through the steps above and create your characters.

As I said above, you are not writing a story today.  You will use these characters for some stories we will write this week.  Tomorrow, we are working on their backstory and putting everything you did today together in a cohesive form.  So, hang on to these characters.  Don’t lose them.

New Announcements:

Are you going to use Seattle Promise? Please remember to complete your FAFSA if you have not done so already. It is required for Seattle Promise, and the deadline is April 10th.

SAT and ACT update:

  • SAT test date of 5/2 has been canceled. Here is their website.
  • ACT test date 6/13 is tentatively still scheduled. Visit the website here for updates.

Restaurant workers can apply for a $500 grant through The Plate Fund. Here is an article about it.

Graduating Seniors: Please take a deep meditative breath and care of yourself during this time. Reminders:

Contact your college, university or program admissions office to get updates such as when you will get a decision and if you have not heard yet, what is the new decision date for you, financial aid offers, etc. Please contact admissions since they want to answer your questions BUT also realize they are adjusting during covid-19 and therefore, expect delays in their replies.

Please complete your FAFSA if you have not done so already. Completing this will help you get the most financial aid from colleges, universities, etc.  

Fill out your FAFSA application at

Last one:

Did you want to take Up, Up, and Away but weren’t able to this semester?  Were you taking it and then a virus got in the way?  Well, it is time to don a cape and break out those superpowers because here is your chance!!!! Yes, you too can be a superhero and write stories about yourself being that superhero and get credit for it (if you would like, contact Terrance to set up an independent). You will write a story a week. Check Schoology for more rules/information.

How to Start:

Step 1a) Powers and weaknesses

Take a six-sided die and roll it.  Whatever number you come up with is the number of powers you have. Then take a six-sided die and roll it one more time. These are the number of weaknesses you have.

Now, keep in mind a few things.  You want a balanced hero and not a hero that is overpowering.  Use your weaknesses to balance your powers and vice versa.  If you are having trouble coming up with weaknesses a good tip is to just look at yourself and perhaps what you might feel you would like to make even better or overcome in yourself.  Some students have chosen spiders or snakes as a weakness.  Some students have chosen anxiety or depression as a “weakness” and it kicks in whenever certain things might happen.  Then, during the course of their stories, they overcome those weaknesses in order to win the day.  If you are having trouble coming up with weakness, please Terrance to brainstorm.

Step 2) Your superhero name

Come up with a superhero name.  Oftentimes, superheroes come up with names that reflect their powers and/or their costume.

Step 3) Design a costume

You can do this with crayons, markers, clip art, collage, or simply write down what your costume looks like.  Have fun with this.

Story #1: Origin Story

A hero’s origin story is sooooo important.  It contains the beginnings of who they are, how they became a hero, who the main people are in their life, what their powers are, their superhero name, and ultimately, what drives them to do “good”.

Write an Origin Story for how you became a superhero.  Remember, in your story, you are who you are right now in real life.  You are not a different person with a different background.  You live wherever you live now with whomever you live with now.  You are currently in a class at Nova High School called Up, Up, and Away being taught by a teacher named Terrance

Your Origin Story should touch on these aspects:

  • Exposition – who are you (name, age, likes, dislikes, description, etc.), where do you live, what do you do.
  • How do you become a superhero?  What event gives you this status.
  • How do you find out what your powers are?  How do you find out your weakness (or at least some of them)?
  • How do you decide that you want to become someone who helps others?  What is your motivation to do that?
  • How do you decide that you want to become someone who helps others?  What is your motivation to do that?

This story should be:

  • At least two pages
  • 12 point font
  • Double-spaced

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