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Our Class Blog by Mrs. Kriese - 1y ago

We’re finishing out the 2017-2018 school year by writing open letters to fictional characters.  Some of us are writing in order to pay tribute, and others of us are writing to (constructively?) criticize.

Regardless of our take on the subject, we all agreed that a strong open letter has several characteristics:

  • a clear controlling idea is presented in the introductory paragraph
  • supporting points are made in the body of the letter, and those points are then elaborated with relevant details AND commentary
  • the controlling idea is echoed in the conclusion, perhaps accompanied by an appeal to action
  • the letter writer’s VOICE is engaging and authentic
  • the letter has an appeal to a wider audience

Many students enhanced their letters with GIFS and other images.  We learned in our digital citizenship lessons that Fair Use laws can protect the use of copyrighted images as long as those images are used in conjunction with critique of a product.

As you enjoy the following open letters, feel free to share your own opinions in the comments!

Esha’s open letter to Severus Snape

Joseph’s open letter to Leo Valdez

Sanaya’s open letter to Indiana Jones

Daniel L’s open letter to C-3PO

Kate’s open letter to Bella Swan

Kayley’s open letter to Wonder Woman

Austin’s open letter to Shrek

Image credit:  Wikimedia Commons CC0
J’accuse” is an influential open letter written by Émile Zola in 1898 over the Dreyfus Affair.

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In our Writer’s Notebooks this week, we played around with writing our own descriptions of the Phantom’s lair.  Drawing upon the noticings and author’s craft lessons from previous units, we each worked to develop a description of the lair that created a strong mood.

Students had full creative license here:  their description could reflect any characterization of the Phantom they wanted to work with. Was the Phantom evil, lonely, dangerous, pathetic, mysterious, depressed, romantic, bitter…?  The choice was up to the writer.

Each worked to create that chosen mood through a variety of means:

  • choice of details to include and emphasize
  • use of imagery and figurative language
  • use of devices such as repetition and magic three
  • variety in sentence structure, such as the use of fragments or questions to create tension
  • choices in paragraphing, such as the use of a dramatic one-sentence paragraph
  • use of movement in the scene as opposed to description of a static space (the “narrative” part of the descriptive-narrative composition)

Enjoy the work of the following writers.  What do YOU notice about the choices each made?

Mark

Ava

Ian

Grace

James D.

Sanaya

Scott

Jessica

Carson

Jennifer

Zoie

For some of our thinking about theme and  Phantom of the Opera, check out our responses to a question about compassion.

Image credit:  Pixabay CC0

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