Monthly Archives: February 2011

Vignette gems

Look at what your colleagues are doing on their vignettes – FABULOUS AND COMPLEX SIMPLICITY. Share your own gem-worthy sentence/image/excerpt and why you think it’s gem-worthy in the comments section.

I use my anger to get open, Tiana passes me the ball and I begin to dribble down the court, a defender on me, I fake right but crossover left and go hard, another defender picks me up and I dish it to Sanoe, we score! — “Before the Swish”

Why it works: the incident is a basketball game, action-packed and chaotic, so the author chooses to use long run-on sentences in present tense to speed up the play and put the reader in the stands watching as it unfolds.


Mommy. . .who wears a cape, with her black hair flowing behind her, who has super speed, who has night vision, who can fly, who can do anything, who can be anything, who is my super hero. . .–“Mommy, Who Tries So Hard”

Why it works – this piece takes a characteristic, rather than an incident, but the author spends time on that characteristic not only to create a sense of rhythm, but to create a clearer snapshot and to “show” the attitude towards this person rather than to just “tell.” This is stronger than if the author just said “My mom is my hero.”


But I might not be free. I might end up like one of those butterflies, captured by my older brother with my wings clipped together by a clothespin. Beautiful but not free. So I keep eating until I know for sure there are no more clothespins. — “Clothespins”

Why it works: The title is unique and it only comes into play on the last three sentences of the vignette. What this is about is our metaphoric need to transform into butterflies and how in life we need to keep striving in the same way that caterpillars keep eating until they are able to cocoon themselves and become butterflies. The title mirrors the theme creatively without being so obvious, and it doesn’t slam us over the head with the message, but lets us, as the readers, come to the message on our own.


Summer 2009. I’m in Kaua’i with my basketball team for a tournament called the Merv Lopes Classic. Ali’i versus Kalepa in the champtionship game with four minutes left in the fourth quarter, Ali’i down 48-40.– “Losing Winners”

Why it works: There’s nothing hard about this lead. There’s nothing even poetic, except that it creates a rhythm, short and long sentences, run-ons and fragments that hint at the pace of the vignette to follow. It’s like a basketball game with bursts of speed and then the short stop to dribble and reflect.


Makaʻala Moment #22

The amount of times I’ve tried to demonstrate the difference among “amount” and “number” are staggering, but yet students whom daydream during the Makaʻala Moments, and Iʻm mostly talking about you Kimo, still confuse them a lot of the time. (8, maybe 9)

February 22 – 25, 2011

Monday – holiday

Tuesday 2/22 3-7-5-1

Literature circle discussion of chapters 14-16, share information, large class discussion & wrap-up of Written in the Sky, introduction of mandala project, gather words for vocab tree quiz 3 & vocab words for Written

Mandala project

Homework for Thursday, 2/24

  1. study words for Vocab quizzes
  2. edit vignettes

Wednesday, 2/23 8-6-4-2

see Tuesday, including homework for Thursday (Monday schedule)

Thursday, 2/24 Monday schedule

vocab quizzes on bb

Homework for Friday (early release schedule)

  1. edit vignettes
  2. vocabulary tree spec, spic in bb

Friday 2/25 (early release 30 minute classes)

Written in the Sky mandala project work day, turn in vocab tree

Homework for 2/28 (Monday schedule)

  • edit vignettes for publication next week
  • picture and essay draft will be due at the end of class on Monday

Maka’ala #21

Like we’ve told you before TreeHugger’s muffins are not only nutritious and healthy for you,  but they also make great gifts for that special some one in your life, especially the cornbread ones. (8)

Makaʻala Moments 19

Its alright to fall in love with the most handsomest of two potential boyfriends, then get an affectionate, loving dog for the other one. (6)

February 14-18, 2011

February 14 A day

br: inauspicious

Makaʻala moment #19

Literature circle discussion of chapters 9-12, share info; Large class discussion in the following order: summarizers, discussion directors, illustrators, word finders

Group challenge #3 continuation and coloring

Turn in: roles folder for round 3 with individual charts


read novel chapter 13, complete new literature circle roles, & character chart for section 4, vocab tree on blackboard for Wed or Thurs

Tuesday, 2/15 B day

see Monday

Wednesday, 2/16 C day

br: spectator

add to vocab tree quiz chart, gather words, make vocab chart for Written in the Sky based on word finders

literature circle discussion, large class discussion, group challenge #4 add papers to map: map should now include UH, the Secret Garden, the bus stop, Gladys Luʻs house. Map should be colored and outlined in black ink.

Turn in: roles folder round 4, vocab tree pater in bb, individual charts

Homework: read novel chapters 14-16; complete last lit circle role, complete character chart for section 5; edit vignettes

Maka’ala Moment #17

Mom and dad told Kimo as well as Lahela to remember and bring their grass skirts when they go to the mainland, I hope they were being sarcastic. (6)

February 7 – 11, 2011

Monday, 2/7 all periods

Turn in: vignettes, upload pics to your iPhoto

Agenda: new literature circle groups, introduction to Written in the Sky (violence content and opt-out on scene)

New group activity: Homelessness found poem

HW for Tues (2/8 ) or Wed (2/9) Read chapters 1-4; complete lit circle roles, character chart

Tuesday 2/8 (C day) & Wed 2/9 (D day)

HW: Read novel chapters 5-8; complete lit circle roles round 2 for Thurs 2/10 or Fri 2/11

In class literature circle discussion of chapters 1-4, share info; large class discussion and group challenge

Turn in roles folder with roles as well as character chart for chapters 1-4,

vocab tree scrib, sript in bb

Thurs A day 2/10 & Fri B day 2/11

HW: read novel chapters 9-12; complete lit circle roles round 3; character chart for section 3 for Monday 2/14 or Tuesday 2/15

In class lit discussion, group challenge, large class discussion

Turn in round 2 roles and chart in roles folder, vocab tree in bb

Written reading schedule

Keenan’s Gem

What makes this citation work? Why is it a “gem?” What can he do to improve it? Add your comments to this post now.

Nick is a building in my heart. Buildings are very strong; they’re built so they can withstand earthquakes and storms. Nick is a building because he is one of the strongest people I now. This past year in 2010 on December 17th, he lost his brother who was killed in a hit-and-run crash while he was riding with his bike crew in Wahiawa.