Monday, December 6, 2010

Gotta love that New York Skyline....

Nothing special here, just some great footage of New York!  Amazing Stuff!


Friday, December 3, 2010

NaNo WriMo Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!!!!

I thought that it would be a good idea to make a triumphant return to my blog by announcing that I am a NaNo WriMo Winner this year!!!WOOT WOOT! You might be wondering what the heck that is...Well, NaNo WriMo is a short acronym for "National Novel Writing Month" and is a bay area event that has been going strong for 10 years now.  My creative writing class did NaNo this year.  Several, several winners, even a few 50,000 word winners!  And from kids no less!  The goal was to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.  I can proudly say that I have accomplished this tremendous feat.  My novel is currently unnamed but is in a series of books that I will be writing, tentatively named The Arklight Compendium. So, if you know of anyone who completed NaNo this year, give them a big high five and offer to edit the rough copy! That's how you know people truly love you.  Here's to the first of many victories!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Oakdale High Schools Writin' Wrimos!

Yes boys and girls, it is that lovely time of year when once again Mr. Perez and his band of over exuberant, over caffeinated, and way to pepped up to even consider sitting down, Creative Writing class under takes the mountain of writing that is...wait for it...wait forrr it...
NaNo WriMo  What is NaNo WriMo exactly you say?  It's the equivalent to running the New York Marathon but doing it barefoot.  Nano is "National Novel Writing Month" where all of the participants attempt to write a 50,000 word book in one slim month.  Yeah,...I kind though you might say that.  Well, the event is not just limited to adults.  The Creative Writing class is a whole room full of nut-job writers who are all going to attempt the same thing, with a small condition that they do get to pick there word count based on their grade level.  At the Freshmen level, 9,000 words and the Senior level, 12,000 word minimum, but several of the students have set the bar super high at 25,000 and even more at 50,000 words.  This is my third year as a participant and I think that I have finally figured out my angle and how to crank out 1,677 words a day.  If you want to know, you have to join my class.  I have one of the strongest groups of writers that I have ever had and I fully expect them to blow the doors of off their word amounts within the alloted time of one month.  Check back in every few days or so to see which writer from class I will be profiling and sharing what amazing thing that they are writing about.  So with out any more fanfare (for today at least!), Let's light this candle.....Woo-Haa!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Age of Reason... reasonably speaking....

These are the notes that no one could find, because I didn't update the link!  And that is your technology tip for the day...always update the link.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Speak Open Mind Activity

For all of you budding artists, take the project and work on it at home if you are willing to do something cool and  artsy with it (water color, pastels, chalk, etc...).  You still have to bring it every day though!
Due on Thursday at the end of the period.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Village

Q's here for The Village.  Remember Fear and Manipulation!


Monday, September 27, 2010

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Week 5: Working with Point of View

Point of View, in my opinion, is one of the most difficult and most liberating elements of writing.  Some writers have a hard time moving perspective at times from character to character let alone moving from 1st to 3rd person perspective.  This weeks activity will hopefully give you a chance to exercise this important feature in story writing.


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Plot: Frame work for story building

Remember, this is the initial idea of the story, not the story itself.  No one should be writing story yet, just laying out ideas and mechanics of the story.  Recount the events as quickly as possible.  When we sit down to write this, it will be great.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Setting as a Third Character

This is one of those assignments that can get away from you if you are not careful.  Remember to stick with the senses and utilize what we have previously worked on.  Have fun!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Friday, August 20, 2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Creating Surprise...(from Spunk and Bite)

Here is the slide with the sentences reprinted from "Spunk & Bite: A Writer's Guide to Bold, Contemporary Style," Random House, 2007, copyright Arthur Plotnik 2007.  We will go over these tomorrow.  Remember that you can use a phrase if it calls for it, just don't be common or boring, DO make sense.

UPDATE!!!  Thank you Mr. Plotnik!!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Short Story Notes

Everything that you will need to know about short stories can be found here...and yes there will be a quiz on the content when we have gone over the last slide...


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Monday, August 16, 2010

Working with Simile and Metaphors

All of the simile and metaphor info that you can handle in one place...


Analytical Paragraph Breakdown...Champion of the World...Fox & Coyote & Whale

This will most definitely be helpful!  Please remember to attach your original response to your restructured one.  Thanks,

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Flash Fiction

The Flash Fiction story is due tomorrow.  500 to 1000 words please.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Daily Log ala Mr. Perez...have a Double Rainbow Year!!!

The beginning of every year invariably brings with a good of anxiety, anxiety that we often wish we could alleviate and remove altogether.  For teachers, its no different.  I usually break out somewhere on my face, something that hasn't happened since high school.  Aside from the unsightly acne, there is always a good level of nervous energy.  We all want our classes to go well, to be as excited as we are about the coming year.  I told one of my classes that they need to take an active role in what goes on in class, that they were not just "empty containers to pour knowledge into".  The longer that I do this, the more I believe it.  Education is not for the weak willed, if you want to "know things" it is going to cost you something in return, be it your time, energy, and at the very least your ignorance.  I guess that at the very least I would hope to have things make more sense for you by the end of the school year than this guy..."what doessss it meeeeaaannn???"

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Welcome (back) to Oakdale High School!!!

Just a quick Hiya to those new and returning students.  You will find all of the information that we covered in class on the slide show presentation below, just point and click to make it larger or use the navigation buttons to flip through the presentation as is.  The 13 Things You Should Know About Me slide is in there as well!  See Ya...



Monday, June 14, 2010

Pulled Tooth, the awesome update!

Weeelll, it's been 10 full days since the tooth was pulled and my mind is a bit more clear on all of the events that took place afterwards.  All I can say is, WOW coupled with YIKES and that sums it up.  Apparently, I was trying to convince my wife, who so graciously transported my carcass home after the surgery that I was, in fact the "King of doing a Cartwheel"!  Yes, it's really that emphatic, unfortunately.  I have a vague recollection of these events and of saying rather colorful things, all of the first words that you learn in the school yard playground...the ones that get your mouth smacked or worse, washed out with soap.  So, with healthy doses of Hydrocodone and Antibiotics (apparently the human mouth is a pretty gross place! Ugh!) I have been nursed back to good and proper health enough to reflect on how silly I was.  With this in mind, some very good friends of ours share a video with me that pretty much hit the target.  This same fellow brought a tiara for his wife and drove her around town when she had her wisdom teeth earlier this year.  He in turn had HIS MOTHER pick him up from the doctor and take him home when his teeth were pulled out some time later, fearing the inevitable reprisal...I'm sure she will get even...oh well! enjoy the video.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Summer Suuuuhhh-Mmmmahhh!

Well, it's finally here and not a moment too soon!  Some how we all made it through Finals week and with one week under our belt I find myself being a bit worn down.  I did get some rest and  a bit of relief from having my wisdom tooth pulled (today!).  All that I will say is that I HATE going to the dentist and I left there with everybody as my best friend...minus a tooth...and remained that way for at least 2 more hours.  So, as I sit here in bed, watching Spider-Man with my two youngest daughters I have decided that this summer will be a (cue trumpets) SUMMER OF THE ARTS!  Yes boys and girls, Mr. P will be doing all of the following this summer:  Writing 2 books (one book and one kids book), Illustrating one of those books, playing in a mandolin and guitar in a band, and maybe even auditioning for a play!  Now, normally I would have been tormenting kids in summer school but alas, it is not to be.  So I will opt for the next best thing, tomenting my poor wife and children.  It's really not that bad, but I figure this stuff will keep me out of trouble and will help me work towards my goal of completing one of the two books that I wanted to write this year.  Oh, and check the book club blog site if you want to know what I have been reading this summer.  Time for me to sign off, I have to go drink my dinner!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Ender will save us all...

Here we are kids, the last hurrah!  We are exiting this school year with an amazing novel, Ender's Game, the only novel to date that has won both the Hugo and Nebula Award for a Science Fiction Novel.  Here is the reading schedule in case you didn't have the chance to copy it off.  More good Sci-Fi stuff to follow.  Cheers!


“Third”, “Peter”, and “Graff”: p. 1-26
Read on April 30

“Launch” and “Games”: p. 27-53
Read on May 3
Literature Circle Role #1 due May 5
“The Giant’s Drink”p. 54-65
“Salamander”: p. 66-96
Read on May 5

“Rat”: p. 97-119
Read on May 7
Literature Circle Role #2 due May 10
“Locke and Demosthenes”: p. 120-152
Read on May 10

“Dragon”: p. 153-172
Read on May 12
Literature Circle Role #3 due May 14
“Veni Vidi Vici”: p. 173-199
“Bonzo”: p. 200-226
Read on May 14

“Valentine”: p. 227-254
Read on May 17
Literature Circle Role #4 due May 19
“Ender’s Teacher” part 1: p. 255-277
Read on May 19

“Ender’s Teacher” part 2: p. 277-304
“Speaker for the Dead”: p. 305-324
Read on May 21
Literature Circle Role #5 due May 24

The Play's the thing...building the 10 min scripts.

Writing an original script can be something of an undertaking.  Scriptfrenzy, sponsored by our good friends in the S.F. Bay Area is a monumental task of 100 pgs of script in 30 days.  As attractive as that sounds for the writer in me, I know that if I throw that out there I will be hung by my heels from the flag pole.  Last time we attempted a feat of that magnitude so late in the year their was much grumbling and dissent. Not that I mind that part so much as that script writing takes on its own unique skill set that deals with format as much as story.  SO, with that in mind, we will be narrowing our scope from 100 pgs into the best 10 pgs that you could ever possibly read or see in the history of humanity...ok, that may not happen, but we will give it our best shot!  Cheers!

Friday, April 30, 2010

The Game is Afoot...

During the next few weeks we will be spending some time reading one of the great detective fiction writers, Sir Aurthur Conan Doyle.  His seminal character of Sherlock Holmes has had a revival of late and I thought it would be a natural fit for the amount of time that we have left in the year.  Here are the notes in case you missed it!  The first story that we are going to look at is "The Adventure of the Speckled Band".

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

From Paper to Presentation...

Here are the 10 tips for the PowerPoint presentation that you might want to consider when making the presentation.  More to follow!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Free Comic Day...May 1st...Excelsior!

Free comics day is in fact a real thing.  I am not advocating that you go rip off your local comic shop and it is not subversive way to get you into trouble...

Comic Store Owner: "Whadya Mean FREE comic day kid!  That's the lamest excuse I've ever heard for stealin!"
You:  "But my English teacher said it was free!!!...='''(

In order to avoid the above situation and tremendous embarrassment, let me share with the the beauty that is "Free Comic Day".  Every May 1st participating comic book stores will give out single copies of various best selling titles.  These often are special prints done just for this day so you can get some unique books that have single run or "0" run stories in them.  If you are interested in being a part of Free Comic Day, just cruise by your local comic shop and ask on May 1st.  Odds are they will have the books out at a display and you can pick the one you want.  Consider it a special "pre-screening" of the next Hollywood blockbuster (lota films in the last 5 years have come exclusively from the comic community!).  Either way, it is a lot of fun and a cheap way to pick up a good new habit.  I have gone for several years now and take my kids at home.  There is a good mix of titles for older readers with several "kid friendly" titles like Sonic the Hedgehog, Owly, and Archie Comics.  If you are planning on stopping by, here are some Google directions to my two favorite shops, both in Modesto!
Bonanza Books and Comics

Krier's Cards & Comics

Here is my good friend Hugh Jackman to tell you more about it!

See ya there!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Guerrilla Poetry...not Gorilla Poetry...Jeezsh!

Spring always brings with it the sensation of new things just on the horizon.  I have been gearing up for the Guerrilla poetry event that will be coming to the school after the break.  I found this wonderful poet, Kate Tempest.  Her stuff is really moving and amazing.  For the longest time I have believed that poetry, real poetry was about the best possible words at the best possible time.  Hearing poets like Richard Roberts, Kate Tempest, or Peter Neverland remind me that this is still very true.  There are some moments and ideas that are best expressed and shared through the spoken word, to do any less with them belittles the idea's that go into them and surround them.  Richard Robert's The Word is a great example of how we as creative people struggle and wrangle the right word from the experience and it still is not the actual moment of parallel, it falls short.  The underlying goal of the Guerrilla Poetry Project is to bring poetry back to it's roots, not in some stuffy classroom, but in the hands of people, everyday people.  Kate Tempest poem Teen Speech is a great example of the "shared experience", one of being a teenager and the perception of what it means.

Adding to this is Peter Nevland's "No One Told Me".  This guy is so awesomely dynamic and not what you would expect.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Rube Goldberg would have liked 451...

I found this fun video from the band O.K. Go that uses a super elaborate Rube Goldberg machine in their song "This Too Shall Pass."  Rube Goldberg was an engineer and artist that created machines to do mundane tasks.  You have seen his cartoon ideas everywhere including homage pieces like those found in Bugs Bunny cartoons and Wallace and Grommit.  He did them as a response to the encroachment of technology into our everyday lives.  Here's the video, its super fun, the link to the making of the video and a great article about it is at the end.

OK GO Rube Goldsberg machine and article!

Friday, March 19, 2010

The future of publishing...

I always count it a blessing when people share with me fun or amazing things...this is one such blessing.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Budget Crisis!!!

I think I know how this guy feels....

Gigantic Turkey Sub and Arcade Fire seal the deal for me,...more or less...

Monday, March 8, 2010

Jenna Six EAP Articles (To Kill A Mockingbird)

Here are the slides that go with the articles.  The annotation directions are there if you need them.


Monday, March 1, 2010

Spring...and poems run willy-nilly everywhere....

Poetry is always approached with a bit of levity for me. I know that I already explained this in class, but I just really feel lead to reiterate this idea. Don't get me wrong, I really do like poetry, but every time a student gives me a stack of "their poems" or a parent tells me at back to school night that their son/daughter is a "poetic genius" I inwardly freak out a little. It's not that I doubt their ability or that I don't believe the sincerity with which a parent will support and love their children, I just feel a bit aloof when it comes to making the inevitable judgement on if their work, usually bound in a special binder or other precious covering, is "good". Their is no worse place to be.
On one hand I feel an artists obligation to take a critical eye over their work, to consider all that I have come to learn about the forms and design, to really give them feedback on whether or not the work is, in fact, "good". If I do that I know that I am going to hurt feelings and alienate people who might really respect my opinion. Its the dilemma that is so frustrating. I want to ask them, sometimes, "Why me and my opinion? Isn't the act of creation enough and powerful that you don't require my approval? You didn't ask me if you could make the poem therefore it doesn't require my approval." And yet, I know how they are feeling. It is the sheer delight of having made a phrase that sinks into your skin, the idea that in spite of everything, my words ring true to my own ears and I identify, like a beacon, momentary truth in a very confusing and crazy world. I guess that secretly, poetry is a personal hurdle for me to leap. Clearly the power of the word is undeniable. After having vented all of that (sorry...) I really want you to know, that your work does not require my "approval" of good, bad, or indifferent. What matters is that you made it, love it, and will continue doing so. Be excited, share them with your friends and family. Represent!...
(I can't guarantee that the rest of my entrees for the Poetry unit will be any less weird, maybe that is good, I'm not really sure, but I will try to keep them both interesting and sincere.)

Haiku, Tanka, Cinquain Form


French Rondeau/ Villanell/ Prose


To Kill a Mockingbird...

Here are the Journal Entry slides if you need to help build you Journal.  I will be updating periodically, so keep track of what is going on and check back when you read.


At what temperature does paper burn??? 451...

Here are the slides for the Journal Entries for those of you that might need a place to start.  I will be adding and revising what we have done here so stay tuned young cadets!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Farenheit 451 EAP Articles...

Here is a copy of the slides for everyone if you need the directions for the annotation of the articles.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Braided Writing

This week and last week have been spent combining two different types of non-fiction writng, biography writing and photo writing.  By this point you should be finished(ing) the biography that you are going to share with your partner.  Please be sure to give them a digital copy of your work so that they can use it more easily in the braiding process.  This week's focus has been moving into the photo writing.  Pick a good photo and spend sometime figuring it out.  If you have questions, come see me.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The truth is stranger than fiction...

Hey all!
This week our focus is slowly transitioning into Creative Nonfiction. "What is that?" you say...Well it is pretty much what it sounds like. The Creative retelling of a real event, sort of like "flavor enhanced" water. It's still water, just more palpable to the taste. We are going to take the skills that we have worked with over the first semester and apply them to factual events. The end result is usually a great story centered around a real event. Here are the slides for the first day with more to follow.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Oakdale High School Book Club...LIVES...AGAIN!!!

Ok, Ok, I know that it is super pretentious, but I can't help it! It's like the scene from Night at the Museum 2, an otherwise riddiculous film EXCEPT for the introduction of it's main villan, the real life comedian Hank Azaria (the voice of Moe from the Simpsons...)who, when monologuing, states that he has ,"COOME BACK TOOOO LIIIFFEE!". Very funny,stuff!

Anyhow, the bookclub is back in session and anyone interested in joining should come and check out what we are going to read this next month.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Makin bee-utiful music!

I stumbled across this great children's choir, PS222 out of NY. If you haven't heard them or haven't seen them, check the link and enjoy! Guarenteed that you will find something that you like.

Gatsby online....

Hey, I thought that it would be good to give you busy teens an audio referance for The Great Gatsby. I updated my links. Here it is! Just follow the directions and you can play it at home or ipod or whatever!

Click the Link to get the book download for FREE!!!

Here's lookin at you Old Sport!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Flash Fiction...

This first week back has been a good reminder for me that stories are everywhere. i found much of my freetime (what little I had) lamenting at not having either of my Flash Fiction writings done yet. Though I do have the most fantastic picture picked out, I will write it over the weekend for certain!

Here is the weeks slides with the lessons that we covered! Good luck on that last one!


Monday, January 4, 2010

Whoah, We're Half Way There...(you know the rest)

Hey! Don't ask me why I choose to Title this blog post with a Bon Jovi rock ballad bar none. It just seemed funny and appropriate at the same time. I think that is a rule that I subconsciously live by, funny and appropriate, though funny often gives appropriate a monster wedgie in it's quest to be the center of attention. Appropriate rarely gets to be the center of attention and is usually so only due to funny's inability to remain appropriate....Now for something painfully appropriate.

Tis the beginning of the second semester and the learning machine is being cranked back up to 11 with the possibility of new expanding territory. I will remain hopeful, as always, that both the students and I are coming back with our deals "worked out" and ready to take on the challenge that is 2nd Semester.

For Freshmen that means getting your Greek armour on and traveling to battle for King Menelaus and the return of his bride Helen of Troy. Your return voyage will be with King Odysseus, Master Mariner, the Cunning Warrior. Expect delays up to 20 years.

For Juniors that means Jazz music and spending it like you got it attitude. F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby is modern staple of what made the 1920's so roaring in the first place.

For Creative Writing that means looking at non-fiction writing, but through a "creative" lens. Thus Creative Nonfiction is born. Don't freak out on me, the same rules apply to nonfiction writing that apply to fiction writing. Lots of other interesting stops along the way to the end of the year.

Now for funny. Our very good friends, Let's call them, The Pac-Man's because that's how I roll. Well the Pac-Man's had a scavenger hunt in the Modesto Mall for their son's 6th and daughters 10th birthday party. I was very skeptical at first, being that most of the kids parties I have been to involved being outside so the cupcakes don't get ground into the carpet (which coincidentally is why we put in hard wood floors) so this almost qualifies in that you can make a mess and have the hired help clean up, as long as you don't mind sharing your birthday atmosphere with the rest of Post Holiday Modesto. I was pleasantly surprised. We had 1 hour to find over 50 items, and could only "buy" up to $3.00 worth of anything. We took pictures with strangers, rode small automated cars, "liberated" french fries, stole straws and napkins, and generally committed several other silly acts in the name of a good time. Here is the highlight photo from our day out. The rule was that you had to do the silliest family photo that you could do (your family gift was the photo). We though it would be great to take the picture facing the wrong direction. I love this photo!

See you in 1 week kids!