• Say Hello to My Kid’s Journalism Class!

    Hellllo readers and writers,
    Today (Wednesday) I am guesting (bright and early) in the 7th grade journalism class at Waverly Middle School.
    Mari’s teacher has asked me to talk about:
    • Your approach to writing in various genres/media
    • Your personal writing process
    • How you acquire commissions as a freelance writer
    • Some general tips/advice for young writers
    But, if the rest of the 12 year olds are anything like my 12 year old, I think their eyes will glaze over at about…….now. So I’m going to talk less, and make them do more.
    And that has nothing to do with the fact that it’s 9 o’crazy AM. I swear.

    I’m a writer, but what the heck does that mean?
    Ummm, no.
    “When I was your age…”

    Do 12 year olds even KNOW who this guy is?

    I’m sooo not Stephen King.
    Things I would have if I WAS Stephen King:
    • Mercedes.
    • Huge house.
    • Beard.
    Other kinds of writing:
    Magazines & newspapers- “journalism” or “journalistic writing”
    Internet websites- called CONTENT
    Words that sell you SCHTUFF – called copy writing
    For companies and organizations – also a kind of copy writing
    Textbooks!! (Yay! Now they’ll TOTALLY like me. . .not. Note to self: Bring candy.)



    At this point, I think it’s safe to talk about ME, because I have given the sugar.

    How I started writing for CASH-O-LA. Trace college and writing for others, writing for myself, my own business using strengths and weaknesses.
    My strengths: “good at writing” The constant teacher encouragement.
    (and if you’re good at writing, and want to get better at it, do one thing: READ. ALOT.) 

    Sidenote: YES!!! Some general tips/advice for young writers

    My “weaknesses”: Night person. Brain is  on fire at night. I kinda like Mari (haha poor Mari), so I wanted to be home with her after school. I like leeway in my work and projects. I don’t like having “bosses” sometimes.

    Define freelance writer, and talk about bosses:
    Have kids tell me they’ve never seen this movie ^. Please.

    At this point I am tempted to end the “meeee” “meeeeeeeeeeeeeee” talk with a look at a video from Family Guy (this is another one that I want them to say they have NEVER watched. Or, I will just cover  my ears and pretend I can’t hear them. Lalala.) The video shows Julia Roberts saying MEEEEE, and it pretty much sums up how I feel talking about myself.
    Ah, heck, I’ll show it. What are they going to do, fire me? (Meeeee)

    But first I’ll scare Mari and tell her I can’t show it, so she has to stand up and do the impression.
    So, how does somebody go about collecting bosses like I do?
    1) I study the magazines and newspapers I want to write for, and then I approach them with AWESOME INCREDIBLE IDEAS THAT THEY CAN’T RESIST.
    2) I watch organizations that interest me, and if they need a writer, I JUMP on them.
    3) And, once I got REALLY GOOD at my job, they started coming to me. (See website!)
    See how I did that————> How you acquire commissions as a freelance writer
    At this point, I’m wondering if the sugar has worn off. So I’m going to show them my all-time favorite video about writing. It’s about COPY WRITING.
    “I wrote the same, but different words.”
    Let’s switch to GENRES and MEDIUMS which is tied to AUDIENCES.
    This is mostly because
    1) It’s on the teacher’s list and
    2) I assume I’m tired of talking by now and I have an activity that the kids can do.
    Genre: Special word for the KIND of writing.
    It’s a category. A classification.
    But it also relates to the MEDIUM.
    Do 7th graders know what Medium means?
    When we’re talking about writing, the MEDIUM is the way that the writing comes to you.
    This is where I stop blabbing and we do brainstorming TOGETHER on mediums and genres. (if there’s time. If not—> straight to the handout.)
    They do independent or teamwork on mediums and genres (handout).
    Here’s a copy of it: 
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    The point is:
    1. There are many different kinds of genres AND mediums for writers AND readers.
    2. They go together in different ways.
    3. Each combination is preferred by a different writer and a different reader.


    One of the most important things to do AS A WRITER is to match your writing to the INTENDED AUDIENCE.
    When I write, I have an actual person in mind. That person is my EXAMPLE AUDIENCE. Even as I wrote this lesson, I had one particular person in mind, a former Winans students with a BIG personality. That’s how a writer makes sure that their writing is


    (insert whatever slang you guys use here)

    So, let’s do an audience activity……
    About 6 or 7 students represent a certain “audience.” They stand in front with a sign describing themselves (69 year old grandma, doesn’t understand computers, likes gardening, etc.)
    Like these: 
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    The rest of the class is given a writing assignment on a 3 x 5 card. They have to find the best audience member (at the front of the room) and hand them their card.

    (Do this by table so that there’s not a mad crowd)

    Go over the assignments. Talk about why they do or don’t match with the selected audience member.

    If there is time, let’s talk about the audience for the school newspaper.

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