The Six Traits of Writing – IDEAS

Today in class we talked about Ideas by looking at pages 35-37 of our WriteSource textbook. Your homework tonight has two parts:

PART ONE In class we used the six traits rubric to assess “Sample 1 – Checkmate!” below. Tonight, your job is to use the rubric to assess “Sample 2 – Afternoon” and “Sample 3 – The Mystery of the Diamonds.” In the comments, post your Ideas score for each sample. If you want to receive a group point, be sure to include your reasoning for assigning the score.

Sample 1 – Checkmate!

Checkmate! Darn I lost again. I made the fatal mistake of altering my queen’s position and therefore leaving my king susceptible to his relentless attack.

I have never beaten my grandfather in chess and I probably never will. Despite my losing record, I have a burning love for the game.

It was probably four or five summers ago that my obsession began. I played my grandfather nearly every day. It started out as him just teaching me the rules with friendly games. After a few weeks it was more than that, at least to me. I wanted to dethrone him more than any other thing my young mind could think to want. I challenged him every chance I got.

He always seemed to see my strategy coming, and he was relentless. I think he took pride in beating up on me. He knew both the rook four and knight two strategies that I had because he had taught them to me. He never let up on me.

I needed to come up with a game plan. I needed to do some research. I left for the library as soon as the idea popped in my head. I hit the doors running after my mother parked the car. I cannot recall how many hours I spent at the library. It did not matter. I was looking for the perfect strategy. I thought I had found the perfect plan, so I headed home for my final showdown in chess.

Sample 2 – Afternoon

On Tuesday, December 22, I went about my business going to my classes as usual. After school my friend came and picked me up to go to his house. After we got to his house we grabbed his fishing stuff and started to go to my house. It was on the way to my house, coming down the street, that we saw a hinder binder. After we got to my house we packed up my fishing stuff and we were on our way to the afterbay of the Bighorn River.

It was about 8:00 when we got there. We started fishing. We had a kind of cycle where one casts out and lets it float away before the other. Then when you retrieve it, you go behind the other person.

Sample 3 – The Mystery of the Diamonds

It was the first day of spring vacation. Jan Hansen and her friend Sam Johnson were sitting on a bench in the middle of a busy shopping mall in Denver, Colorado. While Sam’s mother was shopping, Jan and Sam were watching Sam’s baby brother Andrew. Jan and Sam were playing a memory game. Sam’s eyes were closed.

“What color of coat am I wearing?” Jan asked.


“Nope, I’m not wearing a coat. Ha, ha!”

Sam opened his eyes. “It’s just not fair. I’ll never have as good a memory as you!”

“You just have to keep practicing. You know, practice makes perfect. That’s what my mother used to tell me when I thought I couldn’t win at something,” Jan said. “Now, you try me.”
Sam looked around very hard for something he was sure Jan hadn’t noticed. Then he asked, “What does the sign in the card store window say?”

“That’s easy. ‘Mother’s Day Sunday May 11. Remember your mother and she’ll remember you.”

“Fine, you win,” Sam said with disgust.

Jan still had her eyes closed. “Come on, try again. Go ahead, ask me something else.”

“All right,” Sam said. “What color socks am I wearing?”

Jan thought a moment. “That’s not really fair,” she said. “I never saw your socks.”

But Jan didn’t open her eyes. “You’re wearing green pants, a green belt, and green shoes, so I’ll bet your socks are green, too.”

“You’re just too much, Jan!”

“No, you’re just too neat!”

PART TWORemember the journal entry you wrote yesterday about your summer vacation? Revise that for Ideas. Be sure to include sensory, reflective, and memory details.

Publish a Cinquain / Use the Writing Process

We are studying the Writing Process in class this week. Today you’ll take the cinquain you wrote in class, take it through the CINQUAINwriting process, and print a copy to be displayed in class tomorrow.

What is a cinquain? A five line poem. Here is the format we’ll use –

Format for the cinquain:


Orange, black

Stalks, leaps, kills

Burning eyes and soul


Line 1: one word, the subject or topic

Line 2: two adjectives describing the topic

Line 3: three verbs associated with the topic

Line 4: four words, a phrase or comment on the topic

Line 5: one word, a synonym or impression of the topic

  • Let’s try one as a class on the topic of –  SCHOOL
  • Now try one in your groups on the topic of  – ICE CREAM
  • Now it’s your turn to make your own. Use the Writing Process to Brainstorm, Draft, Revise, Edit and Publish your own Cinquain. Use your Macbook tonight to edit, revise and add some creative elements to your cinquain.
  • Post your finished cinquain in the comments before 9pm for group points! Put your name and your group’s name at the top.
  • Come to school prepared to print your final version (published).  Your name must appear on the front of your cinquain.

Welcome to the 2011/2012 School Year

Welcome to Mr. Cole’s 7th grade humanities class. I’m excited for the new school year. Take a look around the blog and get familiar with Ol’ King Cole’s Castle.

Dave pandasHere’s a highlight of returning to China after the summer. Doing a panda research internship in Chengdu where we got to work with pandas for a day. What was a highlight for you?