Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Sweetling's Portfolio 2011-2012


 In keeping with her own goal of becoming a professional writer, this year Sweetling made an in-depth exploration of the genre of script and screen writing. She pursued three main facets of research and learning. First, throughout the year she read many trade books about writing in the film and television industries, including Small Screen, Big Picture and The Essentials of Screenwriting, to name a few examples. Second, she attended several workshops about professional and fan writing at a few different conventions. These included “Characterization , “Writing a Winning Script”, and “How To Write Good Fanfiction”. Lastly, she experimented with her own fan fiction, screen writing, and story boarding for animation. 

Here are a few examples of her work in those genres.


MRS. ARCENAUX and MR. ARCENAUX are comforting a crying YOUNG CLAUDE ARCENAUX (7YO girl). In Claude's room there are numerous pictures, drawn by her, of a brown-haired girl with a braided ponytail wearing a red sports jersey and navy blue sweatpants. Young Claude has a plush version of this girl that she is holding.
Oh, don't cry, Claude. There's nothing to be afraid of!
I don't want to go to the hospital!
It's not so bad, Claude! Papa had to do the same thing when he was a kid. And, look! I'm perfectly fine!
Well, of course you'd say that, Papa! You just want to cheer me up! Have you ever thought that maybe I don't want to go to a gastoeterogoli-
Yeah! That!
Oftentimes in life, we have to do things we don't want to do, either. But you gotta keep trucking on, like-
Young Claude holds up her plush girl.
Like Kumi?
Yes! Like Kumi!
Kumi never gives up! Right, Maman?
She never, ever, gives up.
Even when bad things happen, she's never sad! She's patient and waits for things to get better! Right, Maman?
She's never, ever sad.
And she's always so calm and gentle! Right, Maman?
She is always, always calm and gentle.
When I grow up, I'm going to be just like Kumi!
She is a good role-model.
Papa, was Raincloud Restaurant on when you and Maman were kids?
Yes, but I don't think it was popular until we were teenagers.
I remember watching it with my little sister, Aunt Zoé, when I was in high school. She was only three years old!
Do you think it'll still be on when I grow up?
That wouldn't be unlikely.
When I grow up, I'm going to become a voice actress and play Kumi! But not in Japan, even though it’s made there- here, in Quebec! You think I'll be able to do that?
I think so, Claude.

Prose Fiction---

“Hey, Matt! Anyone home? I’m talking to you, buddy!”

It was a cold Monday morning. I was lugging myself to school, with Jason by my side, who spent the last 5 minutes trying to get me to discuss what happened to me over Christmas.

“Yes, Matt?”
“It was embarrassing, so shut up.”

Before anyone asks, it involved shrimp. That’s all I’m sharing.

“So, Widdwe Mattie doesn’t feel like talking?”
“Hey, hey, I’m just saying, you mentioning how embarrassing it is makes me want to know more!”
“Jason, I swear, I will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, EVER-“

“Hey, Matt!” an all-too familiar female voice cried out. “I see you’ve gotten the smell of shrimp off your body!”

I looked over and saw Sophia, the president of the Sci-Fi Fan Club that I was in, and the other three members, Mia, James, and Lily.

Of course, Sophia would share it without a second thought.

“Oh!” Jason cried. “So you know what happened!”

“Yes.” Lily said in her usual stoic manner. “On December 24th, the Science Fiction Fan Club hosted a Christmas Eve party for members and friends.”

“Don’t go any farther!” I cried out. “It’s embarrassing enough that you guys know!”

“Matt, what’s the harm in telling your friend?” James piped up.

“Yeah!” Sophia exclaimed.

Lily turned towards Sophia and James. “Matthew has requested that we keep the story a secret. It would only be polite to honor his request.”

“Lily, as Club President, I feel I have the right to share a funny story! Now, last month, after the school festival, Mia mentioned that she hated the smell of rotten fish-”

“Cut it out!’

“-but that she loves the taste of shrimp! So, I thought, ‘hey, let’s have shrimp at our Christmas Eve party!’ So I bought some shrimp-”

“Sophia Hall,” Lily interrupted,  “Please stop.”

“And I put it in our fridge at home, but what I didn’t know was that it was broken-”

At this I grabbed Sophia and covered her mouth.


Our goal for Sweetling for these year was to continue to develop the diversity of genres of quality books she was reading. Using ideas from The Book Whisperer, by Donalyn Miller, we set a target goal of reading 40 books, with at least 2 books from 10 different genres. Some of the titles and genres Sweetling read included Azumanga Daioh, volumes 3 and 4 (realistic fiction), The Adoration Of Jenna Fox (science fiction), and Can I See Your ID? (informational)

Each week, Sweetling recorded her responses and reactions to her reading in a literature log. Because of her interest in pursuing writing, each of her entries focuses at least in part on the craft the author employed. Here are two samples of her work:

From 8/12:
The book Life As We Knew It chronicles the tales of a girl named Miranda during an event widely believed to be the begging of the apocalypse. In the story, a meteorite hits The Moon, pushing it closer to Earth. This causes the tides to have an even greater influence of civilization, and many are killed. The book focuses on Miranda’s relationship with her mom and her friends, as well as her ability to cope with these harsh events.

The book itself is presented in the form of the protagonist’s diary. It’s very well written and well thought out, and although I disagree with many of the mother’s actions (e.g., she interprets Miranda’s acts of kindness towards her boyfriend, Dan, such as sharing food, as clues that Miranda is sleeping with him, while the mother extends similar acts of good will towards her boyfriend.), this is most likely intentional on the author’s part, as it gives us another reason to sympathize with Miranda. I highly recommend this book.
 From 1/6:
  Spray is an action book by Harry Edge. The premise is that there is a game being played between numerous people to see who can “kill” the most people using their water gun. However, you can only spray someone who is on your target card, and when you spray someone, you get their target card. The story is about three kids trying to win the game.

This story is not very well written. Following the three kids gets confusing, and naration (sic) is bland.

 During the first day of co-op, Sweetling asked and received permission from the instructor to sit in on a 9am Spanish 2 class. Though Sweetling had not taken Spanish 1, she had independently worked through the Intermediate Level of Power Glide Spanish. Sweetling took notes during class and reviewed and practiced them through the week. The following week, Sweetling asked if she could take the quiz being given to the rest of the class. She was given the quiz, and, after scoring the highest in the class, was offered the chance to enroll as a formal student in the Spanish 2 class. Throughout the year, she was given extra vocab and extra practice sheets to cover any material she might have been lacking by passing over Spanish 1. Also through the year, she simultaneously was enrolled in the middle school Basic Spanish class for the extra vocabulary review and practice. She went on to receive an A for both semesters in her Spanish 2 class and concluded the year with reading a graphic novel adaptation, in Spanish, of Don Quixote. This course will count as high school credit on her transcript.


Sweetling worked through a high school text of Geometry this year. This course will count as high school credit on her transcript. I was especially impressed with her perception, since the text itself was in its first year of print, and Sweetling found several misprints and errors which she emailed the author about. She was able to grasp and master many advanced and difficult concepts, and next year will be moving on to Algebra 2. (Click on the images to display a larger photo.)

Some work from the start of the year...

And some from the end of the year....


History, Geography, and Government:

This year, Sweetling conducted an in-depth study on the Industrial Revolution, the turn of the century, The Progressive Movement, World War 1, and The Great Depression. She read Joy Hakim's A History of US, volumes 7, 8, and 9 as her 'spine' books. She supplemented that reading with several documentaries through PBS and the History Channel as well as with historical fictions set in the times. Through the school year, she researched major events and complied an ongoing newspaper with brief articles of the major happenings. Additionally, she was required to research and engage in oral discussions of a few 'controversial' topics with her father, who is quite the history and political buff.

Two pages of her newspaper:

First page:

Page 11--


This year, Sweetling completed a science curriculum through Education Exploration. It was a physical science curriculum, with an emphasis on practical application of the principles. Though, by her own admission, the concepts covered in the course were not new to her, the application of those principles through construction of projects was a new experience for her.

Her battery powered car:

And her huge balsa wing glider. (I'm showing the picture we have of the glider under construction since I took that photo with a yardstick beside it for scale.):


Sweetling played the part of a significant character in three separate musicals this year. Two of those musicals were part of a year long Music and Drama class she participated in at co-op. Though she has participated as a choir member in a couple church children's musicals when she was younger, this year was her first opportunity to truly act and sing on stage.  (Picture of one of her musicals follows in the art section.)


Sweetling developed her skill in a unique manga style art. She utilized a lot of instructional books from the library and studied some work of other manga artists she enjoys.

Her design for a poster safety contest won an award:

Also this year, Sweetling has really delved into the realm of costume design and sewing.

Using an instructional video she found on you-tube, she made her own Haruhi Susamiya costume for a cosplay at the downtown library.

For an anime convention she attended in Columbus, she made another costume, learning to sew from a pattern for the first time.

Without a pattern or instruction, she designed and sewed her own Ferb costume and Ferb wig for Halloween.

 And then she went on to design and sew a 9" plush Ferb doll.

And, in one of the two Christmas musicals she was in, she helped design and sew the four costumes for the Christmas 'stars'.

Physical Education:

While Sweetling has accomplished a lot throughout the school year, I think I'm proudest of her for obtaining her black belt in Tae Kwon Do.  A lot of the components of Tae Kwon Do don't come easily to her, and she really has to practice and train hard to accomplish what she does. To prepare for her black belt test, she went to the dojo 4 days a week for many weeks. She practiced every day at home with additional conditioning exercises. She worked with the Jedi regularly outside of class on her board breaking, because that was something that she has struggled with in the past. On the day of her test, she was the only student in the group of junior black belts who broke every single board on the first try.

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