LESSON 5.3
Grade New Variable Ideas

Don’t write about the first thing you think of.  It’s usually an Old idea: something everyone knows about or something most people do not care about.

In Chapter Four (Nonfiction with Narrator Essays) we used the following grades to determine our subject:

A = Awesome idea. Same as B and people are likely to say “Wow!”

B = Better idea. People do not know much about this and they are probably interested

C = Common idea. People probably know a lot about this OR probably don’t care about it.

In this chapter (Nonfiction without Narrator Essay) we will use a simpler grading system:

New idea. People do not know much about this and they are probably interested

Old idea. People probably know a lot about this OR probably don’t care about it.

For example:

Name

Famous for

New?

Old?

Reason for Old

Abebe Bikila

Greatest modern marathoner

X

 

 

Aristotle

Greek philosopher who invented Scientific Method – also famous for taking naps

X

 

 

Billy Mills

Underdog – only American to win 10,000 meter race

X

 

 

Dean Karnazes

Greatest ultramarathoner

X

 

 

Dorando Pietri

Lost marathon on a horrible technicality

X

 

 

Einstein

Probably most famous scientist  – also famous for taking naps

 

X

Most readers know about him

Eliud Kipchoge

1st person to run marathon in two hours

X

 

 

Flo-Jo

Woman who ran fastest race ever

X

 

 

Florence Baker

Former white slave who explored east Africa

X

 

 

Jason Lee

Famous skateboarder turned actor

X

 

 

Jesse Owens

Greatest American sprinter

 

X

Most readers know about him

Jim Bridger

Mountain man who explored the American West

X

 

 

Jim Buck

1st professional dog walker

 

X

Most readers unlikely to care

John Muir

Explored what is now Yosemite & helped created the park

X

 

 

John Suter

Used poodles in Iditarod (Alaska’s 1049 mile dog sled race)

X

 

 

Kathrine Switzer

1st American woman champion

X

 

 

Libby Riddles

1st woman to win Iditarod

X

 

 

Olga Korbutt

Revolutioned modern women’s gymnastics

X

 

 

Percy Fawcett

Explored the Amazon; died looking for a lost city

X

 

 

Pheidippides

Greek warrior who started the marathon tradition

X

 

 

Salvador Dali

Artist famous for surrealism – also famous for taking naps

X

 

 

Stephen King

Most famous horror writer – also famous for taking naps

 

X

Most readers know about him

Steve Prefontaine

Beloved American runner who died early

X

 

 

Stu Unger

Most famous rummy player

 

X

Most readers unlikely to care

Susan Butcher

Most famous woman musher

X

 

 

Tony Hawk

World champion skateboarder

 

X

Most readers unlikely to care

Tori Boggs

World champion jump-roper

X

 

 

Usain Bolt

Greatest sprinter of all time

 

X

Most readers know about him

Wilma Rudolph

1st great American female sprinter

 

 

 

Usain Bolt

Task 5.3.1 – Tandem or Small Group

Go through the ideas you have brainstormed. Do this quickly. Do not argue.

What is Old or New to you does not matter. What matters is if you feel it is Old or New to the intended readers. The intended readers are educated adult strangers.

Determine what ideas (people) on your list are OLD or NEW

New idea. Most educated adult readers probably do not know much about this and they are probably interested

Old idea. Most educated adult readers probably know a lot about this OR probably don’t care about it.