Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Moving on

I am sad to report that due to district filtering, Blogger will no longer be accessible to my students during the school day. Because of that, I am transferring my class blog to another site. Please visit us at


Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Ghosts, Goblins, and Monsters, Oh My!

I don't do scary movies.

There, I have said it. I watched Children of the Corn at a 5th grade spend the night party and I was done! I spent the rest of the night in my friend's parents' room.

I don't do haunted houses.

There was one in Gordo, Alabama that I went to once. Just once. I don't care how romantic it might be to do that kind of thing with a date. I was mortified and thought I would never make it out alive.

What is your favorite haunted movie? What is your favorite haunted house? Do you have an experience to share that scared you silly?

Monday, October 30, 2006

Roots of Halloween

From the site Answers.com, the roots of Halloween come from three basic events:

Samhain. The Celts of modern-day Ireland and the UK two and a half millennia ago braced themselves for winter with this festival, which is pronounced "sowen," literally means "summer's end" and falls on November 1. It heralds the beginning of the dark, cold half of the year. (Its counterpart was Beltane, which kicked off the warm, light half of the year on May 1.) The harvest was gathered in to protect against the wintry blast of the faeries' breath, and Samhain was an occasion for thanksgiving, sacrifices, divination and prayers. In each home the hearth-fire was extinguished the night before and relit on Samhain from the central bonfires of the priestly Druids.

Pomona. She is the Roman goddess of fruit trees and the symbol of abundance. There was a festival dedicated to her worship at the end of autumn, around the time of the big harvest. When the Romans arrived in Britain, in the first century, they melded their customs with those of the Celts whom they conquered.

Feralia. This is the ancient Roman festival of the dead, which was held on February 21 with prayers and sacrifices on behalf of the deceased. The customs of this day were also blended by the Romans with those of Samhain. Feralia was superseded in the Christian Church by All Saints Day, also known as All Hallow's Day or Hallowmas, observed on May 13. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III changed the date to November 1 (though it is still marked in springtime, on the Sunday after Pentecost, by the Eastern Orthodox Church). All Saint's Day was followed by All Soul's Day, established by Saint Odilo of Cluny on November 2 to remember the souls awaiting release from Purgatory. Halloween is a contraction for "Hallow's even" — the evening of All Hallow's Day, i.e., October 31.

The first city to officially celebrate Halloween was Anoka, Minnesota, in 1921.

So, describe for the class your most memorable Halloween or fall tradition. Even if you don't believe in the whole dress-up and get candy part of it, is there something that you or your family does that indicates the end of fall and the beginning of winter?

Ex. Because we did not live in a subdivision, we had to plot our Halloween trick or treat route. There were lots of older people in our church who gave away fruit and baked goods. I would always hit those houses first. I also learned that it was important to spend time chatting with the older people rather than just getting the stash and heading back to the car. Eventually, I would make it to a few other houses before the porch lights began to go out. My parents made sure that we also made pound cakes and took them to widows and widowers in our church during Christmas holidays. I got that time to chat with them again. Since I did not have any living grandparents, I inhereted a large group of "adopted grandparents" through these experiences of taking a little time to talk with them and learn about them.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Living in Excess

As we all know this week is dedicated to being drug free. The bombardment
of red ribbons when you enter school reminds us everyday that we do not need
to use them. Our school listened to a speaker on Monday who informed the
school that doing drugs the first time is a good experience. However over
an extended period of time they can ruin your life. This is also true of
other things, it goes back to the saying too much of a good thing.
Examples of this can be found all around us. When have you seen a situation
when living in excess has had a negative affect?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Build for the future?

The issue in New York City over the possible reason to interrupt the construction currently taking place at Ground Zero is all over the news. This controversy really made me think.... I know it is important to "build for the future" but would it make the families and friends of the 9/11 victims get more closure if some time was taken to consider the human remains that have recently been discovered? Having never been in a situation such as the one these individuals who lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks are in, I cannot say whether bringing up the past of what they had to deal with 5 years ago would be a beneficial thing or a tormenting thing. What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

War.... what is it good for?

With all of the different things happening in the world, the Iraqi War, the genocide in Sudan, North Korea testing nuclear weapons, many people wonder, when is it just to go to war?

So what are your thoughts?
When is it our place to go to war?
Or more importantly, when is it our responsibility to go to war?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

One mankind

This weekend Mtn Brook High School and Fairfield prep came together to perform an absolutely spectacular performance of To Kill A Mocking Bird. The central theme behind this performance is the racial issues between blacks and whites. Both theater teachers wanted to get these two schools together, neither one containing any race other than white or black, to show them that the only difference is the color of skin. Garth Brooks, a famous country singer, wrote a famous song called "We Shall Be Free" containing these lyrics, "
And when money talks for the very last timeAnd nobody walks a step behind When there's only one race and that's mankind..."

Tell of a time you have heard of or have judged someone based on their skin color or ethnicity, but realized your judgment was wrong and that there is only one race being mankind.-JMM

Monday, October 23, 2006

A New Era Begins

The blog is more yours now because your fellow students are creating the posts. You will still be responsible to comment. I am especially looking for intelligent comments that address the post. Keep in mind that you may not always like or agree with what the post says, but it is your responsibility to comment in a mature manner that addresses the issue not the writer. Here goes...

Such things our parents do remember, but of such things we never ask. Through growth and time, our most prominent, yet neglected heroes have been the guardians of our lives.

If you were to ask what you can give back to your elders, most people would simply tell you to lend them an ear. Surely, you must think, this can be easy and smoothly followed through. On the contrary, easy does not define their lives as difficulty does embody it. Generation upon generation and still we’ve nothing to inquire of upon our preceding bloodlines. The genetics of our nature and the family with whom we have grown are falling leaves from the tree of which we blossomed.

Who is to decide which stories and traditions carry forth or die as promptly as they were made? For whom shall we reiterate such history and impress upon the significance of our pasts?

Remember, so as not to forget, not only for ones self but for the sake of those to come.

Epic journeys are not solely found in books or movies. Somewhere, someone had to live those stories in one form or another. Perhaps, they may not have slain a dragon or tamed a wild, snarling beast in real life, but inside themselves they did just that. Accordingly, someone on the outskirts of this journey observed and absorbed the notorious event. Hence, from then on the story was written and rewritten, until finally the story was no more the story it was to begin with.

Most of you probably know a story or two about an elder in your family. Maybe your grandfather served in the military or your grandmother was a famous designer. Whatever story that may be, interview him/her and summarize in your own words, with the exception of direct quotes, what that story was. Briefly explain which parts you think might fit into the different phases of a hero’s journey. You might possibly find out some things you didn’t know…

On the off chance that you do not have an older family member with such exciting tales, or if you just don’t want to do that, here is another option. As I mentioned above, each epic tale had to come from somewhere. Pick a well known story or fairytale and read it a few times. After that, put it into a different perspective. Knowing that most of what is written is not realistic, compare the fiction to the fact. What story might have prompted this tale? What might have really happened that was embellished so and turned into such a far fetched idea? In other words, just how big was the big fish and just how small was Thumbelina?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

So many of you are wondering... What has happened to our blog? Why are we not blogging?

Well, if it was just because you wanted the points, this may not be a conselation. I want to take the blog and grow its potential. So far you have been diligently commenting and responding to my ideas and thoughts. I usually tried to link it to the class topics. I really loved some of your requests and suggestions regarding the blog. Here are a few that I plan to use to make it better:

I think a neat added dimension might include actually discussing some of the posts and responses in class.

We have to involve every topic we discuss on the blog in the classroom discussion; the blog allows for students to form a defendable position, so that we can have a reasonable and productive discussion in the class.

However, the people who blog first often have their blogs copied in different words.

I think a new dimension we need to add is maybe where students can post topics.

One thing I would like to see is some students being able to contribute posts to the blog.

We will definitely be discussing the blog posts, and I will try to do a better job of integrating your responses and thoughts into my lessons.

I will make sure that duplicate responses do not get points. As a matter of fact, responses that have not at least been proofread before you publish them, may not be put on the blog. Please self-check spelling and major errors.

Finally, the big change... I am going to be allowing student posting. For a few weeks I will ask particular people to help me with the posting responsibilities, and then I will open it up to whole classes. This is going to be an exciting endeavor.

A New Direction

So many of you are wondering... What has happened to our blog? Why are we not blogging?

Well, if it was just because you wanted the points, this may not be a conselation. I want to take the blog and grow its potential. So far you have been diligently commenting and responding to my ideas and thoughts. I usually tried to link it to the class topics. I really loved some of your requests and suggestions regarding the blog. Here are a few that I plan to use to make it better:

I think a neat added dimension might include actually discussing some of the posts and responses in class.

We have to involve every topic we discuss on the blog in the classroom discussion; the blog allows for students to form a defendable position, so that we can have a reasonable and productive discussion in the class.

However, the people who blog first often have their blogs copied in different words.

I think a new dimension we need to add is maybe where students can post topics.

One thing I would like to see is some students being able to contribute posts to the blog.

We will definitely be discussing the blog posts, and I will try to do a better job of integrating your responses and thoughts into my lessons.

I will make sure that duplicate responses do not get points. As a matter of fact, responses that have not at least been proofread before you publish them, may not be put on the blog. Please self-check spelling and major errors.

Finally, the big change... I am going to be allowing student posting. For a few weeks I will ask particular people to help me with the posting responsibilities, and then I will open it up to more classes. You will get a grade for creating the post and additional points for a post that generates lots of comments and discourse. Of course, this is not your personal diary, so we would have some guidelines to creating a blog-worthy post. I am very excited to see what you guys can do.

Look for this to happen as soon as next week!

No blogs this week

I am playing catch-up this week. No blog comments will be graded this week. Don't worry, it will be back bigger and better 2nd nine weeks!!!

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Here is your chance to make up 5 points for first nine weeks. Weigh in on the following:

1. Did the review process and the group PowerPoints on the wiki help you in studying for the exam?

2. Was there any part of the exam on which you would have liked more review?

3. Do you feel that this exam covered our nine-weeks sufficiently?

4. We begin literature next nine weeks. What is your favorite part about studying literature and your least favorite part about studying literature?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Blogging so far

Thursday I will be speaking to teachers from fourty schools across the state. Many of them will want to know why I use blogs and how they help in my classroom. Take a moment to think of the previous posts and the comments generated. Please answer these questions based on your opinon (not what you think I want to hear)
  1. What do you think are the biggest advantages of having a class blog?
  2. What has been your favorite post?
  3. What would you like to see as an added dimension to the blogging experience?
  4. If you had to defend using the blog as an educational experience to our school board, what would you say are the benefits for our class?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

A Sad State of Affairs

In the hero's journey, the teen years signify the initiation. It is a maturing process. Schools are the location for most of this process. Because of schools in the news, I feel it is necessary to reflect.

In light of recent tragic school shootings, this post requires reflection and careful consideration. Please read the following excerpt from an article put out today in response to the Pennsylvania school shooting and respond:

A study of subsequent shootings in the months after Columbine found that "all involved white kids in small towns," Fox said. "The copycat effect would be most pronounced when there is a similarity between the perpetrator and the ones they are idolizing and modeling.

"Ninety-nine point nine percent of schoolchildren identified with the victims," Fox said. "But a small percentage identified with the shooters because, not only did they get even with bullies and nasty teachers, but they got famous for it."
Fox, the author of "The Will to Kill: Explaining Senseless Murder" and "Extreme Killing: Understanding Serial and Mass Murder," said schools carry a symbolic power as targets.

"If you want to find young kids and get even with society — a school is an ideal place for doing that," he said. "They represent a place where people may have felt unhappy, their self-esteem was threatened, where they were bullied, and where they decide to get revenge."

The majority of attackers in school settings are motivated by revenge, according to the 2002 "Safe School Initiative," the Secret Service and the U.S. Department of Education, which examined targeted school violence between 1974 and 2000.

Prothrow-Smith said, "You've got a socially toxic environment that glamorizes guns and violence."

Video games, television, films and news constantly project images of people "justifying their wrongs or emotions with violence," she said. "You mix guns in a culture where people are not good at handling difficult emotions like anger, fear, guilt and grief ... and you have a toxic social environment."

Advocates of wider gun controls argue that the availability of guns has made it easier for people to commit murder in schools.

"It is extremely easy, whether you are a juvenile or a convicted felon or a domestic abuser, to purchase a firearm legally or illegally," Peter Hamm of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence told Reuters.


Do you think schools are this toxic social environment? What contributes to this problem? How do you feel about the safety of our school? There are many issues at hand here including firearms, revenge, teen suicide, the media, video games, etc. Respond to this article and the state of affairs regarding one of these topics.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Blog is Back

Ok, the blog is back from filterland. Thankfully, it was only down over the weekend and did not affect us too much.

As I sit on my couch and type this on my laptop, I am making an observation. In my bedroom sits my son playing Lego Star Wars II on the Xbox. Trey is age 6. On the TV is a special edition of Jeopardy (Back to School Week). The three contestants are each no older than age 11. Our society is filled with tools, accessories, and gadgets that are geared to the tweens and even younger. How do you feel about this? Do you think that young people are forced or encouraged to grow up too early? What has changed since you were that age or since your parents were that age? Explain your thoughts.

Friday, September 29, 2006

It's Friday!!!

  • Vocabulary quiz postponed until Tuesday because of Jewish holiday travel and the football game in Florence.
  • Revisions for the college essay are due into Turnitin.com by Sunday night at midnight. Be sure to consult my school website under 1st Nine Weeks Essay Links.

Since traveling is on my mind (I will be going to Mississippi to visit my mom this afternoon), this post deals with travel. Describe for me a memorable road trip. We will be discussing the Hero's Journey next week. Tell about a journey you took that is burned (for a good or bad reason) into your memory forever.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Your personal archetypes

Can you identify with any of the archetypes we are studying? Give some examples of archetypes that exist in your life. Of course, as Jung says, you may not be concious of these... but let's try!

Collective Unconcious

Jung believed that we all contribute to the collective unconcious. Here are some quotes from Carl Jung:

We cannot change anything unless we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.
Carl Jung
As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.
Carl Jung, "Memories, Dreams, Reflections", 1962
The least of things with a meaning is worth more in life than the greatest of things without it.
Carl Jung, "Modern Man in Search of a Soul"

Jung used the following method to interpret dreams:

In order to interpret a dream, Jung used the process of amplification. In essence, amplification involves elaborating on a dream image in order to determine its significance through direct and indirect association. This is achieved by gaining an insight into the dreamer's:

(1) personal associations with the image (direct association). In order to discover the feelings evoked by a particular dream image or symbol. The meaning and significance of a particular word or image can vary greatly between individuals depending on the effect it has had on his/her life.
(2) The cultural significance of the image,
(3) as well as drawing parallels from the symbolism contained in folklore, history, fairytales, religion, mythology, rituals etc (archetypes).

So here is the big question. Have you ever had a weird dream that you are willing to share (change the names to protect the innocent)? Write a summary of it and consult this online dream interpretation site to see if you can then interpret your dream. Come on... it will be fun!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Moving on

Well, we have passed the hump and are moving on towards the latter half of the first nine weeks. Don't forget some important deadlines:

Narrative 2nd draft due tomorrow!!!!
Revisions of College essay due Sunday by midnight!!!

Here is your question for today-
Who is your hero? Do you have one? Do you believe in heroes? What movies or TV shows have you seen that exemplify heroic characters?

Friday, September 22, 2006

The South

Since we are suppose to "Change the Channel on Hoover" over to CMT (no more MTV!), I want your thoughts. The South is associated with several stereotypes such as country music, rednecks, fried food, and mud ridin'.

What is your favorite thing about living in the South? Explain your answer and give specifics.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Narrative Essay Evolves

So today we did Peer Response Groups. This is the first time I have assigned this type of narrative essay and the first time I have used groups for peer response.
  • How did you think it went?
  • Were the responses helpful, vague, a little of both?
  • What did you learn about your essay?
  • Has this assignment gotten any better since your first FREAK OUT about its challenging nature and impossible task?

What do you need further instruction with in order to complete your next draft?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Thoughts on ending The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

As you wrap up reading our outside novel (reading quiz Thursday on the rest of the book), many topics come into question. Christopher is a unique character with unique abilities. Think about him as you read the following topics. Respond to one, explain your position, and explain how it relates to Christopher and how it relates to life in general.

  1. There is no such thing as normal when it comes to human beings.
  2. White lies are aas immoral as outright lies.
  3. It is always wrong for parents to seperate.
  4. Violence can be a reasonable response to an unreasonable situation.

Monday, September 18, 2006


Impress me with your skills with vocabulary. Articulate a short paragraph using as many of Unit 3's vocabulary words as you can. It is imperitive that they are used correctly and in a unique way. A feckless response may be easier, but it is likely to make me distraught The CLASS with the best posts will get a special "snack" one day in class.

You will have this week to comment with your best reply and then we will have a vote next week. (Tip: Practice it in Word and copy/paste)

Thursday, September 14, 2006


So I am sitting in a hotel room in North Carolina at 1 AM and blogging. That is dedication. Thanks for all of the great comments from yesterday. Keep it up.

Here is the real question. You have a very tough assignment ahead of you with this narrative essay. What are your concerns? What is the toughest part of the assignment? What do you need further explanation to do? Have you started drafting yet? Also, if you find any good examples of narratives told in a voice other than the authors, add the link here.

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Lessons in life

Your narrative has to have a point, a reason for telling the story. Call it a moral, a theme, or a lesson. You have all heard these all of your life. Maybe they were considered cliche's or adages, but they are still good advice today. Give us your best lesson in a phrase or sentence. Explain it. Yes, this only requires a small amount of writing. Jump on it 7th period!

ex. Pretty is as pretty does.

This was something my mom would tell me when I was jealous or angry about some mean girl getting all of the boys. Mom explained that actions make someone beautiful. I did not agree at the time, but eventually people mature and mom was right.

Great characters in literature

As we explore creating a character, I want you to think about characters that you remember in great detail. I would love to limit it just to literature, but I know many of you are movie buffs and will relate better to a movie character.

Choose a character, list at least 3 character traits of that person and explain why this character is a memorable character. Be sure to tell what book or movie they are from. Finally, explain what their voice says about them. How would you describe their voice/tone/mood?

Also, remember this is not a competition to see who can be the corniest- ex. Stiffler from American Pie because he is.... (C'mon, please be a little deeper than that!)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


In all works of art there is a voice. Music, art, literature all speak to their audiences. Find a song that you feel speaks with a well-defined voice. List your favorite (NOT THE ENTIRE SONG) lyrics of that song as a comment. What is the voice you hear?

"Its fragile", she says to me.The hair in her eyes, she removes it smiling.There's a wound that I know this song could mend,A step in time for us will never end.

Oh, I'm waiting for the breakdown.Well nothing feels good being under the gun.Oh, I'm waiting for the breakdown.Is it ever gonna come?

Mae "The Breakdown"

Voice is that of a guy who has been hurt before and is waiting for the other shoe to drop in the relationship.

Monday, September 11, 2006

One more thing...

Here is a link to my web page which contains links to the two articles you read today as well as links to information about autism and the author of the book.


Deadlines and Picking up the Pace

Well, we are officially past the hump! Labor Day is behind us. Progress reports will be coming out soon (yikes). The prewriting is all done. Here are some upcoming deadlines:

1. College Essay- due tomorrow. Turn in the following: rubric, final draft, rough draft, self-editing sheet, peer review, introduction draft, freewriting/webbing, life timeline.

2. Curious Incident quiz on Wednesday. Read through chapter 181.

3. Narrative Essay work- research an exceptionality and develop a character. Character sketch due Friday.

4. College Essay draft will be returned (hopefully) by Monday 9/18. Final revision draft will be due by that Friday.

So, what do you know about a narrative essay? What do you think are some of the important characteristics of this type of essay? What kind of essay (since we have one more this nine weeks) would you like to write after the narrative? Any preferences and why?

Friday, September 08, 2006

Prepare for our guest

Next week we will have a special guest in our class. Read this post about Charlie's school experience. Imagine your first days of school in a new place with a new teacher. Can you explain how you felt and reflect on how Charlie's feelings relate to you?


Off to a great start

We are off to a great start with the blog. We are only two weeks into it, and we have already made a ton of connections.

I have a challenge:

Find two websites about autism and exceptionalities associated with it. Put the links in your comments and eventually we will add them to the class wiki.

Have a great weekend. (This post will count for next week if you choose to do it)

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Thanks to all of you for your thoughts and opinions regarding podcasts and cross country blogging. Special thanks to Ian, Guerry, and Jason for taking the time to comment on the Colorado blog.

Great job this week with your comments in general. I hope that you will visit this site and make it a habit. I know it's not Facebook, but it is a great way to keep up and communicate cross classes and globally.

Speaking of Facebook... If you follow this phenomenon, you probably have noticed the new addition to it. I briefly showed you a service called Bloglines that collects "feeds" from your favorite blogs and news sites. These feeds allow me to see each time a site has added a new feature or has posted a new article or blog post. Facebook, in its wisdom, adopted this feed idea. It is not being met with great reviews. Read this article and respond. Whether you have Facebook or not, you can give your opinion.

Global audience

I am considering doing some cross-country blogging with another senior class in Denver, Colorado. Check out their blog and see what you think about the way they are using it. Would this be helpful to you? Feel free to post some INTELLIGENT, MATURE comments on their blog posts as well.

How could we use this? What would make this experience useful, engaging, and relevant to you this year?


Wednesday, September 06, 2006


In order to understand the character of Christopher in the book The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, I want you to look at a couple of resources. Comment on them and give your thoughts or reactions to the information here. One resource is a short three minute video. Choose LOW bandwidth and use headphones if viewing at school.

Autism Diagnosis on the Rise
NBC Nightly News; Minutes: 3:13
Low | Medium | High

A blog by a mother of an autistic child. Choose two posts under "favorite posts" to read.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Guidelines for Safe and Responsible Blogging

1. Please, no last names, school names or addresses. This is a class site. This is no place for personal information.

2. Do not link to your personal blog/journal from your school blog; you might reveal information on there that you don't want to reveal on your school blog. Also, only link to sites that you have evaluated and are willing to stand behind the content of the site.

3. If you want to write your opinion on a topic, make sure you are critical of the idea and not of the author.

4. Always make sure you check over your post for spelling errors, grammar errors, and your use of words.

5. Never disrespect someone else in your blog, whether it's a person, an organization, or just a general idea. You don't want someone making a stab at what you are passionate about; don't do it to someone else.

6. Don't write about other people without permission.

7. Watch your language! We're not at home, we are at school, consider this just like a class assignment you would turn in. Keep it professional looking.

8. Make sure things you write about are factual. Don't be posting about things that aren't true.

9. Keep it education-oriented. That means that you probably shouldn't discuss your plans for the weekend.

Compliments of Bud the Teacher's students and YOU!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Vocabulary Helper

This week we have a vocabulary quiz on unit 2. I was considering having a podcast for each unit of words. A podcast is a recording of someone reading the word, definition, sentence, and some synonyms for the word. We would host it online and you could subscribe on iTunes. The podcasts would be created by some of YOU using either your own computer and microphone (I would show you how) or using a computer at school. These podcasts can be downloaded to your computer and/or your iPod so you could study "on the go".

1) Do you think this would be helpful? If so, how would you personally utilize it?
2) Do you have a microphone integrated into your computer or an external microphone?
3) Would you consider making one for a unit? What should be the reward for hosting one?

Here are some examples of some podcasts my classes made last year with our last novel of the year.

Click here to get your own player.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

The College Essay

The College Essay


250-500 words

Specific event full of description


Freewrite (handwritten at least a page) on two of the prompts due Tuesday (9/5) by the end of class.

First draft typed and in class by Thursday. (9/7)

Peer review in class Thursday.

Final Draft typed and due in class Mon. (9/11)

Go to the following sites to see information regarding writing the Personal Statement/College Essay.

Getting Started


Blunders to Avoid

The Essay Structure

The Writing Process

See my web page for a handout that has the college prompts to choose.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

"Found" Character Description

Last night you read several chapters out of the book, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. Your goal for the 10 Spot is to create a "found" character description. Use the designated chapters and find at least three quotes (direct words from the book) that uniquely define one of the characters in the book. Write a brief explanation after the quotes telling why you chose them. I would prefer that you not choose literal descriptions that someone makes of a character. (ex. She was smart and had brown hair.) Here is an example of how it should be formatted:
ex. Christopher
"So I tore the piece of paper up and threw it away." (ch.3 pg. 3)
" ........."
I chose these lines from the book because they show...

1st period- Chap. 2-5

3rd period- Chap.7-11

5th period- Chap. 13-19

7th period- Chap. 23-29

When you finish, visit the Wikispace and search through the new Tech Tools.

The New 10 Spot

Choose one of the following questions to answer. Please include the number of the question to which you are responding:

1. Most of us have been in a situation where we made a promise that we were unable to keep. When were you disappointed because someone made you a promise that they failed to keep? Or when did you break a promise that you made to someone else?

2. All of us are works in progress with a long way to go before we reach our full potential. In what skill or area are you still working to make progress?

3. Everyone has problems or challenges to overcome. What obstacles are you proud to have faced and conquered?

Saturday, August 26, 2006

How to comment like a king (or queen!)

Seniors '07 welcome to our blog. This week you will be asked to comment on our blog as well as other blogs on the web. One of my favorite bloggers, Vicki Davis, created a great post regarding the ins and outs of commenting. Heed her directions. These are gold when it comes to blog commenting etiquitte.
Cool Cat Teacher Blog: How to comment like a king (or queen!)

Friday, August 18, 2006

Thank you for reading

This is a thank you to all of the bloggers out there who contribute to the knowledge base. I am thankful for those that became pioneers and continue to blaze a path for eager educators and students. Thank you to the parents who believe in teaching moderation and responsibility with technology rather than cutting off the source. Thanks to all of the school systems who encourage, promote, and drive technology with students and teachers. Forward thinking, 21st Century "evangelists" are the people who will guide our students and our future. Thank you (please forgive me if I forget you):
Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach
Cathy Gassenheimer
John Norton
Alabama Best Practices Center
Mountain Brook City Schools
Jan Rogers
Kathy Sierra
Anne Davis
Vicki (Cool Cat) Davis
Wesley Fryer
Will Richardson
Darren Kuropatwa
Alan November
David Warlick

Monday, August 14, 2006

Welcome to English 12

Hello Seniors! Welcome to our classroom BLOG. This is the central nervous system of our class. You will use this to as a vehicle to let your voice be heard. Add comments and browse around to see our progress last year. I have big plans for the blog. Join the Blogosphere.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

It keeps going, and going, and going...

Dog days of summer continue here in Alabama. As I sit and watch the news, I see the effects the heat is having across the country. There are brushfires, heatstrokes, and power outages. Even technology is feeling the effect because MySpace went down for a few hours this morning because of a power outage affecting its servers. Between these real events and having seen Superman Returns this summer, it has become more evident to me how much our country has become reliant on electricity. I know that seems like a given, but think about the technology that runs everything now. If our power source is out, our technology is crippled. What do you think about this? Are we too reliant on technology? Are we too spoiled with gizmos and luxuries that run on electricity?

Saturday, July 08, 2006

A Need for More Reflection

As I have learned so much about blogging over these past few months, I have contemplated branching out with these blogs. I am taking the lead from blogging pioneers. They have their class blog and a professional blog. I will now devote this blog just to my classes since they have made it such a great site for discourse and discussion, and I am working on a professional blog called It's All Geek To Me (teach2geek.blogspot.com). This will inspire teachers to use their current great practices and turbo charge them with technology. Please join me there and reflect on teaching and best practice in 21st Century Literacy Skills.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

True Confessions

Ok, I know as an English teacher I should not admit this but I must...

I never really read for pleasure until after I was out of college.

There, it is out there for the world to know. I am not happy about it, but the truth is that I was in a four year AP feeder program in high school and had a prolific social life (yes, cheerleader/athlete in small town school). My teachers did not have the wisdom to give some choices for reading. We read the classics, which I never fully appreciated until college, and I had a hard time maintaining an interest. I did not like to read and had no intention of being a lifelong reader. Rather than give my life history, I will get to the point of this rant. I am up at this indecent hour right now because I cannot quit reading. Is it the latest John Grisham novel? No. Is it the latest Nicholas Sparks romance novel? No.

The reading I cannot "put down" is blogs! I am addicted. I am a Bloglines addict. Although I read now for pleasure as well as professionally, I find that the immediacy of information offered by blogs is so wonderful. Now remember, I am not talking about MySpace blogs or people's personal rants. I am referring to blogs by professionals, teachers, companies, and colleges that offer information that pertains to my profession or interests. Become a lifelong reader and add blogs to your repertoire. Along with newspapers and magazines, blogs should be your major source of up to date information in the world of .... whatever topic you are interested!
I must go to bed. I will post and link to some of the fabulous bloggers contributing to my knowledge base, but in the meantime look at my cool blogroll. I just learned how to add that. See you in the blogosphere.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Hey, thanks for entering the Blogosphere!!

It's summer and hopefully my class blog will be visited by teachers during summer workshops. Feel free to browse through the archives and scroll all the way down to see what is there. Also, visit my other blog used for pocket pc comments. Here are just a few Cool Tools I have tried out this year with my classes:

The Blog (obviously):
Our class pilot project with pocket pc's: http://247pocketpc.blogspot.com
My new professional blog: http://teach2geek.blogspot.com
The blog associated with a blog presentation at AETC: http://classblogpresentation.blogspot.com

The highlights from the blog you are reading now:
Some of my favorite posts with student comments-
The Wiki:
The Podcast and Video Blog: http://mrscaldwell0.podOmatic.com

Online Quizzes (Quizstar): http://4teachers.org

Thursday, May 25, 2006

A Reflection...

Wow, my first year here at MBHS has come to an end. I have been teaching for a decade. It is hard to believe. I have seen good teachers come and go. I have seen teachers get fired up and get burned out. Through ten years of teaching, I have learned many valuable lessons. Because my house holds two teachers, education and the "business" of the teaching profession are often the topics of conversation. My husband and I have had conversations over dinner that include topics such as: bus/lunch duty, secretary squabbles, roach infestation in a classroom, "Johnny" continues to fail all of my tests, "Suzie" told me today that her mother has cancer, my point guard is not a leader, my head cheerleader has an eating disorder, my principal takes me for granted, transfer of allocation forms, lunch money.... and the list goes on.

I love teaching. Most teachers don't do this job for the money or the respect (because we usually don't get much of either). We do it for the love of our subject, our students, and our desire to make a change. It is a passion that we cannot explain. We are counselors, facilitators, parents, leaders, doctors, advocates, secretaries, custodians, motivators, and experts. The other stuff.... because there is plenty of the other stuff (see list above), is just the layers we have to peel through to get to the real job.

Since summer is here, I would like to open this blog up to teachers (and students if they feel the need) to share their thoughts about teaching, learning, school policies, etc. Ask questions, add your experiences, give advice.

The first question I would like to pose is this- What would you consider a "Professional Learning Community"? Forget the book definition of this and tell your perfect school community. Where does it start? Who is involved? Define roles, explain expectations, give philosophy... I think the only way we can truly see ourselves and our schools as institutions of PROFESSIONALS who promote LEARNING and foster COMMUNITY, we must decide what our own notion of this is.

I know that you don't have much time right now, but imagine this blog being a portal to extended "lunch talks" about stuff you need to talk about. Click comment and write your thoughts. You can post anonymously ... if you choose (which would be best) you can include your first name only at the end of your comment. You don't have to create a Blogger account to comment. Just click comment and type away. This will be open to teachers of schools around the state and the world (world wide web!), so what you say may be exactly what others need to hear.

Reflect... you know you need it. Have a great summer. I will see many of
you soon.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Graduation Day!!!!!

Author unknown

People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable
Be frank and honest anyway.
People favor underdogs but will follow only top dogs.
Fight for some underdogs anyway.
People may need help, but may attack you if you help them.
Help people anyway.
What you spend your years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyaway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

“Dream Big”
Author unknown

If there were ever a time to dare,
To make a difference
To embark on something worth doing
It is now.
Not for any grand cause, necessarily –
But for something that tugs at your heart
Something that is worth your aspiration
Something that is your dream.
You owe it to yourself
To make your days count.
Have fun. Dig deep. Stretch.

Dream big.

Know, though,
That things worth doing
Seldom come easy,
There will be times when you want to
Turn around
Pack it up and call it quits
Those times tell you
That you are pushing yourself
And that you are not afraid to learn by trying.


Because with an idea,
Determination and the right tools,
You can do great things.
Let your instincts, your intellect
And let your heart guide you.


Believe in the incredible power
Of the human mind
Of doing something that makes a difference
Of working hard
Of laughing and hoping
Of lasting friends
Of all the things that will cross your path
Next year
The start of something new
Brings the hope of something great.
Anything is possible
There is only one you
And you will pass this way but once.

Do it right.

May God bless you and guide you on your journey! Mrs. C

Poetry from-

Friday, May 19, 2006

One last grasp for technology...

So how do you use technology in your life? When you sit down at your computer, what are your favorite sites?(Please be responsible in reporting this fact!) What technology (whether equipment or site/software) can you not do without?

For me-
email (Outlook has good features)
Mozilla Firefox Browser (very cool tab feature)
The Blog- of course
mp3 player (I know it is not an ipod... I thought you guys were buying me one!)
Sonic Foundry Audio editor
Homestar Runner (If you don't know, just Google it)
4teachers.org (online tests and rubrics... hmmm)
www.myspace.com/caldwellrocks (don't make fun- keep in touch when you graduate)
my laptop (I love the Mac!)

Monday, May 15, 2006

Book Talk

What is the best book you have ever read? Why was it important to you? What made you connect with it?

Advice to Freshmen

Use this post to leave your advice to freshmen. They are leaving the junior high and will be entering sophomores. Tell them things you wish you had known at that age- about academics, social life, activities, etc. Use this opportunity to leave your mark for others to follow.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Let your voice be heard... literally.

You know me and new tools. Thanks to The 21st Century Learning Project I get information about new tools all of the time. I know you guys are thinking, " So that is why we have been in techie overdrive all year!" Anyway, there is this wonderful tool. It is called Vaestro (pronounced like "maestro"). Of course, I created a channel for us and I want you to record your message on it. Keep in mind that this is the WORLD WIDE WEB. Your opinions and ideas should be maturely and creatively stated without making you (and me, MBHS, your family, etc.) look stupid. The topics are pretty open. Please leave your mark. Let your voice be heard!


The Tiny Kingdom Meets the World

If you don't have a microphone or you don't have time, just comment here and give

Prom... ahhh, what will you do all day?

What a concept... our prom is tonight, so the seniors stay home and spend all day getting ready. I am doing some good quiet work here today.

If you had the whole day with absolutely nothing pressing that you had to do, what would you do to fill your time?

By the way, this picture is an example of the "Duck Tape" prom attire contest.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Blogging on the go

Sorry I have not updated in a bit. The countdown is really on now. Four more real school days until senior exams. If you don't count senior skip day (Prom Friday), then only 3 days!!! Amazing how time flies. Here is a great link to how to blog with the Pocket PC.

AvantBlog « Projects « Dented Reality

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Ahh... yearbooks. I know that there are many unusual traditions here at MB, so enlighten me on this one. At many schools students sign each others' yearbooks. Is that a tradition here? Even if it is not, let's pretend. Sign someone's yearbook here. It can be someone in our class, a teacher, a sibling, a junior or sophomore, your choice. Keep it clean. Say something meaningful, since you have a bit of time to consider your writing.


Thanks for sharing your room with me this year. I am glad you put up with my messiness and found ways to ignore carts of computers, swords and cauldrons, and the purple boogers on the ceiling (thanks Jimbo). Your advice and good judgement have been essential to my first year at The Brook. I will miss you next year. Have fun in that new career!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

End of the week...

Ok, there is no academic tie to this post-

Since you have to turn in your senior wills this week, let's add some wills to the blog. As always, blog responsibly! If you think I might not post it, don't bother writing it.

Me first...

I will my first period class the freedom to lighten up and not sweat the small stuff (except for Jack and Kevin... any lighter and they might not survive). Oh, and a few alarm clocks would be nice to help out Joanne, Ben, and Chris.

I will my third period class the ability to do things without complaining (is it possible Elliot, Lee, Cole, Drew?), squealing, or using the terms "stellar" or "careered". Also, the ability to use better judgment in all decisions... all decisions.

I will my fifth period class a few stress-free moments when you guys are not doing one of your ten thousand responsibilities (playing in a band, student government, multiple sports, organizing functions, church trips, etc....). By the way, you don't have to be so darn good at EVERYTHING. You are giving me a complex. Oh, and quit being so tall!

I will my sixth period class.... ummmmmm...... well...... the possibility of graduation..... No, seriously. That is it. Just don't drive me or the rest of the class crazy in the next few weeks and I am sure you will make it in your choice career of minister, cheerleading coach, band director, counselor, masseuse, millionaire tycoon, broadcasting genius, outdoor guide, soccer mom, dry-skinned powerlifter, obscure scientific idiot savant, composer, peach farmer, or swimsuit model.

It's all in good fun. Hopefully all of you will be able to blog more when the server comes back up next week. Have a great weekend. It is freakishly early in the AM for me to be trying to write a blog!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Then and now...

How does our society reflect some of the themes, situations, or characters in your novel? Be specific and explain your thoughts. Thanks to those of you that commented on "Dystopian Societies" that led to this post.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Check it out

Do not comment on this post...

Go check out the wikispace to find the following:
  • Senior Memory Book handout and rubric
  • Senior Video Rubric
  • Dystopian Novel Radio Show requirements and rubric
I will be back on Thursday. Don't forget that your final chapters are due and your Literature Circle work is due on Friday. We are back in my classroom the rest of this week.

Dystopian Societies

  • Brave New World was written in 1931 prior to the war and the spread of Communism.
  • 1984 was written in 1947 post-war after the world had seen what the Nazi leaders could do.
  • The Handmaid's Tale was written in 1986 after the "sexual revolution" and during the rise of ultra conservative world leaders.
What effect, if any, do you think this had on the author's choice of the kind of dystopian society that would exist in the setting of the novel?

Monday, April 24, 2006

Blog Challenge

Do you have the skills to combine your math and creativity to make the best "Fib"?

The challenge is to write the best "Fib" (poem that fulfills the Fibonacci mathematical sequence). For more information on this phenomenon that is sweeping the blog world, see the following sites and articles:

In short, the poem must fulfill the syllable requirement set up by this pattern: (If you have read The DaVinci Code, this sequence may be familiar.)

The Fibonacci numbers are the sequence of numbers {F_n}_(n= defined by the linear recurrence equation


with F_1=. As a result of the definition (?), it is conventional to define F_0=.

The Fibonacci numbers for n=, 2, ... are 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, ... (Sloane's A000045).

An example from the NY Times article:
(3)and rumor
(5)But how about a
(8)Rare, geeky form of poetry?

Can you do it too? A handsome prize awaits the winner!!! Anyone at MBHS can enter! Anyone around the world can enter... although I don't know if I can deliver the prize too far.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Old School

We will be creating a radio show from the world of your group's dystopian novel. Have you ever heard an old fashioned radio show? Many shows were very theatrical, some were informative, others were comical and entertaining. I believe that your show can combine some of the old and some of the new. Use this post to brainstorm for your book.

Write the title of your book and write what kinds of segments or ideas you think might work for that book in a radio broadcast. Think about the world of the book including the characters, government, media or lack of, music, values, priorities, news, etc.

Ex. The Handmaid's Tale
  • religious music
  • weather segment
  • interview with Angels regarding their position and training they receive...

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Motivation...or "Second Semester Seniors '06!!!"

Which of these quotes do you most identify with and why?
  1. “I would much rather have regrets about not doing what people said, than regretting not doing what my heart led me to and wondering what life had been like if I'd just been myself.”
    Brittany Renée quotes (English Author and Dancer, b.1986)
  2. “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind.”
    Dr. Seuss quotes (American Writer and Cartoonist best known for his collection of children's books. 1904-1991)
  3. “People who are unable to motivate themselves must be content with mediocrity, no matter how impressive their other talents.”
    Andrew Carnegie quotes (Scottish born American Industrialist and Philanthropist. 1835-1919)
  4. “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
    Winston Churchill quotes (British Orator, Author and Prime Minister during World War II. 1874-1965)

Monday, April 17, 2006

Theme song for life

Do you have a song in mind that you would consider a great theme song for your life? Remember in your project you can use music, but have you thought about what that song or songs might say about you. Write the name and artist of the song that you think could be used as your theme song. Include a section (not the whole thing) of the song that makes it apply to your life.

Ex. "I Am"- Nicole Nordeman

Only sixteen, life is so mean
What kind of curfew is at 10 pm?
You saw my mistakes and watched my heart break
Heard when I swore I'd never love again

When I was weak, unable to speak, still I could call you by name
And I said Heartache Healer, Secret keeper, be my best Friend
You said, I am.

The winds of change and circumstance
Blow in and all around us
So we find a foothold that's familiar.
And bless the moments that we feel you nearer.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Group mentality

Literature circles work under the concept that "None of us is smarter than all of us". Like many utopias, that ideal is good on paper. Collaboration cannot be bad, right? In our very collaborative world of technology where the computer not only allows you to be a consumer but encourages you to be a producer (blogs, wikipedia, web pages), is that always true?

I am an avid reader of a blog called Creating Passionate Users written by several authors. The most prolific writer on that blog, Kathy Sierra-game developer and software creator, wrote something very profound which reflected on her experience at a conference where she heard James Surowiecki, author of The Wisdom of Crowds. Kathy writes that she believes that groups are collectively dumber than individuals (see her creative image on this post). Read her post and then reflect on your thoughts about "groupwork":

He started with a few thoughts on how ants (and so many other creatures) are quite simple and stupid, but that their intelligence and complexity grows with the number of interactions between them. More ant interaction equals more sophisticated behavior. It's similar to flocking behavior, of course, where birds follow very simple rules but complex behavior emerges.

And that's all great and intuitive... until you get to humans. Humans, he said, demonstrate the opposite principle: more interactions equals dumber behavior. When we come together and interact as a group seeking consensus, we lose sophistication and intelligence. Ants get smarter while we get dumber.

So how does this track with the name of his book?

Where I had it wrong is that his book's premise (wisdom of crowds) comes with qualifiers.
The wisdom of crowds comes not from the consensus decision of the group, but from the aggregation of the ideas/thoughts/decisions of each individual in the group.

At its simplest form, it means that if you take a bunch of people and ask them (as individuals) to answer a question, the average of each of those individual answers will likely be better than if the group works together to come up with a single answer. And he has a ton of real examples (but you'll just have to read the book for them ; )

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Unwritten rules

We have all taken vacations with our family or with friends. It may not have been to an exotic location, but anywhere but home is often enough to call it a vacation. Answer two questions:
  1. Where was your favorite vacation?
  2. Were there any family guidelines, plans, or unwritten rules regarding your time away that you can share?

Ex. 1. Gatlinburg when I was 8.

2. My mom would not allow us to sleep past 8, and I was not allowed to buy food at gas stations (we brought our own snacks in the car)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The perfect world...

A dystopian society according to Wikipedia is...

A dystopia is a fictional society that is usually seen as the antithesis of a utopia.

A dystopia is usually characterized by an authoritarian or totalitarian form of government, or some other kind of oppressive social control.

In 1984, Brave New World, and The Handmaid's Tale we will be looking at dystopian societies. Since we will be discussing the good and the bad of these societies as well as our own, I want to hear your opinion. If you were in charge and you could change some things to make America the perfect country, what would you change? What are some laws, practices, values, attitudes, people, or places that you would work to change to make our society better?

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Extended metaphor

Many of you were very successful at extending a metaphor through your stories about your elementary school days in chapter 4. Take one of the following topics and create three sentences that extend a metaphor comparing this topic with something of your choice:
  1. Graduation
  2. ________ class (your favorite class in junior high)
  3. High School
  4. Activity of your choice from high school

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”

“The past is behind, learn from it.The future is ahead, prepare for it.The present is here, live it.”
Thomas S. Monson

What part does reflection play in personal growth? Does it play a part or is it just dwelling on the past?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Romantic poets

These were some interesting fellows! They were full of passion and loved nature. They wanted to rebel against the norm and seek for truth in beauty, art, and language. They expressed their emotions, dreams, and desires in poetry.

How do you express yourself? What would you say is your best mode of expression? Explain why you chose that forum?

Monday, April 03, 2006

Frankie- Isn't that the monster's name?

Ok, well if you don't know the answer to that question, then you need to do some more reading. Frankenstein is the novel that you were suppose to have read on your own. I know that many of you read it and others Sparked it. Regardless, you had to open the book at sometime and see what was going on. As we come to a close on this novel, weigh in on one of the following questions. Feel free to Google it and find intelligent answers. Give some good reasons that make me believe you have some knowledge about the book. Be sure to include the number of the question you choose.

1. Compare the novel to a Greek tragedy, especially as it develops the themes of ambition, overreaching, hubris ("overweening pride"). Which characters display these "epic" flaws?

2. In classical and neoclassical doctrine, the "greatest of all contests" was the struggle of reason to control passion. In the nineteenth century, passion began to rise in esteem against reason. Feelings were more important. Yet the contest seems to continue. What elements of that struggle do you find in the novel? The characters of Victor and the monster are especially relevant to look at.

3. "Mary Shelley in Frankenstein clearly comes down on the side of nurture in the Nature-versus-Nurture controversy." Attack or defend.

4. "Victor Frankenstein and the monster share the same personality. Like father, like son." Attack or defend.

Questions from Harris, Robert. Virtual Salt. "Ideas for Analyzing Frankenstein." Version Date: June 18, 2000

Sunday, April 02, 2006

What do you think?

I would like to give you guys more responsibility for the blog. The goal of the blog is discourse and discussion.

According to a paper on Blogging in higher education:

In addition to commenting on the advantages of using a tool that serves as an online journal encouraging personal reflection, and as a means of encouraging collaboration through the sharing of links to resources and up to date information, Oravec (2002, p. 618) observes that the blog has many dimensions that are suited to students' 'unique voices', empowering them, and encouraging them to become more critically analytical in their thinking. The reason, simply, is that in order to develop and sustain a clear and confident voice of one's own, one has to carefully formulate and stand by one's opinions. Writing a blog assists here because it forces a student to confront their own opinions and contemplate how their views might be interpreted and reflected upon by others (Mortensen & Walker, 2002, cited in Lamshed, Berry & Armstrong, 2002).

(Williams, Jeremy and Joanne Jacobs. "Exploring the use of blogs as learning spaces in the higher education sector." Australasian Journal of Educational Technology 2004, 20(2), 232-247.)

I feel that you have risen to the challenge and provided very interesting discussion here. The purist blogger allows for students to creat the posts. Currently I create the posts or prompts and you comment. I would like to provide some freedom for certain people or classes to provide the posts for our class. This would involve giving students within a particular class "scribe" priviledges. Basically, you would think of the prompt/post and create it on the blog.

What do you think? Is that something you would be interested in?

Friday, March 31, 2006

And I quote...

I like to peruse the comments, and I found one particularly interesting...

And I quote, "I think some of the prompts are really cheesy and elementary and doesn't sound like a senior english class project."

This is by no means the first negative comment I have had. But maybe it is the last straw for me. Not that defending my intelligence or experience as a senior English teacher is necessary, but I would like to remind you that I have been doing this for a while. I appreciate your candor and would like to invite you to seek information on what you will be doing in Freshman Composition next year. I found several sites in just a few seconds to indicate, as I knew already, that this project is relevant and necessary for your growth as a writer and a person.

Excerpts from what I found...

While teaching English 114: Exposition, a freshman composition class at California Polytechnic State University, I used the following essay assignments.

Assignment one- Educational Autobiography
Ideas: Any topic related to your education or your writing is acceptable. For example, you could describe your favorite teacher, discuss your greatest academic accomplishment, tell a story about your award-winning fourth grade poem, use anecdotes to demonstrate how much you hate writing assignments, explain how you panic the night before a research paper is due, or explore your first day in college.

Assignment two- Letter of Admiration
Ideas: Any letter of love, friendship, admiration, or gratitude is acceptable. Be creative. You could write to a relative, friend, sweetheart, celebrity, or fictional character. For example, you might create an anniversary letter for your future spouse ­- dated in the year 2026, a love letter between Romeo and Juliet or Mickey and Minnie Mouse…

And on another site...

John Corbelly- Los Angeles Harbor College- Freshman Comp
Assignment one-
Write a focused personal-experience essay that looks at some habit (or obsession) that characterizes you or a friend or a member of your family; you may also show how this exhibits a behavior or value shared by many Americans (or, if you are not a native-born American, you may show how this is typical of your native country); in any case, you will need to provide ACTUAL experiences, personal (or personally-observed) examples…

So for all of you that have other complaints and thoughts about the next few weeks of your life in this class... if you don't have something constructive to say---------- don't say it on here. Complaints are valid if they are constructive and provide a possible solution.


Who Am I?

You are going to be reflecting on your life in the first chapter "Who Am I?" One thing you have to include is a poem that you wrote about you or that is a reflection of you. Post your poem here. If you are still looking for a poem, now would be a good time to find one! Have a great weekend. Remember Chapters 1 and 2 are due Monday along with the "additional elements". Don't forget!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

The antihero

Lord Byron made a character type famous. This character type is the Byronic Hero. Here is a definition:

An antihero who is a romanticized but wicked character. Conventionally, the figure is a young and attractive male with a bad reputation. He defies authority and conventional morality, and becomes paradoxically ennabled by his peculiar rejection of virtue. http://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/lit_terms_B.html

Name someone in life, literature, or movies who could be a Byronic hero and explain your reasons.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Romanticism- Not so lovely!

Years: 1798 – 1832


*human knowledge consists of impressions and ideas formed in the individual’s mind
* introduction of gothic elements and terror/horror stories and novels
* in nature one can find comfort and peace that the man-made urbanized towns and factory environments cannot offer


* lyrical ballads


* evil attributed to society not to human nature
* human beings are basically good
* movement of protest: a desire for personal freedom
* children seen as hapless victims of poverty and exploitation

After perusing this list of attributes related to the Romantic period in British literature, think of a song or artist today that would fit perfectly into this era. If you name a song, please put artist and a snippet (not the whole song) of the lyrics. If you name an artist, give an example of his/her work and explain why he/she fits.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Scroll Down...

Hey guys,
If you are using Internet Explorer you may want to scroll down and see the new additions to the blog. We have a statcounter, a ticker, and a slideshow. Look for new slideshow links to come with your pictures. Also, this might be a great tool for our video diary projects too! Keep up with your reading this week, and get back into the swing of school. Use this post to express your feelings about the Senior Memory Book Project and Video Diary. What do you think? Are you worried? What are your thoughts? Elliot... be nice!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Diary: You think you know, but you have no idea...

You will be creating a video diary of sorts that chronicles your life until now. This will consist of pictures from chapters of your life. If you had to pick three significant-connected to strong emotions that you remember with great detail- chapters (events) in your life, what would you choose? You don't need to describe them here. Just give the chapter a name.

Example for me from birth to 12th grade (yes, I know that was long, long ago!):

1. The fourth grade perm/Valentine's Day debaucle
2. The first date (enough said)
3. Senior Homecoming- from "they like me" to "they hate me" in 24 hours

Your events can be happy, sad, funny. They can involve just you or family and friends. These events may not be significant to others, but if they hold significance to you- that's enough.