Category: Admin

Just a quick note between wind storms – those gusty fustilarians leaving all sorts of leanings, vandalizing our privacy fence with an unhealthy bend (now fixed – thanks, Ace!) and leading more than a few freshmen into cabin fever, cannibal-inclinations.

Being National Poetry Month, I’ve been studiously reading poems each day and writing a few in my spare time.  While the last effort is always rewarding, the second has also been beneficial.  Not only is my emotional state more settled, but I have also been accepted for publication!   The debut, summer edition of the Crow Literary Journal, a new print literary journal here in eastern Wyoming, will include three poems by yours truly.  My contact with their team has been invigorating, and I think there will be some very talented writers making a name for themselves.  While I hold no such high hopes for me, I do appreciate being included.

In another note on summer fortunes, I have also been offered a panel at Denver Comic Con this year!  I’ll let my description speak for me, especially to remember what I promised to do:

Illustrated Education: Drawing on Comics in the High School Classroom

An educator will describe the elements of design, text selection, metacognition, and publication that inspired reluctant readers into avenues of creation and abstract thinking – all through the use of the comics medium!  The presentation will include: the steps of identifying high school classes with a need for reordered thinking/reading, implementing visual and comics texts into curricular needs, naming foundational texts of a graphic novel classroom, examining concepts and pedagogy that suit higher-order, 21st-century thinking, and inviting participants in the session to communicate, collaborate, and create opportunities to use the valuable media in their own classrooms.

I don’t know the specifics yet, but such information will be posted when available – that is, if I don’t flee from my own hubris into a summer cycle of seclusion and self-doubt.

Happy trails!

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You know that video – the one with the two red foxes screaming at each other, at arm’s (foreleg’s) length away?  Just staring and screaming, occasionally looking around to see if anyone has commentary or choral aspirations for their love/antagonism?  February was a bit like that.  In the last month, since a whirlwind Jeopardy! appearance and an incredible outpouring of affection and support, the air became thick.

Peer reviews, illness, professional quirks, insanity on the television.  Bullish weather, armed teachers, book selection challenges, advice from the uninformed.

At least there was chocolate.  I’m lucky to have a lighthouse at home – in fact:

There’s no time in which I feel more at peace than in the winking daylight when I pull up on the curb.  In a car now, and sometimes by foot, but hopefully on a bike soon.  The lighthouse in my home is a port in the storm and a part of my form.  Mental health days were taken, if only to make you breakfast and stick lavender incense in every cranny.

At times, I pursue reading above all physical concerns or obligations.  In preparation for potential panels in the summer and reimaginings (forced and unforced) of the texts for next year’s classes, it’s been heavy on graphic novels and comic collections.  These days I dream and breathe sequential art – it’s in every fiber and thread of the tenuous classroom strings.  Despondency over the pre-spring doldrums hit hard this year, and my reading has been similarly contemplative.  I’ve been checking out graphic memoirs, with varying lenses of trauma and redemption (eating disorders, abuse, neurological/mental illness, etc.), investing deeply in the Mignolaverse (splatty bug creatures and fun with ectoplasm), and revisiting Sandman with the collection of Death (Gaiman always rights the perspective-ship).  Amid monsters and shadows, it’s life on every page.

The spring cleaning I need to do (besides the actual mountains of housework, writ in lists that, laid out on the floor, not only circumnavigate the whole domicile but also define the safe pathways that won’t result in stubbed toes or “TIMBER!” of assorted organized chaos piles) is of the mind.  Minimize the day to day, focus on the big picture.  Get back to one of those three writing projects.  Beat back the block and decorate my world with a mantra splashed on the wall space, as Neil would have it:

The first step out.

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Christmas Memories
Christmas Memories

The number one request in wishlists sent to Mr. Earnshaw’s North Pole Classroom Blog?  More videos from Bob’s Buskers (from Bob’s Burgers)!  So here you go – the National, a Christmas Tree, and a message we can all get behind.  Stay warm, students and friends; happy holidays!

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“Hello, world!”  That’s the sign-on now famous, or infamous, to CS50x students who bump into such messages in their adventures through coding.  We’ve been working on completing the rigorous course requirements in Scratch, C, computational thinking, and algorithmic problem solving, with more to come before the early-December end-date.  Add to that the Google Classroom transition and WebQuests, TurnItIn, and Voicethread projects, and it’s not hard to see that September was a digital dive.  As such, this corner of the internet has gotten a little dusty, for which I apologize – if anybody but me pays much attention at all!

As a small sampling of my work in the course, and as a convenient segue into freshmen short stories and senior Old and Middle English, here’s a recording of my Scratch fable.  Deep thoughts there.  Follow the link to fall into fable (as 30 sec clip)!

The Bat and Crab at the Garden Gate

Thanks, and here’s hoping for an awesome October!

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Thank you so much, students, who have already signed up for Remind and other digital class notifications.  Today would’ve been the first day of school, but the powers that be wisely moved it to the side so that the real show – Total Solar Eclipse! – can take center stage.  I’m looking forward to seeing all of you tomorrow, and many of you on today’s Eclipse field trip, to start the academic year!

Diagram of a solar eclipse from a 13th-century illuminated manuscript. The New York Public Library Digital Collections – via BrainPickings

Those of you on the bus today will have hours to be regaled with eclipse myths, like the frogs who swallow the stars, or passages from Annie Dillard’s classic essay on 1979’s offering, or even jam out to Mr. E’s favorite eclipse playlists.

Space.com has the broadest collection, in my opinion:

If you won’t be on our trip, please make an effort on your own to see what Mabel Loomis Todd observed as: “A vast, palpable presence overwhelming the world. The blue sky changes to gray or dull purple, speedily becoming more dusky, and a death-like trance seizes upon everything earthly.”

Grab those special, approved viewers’ glasses and maybe read up on some of the political and cultural impacts of this eclipse in a particularly dramatic moment in American history at The Atlantic.

You should make every effort to live in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, what Emily Dickinson, who saw the eclipse in 1875, immortalized in the lines:

It sounded as if the streets were running —
And then — the streets stood still —
Eclipse was all we could see at the Window
And Awe — was all we could feel.

By and by — the boldest stole out of his Covert
To see if Time was there —
Nature was in her Opal Apron —
Mixing fresher Air.

Happy stargazing!

See you soon.

-Mr. E

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Can you believe it?!  Not much sense in thinking backwards now – so let’s go ahead and get started!  Here is the welcome back slideshow that would normally air in the Back to School evening event.  I will be absent this go ’round, attending an audition for Jeopardy! in Denver, which will hopefully look something nothing like this:

via GIPHY

In lieu of the in-person slideshow, here is a digital copy.  For syllabi, Remind flyers, and other info, head into the Class Resources tabs featured along the bar at the top.

Thanks for visiting, and happy school year!

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Couldn’t have done it without you, pupils mine.

The height of summer is upon us, so I wanted to check in with a call to heed what days remain!  I suggest you follow my lead: fill the calendar with reads to recommend, be outdoors more than in, and hide from the afternoon heat in a cinema or siesta.  I’m looking forward to seeing you in August (after I’ve seen that eclipse!), but let’s not rush the pages by counting them.

cheerio!

Mr. E

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Mastery (of English. Next – Lumberjackin’!)

Welcome back!  Fresh from Flagstaff with a measure of professional fulfillment, inspiration has struck to makeover the page.  Special kudos to the webmaster-wife in this effort!  Sorry to those of you who struggle with shifting (and shifty) internets.

Please continue to use the site as you normally would – Odyssey posts are directly below, and past Remind messages are now accessed through the tabs at the top.  Off to Ithaca!

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