Category Archives: Admin

May Playlist (2016)

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She shall be Rose the Destroyer!

May this be your month!  To keep the classroom humming productively for the next four long weeks, this month’s playlist is a nice mix of thumpin’ seasonal picks, an Odyssey-themed setlist, and a summer concert series that I’m personally looking forward to.  What will you do this month to make summer worth the wait?

  1. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – The Waiting
  2. Rihanna feat. Jay-Z – Umbrella
  3. OMC – How Bizarre
  4. Tori Kelly – Nobody Love
  5. Summer Camp – Down
  6. Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band – Darlington County
  7. The Kingsmen – Louie Louie
  8. Nashville Cast – The Book
  9. Dawes – From a Window Seat
  10. Shiny Toy Guns – Earth Below Us
  11. Christodoulos Halaris – Hymn to the Muse (Trad.)
  12. David Bowie – Heroes
  13. The Lively Ones – Surf Rider
  14. AWOLNATION – Sail
  15. Mumford & Sons – The Cave
  16. The Alarm – The Stand
  17. The Pretty Reckless – Heaven Knows
  18. The Strumbellas – Spirits
  19. Leon Bridges – Smooth Sailin’
  20. Chet Faker – Gold
  21. Adele – Water Under the Bridge
  22. Alison Krauss & Gillian Welch (O Brother, Where Art Thou? Soundtrack) – I’ll Fly Away
  23. Tom Waits – Long Way Home
  24. M83 – Midnight City
  25. The Avett Brothers – Live and Die
  26. Nahko and the Medicine for the People – San Quentin
  27. Gary Clark Jr. – When My Train Pulls In
  28. Trampled By Turtles – Come Back Home
  29. Lord Huron – The Man Who Lives Forever
  30. Shakira feat. Wyclef Jean – Hips Don’t Lie
  31. The Wallflowers – One Headlight

Bard’s Day, 23rd April 2016 – 452/400

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The Wonder of Will: 400 Years of Shakespeare. Image courtesy of The Folger Shakespeare Library. 2016.

The Wonder of Will: 400 Years of Shakespeare. Image courtesy of The Folger Shakespeare Library. 2016.

If you’ve looked at this page but once, you know that the Bard is a pretty big deal around here.  Today, then, would be remiss without an annual commemoration of his birth/death-day with some extra, added momentum.  The whole world is turning out for the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s (bodily) death, with touring productions, social media campaigns, reams of newsprint, and random English teachers’ blog posts.  However, there is one special event that will be making its way to our humble corner of the world later this year.

The Folger Shakespeare Library, located in Washington DC, has 82 copies of Shakespeare’s First Folio.  These items are extraordinarily rare, and unbelievable fragile.  (You can read about the extreme safety precautions the Library takes by checking this link from NPR.)  Published long after his death, the folio contains at least 18 of his plays that would not be known today without these labors of love.  And this year, to honor his everlasting legacy, copies of the Folio will be traveling from the Folger Library out to all 50 states and Puerto Rico, and Wyoming’s temporary host is none other than our own State Museum in downtown Cheyenne!

From Sept 7 – 30, you can see one of these Folios, a repository of some of the greatest words ever penned by the human race, for the price of admission, which is typically FREE!  While a trip to DC may be a prerequisite for American-ness, let’s be honest and say that this opportunity is likely your best bet to join in one of the most important celebrations available to young scholars and citizens of the world.  Rather than leave you with yet another quote or pun on the topic, I think it suffices to let the plays speak loudest.  Do yourself a favor and bask in the (probably musty) glory of all that is wonderful, inventive, and essential by checking it out next Fall!

Poem in Your Pocket Day (2016)

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Edna St. Vincent Millay. Photo credit: Carl Van Vechten. Poets.org

Edna St. Vincent Millay. Photo credit: Carl Van Vechten. Poets.org

“Travel”

by Edna St. Vincent Millay, (1892-1950)

The railroad track is miles away,

    And the day is loud with voices speaking,

Yet there isn’t a train goes by all day

    But I hear its whistle shrieking.

 

All night there isn’t a train goes by,

    Though the night is still for sleep and dreaming,

But I see its cinders red on the sky,

    And hear its engine steaming.

 

My heart is warm with friends I make,

    And better friends I’ll not be knowing;

Yet there isn’t a train I wouldn’t take,

    No matter where it’s going.

#pocketpoem

Spring Break!(?)! and Some Games to Busy Your Time

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Southeast Wyoming hasn't changed much since then...

Southeast Wyoming hasn’t changed much since then…

Hope the no-wifi game isn’t the only thing to keep you entertained over your unexpected break!  If internet has been restored (which I am assuming to be true, as you are reading this post…), be sure to e-mail me any missing assignments – SWRPapers, Unit 5 Reflective Essays, Annotated Bibliographies – because the 3rd Quarter is over!  All grades are final on Tuesday.  If I don’t have it then, there’s not much I can do.

For more fun and games, why don’t you check out this sweet game my wife made for one of her classes.  It serves as Shakespeare Connections/Exploration Amazingness!  No extra credit is being offered as of yet, but maybe you can earn a “Super Awesome” Prize if you solve the puzzle!

sploder

http://www.sploder.com/?s=d004w1ct

Holiday Giveaway!

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Image belongs to Lucasfilm/Disney (please don't sue) and some Santa-happy stock photographer.

Image belongs to Lucasfilm/Disney (please don’t sue) and swivel-zimber (props to you, internet artist).

It certainly has been a busy month, and I think we are all looking forward to the well-deserved break.  Before we go, however, I’ve got an opportunity to be not-so-secret Santa to one or two good boys or girls who check out the class website!  It is the holidays after all, and one of the best presents was Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

In my possession are two different t-shirts (sized large) that I’m gonna give to the first two students who find the Golden Ticket.  “The Golden Ticket?!” – you may well ask.  It looks like this:

Yep. Solid gold.

Yep. Solid gold.

It is hidden in one of the previous posts (from Halloween on, let’s say).  Using your mouse and some keen detective skills, you can find the magic stub!  Follow the directions that show up with it, and you’re on your way to the best-styled Christmas this side of the galaxy.

Apple Pickin’

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I’m trying to keep this site focused on cool class content and notices, and I certainly don’t want to come across as a braggart here.  Enough people, however, have asked me about my Golden Apple Award that I figured I would put it up for those interested.  You should definitely check out all of the amazing educators who make a difference in our community at http://www.kgwn.tv/station/misc/Golden-Apple-Winners-248244001.html, but here is the video of one schmuck who snuck in.  Special thanks and credit to all of 7th Hour seniors who provided such nice bribes thoughts, as well as the wonderful wife who helps me get tech-y with videos and nonesuch.


PS – Special thanks to Jace’s hat, too.  That hat.

Banned Books Week 2015

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Banned Books Week 2015, courtesy ala.org/bbooks

Banned Books Week 2015, courtesy ala.org/bbooks

Every year, the last week in September becomes the focal point for a concerted effort to celebrate the freedom to read.  In this country, the First Amendment’s right to free speech must contend with a long history of censorship – promoted by individuals, organizations, and government.  Banned Books Week is organized by the American Library Association (ALA), the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), and a host of non-profits, publishers, and legal defense funds.  It is supported by myself, among much of the reading world, and, through this week’s Extra Credit opportunity, by you!

To receive Extra Credit for Banned Books Week, you must choose one of the following options, and use professional images, symbols, designs, or media:

A) Create a Poster to celebrate the week, using the three requirements below:

  • Include the title Banned Books Week, in flashy color/font to catch the attention of passerby
  • Include a quote about censorship from this video provided by Simon & Schuster Books: Celebrate the Freedom to Read
  • Include suggestions on how to celebrate Banned Books Week in school or at home

B) Create a Handout to share information about banned and challenged books, using these criteria:

  • A list of frequently challenged books (Here’s a resource from the ALA)
  • Reasons why books are often challenged (Resources from the Huffington Post, in 2012 and 2014)
  • A checklist of frequently challenged books – check off as many as you’ve read!

C) Compose a 1 page essay (typed – 12pt font, TNR, double-spaced) on To Kill a Mockingbird as a challenged book.  Why (and where/when) has it frequently been challenged?  What might be ironic about wanting this book censored?  What is your reflection on reading the book – how might you oppose or defend a challenge to this book at our school?

Whichever option you choose, it must be submitted by the end of the day Thursday, October 1.  To be eligible, you must follow the requirements for each option, as well as aim for professional quality (Mom would put it on the fridge, and so would I!).  Successful efforts will be awarded 20pts, and above-average efforts 30pts (each option is worth more than a homework assignment!).  If nothing else, you can celebrate this week by finishing TKAM, and moving on to a new book which, having been published, probably has found someone to challenge it by now!

F(READ)OM!!

September Threads

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Illustration by Vladimir Radunsky, from On a Beam of Light by Jennifer Berne (see BrainPickings link below)

Illustration by Vladimir Radunsky, from On a Beam of Light by Jennifer Berne (see BrainPickings link below)

First Day of Fall!  A Happy Birthday to the Boss, a fond farewell to Yogi Berra (even though he signed with the Empire of Evil) and some links to ponder.  It’s important, especially for those of us living in a seemingly-remote corner of the world…(They say there are things to do, and I think that there are things to do, but students still tell me there’s “nothing to do”.  Doesn’t seem to equate more homework getting done…).  Anyway, it’s important for those of us who live in insular societies to join the larger world.  No one’s experiences are in isolation!  We as human beings are all part of a larger, circular order to criss-crossing paths and degrees of separation.  Like a spider’s web, movement on one end of our connective tissue affects somebody else.  I call posts like these “Threads” to connote this link up.  Here are some helpful links to get you up to date on food for thought and shout-outs to glory.

Burns, Wyoming’s First All-Girls FTC Robotics Team! – Marissa, et al are taking extracurriculars to new heights and radioactive, fan girl awesomeness.  Geronimo, allons-y and all that!

Brain Pickings! – Curated by Maria Popova, this all-learning, all-the-time resource from the greatest minds on happiness, intelligence, serenity, adventures, and the benefits of being alive.  This is a great site I visit frequently (sign-up for the newsletter to get a weekly rundown!) that informs my reading, teaching, and all-around efforts to share genius and mindfulness.  Excelsior!

Here are some of my favorites to get you started:

The Importance of Leisure in a Workaholic Society

Amanda Palmer Recounts Neil Gaiman’s Philosophical Dream

Fifteen Inspiring Picture Books Celebrating Famous Thinkers

Finally, the Unemployed Philosopher’s Guild.  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: all your holiday shopping, from Halloween to Valentine’s Day and back!

Thanks for reading, and keep an eye out for Extra Credit opportunities here soon!

Smartcars and Zombies: What You Need To Know

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Only a month in and some people already be like:

Only a month in and some people already be like:

We are entering one of our busiest times of the school year.  A full month of school completed, plus the end of MAP testing, means that teachers are going to start administering tests and district assessments (if they haven’t already).  Additionally, Homecoming next week, active sports seasons, fall festivals, and changing hours of daylight are all liable to mess up your study and reading schedules.  Bearing that in mind, please do your best to keep up with assignments, and don’t hesitate to contact me with questions for clarification or edification.  If you need a mental break or food for thought, check out some of the happenings and hootenannies here in southeast Wyoming’s wacky fall (click on the bolded links for more info):

Grant will allow Wyoming to test smart vehicle tech – driving on I-80 is going to get even more interesting in the near future (check back next month for my reaction to the morning I drove to Burns and saw a vampire trucker and the aftermath of a fiery ceremony)

The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, sequel to last year’s adaptation of James Dashner’s book, is out in cinemas today, and you might check it out for three reasons: 1) It’s based on a book series (which you can order through the class orders!), 2) It doesn’t follow the book so closely you have to know what’s going on, and 3) The filmmakers were honest enough, and kind enough, not to split the third book into two movies — looking at you Mockingjay!

Cheyenne Zombiefest returns this weekend – Halloween lasts all year for some people (and every day in English class hosts the making of some new ghost story…).  Most of my friends through Cheyenne Little Theatre are those kinds of people, and they will be volunteering this weekend at the annual undead revival in downtown Cheyenne.  The Halloween stores are open, and the craft stores have probably started to put out Christmas decorations, which means that spooky season is upon us again, and you Walking Dead obsessives can get your fix. [Heads up: not everybody who attends does so with the PG-13 rating in mind — there are some costumes and behaviors that might not be for everyone (myself included), so use discretion if you attend.]

And on top of all that, the Pokes are away this weekend, so you don’t have to drive all the way to Laramie just to be distressed by our lack of defense (for what it’s worth, my grad school’s team — which is a Division I team, Zane — is 2-0: Go Jacks!).

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