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:
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
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!
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!).
Labor Day is upon us, and that is a very exciting thing for your teachers and your parents (unless they were enjoying your days away). You see, even though you students will – if you play your cards right – have many more three day weekends ahead, the staff and community of Burns High are working away most Fridays to give you the best education possible.
To help you pass the time over the long weekend, why don’t you introduce the BBQ attendees or hunting buddies to the site that became a senior class obsession: the Herb Nerd Personality Quiz(click on the bolded name for link). Labor Day in our modern world is all about the food. If you don’t mind being compared to the food that your food eats, take this quiz and find the right herb for your diet. It might even help you in school!
I hope you all have a great weekend, and eat up! (Also, Go Pokes!)
I’m Justin Earnshaw, a teacher of English. This blog is intended to serve as a resource for my students, as well as an online venue to begin establishing a digital presence. As a relative neophyte to the digital realm, this is a learning experience for me, and perhaps one for you, dear reader.
Things you can expect to see on this blog:
Messages for students (to discuss, inform, and motivate, etc.).
Connections to literary texts of the world (e.g. book reviews, links to excellent essays, geeking out over movie trailers).
Noticings about this corner of the world — southeast Wyoming and the front range corridor.
Things you should not expect to see on this blog:
Vitriol, vehemence, and other vile things found on the web’s dark(er) corners (such as hate speech, trolling, New York Yankees fans).
Detailed elements of my personal life – students will not know where I live or where my gold is buried.
An easy, how-to guide to doing it all the right way. This is simply my view on matters pertaining to the best possible worldly and academic education for my students.
Thanks for reading this, and now get back to reading that book!