Tag Archives: Monsters

Mr. E is Missing! (But you knew that at this point.) The Final Chapter in the Faraway Saga.

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Last night, the third (and final) Presidential Debate was held a few blocks down from me at UNLV, and I’m happy to say that I survived with no more than a smattering of harsh words heard.

In case you’ve forgotten, this is my preferred candidate for the time being:

"And if I wanted to sit around all day going nowhere, I'd be a teacher!"

“And if I wanted to sit around all day going nowhere, I’d be a teacher!”

Putting that behind us (and not soon enough) – Well done, everyone!  I didn’t get any notice (yet) from concerned individuals – parents or administration – so I can only assume that all is good.  I will be traveling back homeward near the end of the week, and will resume gradebook updating and responding to queries early next week.  If you have any questions or items that I should note, please consider leaving me a note in the turn-in tray, which should be filled with:

9th: “The Interlopers” WS, Peter and the Wolf Viewer’s Guide, “Gray Area” graphic organizers, and the Wolf Writing Constructed Response (as well as any missing TKAM items).

12th: Unit 1 Projects, with reflective essay and rubrics attached, leaving me a note if your project didn’t fit in the bin, or was digital upon completion.  All of the Unit 1 (Beowulf and Canterbury) items should be in as well.

1010: Playing Devil’s Advocate graphic organizer, Toulmin Model organizers, Character Cards, and any notes or relevant votes pertaining to the Town Hall.

Congrats, again, everybody!  Start planning your Halloween costume if you haven’t already (like some of us did back in July) – the costume contest will be in one week, on the 27th of October!

It's the Not-So-Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

It’s the Not-So-Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

And on that final pic, good gourd, you shall dance into the weekend.  Woot!

Mr. E is Missing! (But are you missing him?) The Faraway Saga Continues: Part 3

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Hey, hey Wednesday!  I’ll be brief, as your Remind text probably sent you here while you should be getting ready for school.  Skim through these notes while you slug that skim milk.

Just kidding – no one should drink skim milk:

I know what I'm about.

I know what I’m about, son.

9th: Important goings on in class today!  But first: Werewolf socks!

What happens in Vegas...causes people to head back home as cursed, but fashionable, monsters.

What happens in Vegas…causes people to head back home as cursed, but fashionable, monsters.

Okay, now that that’s covered – your own Wolf Week continues in class today, involving group collaboration to synthesize (Vocab! see the board’s Thinking Strategy poster) some article pieces from the Casper Star Tribune in 2015.

Gray Area: Twenty years after wolves were released into the wild

There are photos and links to help each group, but especially pertaining to those of you in Group 3 for the Timeline, which has a much larger version available through the article.

12th: It’s your final official work day for Unit 1 Projects, so make some magic happen!  Or else.

Poof goes your grade.

Poof goes your grade.

1010: Today’s the day for your Town Hall! Unless you want to do it tomorrow.  Whatever works – it’s your class.  Just live in that character card, keep your manners clean, and don’t be throwing anything besides carefully considered arguments and objections.

It's all good fun till someone loses a pie. Ooh! Or, don't use any custwords (Get it? Cuss words and custards? Ha. Punny.)

It’s all good fun till someone loses a pie.
Ooh! Or, don’t use any custwords (Get it? Cuss words and custards? Ha. Punny.)

 

Mr. E is Missing! (But he has the technology.) Part 2 from the Faraway.

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Woot!  Made it in one piece.  I trust that your Monday was most marvelous, even if you had to go a whole day without my judgmental, raised eyebrow.

Before the reminders, just a note – please feel free to reach out to me this week through the school e-mail or the Remind App.  As I warned you, I will be away from grading this week, but I can still hear your questions, updates, and arguments as to why you should get extra credit/Vegas goodies/Time and Space considerations, etc.

On to your shameless check-ins!

9th: Did you enjoy Peter and the Wolf?!  I love it.  Make sure your Viewer’s Guide notes are in by the end of the week, or else you’ll be seeing this face when I get back in.

The stare already lives in your nightmares.

The stare already lives in your nightmares.

12th: How did I miss this opportunity last week in our Arthurian adventures?!

Maybe it fits into your Unit 1 Project on the cultural legacy of Arthur in British Literature.  Or you can just get Guy Richie’s Sherlock Holmes treatment on this year too, in pre-medieval times.  With monsters!

1010: Is the snark boiling over in class yet this week?!  Keep it respectful, but get ready to amp up your character cards in that Town Hall.  For some additional help, here’s a link to the original article’s comment section on The Atlantic.  Maybe you’ll get some good arguments to try in class!  I haven’t previewed them all of course, so I do not condone any comments by trolls you may find.

Not those kinds. Avoid these too.

Not these kinds.  Avoid these too.

Read Neil Gaiman’s Troll Bridge instead.  Read anything by Neil Gaiman.  Everything.

That’s it!  Stay tuned for tomorrow, and keep at it!

Happy Summer!

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How summer goes in my dreams (vision of import at courtesy of Toho and Dr. Pepper).

That’s all folks!  Another school year complete, I want to thank you for the advice, participation, suggestions, and giggles you gave me in and out of class in this site’s debut.  Feel free to check in this summer, as I’ll post the occasional snapshot of my life during break.  Plenty to look forward to in the fall – great reading, Google Classroom, new “district assessments”, and another chance for the best school year ever – but for now, I’m satisfied to sit back and summer it up.  Hope you do the same!  Stay safe, be good.  See ya ’round!   – Mr. E

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

Reading Picks: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith (and Jane Austen)

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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.  Seth Grahame-Smith.  Quirk Classics.  2009.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Seth Grahame-Smith. Quirk Classics. 2009.

Ah, February.  For many, the month brings to mind snowdrifts, Valentines, and the peculiarity of a short month made a little longer every four years.  But for others, February is about a different kind of romance – the marriage of classic literature and “ultraviolent zombie mayhem”. To wit, 2013 offered Warm Bodies, a film – based on a book – based on Romeo and Juliet (plus zombies).  This Friday marks the release of an undead, overdue film – based on a book – that may have started it all: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.  While the film itself should be a delight (for those who like proper English ladies unsheathing decapitations upon dreadful Satan-spawn), the source material is not to be missed either.

Written by Seth Grahame-Smith (who also penned Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter), this novel comes from one of my favorite publishers Quirk Books, purveyor of all things interesting, literary, and, well, quirky (see: William Shakespeare’s Star WarsMiss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, and Horrorstör, to name a few).  Although eminently readable for its funniness and formally choreographed carnage, the genius behind PPZ is its authenticity in tone to Jane Austen’s 1813 original.  The manners and style that so occupy the Bennet sisters are retained, only now the ladies must sharpen swords and their martial arts skills in addition to proper dance form and social etiquette.  Also, the addition of “the dreadfuls” may clarify, for modern readers, some of the context and inferred elements of the novel, adding an undead focus.

p. 15 - "Mr. Darcy watched Elizabeth and her sisters work their way outward, beheading zombie after zombie as they went."  Illustrations by Philip Smiley.

p. 15 – “Mr. Darcy watched Elizabeth and her sisters work their way outward, beheading zombie after zombie as they went.” Illustrations by Philip Smiley.

The zombie trend, in my opinion, may have largely run its course.  Walking undead, such as vampires and zombies, aren’t really my thing, at least.  However, there is an undeniable appeal in the zeitgeist in imagining an endless horde of mindless consumers slowly, but surely, eroding the fabric of society.  Perhaps it was the same in Regency England!  If you can’t beat ’em, eat ’em…er, join ’em.  For Brit. Lit. students, please consider PPZ as an option for the Unit 4 novels (or seek out sequels and spinoffs such as Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters or Android Karenina). There may also be an extra credit opportunity for using the movie as an excuse to get literary – as if you needed one!

Field Trip: Anybody seen this dinosaur?

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State Dinosaur coming through!

State Dinosaur coming through!

Sometimes one forgets that you don’t always have to look to Colorado for illuminating excursions.  There are, for example, a bunch of exciting events held at the Wyoming State Museum downtown on Central Ave.  In addition to supremely exciting events (like this one — Folger Library’s First Folios on Tour!) and great geocache opportunities (with a gift shop reward for a clever find), the Museum hosts special presentations each month.  With the end of the quarter/semester looming, you might be looking for Extra Credit opportunities, and here’s an interesting one for you.

It’s “Wyoming Dinosaur Discoveries: Where Did the Dinosaurs Go?”, this Thursday the 14th at 7pm.  Per the Museum’s site:

Wyoming is home to some of the world’s most famous dinosaur fossils.  Since the first discovery in 1872, dinosaurs have been excavated, placed on railcars or loaded into trucks, and shipped throughout the world.  It was not until 1961 that a dinosaur from Wyoming was mounted and placed on display within the state.  Join Jessica Lippincott, Director of the Big Horn Basin Foundation, to learn about the past 150 years of dinosaur discoveries in Wyoming and where those dinosaurs are now.

You could pair this lecture with Bone Sharps, Cowboys, and Thunder Lizards, a 2005 graphic novel by Jim Ottaviani and Big Time Attic (available in our school library) that details the Bone Wars that brought paleontologists to Wyoming.  Or, while there, you can marvel at the now-legendary license plate boot out front, a painted boot featuring the fine brush strokes of a once-local student from way back when who likes to humblebrag in extra credit offers.  See me for more info, and get digging!  That saddle-bearing triceratops isn’t going to clone itself.

Stylin'.

Stylin’.

WyoStateMuseum Lecture Series

WyoStateMuseum Lecture Series

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!).

Reading Picks: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

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A Monster Calls. Patrick Ness. Candlewick Press. 2011

A Monster Calls. Patrick Ness. Candlewick Press. 2011

I’m in the midst of grad school books (in addition to my upkeep with To Kill a Mockingbird and Beowulf), so there isn’t much to share in my current readings that most students would be interested in.  Conversations in the senior classes, however, reminded me of a very, very good book I picked up in our school library a few years ago that is perfectly timed for the change in seasons.  If you aren’t already excited to read this month’s pick by the compelling cover art alone, the above book should appeal to you for many, marvelous reasons.  Not least of which is the promise of the title – indeed, A Monster Calls (from Candlewick Press, 2011).

A Monster Calls was inspired by an idea from author Siobhan Dowd, a famed, prize-winning British writer of young adult fiction who died from a severe case of breast cancer in 2007.  Her (unfortunately) short list of completed works were widely recognized by literary awards, including the Carnegie, which is the British version of the Newbery Medal.  In the words of Patrick Ness, who completed this story: “She had the characters, a premise, and a beginning.  What she didn’t have, unfortunately, was time.”  Ness, author of the Chaos Walking series, picked up her idea and ran with it to a Carnegie Medal of his own for this novella, which details the troubled nights of Conor – a 13-year-old boy with an ailing mother and an inhuman visitor.

Illustration by Jim Kay from A Monster Calls.

Illustration by Jim Kay from A Monster Calls.

The Monster in this book is of the Wild – a creature of the thresholds who is literally made of the natural world, visiting Conor each night seven minutes after twelve.  The creature is vividly brought to life in award-winning illustrations by Jim Kay, and the images blend seamlessly into the words much as the natural world slowly encroaches on our own concept of “safe” “civilization”.  The theme of slow, inexorable changes settles in the pages: in Conor’s attitude, his mother’s health, and the changing role of the monster who visits Conor night after night, stories in hand.

Storytelling is the one of the main takeaways of this novel, which addresses all of the English classes this year.  I won’t say any more about this book in the hopes that you will check it out for yourself for a monstrously-good read in this most exciting of seasons.  Again, the book is available in our own school library, as are the Chaos Walking books, and a host of other Carnegie winners (and fantasy/young adult fiction books).  If nothing else has you looking for this pick, think of it as a chance to read it before it gets cool – the upcoming movie adaptation is due October 2016, written by Ness, and starring Liam Neeson and Felicity Jones.

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