Next Middle School Book “Seige and Storm”

The next book club book is “Seige and Storm” by Leigh Bardugo.  I have e-mailed a questionnaire to your parents about acquiring the book, please make sure they respond.


New Book Group for High School

A new high school book group is starting this week.  We will be reading “Slapstick” by Kurt Vonnegut.  I am told it is a quick and easy read.  Please acquire it and be ready to begin reading by Dec. 12th.

In the meantime, please read the Susan Sontag essay on photography and be ready to discuss it on Wednesday if you are in advanced English.


HS English – Creative Writing Class

This week we are going to discuss “creative reading” as opposed to writing.

Once you learn to read and that process has been routinized and internalized, why is it that different people reading the same material reach different conclusions? Or to put this another way, why is there ambiguity (uncertainty or inexactness of meaning in language)? Why is there a misunderstanding? What happens in the movement from decoding the characters on the page or screen to creating an interpretation of what those characters, considered in context, might mean that causes one reader’s mind to go in one direction and another reader’s mind to go in different directions?

For many students, the mystery of how teachers-and experts, in general–read is never solved. For these students, the experience of higher-order literacy, where reading and writing become ways to create new ideas remains out of reach.  I don’t want this to happen to you!  

The first step in this assignment is this (the next step will come at the end of the week):

  1. Research Diane Arbus in a way that is comfortable to you.  You will find many resources about her on-line (as well as movies, documentaries, ect..).  On Friday be ready to discuss your research about Arbus and give your opinion of her work.  Your research should run pretty deep – I would at least look at five sources.  You should keep notes to help you remember your main points (copying and pasting from different places into one doc. is fine).  I would also suggest you jot down questions you have while researching Arbus.  Keep those questions, they will help the group discussion on Friday.



Slaughterhouse-Five Wrap-Up

On Monday we will have our final discussion about Slaughterhouse-Five. Ideas to consider:

  • the effect of war on society;
  • the value of time;
  • in what ways are our lives “pre-programmed”;
  • how do people cope with traumatic events;
  • in what ways is life fair/unfair;
  • how can a person change his/her fate

What are your ideas on these topics?  What do you believe Billy Pilgrim’s ideas would be?


Slaugterhouse-Five Reading for Friday

For Friday’s discussion read to chapter 8.

English Life

Remember that photo poetry assignment?

Well, this was one result and I am in love with it.

There Were Signs 

there were signs

signs that told us to stop

to keep off

to think about it

signs designed to scare us

to deter us

to frighten us


but we plowed ahead

we chose not to notice the sky slowly fade to black

we chose not to look when the flowers started to wilt

we ignored the debris that piled up behind us

we ignored the scorched land we created


maybe back then we had a chance

but that door is closed

forever blocked off

we tried to hold on

at the end

we really did

all that remains of those efforts are handprints strung along the walls

we were too late


we died out

sprawled on the concrete  

mounds of nothing

left for the maggots to chew through

but these weren’t our only holes

eventually, we will fade away and be nothing more than a footprint left in the dust


we can’t complain about this

we do not get angry

we are not allowed to be sad

because we knew


Slaughterhouse-Five Reading

Read chapter 5 for discussion on Tuesday.


Slaughterhouse-Five for Friday

Read chapter 4.


Monday: Habits of the Creative Mind

There is not a new assignment this week.  On Wednesday at 11:00 everyone will present their essay summaries based on last week’s assignment Ellen Dissanayake.  Please put your final essay in Google Classroom by Wednesday.