PACE: Just a Quick Breakdown & the Analytical Essay

I think we had a pretty rad week of adventuring and heroism and just general successes.

This post is here to help you take account of the work you’ve done and need to do.

(And it’s also a good reminder to me.)

Work for PACE English (Current):

PACE Pitch to Product & Group Self-Assessment

PACE I Am Hero Project

PACE I Am Hero Graphic Organizers for Lit Circles (1-3)

Flocabulary SAT #1: Transformation & Exercises

Work for PACE English (Upcoming Next Week):

PACE I Am Hero Graphic Organizer 4  Due Tuesday, 5/7

PACE Product Analysis 5 Paragraph Essay   Working Draft Due in Class Thursday 5/9

Flocabulary SAT #2: Shakespeare Is Hip-Hop & Exercises – Due Thursday 5/9

Work for PACE English on Horizon:

Poetry collection connecting Chinese & US cultures then and now, there and here (TBA)

Flocabulary SAT #3: Adventures of Carlito (TBA)

Self Selected Final Product (TBA) Due by June 7th (unless you don’t need your laptop)

PACE: Gearing Up for Adventure

This is a big, huge, giant week for PACE.

Today, we discuss the adventure on Wednesday.  You will get the permission slip, we will talk about the time frame, and we will discuss what you should bring.

We’ll take a pre-test on Flocabulary #2: Hip-Hop Shakespeare.  There will be a quiz on Monday, the 13th.  Exercises are also due that day.  And if you’d like to re-take quiz #1, all you need to do is demonstrate some studying and building better understanding of those words.  (You might go on Quizlet, you might do something creative, you might do the other crossword puzzle.)

We’ll discuss elixirs — those objects and understandings heroes bring back from their adventures. What are those elixirs we’ve discovered for ourselves in our lifetimes, perhaps even this year.  The last I Am Hero organizer (#4) has been assigned.  This is due NEXT Tuesday, the 7th. (Big project due on Friday so there’s the emphasis.)

On Wednesday, we adventure.  7:30 a.m.  Crossroads.  Be not late.  There be monsters.

And on Friday, we debrief the adventure, you will come with your I Am Hero projects with a special guest.  Senator Tom Saviello (R. – Wilton) will be here to learn about PACE, talk to you folks about civic engagement, and all sorts of neat stuff.


I Am Hero Project – Due Friday!

I Am Hero Graphic Organizer #4 – Due next Monday!

Heroic Adventure – Wednesday! Must have permission slip!

Flocabulary #2: Hip Hop is Shakespeare – Monday the 13th!  Quiz!


PACE: Flocabulary Quizzes, Heroes, Self-Assessments, MLTI Trips & More

We have piles and piles and mounds and mounds of talking and learning to do on Tuesday.  Hold on to your hats.  (That is, if you are wearing hats.)

We’ve got a couple of business matters to which we must attend.

One regards our outdoors-ing on May 2nd.  Something is going to happen.  We will be outside.   We will be off-campus.  Where is still yet to be determined — I’ve got multiple ideas.  You will be back for post 2 o’clock-ness.

The second regards what could be a fantastic opportunity for you folks as individuals — as well as a class.  The MLTI Student Conference is happening at Orono on Thursday, May 16.  It’s a pretty amazing event that has expanded from its original beginnings as being focused on middle schoolers to really being about the power of technology to improve learning all over the place.  Just look at what is happening during the two sessions at the conference.   This year has a HUGE emphasis on getting next year’s juniors and seniors involved in the UMaine e-learning program where you can take online classes to earn college credits.  I think this could be mighty powerful opportunity for everyone.

We wouldn’t be returning until late afternoon (around 5 o’clock).   There is an away track meet that day at Leavitt, but no other sports besides practice as far as I could tell.

Darcy Dunphy, our tech coordinator, has offered to pay the $15 per person registration fee so that we could go IF we can secure funds for the bus.  (I’m working on that as well.)

It’s an all day event, it would be meeting with kids from all over the state, it would be learning some really cool things and opening up some ideas for the future for each of you.  I need a sense of who would like to go by Wednesday if not sooner so I can deal with some real numbers.  I know this is all of a sudden, but it sorta landed in my lap on Monday morning and it felt worth pursuing even this late.

The third is the author visit.  The books have arrived.  If you’d like to read it, you can borrow a copy.  The turnaround needs to be quick  so we can get as many out around the building as possible.  Man . . . it is sooooo good.  I’ve got a handful for us.  I’m sending a handful to the Civil Rights Team.  Mrs. Deraps has a bunch in circulation.  A bunch of teachers are reading it.  Exciting stuff.  Tuesday, May 21st is gonna be a big deal.

The fourth is the projects that were due before break.  Looking forward to seeing these final products.  You will treat the self-assessment as a group.  I need a single self-assessment and I need it by this Friday.  (Here’s what’s coming in a couple of weeks — after you complete the I Am Hero project, you will choose from either one of these two projects to write a five-paragraph analytical essay on your process.  You can start on that now if you like — it could make for great blogging material.)

Then . . . .

I Am Hero rubric.  It is live.  The project rubric is live and aligns completely with what we have been discussing and exploring in class — I think.  I’m excited about what you come up with for these.  The I Am Hero project is due next Friday.

Speaking of I Am Hero, the third graphic organizer is up and in the Google Drive.  I shared it with you through the Google Drive.

Matt found this sweet video of the heroic cycle and comparisons on TED-Ed.   Go Matt.

We should talk helpers and amulets today as well.  That’s the focus of organizer #3 that is due on Friday.  And we will discuss mythologies, the constructions of them, the development of them.

On Thursday, I’d like to take a look at anti-heroes and Byronic heroes — the heroes that don’t fit our traditional definitions and the mythologies that get built around them.

When we come back from lunch, we’ll take the Flocabulary #1 quiz.  Boom.

It’s a lot.  I know.  AND . . . here is the breakdown in a schedule format.

Due Dates:

  • Flocabulary #1 Graphic Organizer work – Due Today
  • Pitch to Product – Self Assessment (1 per group) – Due Friday 4/27
  • I Am Hero Graphic Organizer #3 – Due Friday 4/27
  • Heroic Journey – Wednesday 5/2
  • I Am Hero Project – Due Monday 5/6
  • Project Work Analytical Essay – Working Draft – Due Friday 5/10 for Workshopping
  • Blogging.  Keep It Up. This is Week #3.  Draft on it.  Brainstorm.  Shape ideas.




PACE: Pitches Become Projects

true-hero-meme-generator-he-s-the-hero-we-deserve-but-not-the-one-we-need-right-now-65e69fToday is the big due date.

And Mr. Ryder is out with either a sick kid or a conference.

So . . .

Work on finishing touches on the Pitch to Product projects.

Self assessment?  Be prepared to write an analytical essay of your group’s process and outcomes when we get back from break.  (Work on it ahead of time if you like.)

Meanwhile, make sure you have completed both of the graphic organizers for I Am Hero.  They are in your Google Drive.


It’s PACE.  There are lot of choices to make over break.  Make good ones for both your well-being and your learning.  Balance, grasshoppers.

PACE: Mythology, Heroic Cycles, Hunger Games & Ulysses

We begin our look at mythology by getting some foundational knowledge of the term from our good friend Deepak Chopra, the fine people at TED, and the Mosaic Multicultural Foundation.

These three videos to a fantastic job of laying out just what we mean when we talk about mythology.  I think Chopra’s definitions are beautifully succinct and demonstrate the magnitude of relevance here. I love what Pattanaik does in terms of comparison, helping us to see the differences between the east and the west and clarify why cultural clashes exist AND show why it would be so easy to just relax and let one another be AND why people don’t.  And Meade’s definition makes that much more sense when you consider what Pattanaik has to say.

Flipped classroom?  Almost.  Should’ve had this stuff for you folks to watch over the weekend.

After watching all of Chopra, some of Pattanaik, and all of Meade, we will discuss and then you’ll likely be off to eat lunch.

After lunch, we pick up our work with the monomyth and the heroic cycle.   Last week we did a hurried little simulation in our hallways.  Today the weather is perfect so to the cross country trails we go to create heroic journeys.  Bring cell phones, cycles, cameras and imagination.


  • This week, you have the 2nd lit circle graphic organizer to complete.  (The first one is due today.) This one focuses on the call to adventure, crossing the threshold.  The next will focus on on helpers and amulets.  The fourth will focus on the flight and return.
  • You also have the Pitch to Product project due at the end of this week.
  • Flocabulary SAT 1: Transformation work is due on Friday
  • And I Am Hero is due May 6.  Yes, that may seem a long ways off, but it will be here before you know it when you consider we have a week of break in there.


PACE: I Am Hero, Monomyth & Flocabulary

Thursday we go climbing into the fray . . . 

We’ll start by watching the Rockaway Plate Lunch video I posted late last night.

Then our thoughts and ideas turn to Flocabulary, our new vocab program we will be using.  We have free access through the end of the year, so let’s use it!  Login names and passwords are in your inbox.

We will be using the SAT prep collection, starting with “Transformation.”   There’s a pre-assessment in your inbox.  Then we will watch the video, listen to the rap, and do a little work with those words.

PACE style Flocabulary work:  You have loads of choices of what you complete before the quiz NEXT FRIDAY.

  1. Choice one: Complete the activities included with “Transformation.”
  2. Choice two: Compose your own short story, poem, or rap, employing the vocab from Flocabulary
  3. Choice three: Propose an original idea that demonstrates your understanding.

Due Date: Friday, April 12

Before we go to lunch, we will take a look at PACE reading graphic organizer 2.0 for our lit circle work. It will include anticipation thinking, reading comprehension (along w/ paraphrasing and summarizing).  For those following teacher PACE,  the first one will be due next Monday.  All are due at the end of the week following April break.

And then we continue with our monomyth work by solving a puzzle and then crafting an in-the-moment simulation.  It should be pretty sweet and active.

After the simulation, you will have time to get together in your Pitch to Product groups.


Reading Hunger Games or Adventures of Ulysses:  Check Your Group

Pitch to Product products – Due NEXT FRIDAY

Flocabulary  SAT 1: Transformation Work – Due NEXT FRIDAY



PACE: Pitches into Products & More

We’ve got a new rubric: Pitches into Projects

There are several elements to this rubric that will be covered in the next couple of weeks, mythology and evolution chief among them.

Today, the goal is to work, work, work on those trailers and chapters ahead of getting started with Hunger Games & Adventures of Ulysses literature circles on Wednesday.  At the heart of this work will be two essential questions:

1) To what extent has heroism evolved over time?

2) How does a story grow into a mythology?

Wednesday we begin the journey of answering those two questions.


PACE: A Long Overdue Update on Where We Are at in PACE

Wow.  Somehow I just . . . well . . . I just did not blog there for PACE.  I didn’t do it.

Let’s change that right now.

We agreed as a class to move forward with these pitches and develop three of them into trailers/sizzle reels/sample chapters depending upon the nature of the original pitch.

Danielle’s Pastel series of novels, a story about a young woman sucked back in time through a mysterious painting.

Matt’s Bunker (working title) TV series, a story about people forced to live underground while the world goes on outside — and what happens when they come out.

Jake’s The Quest TV series, a story about the finding of the Holy Grail . . . and then another . . . and then another . . .

We agreed that by this coming Friday, March 22nd, tangible progress toward the production of these three projects must be made.

Here are some resources that can help you develop your pitch from an idea into a published product:

Tim Ferriss’ step-by-step account of how he  and his colleagues created a trailer for his book, The Four-Hour Body.  

We looked at this blog post in detail in class last week.

What about another?

This article from MicroFilmmaker Magazine lays out some guidelines for making a compelling movie trailer.

And another?

For my money and time, I think you would do well to look over the above link, take some time with Tim Ferriss, and then really dig into this tool from the fine folks at

Using licensed clips from A Good Day to Die Hard, you can construct your own trailer online and see how different styles of clips, different elements, can impact the final product in different ways.

I mean, I made this trailer for A Good Day to Die Hard in about five minutes. (And it shows.)

Wednesday, I will be providing everyone with a rubric for this new project.  It will be based upon the input I received from the groups as to how these projects should be assessed.

I’m excited to see what everyone develops.

Be prepared for next week, however, as we will be embarking on a journey — a HEROIC journey as we plan to study both The Adventures of Ulysses and The Hunger Games in literature circle style.  We voted today on the best approach.  Folks will have the opportunity to work in groups or individually.  The only limitations will be that you must read one of the two texts.  This work should lead us straight into our trip, if we are able to secure the financing for it.



Humanities: Tolerance Projects on the Cheap

Today we will cram the day full of thinking and learning.  We will make this condo ring loud with ideas and they will spill over into the food court and all will be astonished.

We’ll start with No Red Ink.  WHAt?!?  Yes. It has not been forgotten.  There is a quiz to  take.

From there we will look at an article about enhancing tolerance and community in a school community on a budget. We will read through this together as a class.  On your blog, you will be doing work with text connections.

You need to make at least one of each of the following:

Text to Self Connection: How do the ideas in this text connect to your life experiences?

Text to Text Connection: How do the ideas in this text connect to other things you have read, heard, watched?

Text to World Connection: How do the ideas in this text connect to issues in our community, world, society?

Another way to think of think of these connections is as working their way from more personal experiences to more global experiences.

Here are some examples from Mr. Ryder (currently writing of himself in the third person) based on the article about making change happen on a budget you read in class today:

Text to Self: “But when thoughtful ideas are coupled with an organized plan to help kids expand their comfort zones, amazing things can happen.” A lot of years ago, I was one of the Civil Rights Team advisors.  We threw a ska-punk concert here at Mt. Blue and it felt kind of awesome.  The band was from Bates and had a MB grad in its ranks, so they played for cheap.  We made enough to pay for the band and to fund a couple of other activities later in the year.  The best part was watching kids teaching other kids how to “skank.”  And people started doing it all over the place.

Text to Text: “In every discipline, students and teachers used the academic subject at hand to work through a Hunger Games-inspired dilemma.” The text references a project around The Hunger Games.  This reminds of me of the events in that book and the hundreds of ideas I’ve had around how we could learn from that book.  I still need to reading Mockingjay.  We are hoping to do a project like this in PACE this year.

Text to World: “As for the event, the focus—in true Tough Mudder fashion—was placed on finishing the race, not on winning it. As youngsters ran all over the field, Witte witnessed school community-building in action.” I have thought about running Tough Mudders a couple of times.  I know there are several of them happening in New England, including one at Sunday River near my birthday.  They are becoming crazy popular.  It never occurred to me that it could be a team building experience.  I think this is kind of an amazing idea.