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.




Humanities: Speak Wrap & Boston

We have some things to finalize around our Speak unit and then our attention turns to Boston, the events that unfolded last week, and how they may relate to our next unit.  It’s eerie how connected all of this becomes.

We’ll start with finishing our self-assessments on the Speak projects.

Then we will blog.  The topic?  Discuss the contributions you personally made to the success of your group’s/your own Speak project.  Be specific and clear.  Help tell the story of your involvement so Mr. Dunbar and Mr. Ryder truly get it.

After that, we will be looking into the events of the past week in Boston and trying to uncover the facts, the truths, and the challenge of figuring out just what happened.   We will be going online and looking for articles that can be relied upon for information and articles that seem to be misleading or biased.

Homework tonight?

Complete your self-assessment for Speak, the project, and any of those outstanding graphic organizers. Due IMMEDIATELY.

Find two articles/video stories about the events in Boston, one you believe to be highly reliable, and one you think is full of bias, opinion, and potentially misinformation.

For the reliable one, make three text connections: text to self, text to text and text to world.  Need a refresher on those connections?  Go here.

This is due Wednesday.




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.

Humanities: Projects Are Coming

Today, we start with blogging action plans for the next three days as your big ol’ Speak projects are due then.

1. Where are you at in your project?

2. What do you have left to do?

3. What is your time management plan for getting that work done?

If you cannot access your blog for some reason, you can just send it to Mr. Dunbar and I in an e-mail.

Then we will go to the Food Court and you will have an opportunity to continue working on your projects, to conference with Mr. Ryder, Mr. Warren and Mr. Diffin, and to also finish up any other outstanding work including your Speak walls on Padlet.

The expectations for the Speak walls are included on Monday’s calendar, but I’ll lay them out here as well.

Create a wall on Padlet about you.  Include your likes and loves and passions.

AND . . . include three quotes from Speak to which you can relate.

AND . . . include three symbolic images from Speak to which you can relate.

Then . . .

Pretend you are one of the characters from Speak and create another wall based on that character.  Push yourself to become that character.  This isn’t “This is what Spanky McShecklton thinks about Melinda.”  This is, “This is what Melinda thinks about Melinda.”

So, you are creating two walls: one from your point of view, one from the point of view of a character in Speak.


Speak Projects are due Friday!

Padlet walls were due yesterday.

Humanities: Speak Project Proposal Work

Today we had a short day in Humanities because of early release. And still, progress was made.

We started by breaking the class into two rooms: one room for folks who needed further explanation of the project and one room with people who felt comfortable completing their project proposals.

In the explanation room, we broke down the project some more by making a list of essential questions that Speak raises, a list of various symbols used in the book, and a list of themes that surface in the book.

We focused most of our energy on symbolism and uncovering different symbols used in Speak. We spent a lot of time discussing trees, blood, red, birds, eggs and more.  When then tied that symbolism to the essential questions and converted the essential questions into thematic statements.

I will post a photo of the marker board — I forgot to do so before leaving — as a reminder of what happened in class today.

The whole point was to generate ideas for projects by thinking about the symbolism from Speak, you could use in your projects, determining an essential question/theme  you want to ask/suggest that is also asked/suggested in Speak .  These projects should go beyond the literal.  If you make a tree, make a tree that is uniquely your own and incorporates symbolism and meaning beyond the tree and that goes beyond how Melinda creates one.  If you create a model of a personal sanctuary, create one that relates to your experiences and that also ties into Melinda’s experiences and perspective on life.   If you create a graphic novel, make your characters original and unique and stuff your graphic novel full of the symbolism and imagery Anderson uses in Speak.

And most importantly?  Read the Speak project rubric.


Finish reading Speak if you have not already.  It is fundamentally important to completing this project.

  1. Speak Projects are due next Friday, the day before April vacation.
  2. Roots Quiz 11-15 is TOMORROW!  THURSDAY!  Word Castles/Roots products due as well.
  3. Blogging: Three entries must be done this week.  Two of them should be responses to the songs and prompts around theme we explored this week:  Brand New’s “Sic Transit Gloria” and Red Jumpsuit Apparatus’ “Face Down”



9 CPI: Of Mice & Men & Tolerance Project Proposals

Today was an early release day, which meant we didn’t have a lot of time to dig into that much content.  That’s okay because we still had plenty to do.

Period 1 we started with Of Mice & Men, finishing the first section. (Period 3 we skipped this step and will be catching up on Friday.) On Friday we will follow George & Lennie to the ranch for the first time and see the men with whom they will be working. (Look in your gmail for a document called Steinbeck if you want to catch up.)

From there folks had some time to catch up on blogging and making sure all of their online Roots & MUGS quizzes are in the books for 3rd quarter.  With grades finalizing on Thursday night, that’s kind of ridiculously important.

And then attention turned to the Tolerance Project Proposal forms.    I met with a number of folks about their proposals and will meet with the rest on Friday.

If you need help with the Bloom’s Taxonomy part, look at this Bloom’s Taxonomy model and click on the parts of the wheel that explain to you the sorts of thinking and task you need to do at each level.

Some great stuff that I heard today . . .

Essential Questions:  

  • How can we become more patient?
  • How can we make people more aware of their offensive language even when they don’t mean to be offensive?
  • How can teenagers better understand adults?
  • How can students better tolerate homework?

Product Ideas:

  • Video game
  • Informational Poster Campaigns
  • Amazing Keynote
  • Video
  • Short story
  • Website


Roots 11 Word Castles/Roots Product & Quiz on Tuesday, April 9

Tolerance Project Due Friday After April Vacation

Blogging – Text-to-Text, Text-to-Self, Text-to-World over the first reading of Of Mice & Men expected to be one of your three blog entries this week. This was assigned on Monday (Quarter 4 Week 1)

9 CPI: Tolerance Projects, Of Mice & Men & End of the 3rd Quarter

The 3rd Quarter ends for us at midnight, Monday.  (This is the extension I offered the class last Thursday because of my absences last week.)

In class today we started reading John Steinbeck’s Of Mice & Men.  (There’s a chunk in your e-mail so you can follow along if you don’t have your book.)  I’ll be reading most of the book out loud to you folks during our normal PrimeTime sessions.  (This is the closest thing we’ve got to a tradition in my classes and I figured this would be as good a year as any to keep that going.)

A few things you need to remember about this book —

It was written in the 1930s and takes place in the 1930s.  Steinbeck wrote it as a way to capture what was happening in the country at the time.  It takes place in southern California, one of the few places where people could find farm work during the Dust Bowl era.  And it features two migrant workers trying to make a living the best they can manage.

After I read up to the moment where Lennie complains about the rubber mouse, I asked folks to blog, making text to text, text to self and text to world connections.  If you need a refresher on these connections, check here.

We took a few minutes to look at Roots 11 on Quizlet.  There will be a quiz next TUESDAY and word castles/roots products are due that day.

From there we looked at the rubric for the Tolerance Project. Originally the due date was to be next Friday, the day before vacation.  But I think extended the deadline to the end of the week after vacation will help you all to create better products.  That said, you still have to get started right away.

For Wednesday, complete the project proposal form. It is available in your Google Drive. We will read a little Of Mice & Men on Wednesday and spend some time looking at Bloom’s Taxonomy to make sure your projects are pushing the envelope.  On Friday we will look at characterization and how to work that into your projects.


Complete Project Proposal Form for Tolerance Project – Due Wednesday 4/3

Study Roots 11 and Complete Word Castles/Roots Product 11 – Due Tuesday 4/9



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.