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 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.

Humanities: Tolerance Workshop

Today, we didn’t have much time at all so we focused 100% on Tolerance Project work.  We went to the food court and worked in groups.  Mr. Ryder, Mr. Falasca, and Ms. Murphy checked in with as many folks as possible.  Several groups started using resources beyond the class to see their projects start coming together.  That’s important.

The rubric for the Tolerance Project is here.

Remember that there is still a Roots #13 quiz and word castles due next week.  Next Thursday to be precise.

And we haven’t forgotten about No Red Ink.  Hint, hint.

PACE: Working & Talking & Working

Thursday, October 18 was a very good day.  After a spirited recollection of Mr. Ryder’s first date, attention went where it needed to go: unresolved projects and independent work.

Several students started working on ideas brought up in the past weeks, but as of yet pursued.  Matt started in on a Boston Science Museum trip, several folks joined me for a writing workshop, and JT found Vialogues and shared it with the class.  This could be an incredibly helpful site in terms of watching and commenting on video when not sitting immediately in class.  It also presents a great structure and tool for asking higher order questions.

This independent work continued over to Hodum’s room during period 4 where students accomplished both self-directed, independent work in astrobiology and work toward various individual endeavors. 

A great day for project-based, customized learning at Mt. Blue’s PACE program.