Humanities: Learning to Love You More and The End of the Year

Learning to Love You More lands on May 30th as we create a massive installation in the Food Court that people can witness before attending the final concert of the music department.

The rubric for your individual contribution is here.

Besides Learning to Love You More, you may have some past due work to get in. This includes:

Remember, we have also laid out the expectations for the final

The final will include :

  • Reading and Responding (text connections and double entry journals)
  • Graded Class Discussion
  • Five Paragraph Essay (what you learned about yourself and others this year)
  • Media Product (create any product you like to demonstrate what you have learned about Humanities this year)

Remember, you will not have your laptops after June 6.  (You have to turn them in during the day on June 7.)

That gives you about two weeks from now to work digitally.


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.




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”



Humanities: Speak, “Face Down,” Theme & Projects

Today we start with reviewing Roots 11-15.  There is a quiz and word castles/roots product due on Thursday.

The lyrics to “Face Down” are as follows.

Hey girl, you know, you drive me crazy
One look puts the rhythm in my hand
Still I'll never understand why you hang around
I see what's goin' down

Cover up with make up in the mirror
Tell yourself it's never gonna happen again
You cry alone and then he swears he loves you

Do you feel like a man, when you push her around?
Do you feel better now as she falls to the ground?
Well, I'll tell you my friend, one day this world's going to end
As your lies crumble down, a new life she has found

A pebble in the water makes a ripple effect
Every action in this world will bear a consequence
If you wade around forever you will surely drown
I see what's going down

I see the way you go and say you're right again
Say you're right again, heed my lecture

Do you feel like a man, when you push her around?
Do you feel better now as she falls to the ground?
Well, I'll tell you my friend, one day this world's going to end
As your lies crumble down, a new life she has found

Face down in the dirt she said, “This doesn't hurt”
She said, “I finally had enough”
Face down in the dirt she said, “This doesn't hurt”
She said, “I finally had enough”

One day she will tell you that she has had enough
It's coming round again

Do you feel like a man, when you push her around?
Do you feel better now as she falls to the ground?
Well, I'll tell you my friend, one day this world's going to end
As your lies crumble down, a new life she has found

Do you feel like a man, when you push her around?
Do you feel better now as she falls to the ground?
Well, I'll tell you my friend, one day this world's going to end
As your lies crumble down, a new life she has found

Face down in the dirt she says, “This doesn't hurt”
She says, “I finally had enough”

On this Padlet wall, post the lyrics that stand out the most to you, especially when considering the thematic ideas listed below.

Blogging: Consider the work we did yesterday and the following thematic ideas and statements. (Some of which are the same as yesterday.)


Our fears keep us from acting in our best interests.


Living up to other’s expectations can cause more harm than good.

Growing Up

Life often forces us to grow up faster than we would like.


Speaking the truth can be more painful than living with silence


We often face as many internal demons as we do external powers against us.


Strength of spirit can often overcome imposing strength of body.

In a blog post, discuss which of these thematic statements are supported by both Speak and “Face Down.”  This blog post will be counted as its own assessment.

After this we will go to the food court where I will offer a discussion of “Face Down,” and then go from group to group, helping you to develop your project proposals and consider the big ideas necessary to having a successful Speak project.

Humanities: Speak, Theme & Brand New’s “Sic Transit Gloria”

Today we wrangle with theme and the song, “Sic Transit Gloria,” by Brand New

The lyrics can be found here.

Thematic Ideas  vs.  Thematic Statements


Our fears keep us from acting in our best interests.


Living up to other’s expectations can cause more harm than good.

Growing Up

Life often forces us to grow up faster than we would like.


Speaking the truth can be more painful than living with silence

On your blog, discuss how “Sic Transit Gloria” conveys any of the above thematic statements and/or a thematic statement of your own.  How does this song relate to Melinda’s experiences in Speak?

If you need some more help with theme?  Check out this video.  It provides some other examples and explanations.

After working with this song, we will head to the Food Court and work in small groups to complete our Speak project proposal forms.  Even if you are working on your own project, you can get help from your team in completing your proposal.

Project proposals are due on WEDNESDAY!!!!!!!!  Projects are due NEXT FRIDAY!!!!

Humanities: Speak & “IT”

Today marks the day we discuss Melinda, IT, and what happened that night.

We know this can be an emotional discussion.  If at any point you feel uncomfortable, let Mr. Dunbar or I know and we can find you a safe place.  We thank you all in advance for handling these incredibly important points of discussion with maturity, respect, kindness and understanding for one another.

We will begin with a short read aloud of the very last couple of paragraphs on page 137.  Mr. Dunbar and I want to make sure we all have this shared body of understanding.

From there, you will break into your teams.  Each team will rotate through a series of scenarios to consider and discuss answers to this one question: What do you do?   Marker boards will be available at each scenario to record your ideas.   As you encounter a new scenario, you may put a check mark next to solutions with which you agree, and a question mark next to solutions with which you take issue.

Those scenarios are as follow:

  1. You are at a party. Your drunk ninth grade friend goes upstairs with a Senior.
  2. Your best friend calls the police to break up a party you are both at.
  3. One of your friends wears suggestive clothing on a daily basis. You hear a group of Seniors talking about your friend and joking about your friendʼs sexual habits.
  4. You are forwarded an obscene picture of your friend — without your friendʼs knowledge — from someone you know in school and the text reads: Check it out! Pass it on!
  5. Basketball playoffs start tomorrow. Youʼre in class and see someone in your class looking at a YouTube video. Theyʼre watching a video filmed at a recent party and you notice one of your friends, who is a starter on the basketball team holding a beer. Your school has a strict “no drinking” policy for athletes.
  6. You are scrolling through the newsfeed on Facebook and see a picture of your friend. There seems to be a conversation on the picture within the comments so you read them. Three other kids in your school have teamed up against your friend and are making comments about your friendʼs perceived sexual orientation.
  7. Youʼre talking in a group with people you know. One person has a joke for everyone to hear. The punch line is about your friend doing something inappropriate at a party they attended. You laugh along thinking it to be innocent. The next day you hear several more jokes with your friend being the punch line. You noticed that your friend is more distant and quiet.

After rotating through each scenario, you will complete a poll.  The nature of this poll will be kept secret until in class, but a link to the results will be available here afterward.

We will wrap class today by discussing the following three core questions as a whole class.

1. What would happen if spent as much time teaching men how to treat women with dignity and respect as we do treat women how to protect and defend themselves?

2. What would happen if Andy was the protagonist of the novel and we saw the events from his point of view?

3. What is one choice a person can make every day to make the world a safer, kinder place to live?

Tonight’s homework?  Please finish Speak for Monday so we can discuss how the situation gets resolved.

Get anything missing in.  Get your blogs updated.  Grades close Friday night at midnight.

Humanities: Dates & Doings & Speak

Mr. Dunbar & I thought it would help you folks out to look ahead for the next couple of weeks.

Here are key dates, what’s happening, and what you need to do and what you can do.

  • Monday, March 25  Section 5 Theme & Symbolism
  • Tuesday, March 26  Section 6 Theme & Symbolism
  • Wednesday, March 27  Theme & Symbolism & Project Proposals                                              Read Section 7 for Tomorrow’s Discussion
  • Thursday, March 28  Discuss What Happened to Melinda
  • Friday, March 29  Improv-a-Thon w/ Mt. Blue Curtain Raisers
  • Quarter Ends –– All Work Due by Midnight; Finish Speak over the weekend.
  • On Friday, March 29th, 7 p.m., you can also see the Curtain Raisers open for the Mt. Blue Campus Faculty Play with yours truly, Mr. Hodum, Mr. Schoen, Ms. Bickford, Mr. LePage, Mr. Reid, Mrs. Cyr, Mrs. Bean, Mr. Logan, Mrs. Muise and . . . I think that’s . . . yup. I  think that’s it.
  • Monday, April 1st  – Finish Speak for today.
  • Tuesday, April 2nd – Guest speaker?
  • Wednesday, April 3rd – Project Proposals due.
  • Friday, April 12th – Projects due.  (If you have it in, you will have a true vacation from Humanities.)

Humanities: Speak, Improv, Cliques & Team Work

What has Humanities been up to?

Last Week?

Last week, we made human alphabets as a team work exercise before digging into Speak work.  If only my camera had been working . .

What Happened on Monday?

Monday, we started a discussion of cliques at Mt. Blue Campus.  They are prevalent in Speak’s Merriweather High.  It makes one wonder how much a MBC student can relate.  (We also tried to put in some time on No Red Ink but the internet was being fickle.)

We put a list of possible cliques at MBC up on a Google doc.  You can access it here.  You may not agree with everything here.  However, we did use a thumbs up/side/down poll and the vast majority in the room believes this list has credibility.

After discussing the cliques, we did an improv game called, “Rhythm” and then another called “Hive Mind.”  We formed an oval and went around the oval three times.

Hive Mind Thinking Warm Up

  • 1st Round: A word or two that remind you of MBC
  • 2nd Round: A word or phrase that reminds you of MBC
  • 3rd Round: A sentence you hear almost every day at MBC

After that Hive Mind experience, we broke into teams.  Teams worked on Speak Section 3 .  Mr. Dunbar and I met with each group as well and ran through a second Hive Mind, this time asking for ideas from Speak.  The intention here was to see what ideas are sticking with you as you read, what carries over, and whom among you is reading to remember and understand, and who is reading to get the assignment done.

What is Going to Happen on Wednesday?

We will give No Red Ink another shot.  Be prepared.  It will be a quiz.

Then we practice Hive Mind thinking again.  It will be a different angle, but related to the work we did on Monday.

After that, we will be looking at our clique list and then creating Venn Diagram models that show how these different cliques overlap at MBC.  But these Venn Diagrams won’t be made just with a computer. They will be made with stuff, with people, and with your imaginations.

The figure here on the left shows one person’s way of defining the difference between these different groups, cliques and definitions of those groups.

There are some other way to think about how Venn Diagrams can show information.







You’ll have some time to work on these diagrams and be expected to share your work on your blog.

And we’ll wrap up by working on Section 3 and being assigned Section 4.  Section 4 will be due by the end of class on Thursday.

Humanities: Speak Begins & Teams Work

On Wednesday, we experienced a thematic scavenger hunt to get ready for Speak.  Each team needed to find visual representations of the thematic ideas listed on this Google doc. After taking pictures of those visual representations or symbols, those pictures needed to be turned into a Google Presentation or Keynote.  Each slide needed a brief paragraph of rationale, explaining your group’s thinking.

These thematic ideas have HUGE presence in Speak, though they are not the only ones.  We will continue to build upon this list as we read and learn more about what it means to identify and develop a theme.

On Thursday, there was some time to finish off those slideshows.

Teams were also assigned the first section of the novel and provided a graphic organizer to complete.  That graphic organizer is due on Friday as a second one is coming along then.

We also introduced a new form of assessment for group work.  At the end of each class, you will be expected to blog about how well you and your group worked during class, being quite specific.  These count as academic initiative grades.

After a fairly short explanation period, we headed off to the food fourt, spread out, and got to work.