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, 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: 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 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.


Humanities: Teams & Themes & Speak

On Tuesday, teams were formed within our class, teams that will be tackling the work of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak together.  The team members determined names and mascots and created banners for their respective teams.

On Wednesday, we started our first grappling with the themes that we can expect to surface in Speak. Screen shot 2013-03-14 at 12.21.11 AM  Teams were to circulate throughout the building and find visual, or symbolic, representations for the themes listed here on Google Drive.  What results is a thematic scavenger hunt, with everyone taking pictures of the thematic ideas.

After taking the pictures, turn them into slides in a Keynote or Google Presentation with captions that explain why the group selected this particular image to represent that particular theme.

Thursday, we will be reading the first section of Speak in class and beginning the graphic organizer work.

We may also be introducing a teamwork rubric as well.  More on that later. . .