Dear Scholars,

I have relocated the daily postings to the home page of this website, which hopefully means faster navigation for you and me. See you there.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

OK, if we are going to talk about human rights, we have to define them. Civil rights are those guaranteed by law, so we will examine the US Civil Rights Movement, which was a revolution wrought by American citizens trying to gain equal rights under US law. Human rights are those we all are entitled to, simply because we are human.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was drafted in 1948 and has since taken the weight of international law. We will analyze it in English, but the preceding link will take you to a myriad translations.

For today’s class, you will need this UDHR sorting activity, which we will use for:

  1. Sorting (in class)
  2. Self-assessment (in class, emailed to me today in class)
  3. Goal-setting and Reflective-learning (recorded in Quicktime and emailed to me before 8 AM Thursday)
  4. UDHR paraphrase poster (due in hard copy, Monday, March 26)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Three words to describe NHD: National History Day.

Suggest and read Human Rights-related NHD projects on this Concordiapad.

Dates to remember:

  1. Tentative topic chosen – March 22nd
  2. Topics finalized & NHD teams created – March 26th
  3. First draft of essay outline due – April 10th
  4. Final draft of essay outline due – April 13th
  5. NHD project outline due – April 17th
  6. First draft of NHD project due – April 23rd
  7. NHD project completed – April 27th

Vocabulary Unit #6:

  • Workbook and healthy sentences due on Wednesday
  • Here is the dropbox for the sentences
  • Include your name on the page
  • Remember that a healthy sentence has enough context to make the meaning of the vocabulary word obvious. If I can replace the word with a bunch of unrelated words, then it needs work.
  • Quiz on Friday

Schedule for Tuesday:

  • 8:00-8:40 Period A
  • 8:40-9:20 Period B
  • 9:20-10:00 Period C
  • 10:00-10:15 Break
  • 10:15-10:55 Period D
  • 11:05-11:50 Chapel

Monday, March 12, 2012

The quiz for Winning World War II is here. Please work independently, and feel free to consult your notes as you answer the questions. Do summarize, do not copy and paste. The objective is the synthesize the important concepts and events out of the notes and into your own words and own understanding.

When you are done with the quiz, please put it in this dropbox.

Unit Five comics will go here when they done, no later than Thursday morning.

Have a great week.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

IRP #3! (Independent Reading Project #3)

WWWII! (Winning World War Two)

HAC! (Hurray for Acronyms!)

Use this rubric to self-assess your IRP #3. Export it as a PDF and deposit it here before class on Friday.

Monday, March 5, 2012

High School 101

8:15 – 9:15    Orientation with Parents  (Rittmann Center)

9:15 – 10:05   Student Panel  (Parental attendance optional)

10:10 – 10:25 BREAK

10:30 – 12:25   Rotations

  • Humanities
  • Math
  • Science
  • Activities
  • Interim
  • Counselors

12:30 – 1:10   LUNCH

1:15 – 3:00   Team Building Activities with Ambassadors

3:00 – 3:20 Closure (PC  Café )

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Very entertaining comics! You can view them here.

Dr. Brent Glass will speak to us (11:15 to 11:50). He is the Director Emeritus of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, and is the keynote speaker for National History Day. Ask him about the weirdest, coolest, rarest, ____ things in the museum’s collection, or loftier questions.


  • Vocabulary Unit #4 Quiz is Friday.
  • 20/20 research worksheets and letters are due on Tuesday.
  • Your 20/20 letters should be in MLA format.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

20/20 is due on Tuesday (because Monday is High School 101). Assignment details are here. I will ask to see your introductory and conclusion paragraphs Thursday and Friday so I can offer constructive feedback.

Comics for Unit 4 go in this dropbox before class, SVP.

National History Day (lite) kick-off is this Friday.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A few updates from today:

  • Vocabulary workbook – due on Wednesday
  • Vocab comic – Thursday
  • Vocab quiz – Friday
  • 20/20 – Using Hindsight to Prevent World War II – Note-taking worksheet and letter is due on Monday. Collaborate on the worksheet, but write your own letter.
  • Maus, as planned, is still due on Thursday.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Today’s break music is brought to us by:


As promised, Unit #3 vocabulary test is today.

That means Unit #4 begins tomorrow:

    1. Workbook due on Wednesday.
    2. Practice assignment (comic? short story? skit?) due on Thursday.
    3. Quiz on Friday.

After studying how the Treaty of Versailles was one of many steps in the outbreak of World War II, let’s imagine we have a time machine and can go back and prevent it.

Work with a partner to compose a letter to the World Peace Archive. Your partner:

Iris June
Saumya Andy
Ben Kimberly
Kayla Young
Jackie Leo
Liz Carl
Noah Jenny
Mat Shannon Phoebe
Grace Tim

Your letter to the World Peace Archive is due on Thursday.

You’ll have workshop time to work on all of these, Maus, and IRP #3.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

On Thursday –

Please remember to bring a camera so that we can take candid shots of the APAC Theater festival.

Comics are due before class. Please add your jpeg to the dropbox. (On that subject, please check your email for your Unit One Comic assessment.)

Vocabulary Unit #3 Quiz on Friday. Healthy sentences will be a part of the test.

Mr. Lyon made this:

[A picture that inexplicably won’t load. I’ll try again later.]

Monday, February 20, 2012

Photographers for APAC: Sign up here. Please bring your camera to class on Thursday and Friday.

Vocabulary Workshop this week:

  • Wednesday – complete workbook; optional retest
  • Thursday – showcase comic (due in dropbox before class)
  • Friday – quiz

Today we bridge the period between world wars with From Versailles to Pearl Harbor slideshow and notes.

From Versailles to Pearl Harbor experts

    1. Liz and Jackie
    2. Young & Ben
    3. Noah & Mat
    4. June & Leo
    5. Saumya & Jenny
    6. Jason & Andy
    7. Shannon & Iris
    8. Mr. Larson
    9. Kayla & Tim
    10. Phoebe & Grace & Kimberly

Continue reading Maus (see pacing guide below).

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Once again, great job on the comics. Here they are in a myConcordia gallery.

Today we begin reading Art Spiegelman’s Maus.

You’re welcome to read ahead. Please complete the literary analysis at this schedule:

Page 2 – Setting – Friday, Feb. 17

Page 3 – Characterization – Monday, Feb. 20

Page 4 – begin Characterization (character at the beginning of the book) – Tuesday, Feb. 21

Page 8 – Symbolism – Thursday, Feb. 23

Page 5 – Conflict – Friday, Feb. 24

Page 6 & 7 – Plot – Monday, Feb. 27

Page 9 – Author’s Purpose and Theme – Tuesday, Feb. 28

Page 10 – Style – Wednesday, Feb. 29

Finished packet due Thursday, March 1


Speaking of Jeremy Lin…

Click image to enlarge
The Journey of Jeremy Lin
Source: Infographic World

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Enjoy your Unit One Vocabulary Workshop comics.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I’ve enjoyed reading your reflections on Seabiscuit, and I’m looking forward to reading the rest, when they arrive in my email inbox (hint, hint). Please don’t attach documents, just copy and paste your writing in the email。谢谢!

Today I want to practice healthy sentence writing. We will eventually compile them here as a quiz.

I’ll give you time to work on your unit #2 comic. We will showcase these in class on Thursday, so please post your jpeg comics in the dropbox before class.

We will revisit Attempts to Establish a Permanent Peace.

Your auction photos look awesome. I still need website URLs for some people. Put your preferred portfolio website URL in this dropbox (don’t email it to me, please).

Happy Valentine’s Day. =]

Thursday, February 9, 2012

On Friday and Monday, we will watch the movie Seabiscuit.

Seabiscuit (May 23, 1933 – May 17, 1947) was a champion Thoroughbred racehorse in the United States. From an inauspicious start, Seabiscuit became an unlikely champion and a symbol of hope to many Americans during the Great Depression. Seabiscuit became the subject of a 1949 film, The Story of Seabiscuit; a 2001 book, Seabiscuit: An American Legend; and a 2003 film, Seabiscuit, which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. (From the Wikipedia article linked below.)

On Friday, I would like you to use pen and paper to record a total of 20 notes about the movie, comprising three categories: What I Felt (describe the scene and the emotion it evoked), What I Learned, Questions I Have.

On Monday, you will finish watching Sea Biscuit. After viewing, I would like you to write 150-200 word reflections on two questions:

  1. Why was the story of Seabiscuit so popular in it’s time? In other words, how did Seabiscuit’s success story help people endure the hardships of the Great Depression?
  2. What story in the news these last couple of years is similar to Seabiscuit’s racing success as a way for people to forget their troubles and have hope amidst the current economic hardship?

Read more about Seabiscuit on Wikipedia and The American Experience.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Today –

Vocabulary workbook – check your answers

Sharing of comics – Roses and Thorns, post to your portfolio blog

Tomorrow Mrs. Semler will join us to share her interview with Sugihara’s widow. What questions would you have asked her?

Attempts at Permanent Peace – What did the survivors of The Great War try to avoid another global war, and why didn’t it work? Synthesize answers here.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

For Wednesday, export your comic at a jpeg and post it to the drop box before class.

Have notes ready to discuss the failed attempts at permanent peace after The Great War.

Note that the first IRP of the second semester is now due Wednesday, March 7.

Monday, February 6, 2012

We’ll begin our Vocabulary Workshop. Find a digital copy here.

Workbook is due Tuesday.

Comic is due Wednesday in this dropbox. Take a look at the Class of 2014 Comic Rubric, which we will revise next week – what changes do you suggest?

Quiz is Thursday – multiple choice (definition, synonym, antonyms), completing the sentence, and using the word in an original sentence.

Auction poster photos and reflections on two of them are due Tuesday, February 14. Post the photos to the network folder and your reflections on your myConcordia blog.

Roaring Twenties and Great Depression quizzes and answers need to be posted on your websites by Friday.

Reminder that IRP #4 is due on February 27. Choose and share from a non-fiction book. Make it fun!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Please work on your auction photo project:

Tuesday, begin Bringing WWII Terms to Life

February 27 is the first Independent Reading Project of Semester 2. Choose a non-fiction book.

Refresh your memory before the Out of the Dust quiz on Friday.

Sugihara links:

Thursday, January 17, 2012

Wherever your travels take you this Chinese New Year, please have your camera in hand and your photographers eye ready to make pictures for the Grade 8 Auction Posters. In short, I would like two high resolution pictures from you for these subjects: Year of the Dragon, Rural China, and Urban China. You will get credit for your hard work, both in your grades and in knowing that your art supports local charities).

Check out Google this week:

Happy New Year 2012 – from Phoenix Video

Wednesday, January 16, 2012

Logging into your transform site:

First, visit the main student page on the school site

Second, use your email user name and password to edit your site.

Here is the Getty Images login:

User: concordiashanghai

Password: shanghai

Monday, January 9, 2012

Sawasdee krub from Bangkok.

There are new Lib Guides in the listing on the right column of this site. Thank Ms. Mayers if you see here. She puts a lot of hours into them for us.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Literature Circles – please download this packet. You can also find in on English 8 on myConcordia.

  1. Kayla, Shannon, Jason, Tim, Saumya
  2. Iris, Young, June, Liz, Grace
  3. Jackie, Mat, Andy, Phoebe
  4. Leo, Jenny, Ben, Kimberly, Noah
Reading pace:
  • Monday Winter 1934
  • Tuesday p. 37 Spring 1934
  • Wednesday p. 85 Autumn 1934
  • Thursday p. 99 Winter 1935
  • Friday p. 153 Spring 1935
  • Monday p. 193 Summer 1935
  • Tuesday p. 207 Autumn 1935
  • Wednesday The End


Thursday, January 5, 2012


You must use the Firefox plug-in Zotero to record your research.

Zotero – from Phoenix Video

 Here is The Story Spine if you want to mess with it. The point of sharing it today was to inspire you to tell a story in your website, not simply transfer information from some sources to another. What aspect of your topic do you find the most interesting? Chances are, your audience will agree with you.

If you would like to read more about “The War of the World” radio broadcast, here’s an article on Wikipedia. If you’re interested in reading about other episodes of gullibility, check out the Museum of Hoaxes.

January 4, 2012

Welcome, June!

This is happening:

  1. Then and Now:
    1. What did we learn about the Roaring Twenties from “Bernice Talks to Mother”? What are the modern day equivalents?
  2. The Roaring Twenties and The Great Depression:
    1. Due dates:
      1. Today: Topic chosen
      2. Friday: Theme determined
      3. Monday: Thesis statement (emailed to me)
      4. Tuesday: Essay outlined
      5. Friday (1/13): Essay completed
      6. Wednesday (1/18): Website complete
  3. This is just a placeholder.


Friday, December 16, 2011

Congratulations! Exams are finished. Christmas holidays are hours away.

2011 – The Year in Review in Lego

Situation Room

Recognize this scene from 2011? There are nine more here.

Please check your email for instructions on accessing your elf self on Phoenix Pix. We have time before the Christmas assembly for everyone to make a Christmas card. Like so:

Monday, December 12, 2011

Congratulations! With the end of the the English exam, you have completed the first semester of Grade 8 English. =]

Here’s what an exam looks like from the front of the room. Boy, that brings back memories.

Now we can get back to more creative learning (and Diplomacy, I reckon).

This one is just for fun:

Friday, December 9, 2011

Here are the notes for "This Excellent Machine" by John Lehmann. The only thing missing is our notice that the machine is a symbol for Europe on the brink of war.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

To recap what we went over today:

  • Do not fret over learning your way around a European map. Of course it’s hard, you haven’t studied it yet. Here’s how you can learn the countries of Europe after World War One:
    • Play Diplomacy. If your team is not working together, start a new game with friends. I’ll show you how.
    • Play the online map quizzes.
    • Use the transparency and dry-erase markers to practice with the paper map.
    • Have your family members or friends quiz you.
  • You do not have to hand in a propaganda analysis. The posters on my website are only for you to practice the skill of analysis. It’s a good life skill, which will also be on the exam. You will make a poster in January.
  • Practice the English essay questions:
    • Answer ONE of the following questions in formal English with reference to either novel studied this semester (The Good Earth or American Born Chinese). Be sure to provide specific evidence to back up your argument.
      • Conflict is important if a story is going to be interesting, as it is what motivates characters to action. In novels there are often more than one conflict within and between the major characters. Choose one conflict from either novel studied this semester and i) describe what the character wants, ii) how that character tries to satisfy that want, iii) the climax (turning point) of that conflict, and, in conclusion, iv) how that character changed by the end as a result of this conflict.
      • Theme is the meaning of a story. The meaning of a story shouldn’t be mistaken with topic, however. What the writer makes of the topic constitutes theme. Recall the songs we listened to in class. The topic of Love Stinks, Love Hurts, and Your Love (Keeps Lifting Me Higher) is love, but what the songwriters make of that topic is very different. Here’s the essay prompt: Choose one theme from either novel studied this semester and i) state the theme in a simple sentence or question ii) describe events from the story that contribute to that theme, and, in conclusion, iii) whether the author’s theme is realistic.
  • Your World War poetry summary and analysis is due Thursday. I want your summary and analysis in the dropbox before class begins.
  • Make sure you understand MAIN as a way to explain the build-up toward World War One. Can you define and give an example of Militarism, Alliances, Imperialism, and Nationalism?
  • Practice the Semester One words to know. Be able to define them and explain why these are important topics. Make sure you do your part to complete the study guide.
  • Practice the Social Studies essay questions (choose one):
      • Discuss the relative merits of industrialism
      • Construct a dialogue between two people, one pro-immigration, one anti-immigration


Here’s the plan for today:

  1. Propaganda
  2. Workshop and consultation – World War poetry
  3. Short story
  4. Semester One Words to Know

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

1. Now that you can summarize and analyze “The Raven” and “The Orange” like a pro, it’s time to fly solo.

Please apply your analysis skills to the following poems (summary and analysis due on Thursday):

Compress your Pages document and pop it in the dropbox.

2. These are words we have discussed in class because they are important to understanding Industrialization, Immigration, and World War One. You are assigned one word. If everyone fronts, you’ll have a decent study guide. Follow this link for detailed instructions.

  • Monopoly (Phoebe)
  • Imperialism (Tim)
  • Nativism (Jackie)
  • Isolationism (Jason)
  • Alliance (Kimberly)
  • The Schlieffen Plan (Mat)
  • Collective Bargaining (Saumya)
  • Stalemate (Iris)
  • Pandemic (Leo)
  • Bessemer Process (Young)
  • Industrialism (Noah)
  • Militarism (Jenny)
  • Immigration (Kayla)
  • Nationalism (Liz)
  • Unions (Andy)
  • Asian Exclusion Act (Ben)
  • The Zimmerman Telegram (Grace)
  • Treaty of Versailles (Shannon)
3. Let’s talk about propaganda.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Please do your part to fill in the M.A.I.N. definitions and examples before class on Tuesday.

Also shore up your summary and analysis of “The Orange”.

Use the study guide to prepare for exams.

Here is the collection of political cartoon analyses that we debriefed in class today.

World War One summary – from Phoenix Video

Today we will learn about M.A.I.N. Diplomacy will make much more sense.

You will also need a copy of “The Orange”.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Today –

2. IRP #2. Remember our cozy book chats were yesterday:

We’ll do that again today. (Fire up your imagination.)

2. Please hand in your Ads for Immigrants and your political cartoon analysis.

•We’ll continue cartoon analysis. Please download this document and get ready to analyze one of these contemporary images with a partner.

 3. We will begin poetry analysis. You’ll need this poetry analysis document. You will also need a copy of The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe.

4. Diplomacy – we have to wait until tomorrow to see how our training wheels game went, but we can start the REAL GAME (Game #34874) as long as six more people confirm. Even if you confirmed yesterday, we didn’t have enough to begin, so the game reset.

Game #34874. MAIN Attraction

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Today we’ll begin our Diplomacy game. If you have not logged into The M.A.I.N. Attraction yet, don’t worry. We’re going to work in teams with the six teams (plus yours truly) who have already confirmed. Generalissimo Boll will get the ball rolling today. (Get the Boll rolling…not bad.)

Choose your sides and country for the workshop game (we’ll abandon this one in a week, so feel free to learn from mistakes):

Central Powers

  1. Germany (Shannon, Tim, Ben)
  2. Austria (Grace, Andy, Jackie)
  3. Turkey (Kayla, Jason, Jenny)

Allied Powers

  1. Russia (Liz, Young, Saumya)
  2. United Kingdom (UK) (Leo, Phoebe, Mat)
  3. France (Mr. Larson)
  4. Italy (Noah, Iris, Kimberly)
THE REAL GAME is #34874.
Diplomacy will help us master the map of Europe. This way pay off hugely when you take your gap year backpacking trip. Time permitting, we will play Ticket to Ride Europe. One more tool in the kit is good old kinesthetic map work: Print and fill out the pre- and post World War One maps found here. These maps are due (neatly!) on Monday, December 5.
And today is IRP day.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Check out Punya Mishra’s ambigram collection. Some current Larsonists will find their names there (Son of a Jason, I’m looking in your direction.).

Today we will analyze political cartoons related to immigration one hundred years ago. Then we’ll examine similar cartoons from last year. How much has changed?

History doesn’t repeat itself, but sometimes it rhymes. (Mark Twain)

 As promised, you’ll have time to work on Ads for Immigrants, IRP#2, or DEAR.

Coming up next, World War One!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Dates to remember:

  1. Independent Reading Project – due on Tuesday, Nov. 29
  2. Political Cartoon Analysis – due on Tuesday, Nov. 29
  3. Ads for Immigrants – due on Wednesday, Nov. 30 (hard copy – hand in, soft copy – dropbox)

(You can count on 20 minutes of workshop time on Monday)


New York City’s Second Avenue Subway Line 

From Drill Down: Going Deep With NYC’s Second Avenue Subway Project

Photo: Jon Snyder/

Wired goes Creative Commons

Wired is making staff photos available under Creative Commons license. That means they are available for educational and non-profit use, as originals or in mash-ups. Read more here.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Your follow-up for tonight is to come up with real-life examples of the push and pull factors we came up with in class today:

Push Factors –

  1. Economic Hardship
  2. Religious Persecution
  3. Ethnic Persecution
  4. Civil Unrest
  5. Natural disasters

Pull Factors –

  1. Freedom of Speech
  2. Freedom of Belief
  3. Economic opportunities
  4. Social Stability

You may draw from your own family history or historical events.

Pop Quiz:

  1. Where does the Irish Potato Famine fit into the above scheme?
  2. The Gold Rush?
  3. The Boxer Rebellion?

The week ahead:

  • Tuesday – Eulogies
  • Wednesday – Rising Tide of Immigration
  • Analyzing Attitudes Toward Immigration
  • Thursday – More political cartoons
  • Friday – (Tentatively) Begin World War One (studies)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Here’s today’s learning:

We will watch a scene from The Godfather, Part II, which was filmed at Ellis Island. Then we’ll read the story “A Day at Ellis Island”. Download the A Day at Ellis Island worksheet and add your answers with Preview or Adobe Acrobat.

We will finish our analysis of Labor’s Response to Industrialism. Your task is outlined in the final slide of the Keynote. Your cartoon response should be original artwork (hand drawn or digital), A4. It is due Thursday the 24th.

You may have time to revise and practice your eulogy, IRP, or A Day at Ellis Island analysis.

Metro Madness team portraits are on the beta version of Phoenix Pix. I will email the password to you.

My hotel in Singapore.

While I am chaperoning the High School MUNsters in Singapore, here’s what you will work on in class:


Read “My Day in the Sweatshop” in the anthology A Changing America. Download this My Day in the Sweatshop and fill it out with Preview or Adobe Acrobat. You will have time to work on this before sharing your answers in class.

Your teacher will lead you through, “Management and Labor Talk it Out”. When it comes time to write your own dialogue, follow these instructions, and email your work to me (one email for each partnership, copy and paste the dialogue into the email).

Download the “The Rising Tide of Immigration” keynote and notes. Your teacher will assign a slide to you, then give you 10-15 minutes to read the relevant notes and prepare to share them with your classmates. You may record notes in the Presenter Notes section of Keynote.

Ads for Immigrants instructions are here. If you get workshop time work on Independent Reading Projects and “My Day in the Sweatshop” questions (these should be first priority, so that you can go over them in the last 15 minutes of class). Ads for Immigrants are due on Tuesday, November 22.


Read “Gold Mountain” in the anthology A Changing America, download the Gold Mountain worksheet from my website, and fill it out with Preview or Adobe Acrobat.

Begin “Poems from Angel Island”, a History Alive lesson. You pair up to write poems about the experiences of Chinese immigrants to the US about 100 years ago. Both partners should keep copies of their poems.

Visit this webpage to investigate the events that inspired the movie Newsies.


Read aloud “The Man Who Exposed the Slums” in the anthology A Changing America. Download The Man Who Exposed the Slums from my website and fill it out with Preview or Adobe Acrobat. The worksheet is due on Monday in the dropbox on English 8.

You may work on Independent Reading Projects, Angel Island poems (polished, illustrated, and mounted on black paper – Due on Wednesday, November 24), or the short story worksheet.

Watch the first 30 minutes of Newsies with Mr. Halula and Mr. Henderson’s classes in Jade/Pearl dining rooms.

Friday –

Watch the conclusion to Newsies.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Today you’ll have time to work on your eulogy. By now, you should be at the writing stage. If you haven’t checked out the LibGuide lately, there are links to eulogy writing resources.


Eulogy writing resources on the Lib Guide (say that five times fast)

You’ll have time to prep for Metro Madness:

    • Finish plotting the locations
    • When you get your official starting point, you can plan your route
    • Practice your jingle (is it written down so that your chaperone can participate?)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

How your teachers spent their inservice day.

At 10:15 – Madison will visit our class to eulogize Thomas Edison
Eulogy research and writing – you should be at the writing stage at this point
Labor’s Response to Industrialism
11 – meet with Mrs. Boll
11:15 Metro Madness (MM) prep time –

•quickly get into your MM groups (some may be having their picture taken with Mrs. Zielke – make sure you tell them where you’re going)

•grab a map from Mr. Halula and put your three teammates name (family and given name) on the front white label

•go to the map on the whiteboard and mark off the many regions that are displayed

•go to Mr Halula’s website and look at the locations you must mark on your map (

•Once you are given your starting point you will be able to start creating a plan for Friday

Remember that your group will be given limited time this week so you all must be focused and committed to working together.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Please download this Keynote: Labor’s Response to Industrialization.

Instructions for the follow-up comic are here.

Elton John Candle in the Wind – from Phoenix Video


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Inventor Eulogy Presentations are Tuesday, Nov. 22.

These are the Inventor Eulogy choices, as on noon today.

If you want to read the rest of the the eulogy for Lady Diana, it’s here.

Metro Madness 2011:

Resources here.

Teams are listed here.

Dress code for Metro Madness? Same as school & appropriate for the weather.

Wed. Nov. 2 Kick off – map skills, expectations, begin working in groups to plot your route and write your jingle (20-30 minutes)

Tuesday, Nov. 8 – Continue plotting your route, choreograph and practice your jingle  (20-30 minutes)

Wednesday, Nov. 9 – Final preparations and planning  (20-30 minutes)

Thursday, Nov. 10 – Last minute announcements & preparations, email plan to Mr. Halula  (20-30 minutes)

Friday, Nov. 11 – Metro Madness 2011!

Friday, October 27, 2011

Thursday, October 26, 2011

  1. Graphing America’s Rising Industrialism
  2. Inventor Eulogy
Reminders: Your Industrialist Report Card is due on Friday in this dropbox. I hope we will have time to play Ticket to Ride.



Wednesday, October 25, 2011

  1. ABC test
  2. Bring a book for post-test chilling out
  3. Industrialist Report Card
  4. Hand in Yangshuo book for printing

Tuesday, October 24, 2011

  1. Yangshuo book peer review – I will collect them tomorrow, so have yours in PDF form before class.
  2. Write down this question and use it to filter everything we study in this unit
  3. Complete Industrialism intro, including report card assignment
  4. Inventor eulogy assigned

This agenda trumps the one below.

Cognitive Surplus?

Feel free to add your own background:

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Week Ahead

Huge Grace Orphanage – from Phoenix Video


  1. SRI – See below
  2. ABC – practice questions and essay writing
  3. IRP – reflection – what went well, what will go better next time & how will you do that, and what advice do you have for others
  4. Industrial Revolution
  5. Workshop – Yangshuo book, DEAR, library, etc.
Speaking of urbanization
Anatomy of a Skyscraper - Kate Ascher - From Wired November 2011
Anatomy of a Skyscraper - Kate Ascher - From Wired November 2011


  1. Industrial Revolution studies – Graphing America’s Rise
  2. Report Cards (???)
  3. Inventor Eulogies


  1. ABC test – You will be expected to identify key character and plot facts, as well as explain your answer to the two guiding questions. Practice these ahead of time. Answers should be succinct and detailed.
  2. Industrial Revolution studies – Labor’s Response to Industrialism


  1. Industrial Revolution studies –


Industrial Revolution studies

Ticket to Ride

Learning Objective: Everybody gets the joke. =

What Faith Can Do – from Phoenix Video

Today we will take the SRI (Scholastic Reading Inventory). This has to be done in Safari.


First, use Spotlight to find SRI Preferences.

Fill in the details below, then click on Save Changes and Exit.

Now you can open SRI.

Make sure you’re on CISS_MSstudents.



Remaining time is workshop.

Monday, October 17, 2011


Time to work on your Independent reading project (due on Wednesday) and your Yangshuo iBook (due on Thursday).

American Born Chinese (ABC) –

  1. Take a quick review of the guiding questions for this novel.
  2. Give me three words to describe the Monkey King (Sun Wu Kong). What does he want? What stands in the way of his goal? What is he going to do about it?
  3. Give me three words to describe Jin. What does he want? What stands in the way of his goal? What is he going to do about it?
  4. How are The Monkey King and Jin victims of stereotyping? What about you?


  1. Finish reading to page 130 in ABC, paying particular attention to this question: How is Tze-Yo-Tzuh (“He who is”) a Christian God figure?
        1. His name is equivalent to the Christian “I am.” (page 67)
        2. “Who was is and ever shall be”
        3. He lives in heaven.
        4. p.80: “Silly monkey. You were never out of my reach. You only fooled yourself.” is closely comparable to
          1. Ps. 139: 14: “I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.” and,
          2. Jeremiah 1:5: “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart for my holy purpose. I appointed you to be a prophet to the nations.”
  2. We begin (studying) The Industrial Revolution
  3. Workshop time
  4. Preparation for IRP presentations


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Today we’ll stand in the shape of a big C, then face upwards and squint. This will build character.

I will give you time to share your Yangshuo photos. We’ll try iChat sharing.

We will follow up on the topic of love and the many themes in popular (?) music.

By the end of class today, you should be able to explain what a *theme is and explain the theme you have chosen for your Yangshuo book.

*If character is the most important aspect of fiction, then theme is the “meaning” of a story. The “meaning” of a story shouldn’t be mistaken with topic, however. What the writer makes of the topic constitutes theme….[Theme answers the question] “What does it add up to?” (

I will collect journals at the end of the week.


What if you had your own secret garden? What would it be like? Would it have fire-breathing dragons or chocolate trees? Use your imagination and illustrate what your secret garden would be like. Then, in 100 words, tell us the name of your garden and all of its wonderful qualities. Please include your age, name, school and contact details on your submissions. Winners will be announced during our awards ceremony. The grand prize winner will receive a cash prize of RMB300. First and second runners-up receive RMB200 and RMB100. Open to kids age 2-16 years. The contest ends Oct 31, 2011.
Email your submission to or mail to Rm 1501, World Trade Tower, No.500 Guangdong Street, Huangpu Disctrict, Shanghai, 200001. Any further quesiton please contact Jenny Rao at 6528-1840 ext. 8822
And this from Mr. Lewis:
Dear Middle School Students,
Now that the weather is getting cooler and some students are beginning to wear sweaters in class I would like to remind you of the policy.
Students can wear whatever sweater or jacket that they would like to and from school and during recess.
In the hallways and in the classrooms students must wear a sweater that has been purchased through the uniform shop. Some of the most popular styles for the middle school students are the cardigans and also the more sporty sweater with a large stripe down the sleeve. Students may also wear a sweater from the Phoenix Shop that has been sanctioned as uniform wear. It is a hoody with the Phoenix logo on the front.
The exception to this rule is that on Friday’s students may wear any Concordia sweater that they wish. Many students last year chose to wear an MUN sweater or a sweater purchased in the Phoenix shop. This rule does not apply to shirts. Uniform shirts must always be worn by middle school students unless given special permission such as a free dress day.
Thank you for adhering to this policy.
Mr. Lewis

Monday, October 10, 2011

Today we’ll watch the conclusion of The Good Earth.

Following up on Yangshuo:

  1. sorting and editing your photos
  2. beginning your illustrated book (instructions here), and mostly sussing out a *theme
  3. completing the Insight Adventures survey (**”Remember, this is for posterity, so do try to be honest.”)
  4. handing in your journal (I’ll get it back to you by Wednesday)
*Speaking of theme, what do these songs have in common?
  1. Love Hurts by Nazareth
  2. Eaten by the Monster of Love by Sparks
  3. We Will Dance by Steven Curtis Chapman
  4. (Your Love Keeps on Lifting Me) Higher and Higher by Jackie Wilson
Not a hard question, eh? If they all have the same topic, what is each one saying about that topic; in other words, what are the themes of the above songs?
Record your three observations (statements, questions, truths) about love here.
Just like the topic for our iBooks is Yangshuo, we will have 19 different themes.

(**Count Rugan to Wesley, in The Princess Bride)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Your assignment this weekend is to pack for Yangshuo, spend lots of time with your family, and get some good nutrition and rest. =]

Journal 2-3 pages of your feelings, expectations, goals, etc. before we leave.

The story of the film version of The Good Earth is worthy of a movie. Did you know the production company was not allowed to hire a Chinese actress to play O-Lan because they weren’t allowed to show people of different races kissing?

So why not hire a Chinese actor to play Wang Lung? Apparently, that’s what Pearl S. Buck wanted to do, but in a country that outlawed interracial kissing, what are the odds many people would go to see a movie starring Asian-American actors?

They weren’t completely the good old days, were they? It makes me wonder again what will future generations find crazy about our attitudes today.

You can read more in the wikipedia article on The Good Earth.


Monday, September 19, 2011

The Week Ahead:

Two themes:

The Good Earth



  • Answer Ch. 31 to 34 study questions
  • Good Earth Test Review is due, and we will go over the answers in class
  • Pecha Kucha presentations


  • Multiple Choice test


  • In class essay writing



*There’s also time to work on Independent Reading Projects

Friday, September 16, 2011

Good work yesterday. I’m impressed with the way your pecha kuchas are coming together. It was interesting to see the different ways you found to organize your thoughts. Same outcome, different path.

Preparing for the pecha kucha-ko with a storyboard
Preparing for the pecha kucha-ko with a mindmap
Preparing for the pecha kucha-ko with paragraphed text
  1. Happy Birthday, Mr. Umphenour!
  2. On Friday we will continue our debate. I’ll give you five minutes to collect your arguments, then move into rebuttal. GREAT JOB today drawing evidence from the novel.
  3. We have a Yangshuo information meeting. Some of the same questions that you asked today will be asked tomorrow. You may find this boring. Try to prevent this by talking to every other Eighth Grader before 10:05 Friday morning.
  4. We will showcase Cryptic Descriptive Writing – make sure you know where your landscape picture is stored.
  5. Finish reading The Good Earth by Monday. We will collaborate on the final study questions.
  6. The Good Earth test is next week. There are two parts – a prove your familiarity with plot details multiple-choice (Wednesday) and an demonstrate-that-you-understand-it essay (Thursday).
  7. Test yourself by taking this Good Earth Test Review – which will serve as a good study guide. We will go over this on Tuesday.
  8. Prepare for the essay by revisiting the questions and taking notes. You may bring one page of notes to class for the essay (I will supply the blank notecards).
  9. Working on your TGE pecha kucha is good review for both parts of the test. This is due Tuesday.
  10. Chinese Exclusion Act comics are due next Friday.
  11. Election Day! You can watch the candidate videos on Phoenix Video and then vote here.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

We will reflect on happenings in TGE chapters 21 to 30.

I’ll check in with you on your Cryptic Descriptive Writing progress. Due Thursday.

We’ll begin TGE pecha kuchas. These will be due next Wednesday, Sept. 21.

Chinese Exclusion Act comics are due next Tuesday, Sept. 20

How’s everybody doing with the TGE vocabulary? Five minutes of practice each day is more effective than a cram session. Plus, you can impress your friends with your new eloquence.: “MMMM, that Gatorade slakes my thirst!”

Please hand in your Tech Code Agreements.


How I Spent (part of) My Weekend at Learning 2.011


Here’s a look at the week ahead.

Soldiers stormed through Wang Lung’s village conscripting soldiers and laborers. Pearl S. Buck didn’t make that up. The Boxer Rebellion happened during the time of the novel. We’ll watch a movie about that.

It’s SRI time. We’ll take a short reading comprehension test on your computers today. If you’re running Lion, well..we’ll see what happens. (Textbook and educational software companies don’t always keep up with the latest operating systems.)

By today, you should have finished reading past Chapter 30 in TGE. We’ll finish the book this week. We’ll discuss the study questions and see what insights we’ve gained in the matters of Wang Lung’s success and the role in Women in China one hundred years ago. There will be a test.

I will give you workshop time to finish (and polish!) your Cryptic Descriptive Writing and your Chinese Exclusion Act cartoon.

Cryptic Descriptive Paragraphs (and photo – see instructions below) are due Thursday in this dropbox.

Please return Tech Code Agreements.

Yangshuo in two weeks!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

You’ll have 10 minutes to work independently or cooperatively to summarize each of the Chinese Exclusion Act sections.

Watch the Safari-Montage video.

Take 15 minutes to analyze the Keynote images to see what they tell us about Chinese immigrants and their place in the US in the 1880’s. You can type your notes in the presenter notes section of the Keynote. These notes are due on Tuesday.

Create your own political cartoon on the Chinese Exclusion Act. I’ll go into more details on Tuesday about that one, so it won’t be due until the end of next week.

You may also work on:

  • TGE vocabulary
  • TGE study questions (due on in the blog on Tuesday)
  • TGE reading – arrive in class on Tuesday having finished past Ch. 30
  • Independent Reading Project

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Today we will continue our TGE study by looking at the history of the world at that time, specifically, why didn’t Wang Lung and his neighbors leave the war and economic hardship of China altogether?

That wasn’t an option for most, as we’ll learn from the Chinese exclusion act. Please download this Keynote presentation so that you can add your own notes to the presenter notes section.

More resources are on Mr. Boll’s site.

Here’s how you add notes to the keynote:


Tuesday, September 6, 2011 


Independent Reading Projects. Please download Independent Reading Projects 1 and note due dates in your calendar:

  1. October 19
  2. November 9
  3. December 8

We will begin Cryptic Descriptive Paragraphs. These are due Thursday, September 15.

Can you describe this image without using the words "mountains", "trees" and "sun"? What similes and metaphors convey the details without spelling it out?
How about this one? Trees are...broccoli? a clown's wig? fireworks? Help me out here.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Tech Code forms need to be signed and returned as soon as possible, and no later than next Tuesday the 13th.

Also for Tuesday, please thoroughly answer your assigned TGE questions. Post the creative answers to the Class of 2016 blog.


Friday, September 2, 2011

For Monday:

Read past TGE Ch. 20

Complete and post to the Class of 2016 blog answers to the Ch. 11 to 20 study questions

Practice TGE vocabulary

Get outside and enjoy the sun

Hug your loved ones =]

Today – the thrilling conclusion to (…wait for it…) The WRAP Test!

Also time to collaborate on TGE questions (due on Monday).

Descriptive writing. Wear walking shoes.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Feel free to read ahead in The Good Earth. You should be finished Ch. 20 by Monday, including your assigned study questions.

Our vocabulary quizlet for The Good Earth Ch. 24-34 is published. Check it out!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Welcome to class, Phoebe. =]

I created three Concordiapad pages for The Good Earth guiding questions.

Today we will review the Ch. 1 to 10 questions, collaborate on TGE essay questions, and practice vocabulary. Then we will revisit descriptive writing.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The sky’s the limit as far as the format of your answers, as long as you answer the questions clearly and thoroughly. These are due Monday.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Wanted posters are due at the beginning of class. I will not give you time in class to post your work, so take care of that beforehand. The dropbox is here.

TGE study questions are due Wednesday – post your polished and thorough answers to the Class of 2016 blog.

By next Monday, you should have read past Chapter 20 of TGE.

On Tuesday, I will assign a vocabulary word to you. You can do that now if you want.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Reminder: Revised, print-ready Wanted posters are due on Tuesday.

NEW: The Good Earth vocabulary words are housed here.

I would like you to pay particular attention to two themes in the novel, Wang Lung’s character and the place of women in 19th century Chinese society. Here are the essay questions that will appear on the Semester One exam:

In the New Testament, Mark 8:36 reads, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” Describe incidents when Wang Lung “gains the whole world” as a successful farmer and landowner, but “forfeits his soul” as a husband and a father. In your conclusion, explain whether he redeems himself by his actions in his old age.

The Good Earth depicts women as carefully negotiating the male-dominated world of the novel, achieving status and power when they can but never outrightly contradicting the misogyny expressed by the men in the book. Describe with specific examples from the novel ways that O-lan, Lotus, and Pear Blossom achieve status and power.

Please visit the updated The Good Earth resources on myConcordia. Download the files circled in orange. Feel free to download the three videos for further information.

For next Wednesday:

Chapter 4&5 – Girl Power

Chapter 6&7 – Ben

Chapter 8 – Uhhhhh

Chapter 9 & 10 – Bros

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Spend time reading The Good Earth tonight. Feel free to read ahead. Thank you for your restraint in keeping details from spoiling it for others.

Here are my copies of the Wang Lung and O-Lan character maps. Feel free to take from these to add to your own maps.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Please continue reading The Good Earth.

Create a myConcordia blog with your name in the title. This will become your digital portfolio. Feel free to create another blog for personal use.

Reflect on your Wanted poster and peer feedback. Before you revise it, write a short reflection on what you did well and where you need to improve. What did you learn? Why do you feel proud. Post this and a screen shot of the first draft Wanted poster to your blog. Reminder: Screen shot: Command-Shift-4 will take a picture and leave it on your desktop.

Your print-ready revised Wanted poster is due next Tuesday, August 30. Make sure you post it to the dropbox before class.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Please continue reading The Good Earth. Pace yourself to finish chapter 10 by Monday. I will give you time in class to read, but we won’t use the audiobook anymore, so you can read at your own pace. Also learn the vocabulary words. It’s better to learn them sooner than later so that you know them when you read them in the novel.

Remember, as you read, to pay attention to indicators of Wang Lung’s character. What drives him?  What influences his decisions. What does he think of himself? Others?

Please confirm your school records (handed out at the end of class today) as soon as possible (tomorrow would be great).

We will showcase Wanted posters, I promise. I wanted to get The Good Earth started in earnest today.

If you want to replace your current desktop picture with some other Concordia Shanghai graphics, you can visit’s Mr. Lyon’s online portfolio. Enjoy.


Monday, August 22, 2011

That was a bit of a rocky start this morning, what with the shortened class and a few tech foibles here and there.

Here’s what’s on for tomorrow:

We will begin reading The Good Earth. You will need the study questions and vocabulary, which can be found on The Good Earth Week One. Please access these before class. Feel free to start learning the vocabulary word tonight.

You will get a chance to showcase your Wanted poster first draft, and time permitting, an opportunity to revise it in class.

Welcome to Grade 8, Class of 2016!

This is your home for Humanities information. Assignment details, resources, and occasional distractions will be linked to this blog. Feel free to bookmark it.

As my father-in-law, Capt. Dodge, would say, “Welcome aboard.”

Watch your back – from Phoenix Video

Congratulations, Class of 2015. It was a rockin’ fun year! I wish you a great summer, you’ve earned it.

Monday, May 30, 2012

Someone asked me a clarification question about the “Romeo and Juliet” essay prompt regarding three kinds of love. You might have the same question. Here’s my answer:

I agree with you about Romeo and Juliet’s love being more like infatuation (love at first site) at the beginning of the play. However, when Romeo sacrifices his feelings of despair at being banished in order to be a proper husband to Juliet (instead of running away or committing suicide, as he first planned), then he is demonstrating true love – love that sacrifices for the other person, love that gives instead of taking. Juliet, too, sacrifices her family loyalties to stand by Romeo when he kills her cousin, Tybalt. Likewise, they sacrifice themselves to be together in death when they can’t be together in life. So that’s true love in “Romeo and Juliet”, but always remember that this is a tragedy.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

If you would like to play Jeopardy! as part of your English exam review, there are two posted as English8 Resources.

Practice strategies for identifying excerpts from the play:

  1. Paraphrase the lines
  2. Identify clues to the speaker, listener
  3. Then tell me who said it, to whom, and the significance of the line (does it complicate the plot, resolve a conflict, tell us about a character, foreshadow, contribute to a theme, etc.). You only have to explain one significance, but do so with specific detail.

And of course there are essay questions (one for each play/novel):

To Kill a Mockingbird

  1. Many readers see To Kill a Mockingbird as having two parts, one centering on Boo Radley and the other on the trial of Tom Robinson. How are these stories connected and how are they brought together at the end of the novel?
  2. A central symbol in the novel is the mockingbird.  Explain what the mockingbird symbolizes and who, in the novel, it stands for and why?


Romeo and Juliet

  1. Romeo and Juliet presents three kinds of love.  Explain what they are, which characters represent these loves and how each kind is presented in the play.
  2. Romeo and Juliet has been called a tragedy of fate. List three events that occurred by chance and tell how each influenced events in the drama.



Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Let’s imagine we’re characters in Romeo and Juliet and trick out our rides with vanity plates.Don’t feel pressured to make it look great – pour your energy into coming up with a cryptic and apt license plate. If you  have time, feel free to make a plate from scratch (otherwise use the ImageChef templates).

Email your license plate (jpeg, please) as soon as possible. It’s due Thursday, but we can show some in class on Wednesday between IRPs.

Monday, May 23, 2011


The week ahead:

Tuesday – finish reading R&J, maybe have some workshop time

Wednesday – showcase independent reading projects

Thursday – Act Two and Three test , showcase R&J: The Musical, activity: R&J license plates

Friday – Field Day. Your rockin’ fun team color is red.


Also – Propaganda posters are due Tuesday, May 31



Friday, May 20, 2012

You’ll need this.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Romeo and Juliet: The Musical



Monday, May 16, 2011

The week ahead:


CWHU # 4 & 5

Read and watch R&J Act II

Romeo and Juliet: The Musical – scene assignments, due on Thursday, May 26 (be prepared to share script and music excerpts and explanation)


CWHU#6 & 7

Propaganda posters (due Tuesday, May 31)

R&J: Act III


R&J: Act III

R&J: The Musical and propaganda workshop time


R&J: Act IV

R&J: The Musical and propaganda workshop time

(Tentative) R&J license plates


R&J: Act III

R&J: The Musical and propaganda workshop time



Friday, May 13, 2011

A Bulgarian holds a Soviet flag, a hammer and sickle atop it, during the World War II Victory day celebrations in front of the Soviet Army Monument in central Sofia, May 9, 2011. May 9 is celebrated in former Soviet Republics as victory day over Nazi Germany in World War II. (A World War II veteran shows his grandson their family surname engraved on the memorial to Soviet Heroes during the anniversary of victory over the Nazis, in Ukraine's capital Kiev, May 9, 2011. Ukrainians continue to celebrate the World War II anniversary and Victory Day on May 9 as a national holiday. (Efrem LukatskyAssociated Press) #


A World War II veteran shows his grandson their family surname engraved on the memorial to Soviet Heroes during the anniversary of victory over the Nazis, in Ukraine's capital Kiev, May 9, 2011. Ukrainians continue to celebrate the World War II anniversary and Victory Day on May 9 as a national holiday. (Efrem LukatskyAssociated Press) #


The above pictures are part of an Big Picture photo essay on celebrations in the former Soviet Union. As you reflect on the Allied victory (and the cost of the war for the USSR) and the Cold War, these pictures convey some of the importance of those conflicts for the Soviet leaders and citizens.

For Monday, review the first act of R&J (notes and text), take another look at your Sociogram and TKAM, and tackle SS exam review.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Takeaways from the Prologue analysis (and pretty well applicable to all future academic endeavors):

  • Pay close attention to the evidence (What do the words say outright? What do they imply?)
  • Be specific
  • Be detailed

Things to work on:

  1. Review Social Studies (Civil Rights, WWII, Cold War)  and Romeo and Juliet notes
  2. Cold War Heats Up presentation and comprehension
  3. IRP


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Romeo and Juliet Act 1 test tomorrow: You will need to know the difference between flat and round characters (and which characters fit in these categories), decode excerpts from the play, and recall some story details.

CWHU #1 Group teaches Thursday.

Interim druthers are due tomorrow, too.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Wednesday is the High School Placement Test. Get a good night’s rest tonight. Report to your homeroom for attendance at 8, then proceed to the Commons. Bring a pencil.

Continue working on CWHU presentations and reviewing previous Social Studies lessons.

After viewing all of the CWHU presentations, you should be able to answer each of the following questions, with detailed evidence (and if not, go back to the text):

“The Cold War Heats Up” Guiding Questions

    1. Why did the age of European empires come to an end?
    2. Why did the destruction of Germany make a conflict likely between the USSR and the USA?
    3. Why did the wartime alliance fall apart in 1945?
    4. Why did Stalin take control of Eastern Europe?
    5. How did the USA react to the Soviet take-over of Eastern Europe?
    6. Why was the US government hostile towards the Soviet Union?
    7. What were the consequences of the Berlin Blockade?



Monday, May 9, 2011

How now, pretty wenches and squires. Marry! We have mickle to learn this week.

Today we will finish reading R&J, in the Founder’s Garden, unless the heavens rain down upon us. (Fie!)

You’ll get time to work on your CWHU presentations, too. I’ll give you lots of time at the beginning of this week, but next to no time by the end of the week.

Come the Feast of St. Pancras (that’s Thursday), we will have a quiz on R&J Act 1. You will need to know the difference between flat and round characters, decode excerpts from the play, and recall some story details.

Romeo and Juliet notes are compiled on the wiki.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Before we start R&J, please give your opinion to these questions.

These will come in handy:

The Globe Theatre

Exploring Shakespearean Word Order

Shak.Lang.& Insults


Wednesday, May 5, 2011

Today we continue our study of the Cold War. Your group is responsible for conveying the information in your assigned Cold War Heats Up chapter. Viewers should walk away from the viewing able to answer the chapter’s guiding question.

Choose the media that best communicate your ideas and content.

There’s a dropbox for digital projects. If you prepare any hard copy media, hand them in on your assigned viewing day.

Chapter One:  Hong Shen & Zach L. & Daniel H. (Wednesday, May 11)

Chapter Two: Kia & Shannon (Friday, May 13)

Chapter Three: Ashley & Sarah L. (Friday, May 13)

Chapter Four: Ryan & Daniel K & Tanner (Monday, May 16)

Chapter Five: Seth & Shaqqo (Monday, May 16)

Chapter Six: Hannah & Sarah S. (Tuesday, May 17)

Chapter Seven: Violet & Hayley & Sooyung (Tuesday, May 17)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Today we will complete the study of WWII that we began in April. We left off with V Day, Victory in Europe, May 7, 1945. Today we’ll talk about the was in the Pacific.

Key concepts:

  • While it’s true the Allies concentrated on defeating the Axis powers in Europe before focusing on the Pacific War, it’s important to realize that the US began the Pacific War shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.
  • “Island Hopping”
  • Control of the Pacific skies and waters
  • Airbases within range of Japan’s main island
  • The decision to use atomic weapons against Japan

And we will talk about the confluence of the Civil Rights Movement and the Cold War (please download the linked presentation).

If the Civil Rights Movement and the War in Europe aren’t fresh in your mind, this would be a good thing to review over the next couple of days. You should be able to describe with specific details the Allied strategies for defeating the Axis powers in Europe and the Pacific in World War II. If you need to shore up your notes, read Student Handout for Winning WWII.

This week we’ll begin Romeo and Juliet and The Cold War Heats Up, both of which will take us to exams in four weeks.

  • May 25: Independent Reading Project (free choice)
  • Monday, May 30 – English final exam (11:15 to 12:30)
  • Tuesday, May 31 – Math final exam (8 to 10:15)
  • Wednesday, June 1 – Social Studies final exam (10:15 to 11:30)
  • Thursday, June 2 – Science final exam (11:15 to 12:30)
  • Wednesday, June 8 – Grade 8 Commencement (2 PM)

Wednesday, April 20

Believe it or not, IRP are due today. We will stay inside for all the digital presentations, then move outside for the analog reports.

Sociograms are due tomorrow. Remember that they should be posted to the dropbox before class Thursday. Thus endeth our study of TKAM. We will take time for peer reflections, as well as conclude the Winning World War II study.

Next stop, Romeo and Juliet.

Monday, April 18

Today you’ll have time to work on your To Kill a Mockingbird sociogram. The revised deadline is Thursday, April 20.

While you’re doing that, the groups that didn’t get to bring their World War II terms to life can get ready to showcase.

Now that we know the contributing factors that led to the breakout of World War II, we will study how the Allies won the war. Download the Keynote, Winning World War II for your own records.

Independent Reading Projects are due this week. April 20, to be exact.

I know a lot of you enjoy creating with Final Cut Pro, so you may enjoy reading this sneak peek at FCPX.

This is a superb photo essay on the effects of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan one month later.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

While I am in Ho Chi Minh City for Apple Distinguished Educators 2011, you will study three different things:

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird sociogram. On Thursday and Friday, you will watch the movie version of the novel. Use that and, more important, the text to make decisions on your sociogram (which is due on Tuesday, April 19).
  2. Vocabulary Unit #11 –
    1. The workbook is due on Thursday.
    2. Write a story that uses at least your assigned vocabulary words and one more. We will decide the story style in class. You will post the polished story to the Class of 2015 blog and comment on each other’s work. There will be no formal quiz.
  3. World War II studies, beginning with learning important concepts (Bringing World War II Terms to Life) and then how World War I was so quickly followed by another global conflict (From Versailles to Pearl Harbor). This is in-class work if you make good use of your time.

Enjoy High School 101.


Monday, April 4, 2011

Enjoy the holiday tomorrow. =]

If you did not get credit for six photos for the auction project, email me medium sized shots to make up the ones that got misplaced on Phoenix Pix.

Bring your copy of TKaM and Vocabulary Workshop to class on Wednesday.

You will watch the film version of TAKM on Thursday and Friday.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Your NHD project is due today. Please post it to the dropbox on Grade 8 – All Students.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Your TKaM essay choices are listed on the wiki.When you come across an action or event in TKaM that answers any of these big questions, include an annotated excerpt there.

You should arrive in class on Wednesday having finished at least to the end of Chapter 16.

You’ll have time to work on NHD revisions in class, so unless you’re woefully behind in NHD (which is none I’ve you), you can consider TKAM your only homework.



Monday, March 28, 2011

NHD home stretch!

If you have not published your NHD website yet, you can find instructions on the Virtual Tech Hub.

Check your Friday email for the NHD Rubric and Self-Assessment, or you can download it. This is the rubric that will determine your Social Studies grade. The NHD event this Saturday uses a different rubric, which I shared with you last week.

Before we discuss the action of To Kill a Mockingbird, you will work with a partner to answer some assigned questions (from the study guide). Post your answers and reflections to the TKAM wiki page. Be sure to cite evidence from the novel (including page number and breadcrumbs so we can find the passage).

Friday, March 25, 2011

Here is the official rubric that I will use to assess your NHD project, as well as a peer and self-assessment form that we will use in class next week.  You might find it handy as you put the finishing touches to your NHD project this weekend: NHD Rubric and Self-Assessment

Thursday, March 24, 2011

1. I’m moving March’s IRP to Monday, April 11. The April IRP is hereby cancelled.

We continue two themes over the next week, TKAM and NHD.

2. Here is the reading schedule for the rest of TKaM:

  • Monday, March 28 – Come to class having finished reading Part One
  • Tuesday, March 29 – End of Chapter 13
  • Wednesday, March 30 – End of Chapter 16
  • Thursday, March 31 – End of Chapter 19
  • Friday, April 1 – End of Chapter 24
  • Monday, April 4 – Finish the book

As you read, pay attention to the questions I have highlighted in the TKaM Study Guide. Please download this version to replace the unannotated version I handed out last week.

If you want to start working on it now, I will assign you a Sociogram project after we finish the book.

We will watch the film version after we finish reading the book. In the meantime, here is the To Kill a Mockingbird trailer.

3. NHD projects are due on Monday. Make sure you know what needs to happen between now and Monday and who is in charge of each part.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

We’ll work on two things today and tomorrow:

To Kill a Mockingbird: We’ll use Xmind to create the beginning of character sketches for people we’ve met in the first six chapters (be sure to cite textual evidence). We’ll also talk about what action in the first six chapters is relevent to the essay options. By the end of class today, you should have an essay topic chosen and notes started.







Please take a look at your NHD project as it now stands. How does it rate according to the NHD assessments?  Where are you right on target and where do you need to go from here?

NHD Website Rubric

NHD Judging Forms Documentary

NHD Judging Forms Performance

NHD Judging Forms Paper

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Please continue working on two projects:
To Kill a Mockingbird: read to the end of chapter six for Wednesday. If you would like an audiobook, let me know and I will pass it to you on a USB drive.
NHD: Each group should have a fair division of labor. Who is in charge of script? Images? Bibliography? Editing? Work on this at home, as you will not have enough time in class to complete your project. They’re starting to come together! Keep up the good work.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


















































































































Chicago, again. That's not photoshop. They really dye the river that color on St. Paddy's Day.


















































































































Today you’ll start building your bibliography. A Quick Reference Guide to MLA citation is on this site or the Online Writing Lab from Purdue University.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Today you’ll have time to work with your NHD group. Continue transforming your outline by integrating the multimedia for your website or documentary, using the big white piece of paper as a planner. Once that is green-lighted, you can start building your project.

We will begin reading To Kill a Mockingbird. Details and resources are on this site and myConcordia English 8 resources.

Please download these resources from myConcordia English8 resources.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Here is the keynote presentation we concluded today: African Americans Lead the Struggle for Equal Rights.

Here is a note from Ms. Abel, Mr. Umphenhour, and Mrs. Poppell:

I am so excited to announce we have over 62,000rmb for 2.5 surgeries.

Please let kids know the fund raiser is officially over.

If any kids want to buy a bear with Concordia on it, we have some in storage.  See Echo or Joe.

April 21 we will present the monies and extra cloths to the director of Heart to Heart.

In May, we will take 20 students from MS to the hospital.  Please give me the names of any kids that have seemed exceptionally “interested” in this project.

Thank you for making a dream happen for 2 kids in China,


Amanda, Terry and Holly

Monday, March 14, 2011

Please deposit your final human rights outline in the English8 dropbox.

Mr. Boll posted 2011 NHD winners here on the MS NHD site.

This week you will transform your NHD research from an outline into something you can publish, that is an essay, a website, a documentary, or a dramatic presentation. Begin with this NHD Project storyboard. After you fill in the top table, you can fill in any content gaps and then enhance this with visuals (still images, video, graphs, etc.) and audio (soundtrack, sound effects, narration, etc.). The next step is laying that out in the storyboard, with an emphasis on the visual.


Take a moment to appreciate the magnolia tree in bloom in the Founder’s Garden. Here’s your trivia for the day: The yulan magnolia is Shanghai’s official flower.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011





























































































Girl Scouts will sell cookies at the Hot Dog Lunch on Friday. Get there before this guy does.




I will collect Nanjing permission slips.

You will have time to continue researching your NHD collaborative project.

We will learn about civil rights in historical context.

On Monday, I’ll brief the Nanjing historical report assignment.

On Wednesday, we will watch the dramatized documentary “Nanking”.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

***Please remember to bring your Nanjing field experience permission slip and money to school on Wednesday.

This year's yearbook cover, by Masson Hung. One of many great entries.

From a recent National Public Radio article.



Please take another look at your Human Rights research project. How close are you to being done? Check yourself with this Self-Peer-Teacher Evaluation.

Here are examples of MLA bibliography citations.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Welcome back. =]

Here’s the latest spam comment on this website:


  1. Maus packets are due Tuesday. As you have had two weeks to work on this (and we did a good deal in class), I will not accept late work.
  2. Human Rights research project outlines are also due tomorrow. The dropbox is in English 8. Mrs. Lewis and I will conference with you Tuesday and Thursday.
  3. You will have time to get together with your NHD group on Wednesday and every day next week.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Today is a day for progressive action (March Fourth, march forth…get it?!)

You have two deadlines on Tuesday:

1. Maus Literary Analysis Packet

2. Your personal Human Rights Research Project outline. ***Please post your compressed Pages document outline to the English 8 dropbox.

You are welcome to attend high school National History Day on Saturday. Dramatic performances will be showcased in the theater and websites, documentaries, and essay will be displayed in galleries throughout the Phoenix Center. You will probably hear some good stories and walk away inspired for your own project.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Dedicated to Kia, Daniel and their cronies at the Science Olympiad in Chengdu.

Digital Drama classes – (Hi!) – Click here for instructions and examples for your stop motion animation projects.

Larsonists: Continue to research your human rights topic and build your outline. You are responsible for one outline that you write yourself (see outline link from Wednesday) and another collaborative outline for your NHD project.

Maus is due on Tuesday.

On Friday, we will attend a lecture by the director of National History Day, which I hope will inspire. We will finish IRP showcase, and, time permitting, hit the library.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Reminder: Maus Literary Analysis packet is due Tuesday, March 8.


As you compile information for your NHD Human Rights Project, narrow down the focus of your research by answering specific questions from the NHD Requirements Outline. Your goal today is to divide these tasks among your group members (Who’s in charge of the topic history? Who’s in charge of the pro-human rights activist?).

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Concordia's new logo gets the 3-D treatment, thanks to David Lyon.

We practiced note taking (here is a PDF of ABCs of Research & Notetaking from today’s class) and read Studs Terkel’s “Why I Joined The Klan” in Social Studies.

Here is the Nick Vujicic video we watched this morning.

Nick Vujicic’s Inspirational Message – from Phoenix Video

Monday, February 28, 2011

The prescribed genre for the March Independent Reading Project is historical fiction. It’s due on March 24.  Ms. Mayers has gathered ~60 books for you. Go to Rockin’ Fun Larsonists’ group page on Shelfari and hover over a title, and if you see “historical fiction”, you’re welcome to read it for the IRP. (Of course, you can read any book for your own edification, but stick to the Shelfari shelf for this iteration of IRPs.) You can also peruse this collection in the library.

Finding historical fiction books for the March Independent Reading Project.

The week ahead:

Tuesday – note taking strategies and further US history study

Wednesday – meet with Mr. Halula and Mr. Henderson’s class for NHD collaboration.

Thursday – research time, writing conferences, and Maus

Friday – pizza party and a balloon animal-making clown. Usher and I went to the same high school, so he’s dropping in to jam with us (bring your guitar, Daniel). Also, a Skype conference call with the Vancouver Canucks.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I hereby declare this an honorary Friday (unless you are a teacher, in which case you will come to school tomorrow).

Here is the NHD Human Rights Research Project page. From here you can download the note taking guide and outline.

Please read to the end of Chapter 3 of Maus Book II by Wednesday. Plan to finish the book and literary analysis packet by Monday, March 7.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


  • You do not have to plan our your High School classes this week. If you received an email that gave that impression, please wait for the clarification email that specifically addresses Grade 8 students. The email your parents received is geared toward High School students and doesn’t quite make sense to your situation.
  • Yearbook cover contest. See posters all over campus for more

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