Apr 21 2014

What was your Spring Break like?

Filed under Starting Off


You will take out 2 sheets of paper. Your goal – Write to explain what you did over your Spring Break, AND, if need be embellish.

Your writing must:

  1. Be structured into separate paragraphs. See the outline suggestion below.
  2. Be written in CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER, although you may use flashback in the final draft. Other , metaphors, and other literary devices within your wriitng.
  3. Show your understanding of Cause/Effect relationships
  4. Integrate us of the five senses – Imagery

Things to think about before you start drafting might include:

  1. Did an event last a few days?
  2. Did an individual day have multiple events?
  3. Think about how you may want to structure the whole thing AFTER you get all the memories on paper.

Here is a suggested outline:

  1. Introduction
  2. Body 1 – Last Day of School
  3. Body 2 – First event of Break
    1. Give us details concerning what you did for this. . . .
    2. Why did you do this? you had to? you wanted to? you needed to?
    3. What did you see? Who was there?
    4. Where were you? When did this happen?
    5. What did you hear? music? crying babies? laughter?
    6. What did you smell? baby poop? changing diapers…icky…
    7. What did you taste? food? what foods?
    8. What did you touch? the grass? trees? other people’s hearts?
    9. What did you think about it all? This could be your main idea sentence for this section!!
    10. What about this event connected or led to other parts of the event?
    11. Then transition to the next event.
    12. Hit all these questions to the best of your ability for EACH thing you did (Body 3,4,5,,etc.)
  4. Body 3 – Second event of break
  5. Body 4 – Third event of break
  6. Body 5 – fourth, Fifth, Sixth? How many things did you do?
  7. Conclusion

Your Autobiographical Spring Break Review must be

  • 25% of grade – PLANNED – Sheet of paper #1 – Use the outline suggestion above to help you plan.
  • 25% of grade – DRAFTED on PAPER – Sheet of paper #2.
  • 25% of grade – PROOFED by at least one peer. – Essay Revision Sheet Style.
  • 25% of grade – POSTED to your websites and submitted to me by Wednesday evening midnight.

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Apr 02 2014

40+ Free Responsive WordPress Themes

Filed under Starting Off

The page below will take you through some themes for my website. I feel I need to revamp the functionality of the site to match the growing and changing needs of my audience. You know me. You’ve used my site. Which would be your top two suggestions for me. http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/free-responsive-wordpress-themes/

Please post your comments to this discussion to help me make this crucial decision. Which themes? & Why?

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Mar 28 2014

Universal Themes

Filed under Starting Off

When we are done with this entire unit of study:

  1. You will have to POST to your websites as ONE of the characters from Flowers for Algernon. In that post you MUST show understanding of the UNIVERSAL THEME of your choice such as Knowledge is Power, or Ignorance is Bliss, Friendship is Essential to Happiness, etc. Here, this might help Universal Themes documents… Get outside yourself, be a character, understand another, practice EMPATHY (the hidden goal of this assignment IS to come to understand (1) what motivates others & (2) how and why others feel/think/act the way they do).
    1. THROUGH YOUR CHARACTER,  you WILL show that you can practice empathy and illustrate a thorough understanding of theme, universal theme, and main idea. Your character has to talk about and answer:
      1. Where is someone else “coming from”?
      2. What truths about oneself are uncovered by the study of art, literature and others?
      3. What are Universal Themes?
      4. Why is it important to understand where other people are coming from?
      5. What is your purpose in life?
      6. Why are we here on earth?

First off, what you are about to see are themes, but they are not THEMES. Or are they?


One must crawl before one can walk. SO let’s get down to the lowest level here. Start at the beginning.

In order to get this, we have to all be very clear about the difference between the subject and the theme.

The subject is the general topic being dealt with . . .

. . . let’s say LOVE. This is the subject or topic

The theme is the position on the topic the reader/viewer gets on the topic . . .

. . . let’s say LOVE CONQUERS ALL. This is the theme.

VERY IMPORTANT – IF this THEME is true ACROSS CULTURES and for all HUMANITY then, and only then, can we call it a UNIVERSAL THEME.


Begin with a method for identifying theme in author’s, or artist’s, work. This UNDER 2 MINUTES  video lays out a 5 step process that can help anyone uncover the theme in a piece of, well, anything, I guess. . .


From SHMOOP, I offer Themes-Part 1, a brief introduction to THEME in general… Here, brief and to the point . . . Check it.

On the topic of UNIVERSAL THEMES, which for most of us is a journey of discovery, we watch, pause, and discuss themes presented in a video on DISCOVERY EDUCATION.COM. You will need your own sign in to use this amazing resource offered by the Discovery Channel. First, a video called Universal Themes in Literature. You will be taken through some of the more common overarching big ideas dealt with . . . Check it -  Universal Themes in Literature.

To go deeper as we bring in other disciplines, this video clip (about 6 minutes) delves into Universal Themes as they are dealt with in ART. Very insightful - Common Stories and Themes.

This one, also offered on Discovery Education, I was able to find on Youtube. It is old and corny at times, but it is well worth the time. Prep your group for the rough video clips that may date back to the early seventies (hehe). Good stuff. This one will illustrate how the same Universal Theme can be carried in different works by different authors at different periods in history. Truly, Universal Themes hold true throughout history . . . Here check it out . . .

This is what it’s all about. Theme, I mean. Theme is what everything is about. I’ve told you before, I’ll tell you again, and again, and again . . . No matter what you taste, read, see, hear, live through…it all connects with a theme. One way or another, THROUGH YOU, everything can be connected to a theme. That is the KEY. YOU are the key. You have to work on the text, painting, sculpture to uncover a theme. Not just that, if it is a big deal. That is, if the THEME you uncover is a BIG DEAL, a truly BIG IDEA, then it’s VERY likely it can be described in terms of one (and likely more than one) UNIVERSAL THEME.

To start, let’s take a look at some introductory clips on theme and universal theme.

In this video, we are taken on a journey, with musical accompaniment, through some of the more common themes in literature. I enjoyed it, and it will definitely bring some of your more reluctant learners to the table. Watch this . . .

This next one moves fast, so be ready to click the screen or pause button, if you are going to use this as an introduction to themes in art and literature. I use it in the midst of study as I attempt to capitalize on teachable moments, if you will. VERY cool. Yeah, it’s a little tricky to catch the click moments, but it is well worth it. Have a look see . . .

Here is a piece from a high school teacher – How to Find a Theme. It can be a little slow moving at times, but this isn’t an action movie after all. Full of useful information. Embedding was disabled by the user, so I can only offer the link. - How to Find a Theme.

We return to Shmoop-land with Part 2 which goes a little deeper as they take us into UNIVERSAL Themes. Here, check it out -


So, let’s go back to where we started. I would like you to answer a question for me.

Can you argue that there is a SUBJECT presented by one of these themes? And if you can, then can you identify what you would call a THEME on that subject? And if there is a theme, then would you please explain a supportable UNIVERSAL THEME in any part of this video?


Here is a CLASSIC!!! As the diverse group of students becomes closer, Brian asks if they will remain friends on Monday.This clip is from a defining film in cinematic history, The Breakfast Club. It touches on the following SUBJECTS: Cruelty, Friendship, Insult, Hypocrisy, Stereotypes, Empathy, Conceit, Popularity, Embarrassment, Candor, Identity, Image, Ego, Insensitive, Discrimination, Peer-Pressure. Pick one of these CORE SUBJECTS. Explain it in terms of THEME. What did you get out of how the SUBJECT was dealt with? Is this true across cultures?

How ’bout a SPIKE LEE joint? In this clip called Humiliating The Homeless, a homeless man gets ridiculed by local teens who have no sympathy for his plight. Heads up y’all, there is a subdued S-bomb and a quick F-bomb in here. I had to include it though, it’s tight!! You really feel how young people are SO insensitive toward the reality others live. Topics dealt with in here make strong thematic connections through Homelessness, Insult, Teasing, Bullying, Sadness, Humanity, Empathy, Disrespect, Apathy, Indifference, Judging, Discrimination, Stereotypes, Insensitive, Humiliation, Poverty. Check this out . . . then lets’ talk about it.

In this clip, called Insulting Del, as an argument escalates, Neal insults and humiliates Del, just for being who he is. Topics dealt with here are: Humiliation, Insult, Bickering, Insensitive, Argument, Candor, Judging, Power of WordsCruelty, Mocking, Teasing, Self-Esteem, Shame, Hurt, Annoying. Can you talk to me about how being insensitive toward another person is dealt with?

In this clip called Your Destiny from the film Back to the Future, after getting some much-needed advice from Marty, George gets the courage to approach Lorraine to ask her out. Topics dealt with include: Dating, Coward, Courage, Destiny, Romance, Embarrassment, Awkward, Advice, Carpe Diem, Nervous, Insecurity, Confidence, Self-Confidence, Fear, Risk, Anxiety.

In this clip from the wondrous film Gladiator, called Remembered As Men, as the new gladiators prepare for their first spectacle, Proximo gives them a speech on dying with honor. Topics dealt with include Fighting, Spectacle, Courage, Bravery, Legacy, Death, Fearless, Fear, Machismo, Bloodlust, Speech, Coaching, Survival, Preparing, Battle, Slavery, Manhood. One theme could be summed up as stated above, DYING WITH HONOR or we should at least die with honor.

How about in this video? Can you argue that there is a SUBJECT presented in this clip? And if you can, then can you identify what you would call a THEME on that subject? And if there is a theme, then would you please explain a supportable UNIVERSAL THEME in any part of this video?

Oh, yeah? How ’bout this one? Can you argue that there is a SUBJECT presented in this clip? And if you can, then can you identify what you would call a THEME on that subject? And if there is a theme, then would you please explain a supportable UNIVERSAL THEME in any part of this video?

We will take this broad knowledge into our study of Flowers for Algernon.

  1. Where is someone else “coming from”? If you truly understand a character, then you should be able to tell me “where they are coming from.” When you complete an assignment like this, when you act as another person/character, you are showing that you understand and can practice empathy.
  2. What truths about oneself are uncovered by the study of art, literature and others?
  3. What are Universal Themes?
  4. Why is it important to understand where other people are coming from?
  5. What is your purpose in life?
  6. Why are we here on earth?

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Mar 27 2014

Text Structures

Filed under Starting Off

Today we continue our push to master how and why author’s center on UNIVERSAL THEMES.

We begin by looking at text structures in order to uncover how they order and present their ideas.

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Mar 24 2014

Flowers for Algernon – Getting it started

Filed under All Periods

Getting introduced to this topic calls for some background knowledge construction – we are in the building phase. This can take anywhere from 3-4 days.

Daniel Keys offers some thoughts on the story, how it came to be, and where he stands on the issues surrounding it right now on the Daniel Keyes FAQ page.

Brain Background Boot Camp – videos for your brainy pleasure.

What do you hear that you did not know?

What did you hear that you did not know? With what did you agree? Provide support for your opinion. What did you disagree with? Provide support for your opinion.

In Control: Our Brain and Nervous System – A video on Discoveryeducation.com. I hope to be able to embed this video in the future, but this will do for now.

We begin with an I.Q. Test. There are lots of questions surrounding I.Q. Tests in general: What value do they really hold? What are they actually measuring? Do scientists agree on their validity? uses?

  1. Here are links to a Learning Styles I.Q. Test. You’ve got 3 options once you get to this site. I’d choose option one first. This is a paid test. 9.95. I don’t endorse it. It was fun to take it though.
    1. Okay, give me the practice test now. - I suggest you do the quick practice, then move into the test;
    2. I have done all that. Let me take the test now. - I suggest you do the practice (above), then take the test;
    3. Tell me about my Complete Personal Intelligence Profile. Don’t spend time on this link yet. It can be very confusing and lead to other links you don’t need to bother with right now. After you take the actual test.
  2. Here is another link at funeducation.com - IQ test - FunEducation. This one is self-scoring. I like it. It’s a lot like the paper one we use in class.

We, then proceeded into Rorschach Tests.  Basically, Rorschach Tests, also known as Inkblot Tests, are used to measure the personality and emotional characteristics of an individual for one reason or another. There are few versions of these online; I offer three I prefer.

  1. Take the Inkblot Test Online. Authentic Ink Blot Test Templates  - I prefer this one; it doesn’t lead the viewer with multiple choice answer options.
  2. Harrower-Erickson Multiple Choice Rorschach Test - Personality Tests - This one leads the viewer to possible limited perception choices by offering multiple choice answers that are supposed to correlate with what you “see” in the image. Not a true Rorschach, in my opinion.

Next up, a Common Perception Quiz.

  • Westminster offers this Perception Quiz. There aren’t multiple options for this one. This is the one I use.

Then, we looked into the Stroop Effect “named after J. Ridley Stroop who discovered this strange phenomenon in the 1930s” (Neoroscience).The driving question here is what will your brain choose? colors or words?

  1. Stroop Effect
  2. Online Stroop Test - The Stroop Effect

Left Brain – Right Brain Test

  1. Personality Test Center
  2. Sommer + Sommer Brain Test
  3. psychtests Left Brain/Right Brain Test

And now, the coolest of all – ILLUSIONS. Check this out.



“Neuroscience For Kids.” - Stroop Effect. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Mar. 2014.

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Mar 21 2014

3rd Quarter Grades are Closing

Filed under Starting Off

These are DUE by MIDNIGHT on SATURDAY, March 30th, 2014!!!!

This is a gentle reminder that the following assignments should be done and SUBMITTED FOR REVIEW:

  1. 3    POSTS – Fahrenheit 451 Literature Circle Round Discussion Questions 3, 4, 5  (and maybe more for extra credit). These should already have been done. Fahrenheit 451 – Suggested Discussion Post Format
  2. 2    POSTS – Articles of the Week (2) – Follow the format I went over this week. Article of the Week
  3. 2    POSTS – Approach Papers (2) as POSTS – You can pull your best Discussion Questions from your Literature Circle Discussions into your paper. When posting a paper to your website, you DO NOT NEED a heading. Integrate the Book Title and Author Name into the introduction. ALSO, move the discussion questions to the end of the post. Approach Paper Assignment for a Fiction Book OR Approach Paper Assignment for a Nonfiction Book
  4. 1    PAGE – About Me (1) as a PAGE.  Your brief autobiography. About Me

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Mar 20 2014

Opinion Papers on YOUR Websites

Filed under Starting Off

Check out this page for guidelines on your Article of the Week Assignment. All the way at the bottom are hyper-linked resources for you to use. ENJOY!!

MY PAGE ON THE Article of the Week Assignment.

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Mar 18 2014

Fail to Succeed

Filed under Starting Off



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Mar 18 2014

Paper for the web | Padlet

Filed under Starting Off


Live bulletin boards. Great for formative work.

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Mar 18 2014

KeepVid: Download and save any video from Youtube, Dailymotion, Metacafe, iFilm and more!

Filed under Starting Off


Want that YouTube video? Here’s the tool.

The latest from Jeffrey Moshé

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Mar 18 2014

Visuwords™ online • Visual Dictionary, Visual Thesaurus

Filed under Starting Off


Just check this out. Words word words.

The latest from Jeffrey Moshé

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Mar 18 2014

BoomWriter | Read, Write, Compete… And Get Published!

Filed under Starting Off


Created for elementary school students, but everyone can get into this. Write stories. Check out the tour.

The latest from Jeffrey Moshé

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Mar 18 2014

Storybird – Artful storytelling

Filed under Starting Off


Create visual stories in seconds. Fun. Creative. PDFable. All sorts of you will want to use this. Yes, even you who never want to do your assignments.

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Mar 18 2014


Filed under Starting Off


I can’t believe this. Where has this session been all my life?
Another great site full of sweet tools.

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Mar 18 2014

The Differentiator

Filed under Starting Off


Students can, with my help, decide on a menu type project. Very cool.

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