Monday 8/28/17
Hello friends and welcome to the new school year.

You should have received an email from me that will allow you access to the Graduation Project Digital Portfolio. Go ahead and get started with that. Your first four major assignments with the Senior Project, Graduation Project Brainstorming (8/30), Student information form (9/1), Graduation Project Adviser Form (9/5), Letter of Intent (9/11), are all due in the first three weeks of school.

  • Seating chart
  • Cell phone policy: If students have less than three cell phones per week, they will have the last 20 minutes on class on Friday to enjoy themselves. If a person receives three violations on his/her on, I will contact his/her parents.
  • Notebook set up
  • Next, students wrote a paragraph to the very best of their ability which will be used as baseline data.
  • During 1st period, I was able to get through 2/3 of the syllabus. Our time together ended here. We will complete the rest tomorrow and soldier forth/Forth period was able to keep going.
  • Metacognitive questions about the course.
  • Class rules
  • Comment Box (Looks like Darth Vader's head)
  • Food and Drinks in the room
  • Heading Papers
  • How to take notes for class
  • Silent Reflections at the end of the day

I will not be teaching a vocabulary unit this semester. It seems like you all have enough on your plates. In the past, I have used vocabulary to teach grammar and sentence structure. This semester, the writing portion of the course will be intermingled with the literature.

Below is a link to the Senior Project Digital Classroom

Tuesday 8/29/17
We will begin class with a discussion of what they found in their first look at the material for senior project.

This will be followed by some quick group work. Yesterday, students responded to a metacognitive question based on the senior project. Students will be grouped together with other people who had the same question to refine their answers. Next they will share that response with the entire class.

With time permitted, students will be able to work on their Post Card Projects.

If there is any time left, we will continue the Metacognitive Unit with a look at chimpanzees. Trust me :)

Wednesday 8/30
The Graduation Project Brainstorming sheet is due today. For people that are struggling with logging into the digital classroom, I have uploaded the questionnaire at the top of this page. Download the document, make your answers are in black ink, and email me your responses. Once you are able to log into the digital classroom, you will copy and paste your responses into the correct page.

Students will put the finishing touches on their "getting to know you assignment". Next we will review the handbook for tips on presenting before a group. Afterward, students will begin presenting information.

After everyone has presented,we will go over the sentence structure cheat sheet. I have attached the handout to the top of this page, but I will also pass them out in class.

Thursday 8/31/17
I spent quite a bit of time grading the brainstorming activities last night, and I was able to pick up a better understanding of the project itself. I will share my gained knowledge with the group to start the class with some conversation.

The getting to know you assignment turned itself into a strong presentation-skills-assignment. We will finish that up.

With any time left, we will discuss sentence structure.

The Information forms are due tomorrow.

Friday 9/1/17
We will begin class by reviewing sentence structure.

We will meet in the library after lunch. People will have the remainder of the period to research their projects and work on their Faculty Adviser Letters. The Faculty Adviser letters should be completed by 9/5.

Tuesday 9/5/17
If people are still unable to get into the Digital Classroom for whatever reason, here is the official website of the Graduation Project. You can get any of the handouts from here.

We will begin class with a review of sentence structure. Afterwards, we will look at the format of the Letter of Intent. Students will begin crafting their letters. We will break the pieces down into individual steps. Today's focus will be on the first three paragraphs of the letter. We will have computers tomorrow, but if someone would prefer to bring his/her own, it would be a good idea.

Wednesday 9/6/17
We will have computers today. Students are to type what they created yesterday. If they finish this, they may continue on with the letter or research their topic.

Thursday 9/7/16
Today, students will complete the last two paragraphs of their letters.

Friday 9/8/17
We will have the computers today. Hopefully, students can give it the finishing touches and send it off! It is due before 8:30 on Monday morning.

Monday 9/11
  • In the beginning of class, students worked on a handout titled Evaluating Web Sites, and we reviewed their answers.
  • After lunch, we went to the library so that students could research their topics.
  • For class/homework, students were to evaluate three websites they found today using language from the handout.

Tuesday 9/12
  • We will begin class by discussing the websites students found and evaluated the day before.
  • After lunch, we will go to the library and continue the discussion.

Wednesday 9/13
  • Today I passed out a form concerning what goes into a thesis statement. I have attached it to the top of the page. The thesis defines the paper; it is the skeleton or blue print of the argument. Every line in the paper should be directly relatable to the thesis. The thesis should present a claim and house three independent reasons to support that claim's truthfulness. Students need to create their thesises immediately.
  • We went to the library after lunch.

Thursday 9/14
  • I looked at students' attempts at thesises on the board. I reiterated the rules about thesis statements. I also spoke about the necessity of parallelism; the three reasons following the claim must share the same structure.
  • After lunch, we went to the library for students to work on their thesis statements.

Friday 9/15
  • I gave students their outlines and discussed how to properly fill them out. I have attached the outline at the top of this page. The outline helps students understand why their paper must be an argument. The three independent reasons that support their claim will become sections, or prongs, of their paper. Each prong will consist of three paragraphs: A, B, and C. The A paragraph will lay out the claim's argument. The B paragraph will give a sophisticated rebuttal to A. The C paragraph will prove that B is insufficient, and A is correct. Students are to complete their outlines immediately.

Monday 9/18
  • Today we covered how to write a well structured body paragraph. I have attached a copy of the formula above; it's called a TPEQEA. Each paragraph requires an example and a quote from the research among other things. Once students have completed their outlines, they should begin writing their Prong I-A paragraphs.
  • After lunch, we went to the library so that students could work on their papers.

Tuesday 9/19
  • We had guest librarians from several different schools and agencies in our library today. The representatives were from CFCC, UNCW, and New Hanover County. They explained how our students could use their facilities to find resources. Unfortunately, those that need the most help on the project appeared to pay the least amount of attention.
  • When the guests were finished, the students had the remainder of class to work on their papers.

Wednesday 9/20
  • I started class with a "Come to the light" style pep talk. Too many students are wasting their time. Over the last 13 years as an educator, I've seen this happen over and over again. The procrastinating students will expect someone to fix their mistakes for them once they realize that they've squandered their time and resources. I let them know that because I have documented everything in this course, no excuses will be acceptable. Failure will fall on the student's shoulders; no one else will be held accountable.
  • We went to the library after lunch, and students worked on their papers.

Thursday 9/21
  • Today, I passed out completed examples of the research outline. This should help those that are struggling with the concept of the outline.
  • After lunch, we went to the office so that students could work on their papers.

Friday 9/22
  • We started class with a conversation about introductory paragraphs. I explained to the students what I expect, and I showed them student examples from the past.
  • After lunch, we went to the library so that students could work on their project.
  • Completed thesis statements are due today. They must be emailed to me. The thesis is one sentence that houses a claim and three independent reasons supporting the claim.
  • Completed outlines are due Tuesday 9/26. These must include the topic sentences, examples (from the research), and quotes for each of the 9 body paragraphs.

Monday-Friday 10/23-27
Aaannnddd, I'm back. The last month flew by, but it's good to be back at work. Over the next five days, students will be delivering their mid-term presentations.

Monday 10/30
  • We discussed due dates for the Graduation Project.
  • Following this, we reviewed sentence structure.
  • To end class, we watched 10 minutes of the video Slaying the Dragons within Us. This video is about how literature teaches us information that we can't learn from science as well as how to face difficult situations that we would rather avoid.

Tuesday 10/31
  • I informed the students that had not delivered their midterm presentations that they would be given time tomorrow, but the grade will begin at 75%.
  • Next, I reiterated that the Product Logs must be finished by 11/13. If students go beyond the required 15 hours after 11/13, it is acceptable for them to add to it.
  • Following this, I reviewed my lessons on proper paragraph structure. Apparently there was some confusion about how to do this because of discrepancies from when I was out. I believe in my method because it provides a template for students plug their sentences into. The paragraph structure that I teach tells students what to do with every sentence of their papers. If a student's paper lacks direction or cohesion, it is because he/she is not using the formula that I provided.
  • After lunch, we returned to the library so that students could revise their final papers which are due next Monday, 11/6/17.

Wednesday 11/1/17
  • We started class with a discussion concerning what to do about the physical products for the Graduation Project. Students agreed that by 11/13/17, every one should have completed at least 10 documented hours with pictures detailing and supporting those hours.
  • Next, I passed out some completed portfolios for folks to see.
  • After that, we returned to the Dr. Jordan Peterson video. Students followed along and answered questions from the viewing guide.

Thursday 11/2/17
  • To begin class, we watched another segment of the Dr. Peterson video, and students answered questions on their viewing guides.
  • After lunch, we went to the library, and students continued to work on their final papers.

Friday 11/3/17
  • Before lunch, I answered students' questions about submitting their final papers. Students should ask their advisers if they would prefer a digital or a hard copy of the paper. If the adviser wants a hard copy, the student needs to deliver it to that person before 8:30 am Monday morning, and email it to me as well. If the adviser wants a digital copy, the student must email the adviser and myself the paper before 8:30 am.
  • After lunch, we went to the library for students to put the finishing touches on their papers.

Monday 11/6/17
  • Before lunch we completed the Dr. Peterson video, and students finished their viewing guides.
  • After lunch, students were broken into groups. There were four questions written on poster paper in stations around the room. Each group was given 10 minutes to answer their question. At the end of the ten minutes, they moved onto the next question. After each group completed each question, they returned to the station were they started and selected the best answer.
  • Tomorrow, Mrs. Pridgen is coming in to give students a lesson on how to create a proper resume.

Tuesday 11/7/17
  • Before lunch, we began reviewing the questions from the viewing guide.
  • After lunch, we had a guest speaker. Mrs. Pridgen came in and explained to the students how to create a resume. At the end, students turned in their resumes' for a grade.

Wednesday 11/8/17
  • Before lunch, I returned the graded "Slaying the Dragons within Us" viewing guide. I continued to review the correct answers for the questions. I also provided students that failed either failed or didn't do it with an alternate assignment. After the review, we discussed Graduation Project and up coming requirements. For example, the Product logs that are due Monday need signatures from advisers/mentors, and they must be turned into me before 8:30 am.

Thursday 11/9/17
  • Before lunch, I gave more instructions concerning what is due with the Product Log on Monday.
  • After lunch, we finished going over the protocol that we started on Monday.
  • We ended class with a conversation about world views and how they change as we grow and mature. Students were asked to write a paragraph concerning a moment in their lives when their childlike naivety disappeared and they became more accurately aware of the nature of reality.

Monday 11/13/17
  • Before lunch, we discussed what students' product logs should look like. They need to have at least 10 hours documented on their logs, signed off by their mentors, and a sufficient amount of pictures documenting the entire experience.
  • After lunch, students read The Garden of Eden story and took notes.
  • Once everyone had read, we discussed their notes.

Tuesday 11/14/17
  • Before lunch, we talked more about expectations for Graduation Project.
  • Next students began reading and taking notes for The Fall of Man story.
  • After lunch, students finished their notes. We discussed the psychological implications about the story.

Wednesday 11/15/17
  • Before lunch students performed a quick write concerning what sort of sacrifices that they make.
  • Next, students shared what they wrote, and we discussed their sacrifices and why they make them.
  • Also, we decided that we would read 1984 next.
  • After lunch, students read Cain and Abel and answered 5 questions about the story.
  • Following this, they were broken into five groups and group members discussed one of their five questions and came up with the best possible answer for it.
  • Lastly, the groups shared their best possible answers with the rest of the class.

Thursday 11/16/17
  • I was absent today. Students read the short story The Chrysanthemums and took their college style notes.
  • Upon completion, students were given eleven questions to answer concerning freedom, responsibility, being adversarial to the government, and terrorism.

Friday 11/17/17
  • Before lunch, we will discuss students college style notes from The Chrysanthemums.
  • After lunch, I will show the students what a careful/critical reading of the story can reveal.
  • With any time left, we will move forward with the 1984 Pre-reading

Monday 11/20/17
  • Before lunch, I passed out the Pre-Reading Questions for 1984.
  • After lunch, we met in the library. Here, students were to work on their portfolios which are due on 12/4/17 or the 1984 questions. The questions needed to be completed by tomorrow 11/21/17.

Tuesday 11/21/17
  • To begin, I asked students to bring me their completed 1984 questions.
  • Next, we reviewed students' answers.
  • After lunch, we continued discussing the questions.
  • To end class, I gave students their products back and showed them their grades.

Monday 11/27/17
  • Before lunch, I showed students a TED Talks Video featuring the investigative reporter Glenn Greenwald. He discussed the importance of privacy and specifically on-line privacy.
  • After lunch, students answered questions based on the video.
  • Next, they were given a specific question to investigate. They moved around the room and asked people the answer to their own question.
  • After that, they sat down with people who had the same question and came up with the best possible answer.
  • To end, each group shared the answer to their question.

Tuesday 11/28/17
  • We had to meet in the library due to testing.
  • Students created a model for what their tri-folds will look like.

Wednesday 11/29/17
  • Before lunch, we reviewed a questionnaire for the video they would be watching after lunch.
  • When we returned from lunch, we watched the video. It was a talk by Christopher Hitchens on the importance of George Orwell's books. Here is the link to the video:
  • We only watched between 4 min-33 min.
  • This is another preliminary activity leading up to the novel 1984.

Thursday 11/30/17
  • Before lunch, we began discussing the answers to the Hitchens viewing guide from the day before.
  • After lunch, we finished going over the guide.
  • Next, we began watching our final video before starting to read 1984. The video is from a Glenn Greenwald talk held in Canada back in 2014. The video is titled Privacy and Government Surveillance. We are taking notes as a class as we move through the video.

Friday 12/01/17
  • Before lunch, we continued watching the video.
  • After lunch, one of the students presented a lesson on the importance of being bilingual for his Graduation Project Product.

Monday 12/04/17
  • Before lunch, I passed back the students' detailed plans for their tri-folds.
  • After lunch, we finished watching the Greenwald video and took our notes.

Tuesday 12/05/17
  • Before lunch, I handed out copies of 1984. Students are responsible for keeping up with their book and keeping them in excellent condition.
  • Next, I went over how the notes for the first section should be taken and that students need to store their notes for the novel in their binders.
  • After lunch, students began reading and taking their notes. This took up the remainder of the period.
Wednesday 12/06/17
  • Before lunch, students created pictures which depicted the dominant images from the story.
  • After lunch, we discussed the students' notes, opinions, and questions concerning the chapter.

Thursday 12/07/16
  • Before lunch, I collected the pictures from the day before. I showed them to the class, and we talked about why the images had made impressions on the students.
  • After lunch, I gave my opinions on the chapter and discussed the key points.
  • Next, students began reading and taking their notes on sections II and III. If it was not finished in class, this assignment needs to be completed for homework.

Friday 12/8/17
  • Before lunch, I told the students who their Ashley judges will be, and that on Tuesday, students should bring their tri-folds to my room as soon as they get to school.
  • Next, they wrote a paragraph on why (or why not) it is important to not lie.
  • After lunch, I called on people, and we discussed their reasons why one should not tell lies.
  • Next, I showed a video entitled Jordan Peterson talks about about refusing to participate in the big lie.

  • This video focuses on the kinds of impact lying or telling the truth can have, not only on the individual, but also on the society in which the individual lives. He looks at the catastrophes of the 20th Century and analyzes the manner in which pathological lying paved the way for those events to occur.
  • Following our discussion of the video and comparing Peterson's lecture to the society being described in 1984, we began moving through the chapter and talking about students' notes.
  • For homework, students need to complete their Tri-folds.

Monday 12/11/17
  • Before lunch, we covered a few Product Fair questions. The fair is tomorrow, so students need to have their tri-folds ready to present.
  • We completed an activity involving whether we are orthodox or unorthodox citizens.
  • After lunch, we continued going through the chapter and talking about students' responses. A theme of the novel is how the totalitarian states in the book are built for war. I showed the students a list of the number of wars the US has been involved in since its inception. There is a total of 17 years out of 241 in which the US was not involved in a major war.
  • Next, we began reading section IV, and students took their notes.

Tuesday 12/12/17
  • We went to the library where students set up their tri-folds.
  • Students fielded questions from teachers and students concerning their tri-folds.

Wednesday 12/13/17
  • Before lunch, I talked to students about what they learned from their Graduation Presentation trial run.
  • After lunch, we reviewing section III of 1984. We talked about double-think and its application. Students defined it in their own terms and came up with three current examples.
  • Next, we discussed the Party's claim that "who controls the past, controls the future, and who controls the present, controls the past." I showed the students a pre-invasion video of Vice President Cheney claiming that they knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, planned on using those weapons against the US and its allies, and desired to put those weapons in the hands of other terrorists that wanted to harm America. Following this, we watched a post-invasion video of President George W. Bush in which he downplays the importance of "the weapons of mass destruction claim" and focuses on how the world is a better place without Saddam.

Thursday 12/14/17
  • We spent the day with me asking students specific graduation project questions to give them practice coming up with answers and to hear the types of questions that will be asked.

Friday 12/15/17
  • It was senior skip day, and we had a very low turn out.
  • We spent the time going deeper into 1984 . Specifically we talked about whether it was more important to stay moral or stay alive while going through something like the novel. This led into the importance of honesty within a culture. The reason Ingsoc and Big Brother keep power is through the willingness of the populace to participate in their madness. If the people would not accept The Party's lies, The Party would crumble. The burden falls on each individual to be a moral agent in the world. Orwell's wisdom holds equally true today.

Monday 12/18/17
  • Before lunch, students were to address the following prompt in a TPEQEA paragraph:

“The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either – but right through every human heart – and through all human hearts” Alexander Solzenhitsen.

Considering Winston’s job, among other things, how is Winston as guilty as Big Brother, and everyone else in Oceania, for the current state of the union and their existence?
  • After lunch, we discussed students' answers. Then students read section VI and took their notes.

Tuesday 12/19/17
  • Before lunch, students were put into four groups, and each group was asked to address one of the following questions:

1. How might the reduction of words lead to further thought control and domination by The Party?

2. Why is Winston so certain that Syme will be vaporized? Why is zeal not enough?

3. Explain Winston’s thought, “Always in your stomach and in your skin there was a sort of protest, a feeling that you had been cheated of something that you had a right to.” Have you ever felt like Winston does here? If so, what spurred those thoughts in you? If not, what sort of sacrifices have you made to ensure your satisfaction with the universe?

4. Why does The Party want to remove the sex drive of its members?

  • After lunch, we discussed the students' answers.
  • Next, I tried to go into deeper discussion of the sections, and I had more interactive lessons, but it was clear that fewer than a quarter of the class had completed the necessary reading. It was really irritating. I assigned the next section (VII) to read and take notes on.

Wednesday 12/20/17
  • Before lunch, students took a quiz on section VII
  • After lunch, we reviewed the answers.
  • Next we watched a very short video about Big Brother (the symbol).
  • Following this, we went through section VII and looked at important information.
  • Lastly, I assigned section VIII for homework. Students are to complete the reading and expect a quiz upon return from break.

Tuesday 1/2/18
  • We're back! As promised, the students were given a quiz upon their return. Most people made a 0 on it. Before we left for break, I told them that I was not going to make engaging lesson plans if no one was going to do the reading before hand. It was obvious that only two people in the class had completed the assignment.
  • After lunch, I asked the students to read Part 2 sections ii and iii and to be ready for another quiz the next day. I made a deal with the students that if over half the class passes their quizzes for two days in a row, I will create lesson plans for them. As of right now, class is painfully boring.