The Week in Review: 10/7-10/14

Book II & Book III

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Do not cling to your boyhood. It's time you become a man



Class meets on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday

Friday Update:

I need to be out of class on Friday. I trust that as Seniors you will work quietly, behave and be productive. Mr. Irwin will stop by to check on you.

Read Book Three of The Odyssey. (It is wise to skim lit charts beforehand) Complete the Scholars journal. The weekly assignment sheet is due Tuesday night at 8:00. Hopefully you can finish this and not have homework over the weekend break.

If there are any discrepancies in the grade book, contact me via email. I am submitting your midterm grades tonight. This week's assignment sheet DOES NOT count towards the midterm.

Be good. Have fun.

It is critical that your assignments are posted in the weekly assignment sheet and posted to your blog "if required." Your blog will be a part of your grade.The midterm is looming like a six-headed monster, so get your weapons and do what needs to be done, and you will be rewarded

I will enter grades for midterm on Friday, so do your best to compile a "great" assignment sheet. This weeks assignment sheet (10/7-10/14) will count towards after the midterm--and is due on Tuesday before school.

If you are having issues in any area, please be proactive and tell me, and we can figure it out.



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How to Write a Metacognition

Know Thyself…
Explore, Assess, Reflect & Rethink

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“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
Søren Kierkegaard

    If we don’t learn from what we do, we learn little of real value. If we don’t make the time to explore, assess, reflect, and rethink our ways of doing  things, we will never grow, evolve and reach our greatest potential or tap into the possibilities of our lives. Writing metacognition’s is our way to explore our experiences as students and teachers, and then to honestly assess our strengths and weaknesses, to willfully and wisely reflect on what we did—and did not—do, and to rethink how to move forward in a positive and more enlightened way towards a better and more applicable and capable future.


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Why Read "The Odyssey?"

Living through the Heroic Cycle

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We must let go of the life we have planned, 
so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.

~Joseph Campbell


    Nobody ever told me to read The Odyssey—and that was the greatest educational travesty of my life. I first read it after High School while working at Colonial Motors in West Concord. I didn't "get it" any more than the most confused among you, but what I did do is "feel it." I felt its primordial power and emotional bareness; I felt another world, another age, and another human journey come alive inside of me. It made me feel that I was a part of long and unbroken lineage of humanity searching for truth and purpose in a world—especially my world, a world not always blessed with clarity and opportunity. I had always been the kid in the back of the class staring out the window dreaming of a better world—and scheming a way to get there. I liked to read, and we read good books in school, but I only lived in those books for the moment. Good books were like a party with a great group of friends: fun, exciting, and memorable, but not life changing. They died, most of them, the moment I closed the book; but, The Odyssey changed my life.  It showed me that wisdom is not learned, it is cultivated by deliberation and attentiveness.

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The Week in Review: 09/30-10-6

Entering The Odyssey

How an ancient story shapes our lives...

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Sing to me muse...

~The Odyssey

Update: Thursday

  • When you finish your Power of Place and Power of Hard Times, do the following:
    1. Create a Pages doc with proper formatting using the Essay Template. Save it as "last name Power of Place" and "last name Power of Hard Times."  This will allow you to create a portfolio of your writing pieces, which we will later use to make an iBook portfolio of your best work. 
    2. Copy and paste to to your assignment sheet. This allows me to add feedback and comments.
    3. Put it up on your blog using the essay template. If it is over 300 words, format as an essay. If it is under 300 words, format as a single paragraph. 
    4. Copy and paste subtitle and text into the comment box in the dropbox for the assignment.

Saving digital docs in three places (which I call the "Triple Parachute") assures that your hard work will not be lost. If you have any questions or problems doing this, please let me know via email, and I can help you!

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Remember the Time...

The Power of Memory


Write what you know.

~Mark Twain


    I don’t always practice what I preach, especially when it comes to the simple, unaffected, and ordinary “journal entry.” Much of my reticence towards the casual journal entry is the public nature of posting our journal writing as blogs that are more or less “open” to the public. It is hard for me as a teacher of writing to post an entry that I know is trivial, mundane, and perhaps of no interest to my readers—but that is precisely what I need to do if I am to model the full spectrum of the writing process. Keeping a journal is more than a search for lofty thoughts amidst the detritus of the day; it is a practice that keeps our wits and writing skills honed for a coming feast by rambling through the meat of the day and drifting and sailing to whatever port is nearest to my pen. Writing is always an odyssey, and so I have to let my mind go and journey (journal) where it will.

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Essay Template for Blog Posts

Copy the HTML below and paste it in the "HTML" tab of a new blog post. 

Click on the "Rich Text" tab. Quick and easy!


<p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: 24pt; color: #ff9f40;">Insert Title Here: four words or less</span></p>
<p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: 18pt; color: #737373;">Insert Subtitle here: Eight words or less</span></p>
<p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">Insert Image here: Center, medium size</span></p>
<p style="text-align: center;"><em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: 13pt;">Insert Quote here</span></em></p>
<p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">Insert Opening Paragraph here: Set the Scene &amp; State the Theme...</span></p>
<p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">Insert Body Paragraph #1 here...</span></p>
<p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">Insert more body paragraphs as needed...</span></p>
<p><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;">Insert Conclusion here.</span></p>



It should then look like this. Now just replace my text with yours:) I hope it is helpful. Leave me a comments if it works--or not... It also works for essays!


Insert Title Here: four words or less

Insert Subtitle here: Eight words or less

Insert Image here: Center, medium size

Insert Quote here


Insert Opening Paragraph here: Set the Scene & State the Theme...

Insert Body Paragraph #1 here...

Insert more body paragraphs as needed...

Insert Conclusion here.


Weekly Assignments: 9/23-9/29

Getting in the Flow

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“Don’t waste time waiting for inspiration. Begin, and inspiration will find you.”
H. Jackson Brown Jr.


We will spend one more week working on our writing skills before embarking on our reading of The Odyssey. I am ecstatic with the work you have been producing, and you should be proud of what you have created. If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know by asking in the comment thread for this post.



Remember to fill out the assignments in the Weekly Assignment sheets AND complete any other required work listed below.

  1. Belknap Essay: Finish revisions and post to blog. Use the Essay Template for correct formatting.
  2. Blog Posting: Post Community, Place & Stewardship. & Journal Entry #3 to your blog
  3. Independent Blog Entry: Topic of your choice
  4. Power of Place Narrative Paragraph: Follow the Design Writing Plan. We will review in class
  5. Comment on classmates posts: Comment on Power of Place & Community, Place & Stewardship
  6. Read "Remember the Time:"  Read and post a thoughtful comment


  • I have a concert on Sunday night, so the Weekly Assignment Sheet does not need to be completed until "before" your first class session next week.
  • Essays should have your final revisions by Thursday or Friday. Remove my comments when you are sure you are done. Post to your blog using the Essay Template. (See my blog post for how to do this) I will then post your grade as soon as I can review the essays.
  • Check out my my blog post "Essay Template" to help you format and create a cool blog post quickly. It will work for your journal entries, too!


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Assignments 9/16-9/22

Essay Creation

UBCJs5V5TOiK7CvoZtNHMwIf you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.

~Mark Twain

UPDATE #3:Sunday, 4:00 pm

  • If see this, do not submit a weekly metacognition or the weekly assignment sheet to the dropbox. We will do it in class. it is fine if you already submitted.

Update #2: Friday: 

  • I will not be in class today. Work on your essay, finish it and share it with me via collaboration. If you can't figure that out, email it to me:
  • If you have extra time, complete your weekly assignment sheet.


UPDATE#1: In-Class on Thursday:

Finish your two or three body paragraphs. If you do not finish, complete for homework. Be sure each paragraph follows the form and flow of the Narrative Paragraph Plan. To guarantee an A, go the extra mile by putting each body paragraph in the Design Writing Plan--and be sure your content matches up with the rubric.

  1. Step One: Introduce and narrow down your theme…

  2. Step Two: Validate your theme by introducing and briefly describing an experience that captures your theme in action.

  3. Step Three: Explore the deeper meaning by explaining how the theme is important in your life—and potentially in the lives of your readers. Start Narrow and end Broad.

  4. Step Four: Conclude or transition to a new body paragraph in a way that gives your reader room to think in a brief sentence. Ten words or less.



NEW VERSION!!! Download Design Writing: Narrative Paragraph Explained

Download Assignments 9:16-9:22

Download Design Writing Plan: Essay Template 



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