Video Commenting...

The Weekend in Review...

Due by Tuesday...

    Your only other homework, after submitting your video, is to go to the Fitz English YouTube Channel and comment in "supportive, substantial and specific ways on each of your classmates's videos--and at least five others from a different class.

If you comment on all 8 & 9th videos, you will earn a perfect score on the video project 10/10

Fenn Video Memoirs, 2020

Don't Do It

What Writing Does...

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Do one thing every day that scares you.

~ Eleanor Roosevelt


    I was eighteen and designing a production line for making stepladders at Fitchburgh State College—the only college I could afford, and probably the only place that would have me. I remember thinking, ‘Man, this ain’t no life for me.’ I barely had a working idea of what life meant, but I was pretty sure it meant I didn’t have to do something without any meaning or purpose—and I certainly didn't want to spend my life designing a better stepladder.’

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The Original "Give a Damn"

A Teacher's Plea

Screen Shot 2020-04-21 at 11.32.53 PMOnly those who go where few have gone can see what few have seen.
Buddha Gautama


I wrote this piece many years ago, and it is my first writing piece that I wrote "for" my students at the time. For ten years I was the shop teacher, but the school needed an English teacher for one section of 8th grade. I had to beg for the job. Mr. Ward somewhat reluctantly gave me a try. Then they were stuck with me. This was before we even had blogs, and I was struggling to get my students to actually give a damn about what they were writing. I wanted them to know that I cared more about who they were then what they were. They seemed shocked, but they reacted with enthusiasm, and when I see them now, many years later, we laugh and remember it as if it were yesterday.

    This is my first year of teaching English, and already a horizon of discontent is looming. In another place I would probably need a bodyguard. Today, I not only assigned my eighth grade class the first five chapters—37 pages—in some book called A Guide To Writing Essays, but I also told these students the same thing I told their parents: that nothing is more important than the ability to write a good essay; that essay writing is a skill that will save them time and again in this great adventure called life. I then went on about how educational, fun, and rewarding it would be. I teased them with tales of how they would discover huge deposits of original thought and creative speculations—rough stones that they would craft into a wonderful creation called The Essay. They were writers, each and every one of them, and I would prove it to them. I think some of them believed me—even I believed me! I’m sure some of them saw through my pontifications and secretly wished to be placed in another section. Their parents were, I’m sure, aghast at my naivete, but they simply looked at me with stoic resignation, accepting the fate of their son to be the proving ground for an old shop teacher run amok in a classroom. 

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Weekly in Review: April 22-26

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Download 8th Grade Weekly April 22-26

Please comment on my posts before beginning this weeks work...

The rest of your work is in the assignment sheet


Thank you…

    I was wildly happy last night reading your “Narrative Stories” It was some of the best writing I have seen all year—honest, well-structured, reflective and full of deep and thoughtful meaning. Thank you. Hopefully, you all had the chance to read each other’s posts and comment. I know it is NOT a quick and easy task, but I trust it was rewarding to share in such an invested writing community. 

On a harder note, we all heard the disappointing news today that we will be online until the end of the school year. I can only imagine how this feels for you, but in Latin: “id est quod id est” It is what it is… What we do with this “it” is what defines and what will be our legacy. Create a positive way forward and live without regrets, even when everything seems painfully impossible to imagine. 

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Danny, Jimmy & Me

Telling a Narrative Story

    Mrs. Roeber never seemed to let Jimmy go outside, which, to my thinking as an 11-year-old, was why he was so smart.  Most days after school, I’d rush two houses down the street and get Danny Gannon to come out and play. Then the two of us would go to Jimmy’s house next door.  If Mrs Roeber answered, she would always be polite and say something like, “Jimmy needs to catch up on some science work. Perhaps he can play later.”  If Jimmy answered, he’d usually be out of breath from running upstairs from his basement “office” and plead with us not to give up on him—or at the very least go out back and talk to him through the basement window.

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