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Mr. Stewart

The Last Word

After reviewing the final posts of the year, I discovered a common theme of opinion about Shakespeare’s writing. Many of you found his use of language difficult and therefore, “boring” or inaccessible. I would urge you to think about the implications of this school of thought. What will happen in your life if you shy away from anything that is the least bit challenging?

Time and again you are told to challenge yourselves, so this is nothing new. I will say that the people we look up to and aspire to be like are all people who have challenged themselves.

In your social and personal lives, the right decision is always the more difficult decision. College admissions boards are always on the lookout for students who challenge themselves academically. Employers provide promotions and corner offices to those who work the hardest and accept the biggest challenges.

Avoid always taking the path of least resistance. You will never experience your full potential until you put yourself through some adversity.

In the words of John F. Kennedy when speaking of the nation’s lofty goals in the 1960s said, “We chose to go to the moon and to do these other things not because the are easy, but BECAUSE they are hard.”

In the words of Robert Frost, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

Finally, I wish that you take monumental challenges in the coming years. This year, I have seen what each and every one of you is capable of doing when you put your mind to something , whether it’s a thoughtful blog post, a school fundraiser, a performance in a play, or in a school sport. You all have incredible potential. I leave you with the words of Edward Abbey who said:

“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.  May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.”


   For many of you, this is the first time you have experienced the joy that is Shakespeare. I want you to write about two things for this week’s blog. Each one should be at least a five-sentence paragraph. You will also need to respond to a peer with constructive feedback by the end of the week.

1. Please give the world your honest opinion about Shakespeare thus far. After reading “The Taming of the Shrew,” what do you think of Shakespeare’s written style, and his plot devices? Knowing that the play was written between 1590 and 1594, (making it over 400 years old!) discuss why you think his work has stayed relevant for such a long time. If this is not your first time reading Shakespeare, talk about the first play you read or watched performed and how you remember responding.

2. Talk about Shakespeare’s use of concealed identity in “Taming of the Shrew.” Why do you think Shakespeare chose to include such rampant use of this device in his plays? What do you think it adds or takes away from the play?

My “A” example is the first post.

Here is a podcast to help you out: Shakespeare response blog

Mr. Stewart

Taming of the Shrew – Begins Next Week

Please download the modernized version of _The Taming of the Shrew_ from my web page as we will be reading this starting next week. You will need a downloaded copy either on your electronic device (i-pod touch, computer, smart phone) or a printed copy (36 pgs).

Mr. Stewart

Personal Experience Shaping Beliefs

One of the main themes of Nightis Elie Wiesel’s crisis of faith. Experiences he had changed his world-view and his beliefs. On page 49, Weisel states his reluctance to pray to God by saying:

Why, but why should I bless Him? In every fiber I rebelled. Because He had had thousands of children burned in His pits? Because he kept six crematories working night and day, on Sundays and feast days? Because in His great might he created Auschwitz, Birkenau, Buna, and so many factories of death? How could I say to Him: “Blessed art Thou, Eternal, Master of the Universe, Who chose us from among the races to be tortured day and night, to see our fathers, our mothers, our brothers, end in the crematory? Praised be Thy Holy Name, Thou who hast chosen us to be butchered on Thine Altar?”

Certain moments in our lives cause us to change our minds or develop strong opinions about a subject. For example, you never were a supporter of our war efforts until a family member was deployed to Afghanistan.

Your job is to describe something you have experienced which has caused you to change or strengthen your opinions about a subject. This doesn’t have to be super personal, but should be detailed. At the end, dedicate a paragraph to your connection to the novel’s theme.

Post once and reply once by May 6th.

Post once and reply once by Friday 4/29

Please see the video on the right by Sir Ken Robinson about what schools are doing to the creativity of young people. Before you watch the video, you’ll need to know a few of the key words he uses throughout his speech.

kinesthetic: concerned with movement

discothedue: a dance club (European word)

academic inflation: more and more people have college degrees which makes the degrees less valuable in the job market

hierarchy: a system of persons or things ranked one above another

stigmatized: to place a negative mark of disgrace upon something

predicated: implied, assumed, widely believed

dynamic: pertaining to energy or action

epiphany: a sudden insight into the essential meaning of something or oneself

demography: the science of social statistics, esp. population

Your objective:

Watch the video and respond to it. What did he say that you liked? Did you disagree with any of his ideas? When you think of your own education, what do teachers do that stifles, or encourages, your creativity?

Mr. Stewart

Blog Reminders

After reading last week’s posts, I wanted to take a moment and remind you all that this is an academic forum where everyone can see your writing.

Please stay away from relaxed, abbreviated language that you might use in a next message or a Facebook wall post. The “Awesome Things” post showed more of this than any other. Those using this type of language on their posts (things like “hahahahaha,” “lol,” or using multiple exclamation marks) will receive a lower grade for content.

Next, there are quite a few spelling and grammar errors that can easily be remedied by first typing your post into Microsoft Word or Pages and running a quick spelling and grammar check.  Don’t be afraid to read your work out loud as well. After your post is perfect, copy and paste it into the comments box. Your work is public for all to see, and is a direct reflection of your intellect and attention to detail. In the real world, misspelled words and poor grammar in professional writing can cost your company money in reprints, or future business. Imagine an advertising company running an ad with a spelling error in a magazine .

Your writing should go through revisions, be thorough, and be similar in style and length to the exemplar posts I write for you.

Mr. Stewart

Night Chapter 1 Quiz tomorrow

Now that Chapter 1 is complete, there will be a quiz for understanding tomorrow.

To help you review, I find this website to provide a good summary of Chapter 1.

In addition, I have attached the following podcast so that you may gain access to the test questions for tomorrow.

Chapter 1 Summary and Quiz Prep

Best of luck and you’re welcome!

Mr. Stewart

Awesome Things!

Anne Frank, Elie Wiesel, and others we study who experienced the Holocaust all have one thing in common – they clung to the positive in the lowest moments in order to persevere. In your lowest moments, what are the simple things that can brighten your day? Take a look at the following blog:

1000 Awesome Things    < My suggestion would be to read 980 “Old Dangerous Playground Equipment” or 906 “Drinking a glass of cold water right after eating ice cream” for the inspiration and example.

Your writing assignment for the week is to write about something you think is awesome. You will be graded on originality. I know you can come up with something other than Snow Days. Think of things you love and can write a lot about! I’ll start us off.

Mr. Stewart

Are People Essentially Good?

As we begin the dramatic version of “The Diary of Anne Frank” we will be discussing Anne’s personal belief that all people are essentially good. Think honestly for a moment about human nature. Is a belief in essential goodness too naive? Is a belief in essential goodness necessary to have a positive impact on other people?

The first comment is an example of an “A” post. The reply to that comment is an example of an “A” reply. Please compare your post to the “A” example in order to turn in your best work.

Mr. Stewart

Favorite Teacher Reflection

Take a moment to think of a teacher who has had a profound impact on you. What things did this teacher do that resonated with you in the time since you took his or her class? I will post my favorite teacher reflection as a model of an “A” post, so that you know what I am expecting as far as length and content.

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