Monday, January 30, 2012

Alien Invasion!

Saranac Lake's Winter Carnival kicks off this week, and I always like to try to tie in some classroom content with each year's theme.
This week, we'll examine reports of strange lights in the North Country skies. Then, we'll read together a screenplay about the hysteria unleashed on a quiet street when a suspected alien invasion begins (Rod Serling's "The Monsters are Due on Maple Street").
Happy Carnival!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Injustice and Chocolate

We've had an infusion of non-fiction into our class lately. First, we viewed the documentary film The Dark Side of Chocolate. This film details the illegal practice of forcing children to work as slaves in the cocoa fields of Africa. Next, we looked at an excerpt from a speech that Martin Luther King gave in 1967. In it, he challenges the reader to realize how connected we all are to each other:
 It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. We are made to live together because of the interrelated structure of reality. Did you ever stop to think that you can’t leave for your job in the morning without being dependent on most of the world?
Today we examined the "Raise the Bar Hershey" campaign. This is an effort that aims to pressure Hershey to engage in "fair trade" business practices.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

"The Fan Club" by Rona Maynard

Rona Maynard's short story, "The Fan Club" is on tap as we open a unit on social justice. Peer pressure figures prominently in this story and many students report that while they face similar pressures from peers, they are confident that that are equipped to deal with it.
We've also begun some language study this week, and classes have discussed the Latin root "uni," as in The students unanimous reaction to the ending of  "The Fan Club" was contempt for the main character, Laura.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Local Author Needs Your Help!

Kate Messner is a local author who has a string of successful books, among them The Brilliant of Gianna Z   and Sugar and Ice.
Recently, Kate asked for students to respond to a survey about their views of the future. Kate's upcoming book (March 2012 release date), Eye of the Storm, has a futuristic setting.
We'll spend a bit of time in class this week responding to Kate's survey.