Monthly Archives: September 2008


Set-Up: During our “Last Friday” advisory meetings this week, we finally had a chance to consider the summer reading: Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People.

Challenge: I’m curious about what you see as valuable/useful about Carnegie’s ideas and examples.

  • Pick at least 1 idea from the text.
  • Explain how it may be relevant to your current and future life.

Length: 5+ sentences.

Note: For anyone in Mr. Long’s advisory, feel free to comment on the Skype video chat we had Friday morning with Megan Hustad, the author of How to Be Useful: A Beginner’s Guide to Not Hating Work. I’d love to hear what you thought before the weekend is over.

BTW: I’m hoping to ‘bring’ her to class in the coming weeks to talk about the writing/editing process, so your responses might give the rest of my 10th graders a hint of what she’s about and why it was worth talking with her today. Oh, and here’s the link to her blog, in case you’re curious (wink, wink; nudge, nudge).



Set-Up: We’ve just begun to explore Joseph Campbell’s concept of the “hero’s journey” in class this week as a way to better understand the universal elements that all ‘story’ heroes — regardless of culture, language, plot, medium, etc. — seem to have in common.

Over time, we’ll see that this extends beyond literature/movies to include ‘real’ people from history, entertainment, etc. Yes, pop culture fans: even Britney. [wink]

With that said, I’m curious if you can find a single book or movie that has a majority of Campbell’s “hero’s journey” stages in it.  More importantly, I’m curious if you can creatively analyze a book or movie to find these even if there is no actual ‘knock on the door’ or ‘phone call’ (so to speak).


  1. Review your “hero’s journey” notes from the slide show.
  2. Optional: if you prefer, you can cleverly become really, really, really smart by doing a deeper dive into the “Heroes” page found on the class wiki [wink, wink; nudge, nudge] or by at least considering each of the stage links found down below [wink, wink; nudge, nudge again]
  3. Identify 1 book or movie that definitely has a minimum of 8 of these stages.
  4. Note: you may NOT use any of the following stories for your answer:  any Matrix, any Harry Potter, any Star Wars, any Hobbit/Lord of the Rings, or Beowulf.  All of these will be covered in class extensively over time so let’s see what else we can come up with together.
  5. List the 8 stages you found; identify any scene(s)/situation(s) that prove each of the stages you selected.

Length: Varies


Ch 1: Departure

The Call to Adventure (1/17) | Refusal of the Call (2/17) | Supernatural Aid (3/17) | The Crossing of the First Threshold (4/17) | Rebirth (aka “The Belly of the Whale”) (5/17)

Ch 2: Initiation

The Road of Trials (6/17) | Marriage (aka “The Meeting with the Goddess”) (7/17) | Woman as the Temptress (8/17) | Atonement with the Father (9/17) | Apotheosis (10/17) | The Ultimate Boon (11/17)

Ch 3: Departure

Refusal of the Return (12/17) | The Magic Flight (13/17) | Rescue from Without (14/17) | The Crossing of the Return Threshold (15/17) | Master of the Two Worlds (16/17) | Freedom to Live (17/17)


Set-Up: In class this week, all of you were put into random groups with the challenge of anaylzing a quotation found in either Ch 3 or 4.  Additionally, each group had to write a single paragraph (7-10 sentences long with the topic sentence acting as a thesis) that fully analyzed the significance of the quotation.


  • Select a different group than you were in that wrote something you respect or learned from in a positive way. It does matter if it was the same quotation you had to analyze; additionally, it does not matter which period you select.
  • Offer constructive feedback or a reaction.  The key is ‘constructive’:  useful, respectful, suggestive, specific, etc.  Note: negative or dismissive responses will not be published or given credit.

Note: Paragraphs will be in ‘rough draft’ mode until the end of class on Thursday.  Please comment on the ‘final copy’ of the group you select — this can be done anytime from Thursday afternoon forward.

Length: 5 constructive ideas/reactions (1+ sentence each)

Ch 3: “Huts on the Beach” & Ch 4: “Painted Faces and Long Hair” small group brainstorming & paragraph writing challenge:


Set-Up: Ever get that feeling that no matter how closely you read/highlight a book the first time around, there are still dozens upon dozens of things ‘under the surface’ that you can’t quite put your finger on? Well, if you do, you’re a healthy human being.  At the same time, all of us are working very hard to grasp the deeper mysteries found on the island right now…even if we only have a few chapters, a couple of class discussions, and our gut instincts to guide us at this point.

Clearly there is something to be said for employing the ‘wisdom of crowds’ when where trying to figure out the hidden ideas that a novelist weaves into his/her story that go far, far beyond plot/action.  In fact, there even is an amazing book by that title if you’re curious how groups (even anonymous groups of average people) are ‘smarter’ than individuals (even experts).

With that said, let’s help each other out with a series of questions that one of your classmates asked me recently.  Something tells me that a few others might find these really intriguing/helpful.

Challenge: Pick one of the following Ch 3 & 4 questions (or more, if you’d like) that were sent to me by a fellow student. Offer a solution/idea.

Here are the questions:

  • On pg 62, there is this random part about Roger throwing rocks at Henry. I think that I must have seriously blacked out when I was reading because it has no relevance to the story!! Arg. Is it showing how childish they are or foreshadowing or something because that would make a lot more sense than Golding randomly putting in a kid throwing rocks. Is there a relevance to the fact that he missed? Golding says, “perhaps six yards in diameter, into which he dare not throw”.  Does that mean he’s missing on purpose?
  • Jack is obviously more savage now. He’s constantly talking about hunting and and how “we” need meat when it’s actually just him. If he has an entire army of choir members, then why is he wasting time trying to explain his military tactics on page 63 to the youngest boys on the island? At first I thought that jack was going to be some sort of evil dictator, but now he’s confusing me with his strange kindness.
  • What is Simon doing on page 57? All that I see is that he sits down in the grass as the sun is going down and he gets up. I noticed that as Simon gets up, the same “candle buds” he mentions to Jack on pg 30 open up. What does that mean?
  • On page 56, Golding compares Simon to Jack two times saying, “his feet were bare like Jack’s” and “he looked over his shoulder as jack had”. Why? Why does Jack force Simon to eat the meat on pg 74?  Well, he told everyone to eat it, but he tells Simon directly.
  • What does Simon mean by “it wasn’t a good island” on page 52? Why are the boys so surprised to hear him speak? They did invite him into their ‘group’ on the first day. I still don’t get why they did that by the way. Simon isn’t exactly special. All that he did was faint, so why is he included?

Length: 7+ sentences


Set-Up: By this point, everyone has set up their Google Docs account. Additionally, all of you have submitted a major essay (and drafts for early comments) to Mr. Long using GDs.

Challenge: I’m curious what all of you think about the process, as well as any tricks or challenges you’ve had along the way.

Hopefully by sharing our successes, problems, and questions, we can all learn ways to take full advantage of this very new (to us) tool.

Length: 7+ sentences.


Set-Up: Since we’ve just crash-landed (with a group of British private school boys) on a tropical island, one begins to wonder how well we’d do in a similar circumstance:  no tools, no communication with the outside world, no ‘normal’ food sources, no shelters, no rules, no guarantee that rescue will come, etc.


  • For fun, take two survival quizzes by the Discovery Channel: 1) “Extreme Survival Quiz” and 2) “Island Survival Quiz”
  • Write a response describing a) how well you’d do and b) what you now think of the boys’ abilities to survive on the island at such a young age.

Length: 7+ sentences


Set-Up: Your generation is the first to naturally have 2 lives:

one on in the real world and one on-line.

Some would even call you “digital natives”.

While there are remarkable thing about being born in an age where the Internet, cell phones, IM’ing, etc is commonplace — staying in touch with friends/family 24/7, being creative with amazing new media software, getting published at the touch of a button, etc. — it also means that everything you do on-line has the potential of one day being viewed by the colleges you apply to, companies interviewing you, etc.

As you can imagine, this creates some interesting issues that your generation will have to face.


Length: 7+ sentences