Pulaski Day and Other National Holidays.

In 2018, Pulaski Day falls on Monday, March 5. As you peruse the calendar of National Holidays in the United States, you will notice that many of them have to do with different cultures, politics, religions, etc.  Some of these are national holidays where students do not attend school and major government buildings like post offices are closed.  Check out the different holidays and find one to research and analyze for your Blog Post.

Requirements for 200 or more word Blog Post on National Holidays:

  • Pick a National Holiday in the United States
  • Research the day we celebrate this holiday and the reasons behind the holiday.  Why do we celebrate it?  How do we celebrate it? What specific religion, culture, politician, etc is it affiliated with?
  • Make sure you include a photo related to the Holiday and/or a link to the research you found to help you summarize your blog post.  Use your own words.  If you are using direct quotes from a resource, make sure you use quotation marks and give credit to the source.
  • Synthesize why you celebrate or do not celebrate this holiday.  Share your opinion on why you think this holiday should or should not continue to be celebrated in the United States.

Helpful Links:




Who Was Casimir Pulaski? And When Did We Start Celebrating His Birthday?



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Black History Month

All human beings should be treated with respect and dignity and be proud of being an individual. No one should be stereotyped by their race, gender, background, social status, etc.  We are all human beings and we should be proud of who we are because there is no other person like us. Don’t judge a person by the outside appearance; don’t stereotype a person or generalize an entire group or race of people.  We are all human and we all deserve love and respect; and, we should all show ourselves respect.  We all Matter.  You Matter. Let’s make a difference and be more awesome!

Now, take the Challenge:  Since it’s Black History Month, please pick a person or group of people who represent Black History so that we learn more about these important people and their amazing accomplishments.

Look at the Poster below:

Pick one of the challenges, find an appropriate image or video, and write a 200-300 word reflection on the image/video.  Analyze what the image/video represents and how that one image/video can pretty much say a 1000 words. How is the image an important example of Black History Month?  Explain in detail.  Make sure you include the image/video in your Post.

Try to research someone/something important and/or influential that inspires you or someone/something you haven’t learned yet about Black History.  Educate your readers about this event, movie, video, song, poem, book, person, movement, etc. We are better when we know better.  So do some research and educate your readers.  Feel free to look back into the past or focus on something in the current past or present.  Make sure it relates to Black History.

Celebrating Black History

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Superbowl Commercials 2018 and Rhetorical Situation

Super Bowl commercials are very expensive and millions of people watch them, so the creators of these commercials have to be effective so the money that was spent on the very short product was worthwhile.

As we look at some commercials, focus on the persuasive methods that were used and try to relate to how they could help you prepare for your social issue research paper.

Before watching some commercials together as a class, I asked students to focus on 3 aspects (which they needed in their social issue research papers):

  1. What is the purpose (message) of the video?
  2. How did the commercial show both sides of this perspective (message)? Or, was there only one stance (one viewpoint) to the commercial?
  3. How effective was the content in the commercial to get audience attention to the  product and/or something else currently occurring in society/news?

Now it’s time for students to have some choice as they analyze other commercials and videos.

Directions: Your goal is to find and share at least 3 video commercials in order to write at least 250 words by analyzing the PURPOSE, AUDIENCE, and STANCE of these commercials. Make sure you go to ADD MEDIA and EMBED the videos into your blog post so your audience can view the video and comment on whether they agree or disagree with your analysis….or add more to your analysis.

Here are your options:

  • Analyze your top 3 Favorite Superbowl Commercials
  • Analyze your bottom 3 Least Favorite Superbowl Commercials
  • Analyze your top 3 Most Funny Superbowl Commercials
  • Analyze your top 3 Most Serious Superbowl Commercials
  • Analyze your top 3 Unbelievable/Unrealistic Superbowl Commercials (ones in which actions happened that we know are not realistic to real life)
  • Analyze 3 Different Types of Superbowl Commercials (Food related, Car related, Beverage related, etc)
  • If you have another creative idea to analyze 3 different Superbowl Commercials, see me to approve and go ahead
  • If you prefer to not analyze commercials, find 3 videos you like and analyze their purpose, audience, and stance. (For example 3 most motivational videos or 3 inspiring videos, etc)  See me for approval

Some added resources to help you complete this assignment well:







Close Reading of Super Bowl Commercials

Rhetorical Analysis of a Superbowl Commercial


Social Issue Research Topic Discussion

  1. Time to figure out your topic and its multiple arguments.  Create a NEW BLOG POST by answering the following questions.  Feel Free to copy and paste these questions and then type their response so that your audience knows what you are writing about in your edublog. Make sure you have at least 200 words before you click SUBMIT FOR REVIEW. Your blog title should be “Social Issue Research Topic”
  2. Make sure you answer ALL of these questions:

What is your social issue?

Why is it such a social issue?  What do people disagree about in relation to this topic?

What is your proposed solution?  Why do you think this is the best solution?

What are pros to your solution?

What are cons to your solution?

Any questions to your audience members for help on your topic? (Need to post at least 2 questions)

(Ex. Do you agree / disagree that parents should be forced to vaccinate their children / allowed to skip vaccination requirements?  Why or why not?

Do you have any recommendations of sources, links, videos, data, etc that I could utilize for my research paper on this topic?

How do you think I could improve my argument?)



Play-Doh Creations

Students were given a 5 oz container of Play-Doh and then instructed to use their creativity to use that one container and only one color to create something that represents them.  It could be (or relate to):

  • a sport
  • a hobby
  • an object that reminds them of someone or something special
  • a toy
  • a food item
  • and so much more

1. The goal is to create something with their hands that represents a part of who they are and/or represents something that they believe in or admire.

2. After completing the Play-Doh creation, students shared their masterpieces with their classmates and explained why they sculpted that object.

3. Then students blogged about the activity in 250 words. The blog entry had to have the following parts:

  • An explanation of the item created with Play-Doh, what the item was, and why it’s important to them.
  • An image of the object would be helpful to give the audience a visual.
  • A summary of some of the other items their classmates created to showcase what other objects they thought were interesting and maybe even unique.
  • A brief comparison to how this activity can relate to the writing process.  (What was the assignment, how did you brainstorm, draft, edit, finalize, etc.)  Also, knowing that the classmates would see the objects, how did Rhetorical Situation play into your creation decisions?  (Genre, Audience, Design, Stance, Purpose)





New Year, New Wordle

It’s a New Year and I want you to REFLECT on the amazing person you are by creating a Wordle Image that represents you via many descriptive words.

Use any of the following Websites to create your original Wordle.






Make sure you create a Wordle with at least 15 different descriptive words about yourself.  Please save the image and click on ADD MEDIA to add the image to the NEW BLOG POST.  Then, please write at least a 50 word reflection over the words you chose to add to your Wordle as well as the image you chose to represent yourself.  I can’t wait to learn more about you!



This week is Thanksgiving, a National American Holiday. and it’s time to share your traditions, thoughts, and knowledge about Thanksgiving.

Please write 150 words or more about Thanksgiving on any of the topics below.  Images would be great to add to your blog and give more visual appeal.  Remember, that people from other countries will be reading, so educate them about a National American Holiday.

  • Research and share historical information about the First Thanksgiving and the meaning behind American’s celebrating Thanksgiving. Make sure you share your resources and links. (Feel free to use this resource  http://www.history.com/topics/thanksgiving/history-of-thanksgiving)
  • Describe your family’s traditions for Thanksgiving.  What do you do during the Thanksgiving holidays?  What do you eat for the main meal? Do you do any activities? Is there a tradition that has to happen every Thanksgiving? Is there something you look forward to during the Thanksgiving celebration or holiday?
  • Share who or what you are thankful for this year.  Who do you cherish? What are you grateful for?  Hopefully you can share this blog post with those special people in your life; it’s always nice to tell someone they MATTER to you.
  • Share some Thanksgiving movies, commercials, etc.  What do they focus on?  What’s their point?  What do you like about these Thanksgiving movies, commercials, songs, etc.?
  • Educate the public on some misconceptions about Thanksgiving. What have you been taught about the holiday that may or may not be factual? Why might some people not want to celebrate this holiday?
  • Do you have any favorite recipes for Thanksgiving?  Share some recipes of your favorite meals, side-dishes, desserts, etc.  Giving directions to how to prepare these delicious foods along with their tasty pictures might persuade others to want to add these to their Thanksgiving meal this year.
  • Analyze some Post-Thanksgiving activities.  Some people watch sports, like football. Others peruse flyers to get ready for their Black Friday sales.  What are some Post-Thanksgiving activities or traditions that you like and/ or dislike.  Please explain in detail.





Positive Current News

Type a 150-200 word Blog Post about Current News that is POSITIVE. Peruse the news sites and read an article about something that interests you: sports, national news, local news, education, politics, entertainment, health, etc. After you read the news article, do the following in your blog post:

  • Summarize your article and insert a link to the article. If there is an image that you could also share on your blog, please do so.
  • Evaluate whether you believe the article is one-sided (biased) or if it seems neutral and allows the reader to come to his/her own conclusion.
  • Analyze what you found positive about the article.
  • Synthesize and share your personal thoughts.
  • Ask your readers questions to get them thinking about the article’s topic
  • Scan the article before you submit it to make sure it’s appropriate for all age levels (there are topics on the news that may not be appropriate for younger kids, so please refrain from those overly sensitive topics)

TOP 15 Most Popular News Websites

Book Talks and Silent Sustained Reading

Reading Penny Kittle’s book Write Beside Them motivated me to try Silent Sustained Reading in my high school classes. I love reading and want my students to enjoy reading as well.  More and more research shows that there are many benefits from reading on a regular basis, which include better reading skills, better writing skills, enhanced vocabulary, and so much more.

I truly appreciate the efforts of the librarians at Joliet West High School, especially including Amy Lingafelter and Amy Walsh for preparing the library and book talks as well as showing students how to find books in their interest and where to locate them in the library.  I’m extremely proud of all of my students for listening carefully to all the book talks and taking their time in the library seriously while searching for a book of their choice.

Today was our first Silent Sustained Reading day.  In all my classes, the first 10 minutes of class were silent reading and then a few minutes of writing.  I was very excited to see that my students brought their books and truly took the time to enjoy reading in the classroom. I want to set an example so I also brought a book and read with the students during this time.  I think that as a teacher, I need to Practice What I Preach with my students to show them that I truly do believe in the learning activity and want to continue promoting positive classroom behavior and habits.

It’s going to be a great year!  I love seeing so many students reading and as I scan the room, I see so many different types of books.  Students are reading and they had a choice in what they read. I can’t wait for our own book talks once the students start finishing their books and want to share their book choices with their classmates.

Thank you Penny Kittle for the genius idea, proving that silent sustained reading can work at the high school level as well.  I’m excited to see more and more students fall back in love with reading and learning more vocabulary as well as being exposed to a variety of writing styles.  They will turn into better writers as they become better readers.

Here are some of the photos I took of our first day in Silent Sustained Reading.