Advice for Future High School Students

It’s almost the end of February, and your sophomore year of high school is coming to an end.  Think back over your Freshmen and Sophomore year and all the lessons you have learned.  I don’t just mean the educational lessons; I’m also referring to lessons about making friends, joining a sport, surviving final exam week, and utilizing educational technology.  What have you learned?  What do you wish you knew before you came to high school?  All of your advice could be precious to the current junior high students who will soon embark on their high school journey.  Sometimes, advice is taken more seriously when it comes from a peer close in age rather than someone much older.

Here is your challenge.  Write a blog post with at least 150 words listing and explaining at least 5 pieces of advice for future high school students. You can use bullet points or numbers as long as your words are still high school level and definitely clear and descriptive enough that junior high students could learn from your advice and take it seriously.

Also, you will need an appropriate image that relates to the topic.  Be creative.  Use humor.  Make sure your advice is taken seriously and that it could be used to help these future high school students be successful.  



Black History Month Photo Challenge

February is Black History Month and students at Joliet West High School were able to participate in the 1st Annual Black History Read-In as a way to showcase inspirational African American authors. Students were able to choose pieces of writing by African American authors and read them on stage in the auditorium in front of their fellow peers as a way to share some inspiration with the audience.  Writing excerpts came from novels, short stories, poems, biographies, letters, songs, etc.  Some were older pieces of writing while others were current pieces, showcasing the variety in African American literature.  One young man shared an original poem he wrote himself, while another bright young lady showcased her persuasive, yet funny, original piece about stereotypes.  Both pieces were personal, yet universal. And, they definitely kept the audience’s attention.  The event was serious and educational, proudly showing that the students in the audience were very respectful and engaged in the listening process. It was definitely a successful and powerful event filled with many eloquent and meaningful words that will be remembered by those in the audience as well as those performing on stage. And the bottom line was that the overall impression, at least my own personal impression, was that 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:  Look at the Poster below:

Pick one of the challenges, find an appropriate image, and write a 100-200 word reflection on the image.  Analyze what the image represents and how that one image 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 in your Post.

Look at the Examples from another blog here:

Black History Month Challenge with Photos


Valuable Valentine’s Day vs Friday the 13th!

This year Friday the 13th falls right before Valentine’s Day.  These are usually two very different days, yet they are so close together this year.

Pick one of the days and write about a topic related to one of them.  Write freely so your true self is revealed. Be honest, yet understand that your words are public so be careful what you say, what you reveal, and how your words may affect your audience. Adding images and/or videos will engage your readers even more, so make them meaningful.

I challenge you to pick a topic of interest related to Friday the 13th or Valentine’s Day and write at least 100 words to share with the world.

Some topic ideas are:

  • What is the meaning of Friday the 13th? (find reputable sources…then summarize and reflect)
  • How do people usually behave on this day?
  • What movies/songs/videos/books/poems have been written about Friday the 13th?  How is the theme of Friday the 13th depicted in them? Write an analysis.
  • Write a poem about Friday the 13th
  • Share some images related to Friday the 13th (school appropriate)  and analyze how they express the day
  • Describe party ideas for a Friday the 13th theme?
  • Summarize, Analyze, Synthesize, and Evaluate superstitions. Do you believe in them?  Why or why not?
  • Research and Reflect on trivia facts related to Friday the 13th
  • Read the article, then reflect on what you read 13 Things about Friday the 13th in Chicago


  • What is the meaning of Valentine’s Day?
  • How do people usually behave on this day?
  • What movies/songs/videos/books/poems have been written about Valentine’s Day?  How is the theme of Valentine’s Day depicted in them?
  • Write a poem about Valentine’s Day
  • Share some images related to Valentine’s Day (school appropriate)  and analyze how they express the day
  • Describe party ideas for a Valentine’s Day theme?
  • Summarize, Analyze, Synthesize, and Evaluate different types of love
  • Research and Reflect on trivia facts related to Friday the 13th
  • Watch the short film to analyze the hidden messages of love or just to share your thoughts on the film
    Paperman by videobash


They Say, I Say

My sophomore high school students were asked to pick a current social issue topic that they could argue/debate.  The goal is to research an issue that they want to improve, no matter how controversial it might be.  First they researched pros and cons relating to their topics so they could narrow down their argument.  They had to find 3 articles that reinforced their argument and 2 articles that opposed their argument.  Students used ,, and for majority of their research. Please take a look at their individual blogs and read their Graff Templates…short 200-250 word paragraphs that summarize their argument, including a mention of their pros and cons as well as their own personal opinions.  They will have a question or two after their Graff template, so please respond with some positive feedback and with constructive criticism because they will turn this research into a 1250 word paper to showcase their argument.  Thank you!

They Say I Say Graff Templates