Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Prevent the Summer Slide - READ!

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“One benefit of Summer was that each day we had more light to read by.”― Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle

We are pleased to present the W.C. Mepham High School Summer Reading Program 2014. Summer should be filled with joyful times, and we hope that reading will be an important part of your summer plans. Below is a required reading list from which you can select a book. Students who are having difficulty choosing a book should ask their teachers, a librarian, or the English Department Chair for help. Enjoy the summer with a good book!

Please note, each Regents and Honors level student entering grades 9-12 is required to read one of the books on the list. All students will be assessed on their summer reading in September. Students entering English 2 Honors, Senior Experience, and Advanced Placement English courses have different requirements. They will read the books that are designated for their courses. AP and Senior Experience students will also be given a writing assignment to complete over the summer.

Incoming Ninth Grade (E1) - select one 
Budding cartoonist Junior leaves his troubled school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white farm town school where the only Native American is the school mascot. While this book is not a graphic novel, it does contain several inspiring illustrations.
In 1659, after becoming the sole survivor of a shipwreck, Englishman Robinson Crusoe lives on a deserted island for more than twenty-eight years.
One month before graduating from his Central Florida high school, Quentin "Q" Jacobsen basks in the predictable boringness of his life until the beautiful and exciting Margo Roth Spiegelman, Q's neighbor and classmate, takes him on a midnight adventure and then mysteriously disappears.
Haunted by grief and by her past after losing her family in a fire, fifteen-year-old Green retreats into her ruined garden as she struggles to survive emotionally and physically on her own.
Eighth-grade star quarterback Nate Brodie's family is feeling the stress of the troubled economy, and Nate is frantic because his best friend Abby is going blind, so when he gets a chance to win a million dollars if he can complete a pass during the halftime of a New England Patriot's game, he is nearly overwhelmed by the pressure to succeed.
Mortenson, Greg & David Oliver Relin – Three Cups of Tea
Traces how the author, having been rescued and resuscitated by Himalayan villagers after a failed attempt to climb K2, worked to build schools that would benefit the young girls who were forbidden an education by Taliban restrictions. 
*Three Cups of Tea is not to be confused with Three Cups of Tea: Young Readers Edition, which is a special adaptation for younger people.
Liz Murray, who was homeless at the age of fifteen and had drug-addicted parents, reflects on how she overcame obstacles and eventually attended Harvard University.
Recounts the twelve-day pursuit and capture of John Wilkes Booth, covering the chase through Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, with a discussion of Abraham Lincoln as a father, husband, and friend that examines the impact of his death on those close to him.
Incoming Tenth Grade Honors (E2H) - required reading 
An adolescent boy, knowing he is about to be dropped by his school, spends three days and nights in New York City on a quest for self-discovery.
Incoming Tenth Grade (E2) - select one 

Narrated by a fifteen-year-old autistic savant obsessed with Sherlock Holmes, this dazzling novel weaves together an old-fashioned mystery, a contemporary coming-of-age story, and a fascinating excursion into a mind incapable of processing emotions. This improbable story of a young boy’s quest to investigate the suspicious death of a neighborhood dog makes for one of the most captivating, unusual, and widely heralded novels in recent years.
When Charlotte and Sean O'Keefe learn about their daughter's illness, they wonder if they should have known about it sooner and begin to question what constitutes the value of even the most fragile life.
In a harrowing memoir about combat, friendship, fear, and a soldier's commitment to his country, Smithson brings teen readers inside a world that few understand, as he describes his experience as a 19-year-old Army engineer in Iraq.
Enzo, the dog of professional race car driver Denny Swift, recalls the memories of his life and shares his insight into the human condition that he learned from observing his owner. 
*The Art of Racing in the Rain: A Novel is not to be confused with Racing in the Rain: My Life as a Dog, which is a special adaptation for younger people.
The classic story of a mischievous 19th-century boy in a Mississippi River town and his friends, Huck Finn and Becky Thatcher, as they run away from home, witness a murder, and find treasure in a cave.
Yousafzai, Malala – I Am Malala
Malala Yousafzai describes her fight for education for girls under Taliban rule, the support she received from her parents to pursue an education, and how the Taliban retaliated against her by trying to kill her.
Incoming Eleventh Grade Advanced Placement (3 AP) - required reading 
Rosen, Larry D. – iDisorder
Psychology of technology expert Dr. Larry Rosen explains Internet addiction and the compulsive need to check in with technology and offers strategies to help overcome the obsession while still making use of technology.
Incoming Eleventh Grade (E3) - select one 
After finally getting noticed by someone other than school bullies and his ever-angry father, seventeen-year-old Tyler enjoys his tough new reputation and the attentions of a popular girl, but when life starts to go bad again, he must choose between transforming himself or giving in to his destructive thoughts.
After losing an important game for his team, NFL backup quarterback Rick Dockery is fired, but his agent finds him an opportunity to play for the Panthers of Parma, and even though he has never been to Europe, he moves to Italy hoping for a second chance.
This book tells the parallel stories of Daniel Burnham, the main architect of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, and serial killer Henry H. Holmes, discussing the challenges Burnham faced in creating the hugely successful White City, and looking at how Holmes used the opportunities afforded by the fair to lure victims to their deaths.
Emma Hunt’s son, Jacob, who has Asperger’s Syndrome and occasionally tries helping the police with his unique forensic analysis abilities, falls under suspicion when a murder occurs in town, reminding Emma of society’s — and the legal system’s — misunderstanding with regard to the behavioral cues associated with Asperger’s.
This book contains black-and-white comic strip images in which the author shares the story of her life in Tehran, Iran, where she lived from ages six to fourteen while the country came under control of the Islamic regime.  

Wells, H.G. – The War of the Worlds
Martians land on Earth just outside of London in the late nineteenth century, and an Englishman tries to find his wife while the British military and human technology fail in their efforts to stop the Martians, which have begun to kill and feed off of humans.
Incoming Twelfth Grade Advanced Placement (12AP) - required reading (both)

Alvarez, Julia – In the Time of the Butterflies
Gives a fictionalized account of four sisters in the Dominican Republic under the dictatorship of General Trujillo.
Presents a discussion on how to understand symbolism in literature, discussing the appearance of journeys, eating, drowning, rain, violence, sex, illness, geography, Christ figures, and other signifiers, and how to see patterns the way literature professors do.
Incoming Senior Experience - required reading 
Gladwell, Malcolm – Outliers: The Story of Success
The author explores why some people are high achievers and others are not, citing culture, family, and upbringing as possible reasons some people are not as successful as others.

Incoming Twelfth Grade (E4) - select one
The story of a mother and a son, and a relationship that covers a lifetime and beyond. It explores the question: What would you do if you could spend one more day with a lost loved one?
This book tells the explosive story of yuppies, Delaney and Kyra Mossbacher, a stay-at-home dad and his real-estate whiz wife, and their clash with Candido and America Rincon, illegal aliens who have crossed into California from Mexico and are living in a camp awaiting the birth of their baby.
An angry, grieving seventeen-year-old musician facing expulsion from her prestigious Brooklyn private school travels to Paris to complete a school assignment and uncovers a diary written during the French revolution by a young actress attempting to help a tortured, imprisoned little boy--Louis Charles, the lost king of France.
A novel set against the three decades of Afghanistan's history shaped by Soviet occupation, civil war, and the Taliban, which tells the stories of two women, Mariam and Laila, who grow close despite their nineteen-year age difference and initial rivalry as they suffer at the hand of a common enemy: their abusive husband.
Computer science professor Randy Pausch, who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, discusses how to overcome obstacles in one's life and achieve one's dreams.
An apocalyptic tale of the planet's ultimate fate, featuring a cast of unlikely heroes. Scientists, G-men, and even ordinary folks are caught up in the game. These assorted characters chase each other around in search of the world's most important and dangerous substance, a new form of ice that freezes at room temperature.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Keep Calm and...

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Can you believe it is already THAT time of year? If you have a library book and you are finished reading it, please return it to us as soon as possible. Overdue notices will be going out on Wednesday. As always, this school library does not charge you late fines. Hooray!

Friday, May 30, 2014

6 Steps to Solve an Information Problem

It's no secret that I am a big fan of the Big 6 and I wanted a fresh, new way to show students this easy way to solve information problems.  In comes PowToon. You may remember my previous blog post about PowToon here. This was my first attempt at using this online presentation software tool. I used a pre-made template and tailored it to my needs. What do you think? Would you use a tool like this for your next presentation?

Friday, May 23, 2014

Look who got caught reading!

Mr. Patten got caught reading Frank McCourt's Teacher Man. 
Who will catch you reading?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Librarian of the Year - A Personal Post

From left: Principal, Michael Harrington; Librarian, Shari Stack; English Department Chairperson, Marie Netto; Superintendent of Bellmore-Merrick CHSD, John DeTommaso    
Recently, I (Shari Stack, Your School Librarian!) was recognized as the 2013 Nassau BOCES School Library System’s School Librarian of the Year. The NBSLS award is granted annually to a New York State-certified library media specialist whose work, with and for students, serves as a model for his or her peers and an inspiration to those entering the profession.

I am so humbled to have been chosen for this award knowing that there were so many qualified applicants. Joining this list of past recipients, who I have long admired and respected, reveals the significance of this award. The plaque now hangs next to “The Jolly Roger,” our life-size pirate statue in the William S. Christy Memorial Library, welcoming students and reminding me of the many opportunities we have to make an impact.

On behalf of the Bellmore-Merrick community, thank you to NBSLS for continuing to support and encourage our library programs. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Fresh Prep

An Urban Arts Partnership Project
The New York State Regents Exams are right around the corner and teachers and students have begun to review. Want to try a new, fun way to study? "Fresh Prep is an innovative student-centered curriculum that uses Hip-Hop music to help students review the key content and skills tested on the New York State Regents Exams. Harnessing the appeal and mnemonic power of music and youth culture, Fresh Prep’s standards-aligned instruction helps teens build the confidence, critical-thinking, and writing skills they need to succeed on the Regents." Click on Sample Units, which includes; Global History, US History and English. Click here to hear the mp3 of the English unit.

Friday, April 25, 2014

May the Odds be Ever in Your Favor!

Seniors, Meghan Corless and Andrew Montalti from Ms. Sirof's class are the victors!
Update: Thank you so much for attending Mepham’s first Poetry Games. The sixteen students who participated as tributes and the modest and dedicated audience made yesterday’s ELITE event an enjoyable one. We had an opportunity to showcase the talents of students who may not always be recognized, and for that, we should be incredibly proud. Additionally, we were able to raise over 600 books for the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization!

Without further ado, below are the results of the first Pirates Poetry Games:

3rd Place = District F. Cooney – Melissa Ponton & Matthew Brown (Freshmen)

2nd Place = District Atkins – Laiba Qurashi (Junior)


1st Place = District Sirof – Meghan Corless & Andrew Montalti (Seniors)

Please congratulate all the tributes – we had some incredibly powerful original poems read yesterday!

In honor of National Poetry Month, Mepham High School and the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District will be hosting its first annual Poetry Games. Inspired by the novel, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, The Poetry Games is an event meant to encourage students to appreciate their love of the spoken word and to prove their district’s poetic prowess to the Capitol.

The Poetry Games will take place in two stages:

Stage one:  School-wide Poetry Games. This competition will determine the male and female tributes who will represent Mepham High School in Bellmore-Merrick’s district-wide Poetry Games. The Pirates Poetry Games will be held after school on Thursday, April 24, 2014 from approximately 2:30-3:30 pm in the auditorium.

 Opening Ceremony:
  •  Parading of tributes
  • A brief interview will take place to introduce the tributes partaking in the event – includes discussion of literary attire/influences
  • Judges will score the opening ceremony on a 0 – 5 point scale based on originality, content, and presentation
1st Round of the Games: Expression of Knowledge Competition
  • Students will take their mark on stage behind desks, tables, or podiums
  • Students will respond via a tech tool to five (5) questions that test their prowess with poetry (ex. application, style, definition, poets, etc.)
2nd Round of the Games: Prepared Poetry Battle
  • Students will read an original poem to the audience
  • In preparation for this round, students will randomly select an envelope which contains 15 words and a “weapon” of choice, or a poetic technique, to apply in their poem
  •   Judges will score the poems on a 0 – 5 point scale based on originality, content, and presentation
3rd Round of the Games: Book Wars
  •  The district which collects the largest number of books to donate to First Book or World Book Night will be awarded points
  •  Sponsors:  the audience will act as “sponsors” who will vote via Twitter to give their favorite tributes points toward the final score
  • Closing Ceremony: the victors of The Pirates Poetry Games will be announced and awards will be granted (donated by the National English Honor Society)