Friday, May 24, 2013

The end of the year is almost here!

As you start to clean out your lockers remember... all books and calculators need to be returned to the library. Not sure if you returned that book? You can come into the library and ask a librarian or click here to log into Destiny to see your library account.

Locker clean-out will take place on the following dates:

3rd Floor – Friday, May 24th
2nd Floor – Tuesday, May 28th
1st Floor – Thursday, May 30th

All students will have the entire school day to empty the contents of their lockers. Any books, clothing or other miscellaneous items remaining in the locker, after the scheduled clean-out time, will be disposed of by the custodial staff. It is EXTREMELY important that you collect all of your text books as you will be responsible to hand them in to your respective teachers at the end of the school year. FAILURE TO DO SO WILL RESULT IN A BOOK FINE(S)! All current Juniors (soon to be Seniors) – if you have an outstanding book fine(s), you will not be permitted to obtain a parking sticker for next year. Please make every effort to clean out your lockers during the scheduled date and time indicated. Thank you.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Creative Writing in the Courtyard

Creative Writing in the Courtyard took place on Wednesday, May 22, 2013.  Students from Creative Writing discussed Ekphrasis and Inspirational Poetry. Participants had the opportunity to craft original pieces while enjoying the beauty of the courtyard on bamboo mats.  Jen Calonita stopped by and led a group of students in a writing activity. She also signed copies of Belles for students who were interested in getting started on a little summer reading.  Many students had questions for her and sought her advice on writing and getting work published.  It was yet another successful ELITE event!  Thanks to Ms. Maresca and Ms. Correa for arranging this program, Ms. Netto for supporting our teachers and Mr. Harrington for his continued support of our discipline.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The New Portfolio

Recently, I sat on an interview committee and out of ten interviewees one of them had an online portfolio instead of a hard copy portfolio. Is this the way of the future? Indeed, I think it is. She had this digital portfolio on an iPad which she passed around to the committee. It contained everything that you would put into a binder, including lesson plans, photos, student work, etc.  Have you heard of LiveBinders? It’s the online replacement to those bulky binders.

“Physical 3-ring binders used to be the easiest way to organize all your educational resources. But now so much of what you want to organize is online. LiveBinders not only replaces the old 3-ring binder, but also opens up new opportunities for collaborating, organizing, and sharing that were never possible before.

Student Use: ePortfolios
Help students showcase their work while sharing it with parents and potential schools. Give them the opportunity to reflect on everything they have learned and how they have grown.
  • Update in real-time
  • Collaborate with multiple people
  • Deliver instantly
  • Keep binders private or make them public"

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Ghost on the Wind

The Ghost on the Wind was originally written in 2005 by Alfred H. Lockamy for the East Carolina Pirates, which are the intercollegiate sports teams representing East Carolina University (ECU) in Greenville, North Carolina. According to the ECU website, "This poem, composed by Alfred H. Lockamy, is read as as a welcome message prior to the start of ECU home sporting events." The poem was read by Ms. Geller's Leadership Class in honor of Poem in Your Pocket Day, which is a sponsored ELITE event.

The Ghost on The Wind

Like a ghost on the wind
He comes from the sea,
And trembles the foe
Like a storm on the lee.

With swashbuckling swagger
And a Jolly Roger laugh,
He flies the black flag
On a whalebone staff.

He has a black-patched eye
And a ring in his ear,
And on his wind-burned face,
A crusty-grizzled beard.

With a bone-cold glare
And a sneer on his lip,
He has a cannon by his side
And a cutlass in his grip.

With a thunderous blast
From his cannon's might,
He shivers the strong
And cripples their fight.

He takes what he's lost
And turns it to gold,
For He's crafty and shrewd
And He's fearless and bold.

He's dashing and daring,
A fierce buccaneer,
For the sight of his plunder
Pales many with fear.

From East Carolina (changed to "From Bellmore, New York")
Victories are told (changed to "The stories they say")
Of the Spirit of the Pirate
And his purple and gold! (changed to "And his garnet and gray!")

Friday, May 17, 2013

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Belle Between Bells

Author, Jen Calonita was the belle between bells when she visited Ms. Maresca's Creative Writing class on Thursday, May 16th during 8th period. Ms. Calonita had our students entranced with tales of her life as an entertainment magazine journalist, for the now defunct Teen People and Mademoiselle, before becoming a full-time young adult author. She spoke about her path to writing novels and how she creates characters and develops the plot to her stories. Our students are starting to write their own short stories and Ms. Calonita has certainly given them a few new tools to add to their repertoire. We raffled off 10 paperback copies of her novel, Belles.  This event was sponsored by the National English Honor Society. Ms. Calonita will be back next week after school on Wednesday, May 22nd for Creative Writing in the Courtyard. Students will discuss Ekphrasis and Inspirational Poetry. Participants will have the opportunity to craft original pieces while enjoying the beauty of the courtyard on a bamboo mat.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Creative Writing with Jen Calonita

Photo by Rick Delucia
Author, Jen Calonita will be visiting Ms. Maresca's Creative Writing class on Thursday, May 16th during 8th period. We will be raffling off 10 paperback copies of her novel, Belles.  Her third book in the Belles series, The Grass is Always Greener, was just published on April 16th. Calonita has written over 12 books for young adults, including the very popular Secrets of My Hollywood Life series. We are honored to have her back at Mepham High School. For details about her first visit to Mepham in 2008 click here. This event is sponsored by the National English Honor Society.

About Belles
"Fifteen-year-old Isabelle Scott loves her life by the boardwalk on the supposed wrong side of the tracks in North Carolina. But when tragedy strikes, a social worker sends her to live with a long-lost uncle and his preppy, privileged family. Isabelle is taken away from everything she's ever known, and unfortunately, inserting her into the glamorous life of Emerald Cove doesn't go so well. Her cousin Mirabelle Monroe isn't thrilled to share her life with an outsider, and in, addition to dealing with all the rumors and backstabbing that lurk beneath their classmates' Southern charm, Isabelle finds out a secret about her new family that she can't ignore."

Monday, May 13, 2013


Created with Tagxedo
Same words, different shapes
Do you remember my post on Wordle? If not, click here. Well, Tagxedo is another Website for generating word clouds. According to the site, "Tagxedo turns words -- famous speeches, news articles, slogans and themes, even your love letters -- into a visually stunning word cloud, words individually sized appropriately to highlight the frequencies of occurrence within the body of text." It is super simple to use and there is no need for a username and password. For instance, I typed in the URL to this blog, and this is what Tagxedo generated. You can choose the font, theme, colors, orientation, and layout. You can also constrain the word cloud to selected shapes. The callout in the first photo is the same word cloud as the apple below, but in a different shape. You can save, print and share these word clouds in multiple formats. Ms. Sirof recently shared this tool at an English Department Meeting. She said that one classroom application for Tagxedo is to have students copy and paste his/her essays into Tagxedo to see which words the students use most often. Students can then go to a thesaurus to find synonyms for over used words in his/her writing.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


According to Wikipedia, "A social bookmarking service is a centralized online service which enables users to add, annotate, edit, and share bookmarks of web documents. Many online bookmark management services have launched since 1996; Delicious, founded in 2003, popularized the terms "social bookmarking." My favorite is still Delicious, but more and more social bookmarking sites are popping up due to the massive shift to store in the cloud and not on individual computers.

A few weeks ago at an English department meeting, Ms. Sirof introduced us to Symbaloo. It's another free social media site now available in the US, that enables users to access your bookmarks anywhere. Symbaloo is a personal Internet desktop. What I love about Symbaloo is the layout. It looks clean and organized.  The first step is to create an account; all you need is an email address. "By opening a free account, you can save your settings and get access to your personal tiles and webmixes anywhere in the world." The instructions on the Symbaloo website are simple to follow: "By clicking on a tile, you can immediately start using a website. You can drag & drop tiles, add tiles or delete them. Some tiles start a small application in the center box. This enables you to directly search in Google, read the latest news or even check your emails. We call these tiles 'widgets'. Would you like to add a tile that links to a website? Just type the name of the subject or the website and click 'search'. You can easily drag the tile to the grid. For each subject you can have a new webmix on Symbaloo. You can easily switch between the webmixes by clicking on the tabs. To add a new webmix you click on the '+'."

I created an account a few days ago and have found real value for students and teachers alike. For example, if you are researching an author/musician/artist for Ms. Sirof's class this week you can create a mix of Websites that provide you with information on your selected individual. Once it is saved, you do not have to go hunting for that great Website you found because it is already there in your mix. This makes Works Cited pages a breeze because everything is stored in one place. Need help? Come into the library and we will get you started.