Sunday, June 21, 2020

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

FANschool Medal Standings

Games Finished: 5

Mr. Gacek: 14 points: πŸ₯‡ πŸ₯‡ πŸ₯‡ πŸ₯‡ πŸ₯ˆ

Hazel: 6 points: πŸ₯‡ πŸ₯ˆ πŸ₯‰

Genevieve: 4 points: πŸ₯ˆ πŸ₯ˆ

Adam: 2 points: πŸ₯ˆ

Elodie: 2 points: πŸ₯ˆ

Ayla: 2 points: πŸ₯‰ πŸ₯‰

Zoe: 1 point: πŸ₯‰

Monday, May 25, 2020

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Lois Lowry shares her thoughts on a prequel to The Giver, and Donald Trump

Featured ImageLois Lowry recently wrote an opinion piece on how the society in The Giver came to be the way it was. She also answers the question as to whether she will ever write a prequel to The Giver. You can read her piece here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Writing A Mystery

Keep it simple! The mystery you create does not need to be as elaborate as The Westing Game. Think of something simple. Set your story in a location which is familiar to you, such as school or the neighborhood. Work on developing your detective as a character and demonstrating his or her detective skills.

Here are the elements you need to consider as you are creating your mystery:

Solution: You need to work backwards when creating your mystery. As the author, you need to know what happened and then fill in the story around that solution. Keep this simple. If your solution is too complicated it will make the task of writing the mystery very difficult.

Suspects: Agatha Christie sometimes had 10 or more suspects in her classic mystery novels. Keep your number of characters much smaller! Also, it's okay if the criminal is very obvious. Often a mystery about how a crime was committed is just as interesting as a whodunit.

Motive: Every criminal needs a motive. Why did they commit the crime? Discovering the motive can often help the detective figure out who committed the crime and how they did it.

Deduction: Sherlock Holmes is the master of deduction. He can see what others can't and then base logical deductions or inferences from the observations he makes. In the stories, Holmes often makes deductions that have nothing to do with the actual mystery; he just likes to show off! Having your detective make deductions is a way to demonstrate his or her skill as a detective to your audience.

Client: The client is the character who brings the mystery to the detective. They often explain the mystery to the detective and then offer a reward. Having a client seek the services of a detective is a great way to set your mystery in motion.

Investigation: This is the middle of a mystery story. The detective looks for clues and gathers evidence. This often entails interviewing the suspects.

Develop these ideas this week while you're planning your mystery. The more effort you put into planning, the easier it will be to write the actual mystery. Good luck!


Science Fiction Sub-Genres

No matter what type of Science Fiction story you decide to tell, I want you to concentrate on the world-building possibilities writing SF can offer. You are literally creating a brand new world in your story. Be creative. Things will and should be different. Use neologisms--these are words for things which haven't been invented yet in our world. Describe the environment in the world you create. Describe the society in which the people live. Describe your characters so the reader really gets to know them.

Don't worry about creating the perfect plot in your story. Focus on creating a rich and textured world for your characters to inhabit. That said, here are some basic sub-genres in Science Fiction. If you're not sure what type of SF story to write, consider these sub-genres within the genre of Science Fiction.

Techno-Thriller: These stories are set in the near-future; technology is similar to what we have today but just a little more advanced. The protagonists of these stories often learn that a sinister corporation is using technology in nefarious ways. It is then up to the protagonist to thwart the plans of the corporation.

Dystopian: The protagonist in a dystopian SF story is usually a commoner whose people are being oppressed by an authoritarian government. The protagonist must lead a rebellion of some sort against the authoritarian government. The reason for society existing in a dystopia is often left unexplained.

Post-Apocalyptic: These are usually survival stories. Some great catastrophe has turned Earth into a wasteland. The protagonist must scavenge to eke out a living. There is often competition for resources and it is often discovered that the villain has been hoarding them. The protagonist must thus acquire resources and deliver them to his or her tribe.

Space Travel: Many SF stories are set aboard ships. These ships are often scouting for hospitable planets or friendly signs of life. There is often a lot of suspense about whether the ship will reach its destination. There is often conflict with the beings aboard other ships.

Other Worlds: Many SF stories take place on distant planets and feature other races and societies. These planets are often in conflict with each other, often over resources. These stories often feature humanoids, as well as androids.

Remember that the Science Fiction story that you create must represent your best writing. You may not make your story silly or nonsensical. It must feel like a serious work of science fiction.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Kids Q & A with Elizabeth Warren!

In this video, Elizabeth explains what the coronavirus is and how the government can help.



If you'd like to send Elizabeth a question, you could be featured in a future video. Please see ElizabethWarren.com/KidsAsk for more details!

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Q: What should you do if you run out of books?

A: Acquire more books of course!

Events Calendar | Timberland Regional LibraryHere are some resources:

Timberland Regional Library. You can check out e-books and digital audiobooks and even stream movies. If you don't have a library card, you can get one here.



Support a local independent bookstore! We are lucky to have two great bookstores in Olympia, Browsers Bookshop and Orca Books. You can order books directly from their websites and they will mail them to you. It is important that we support our independent bookstores during the pandemic. If they are forced to close, they might never be able to re-open. Please support our local bookstores if you can!

 Image may contain: outdoor

Download books legally for free: Project Gutenberg has over 60,000 books available to download. These are all books which are old enough to be in the public domain, which means their copyrights have expired. Here are just some of the offerings available:

The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll
White Fang, by Jack London
Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain
Peter Pan, by J.M. Barrie
Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott
The Call of the Wild, by Jack London
Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame
Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson
Frankenstein, by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
Dracula, by Bram Stoker
The War of the Worlds, by H.G. Wells
The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells
Around the World in Eighty Days, by Jules Verne
The Jungle Book, by Rudyard Kipling
and many, many more!

You can download every Sherlock Holmes story here.

You can download Cory Doctorow's YA science fiction novel Little Brother here.

The Open Library is also a terrific source for checking out books. You can browse its virtual shelves here.

I will update this as I find new stuff available for you to read. Enjoy and happy reading!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Non-fiction Slideshows

Nathan: The Disappearing Spoon, by Sam Kean
Genevieve: Becoming, by Michelle Obama
Gurdit: What Unites Us, by Dan Rather
Zoe: I Will Always Write Back, by Caitlin Alifirenka
Ethan: The Race to Save the Lord God Bird, by Philip Hoose
Lucy: Born to Fly, by Steve Sheinkin
Hazel: The Killer Whale That Changed the World, by Mark Leiren-Young
Belle: It's Trevor Noah, by Trevor Noah
Max: 1919: The Year That Changed America, by Martin Sandler
Ayla: Wild, by Cheryl Strayed
Mia: The Distance Between Us, by Reyna Grande
Liam F.: Wesley the Owl, by Stacey O'Brien
Bella: Chew on This, by Eric Schlosser
Clara: Shortest Way Home, by Pete Buttigieg
Luke: World Without Fish, by Mark Kurlansky
Dylan: Born A Crime, by Trevor Noah
Liam H.: Kingbird Highway, by Kenn Kaufman
Grant: The North Pole Was Here, by Andrew Revkin
Brooke: Child of the Dream, by Sharon Robinson
Zellaby: Hidden Figures, by Margot Lee Shetterly
Michael: Bomb, by Steve Sheinkin
Joni: Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank
Reed: Big Chicken, by Marilyn McKenna
Emma: Guts, by Gary Paulsen
Adam: Unpresidented, by Martha Brackenbrough
Anna: Marching For Freedom, by Elizabeth Partridge
Owen: Hitler Youth, by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Grace: The Omnivore's Dilemma, by Michael Pollan
Alan: The Boys Who Challenged Hitler, by Philip Hoose
Jessica: Dewey, by Vicki Myron

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Super Tuesday!!

Super Tuesday Links:

FiveThirtyEight.com: Our Final Forecast For Super Tuesday Shows Biden's Surge--And Lots of Uncertainty

New York Times: The Latino Vote: The Sleeping Giant Awakens

New York Times: Elizabeth Warren: A Populist for the Professional Class

New York Times: Sanders Campaign Was Caught Off-Guard by Quick Massing of Opposition

Politico: How to Watch Super Tuesday Like a Pro

All UpFront articles are eligible (must be 2 or more pages in length).

Any article related to Super Tuesday is eligible.

Must read at least 2 articles.

Record title, author, and source for each article.

Record at least 3 bullet point notes of interesting facts for each article.

Due Thursday, March 5.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Sixth Grade Primary Results

Elizabeth Warren 14  43.7%  (4 delegates)
Pete Buttigieg 7   21.8%   (2 delegates)
Tom Steyer 2   6.2%
Bernie Sanders 2   6.2%
Bill Weld 2   6.2%
Andrew Yang 1   3.1%
Mike Bloomberg 1  3.1%
Uncommitted 3  9.3%

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Elizabeth Warren's Campaign HQ Letter Wall

Today Elizabeth Warren's Massachusetts state director tweeted a photo of the Letter Wall at the national campaign headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts. You can see several NOVA letters in the photo. They are on the left side of the photo and feature the NOVA logo. You can see Zellaby's drawing of Elizabeth on the far left. You can also see Genevieve's rainbow-colored envelope. Good thing Mr. Gacek made everyone hand-write their letters and hand-draw the NOVA logos!

Cavalcade of Authors

Here is a link to the authors who will be featured at Cavalcade of Authors.

The event will take place May 9.
The deadline for submitting a short story is February 26.
The deadline for turning in permission slips is January 31.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

CNN Town Hall Schedule

CNN will be airing town halls for the leading Democratic candidates the week before the New Hampshire Primary. Here is the schedule for the town halls:

Wednesday, Feb. 5 : 5:00 p.m. Joe Biden
                             6:00 p.m. Elizabeth Warren
                             7:00 p.m. Andrew Yang
                             8:00 p.m. Tom Steyer

Thursday, Feb. 6: 5:00 p.m. Bernie Sanders
                           6:00 p.m. Pete Buttigieg
                           7:00 p.m. Amy Klobuchar
                           8:00 p.m. Deval Patrick

Read the CNN article about the town halls here.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Impeachment Process

Here is a link to an explanation of the impeachment process published in The New York Times.

Here is a link to an explanation of impeachment in the Senate published by The New York Times UpFront.

You can find a link to my Coachella Valley Map here.