Monday, February 28, 2011

Fantasy Storyboards

"How to Succeed in mer-Business Without Really Trying"

"The Journey Through Mavza"

"Whispering Music"

The instructions for the Fantasy Storyboards can be found here.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Tri 2 Geo Final

Thursday afternoon: More snow!
Wednesday, March 2, 2011.

Countries: Europe, Middle East, North Africa.
Cities: U.S., Europe, Middle East.
U.S. States: All.
Physical Features: Europe and U.S.

Physical Feature Terms: archipelago, fjord, isthmus, peninsula, cape, delta.
Body of Water Terms: bay, estuary, gulf.

Other Terms: revolution, referendum, diplomacy, Islam, Muslim, Arabic, Judaism, Hebrew, Palistinian, "Jasmine Revolution".
People: Laurent Gbagbo, Hosni Mubarek.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

My Oh My

After the passing of Mariners broadcaster Dave Niehaus, Seattle rapper Macklemore wrote a tribute, "My Oh My."  As someone who grew up following the Mariners, collecting baseball cards, and playing the game, I can relate to the song quite a bit.  Today, Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times reported that the Mariners and Macklemore are in discussions for Macklemore to perform the song at the Mariners' home opener.  This is something that definitely should happen.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mystery Novel Reading Project

We are going to be reading novels in the mystery genre between now and March 14. Only mystery novels you have not previously read may count towards your total. The grading scale will look like this:

4 or more mystery novels read =21 out of 20 max. score possible
3 mystery novels read= 20 out of 20 max. score possible
2 mystery novels read=18 out of 20 max. score possible
1 mystery novel read=10 out of 20 max. score possible

For each mystery novel that you read (up to 4), you must fill out a Mystery Trait chart. In each box record how the trait is present in the book. Record specific names and details. If a trait is not present in a book, indicate that in the box.

After March 14, you will be writing an essay analyzing the mystery novel that you found to be the most successful mystery. The notes you take will help you decide which novel to write about and help you write the eventual paper.

Compelling Detective: Traits which make the detective distinctive and interesting.

Intriguing Case: Traits which make a case unique. Must be compelling enough for the reader to care about its outcome.

Evocative Setting: Traits which make the setting feel appropriate for the story.

Complex Investigation: Traits which give complexity to the case so that it is a challenge for the detective to solve.

Cadre of Suspects: Interesting assortment of suspects with differing alibis and motives. It should not be obvious whodunit.

Unforseen Developments: Turns in the case. May include red herrings.

Suspenseful Narrative: Tension in the plot. Makes the reader want to keep reading to find out what happens.

Satisfying Solution: Solution is plausible yet not obvious.

Blank Mystery Trait Charts can be downloaded here.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

2011 Winterim Movie Ballot

These are the eight movies on the 2011 Winterim Movie Ballot.  Students will vote for their favorites; the winner will be shown at the Capitol Theater.  The winner won't be announced early.  It will be a surprise for everyone (except for Mr. Gacek, of course).

1. The Illusionist (2010) directed by Sylvain Chomet.
The Illusionist, in current release (not available on DVD) and nominated for an Academy Award in animation, was created by the French animator Sylvain Chomet, who in 2003 created The Triplets of Belleville. The Illusionist is about an elderly magician who becomes disheartened by the public’s lack of interest in his act. He travels to Scotland, where his act is met by more indifference, though he gains one fan in Alice, a shy teenager. The animation is wonderful; it evokes Disney’s 101 Dalmatians as well as the works of Hiyao Miyazaki. There’s a tinge of melancholy in the movie, but there’s also humor and beauty. If The Illusionist is ultimately not chosen, you can catch it later in the week at The Capitol Theater, if you’re interested.

2. Ghostbusters (1984) directed by Ivan Reitman.
Bill Murray, Dan Ackyroyd, and Harold Ramis team up to exterminate ghosts, which are running rampant across New York City. A big-budget comedy classic. With slime galore. Did I mention Bill Murray is in this?

3. Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) directed by Wes Anderson.
Fantastic Mr. Fox is a stop-motion animated film based on a story by Roald Dahl. Mr. Fox and his associates undertake secret missions to steal food from the local farmers. The farmers don’t take kindly to this and attempt to eradicate Fox and the other animals. Extremely stylish, funny, and wonderful in every way. Each frame has incredible detail. This is a most enjoyable movie. With the voice of Bill Murray.

4. Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) directed by Mel Stuart.
You know the story. You might even know the songs. Have you seen the original film, with Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka? It’s candy-colored and strange, with humor befitting a Roald Dahl story. Oompa Loompa Doompa-dee-doo!

5. Back to the Future (1985) directed by Robert Zemeckis.
Michael J. Fox plays Marty McFly, a teenager who meets a mad scientist who puts him into a Delorean time machine which sends him back to the Fifties. There he meets the people who would later become his parents, setting in motion time travel paradoxes which must be overcome for Marty to return to his proper time and place. Very funny as well as suspenseful, this is definitely an 80’s classic.

6. Clash of the Titans (1981) directed by Desmond Davis
This is not the lame re-make. This is the 1981 version, with stop-motion animation effects by the master Ray Harryhausen. Perseus, son of Zeus, must rescue Princess Andromeda and save the land. Pretty standard fantasy plot, right? Duh. Features Pegasus, Medusa, the Kraken, etc. Plus Sir Laurence Olivier as Zeus! Another 80’s gem.

7. Modern Times (1936) directed by Charlie Chaplin
The great Charlie Chaplin stars in the guise of “The Little Tramp” in this comedic masterpiece. Chaplin is a factory worker who loses his job and must face an ever-industrializing mechanized new world. This film contains some of the most iconic shots in film history. A classic.

8. The General (1926) directed by Buster Keaton
Silent Movie Star Buster Keaton single-handedly takes on the Union Army during the Civll War to stop a train on which his fiancee has been inadvertently imprisoned. The General is known for some of the greatest action sequences ever filmed. It is one of the greatest silent films of all time, in fact, and is a stellar comedy. Released in stunning Blu-Ray!

"The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" Study Questions

You are required to read two Sherlock Holmes stories: “The Red-Headed League” and “The Speckled Band.” You can read additional stories if you so choose. Answer all questions on a blank sheet of paper using complete sentences. Questions due Tuesday, March 2.

“The Red-Headed League” Study Questions

1. Holmes lists the “obvious facts” that he deduces from Mr. Jabez Wilson’s appearance. What are two such facts and from what observations was Holmes able to deduce them?

2. At the conclusion of the story, Holmes explains to Watson how he guessed the truth. What was the purpose of Clay’s hiring Mr. Wilson to copy the Encyclopedia? What was Clay doing in the cellar? How did Holmes know Clay would attempt to rob the bank that night?

“The Speckled Band” Study Questions

1. What was the “Speckled Band”? What clues did Holmes use to figure out what it was?

2. Who was guilty and what was their motive?

General Questions

1. Describe Holmes’ method of deduction. What makes it successful?

2. Do you like Holmes? Explain why or why not you find his character likable.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Africa Field Reports

You will be presenting a field report live from the scene regarding a crisis facing one of the following African countries: Egypt, Tunisia, Sudan, or Ivory Coast.  Your presentation will be no longer than 2 minutes.  Your research will consist of any prior reading we have done as a class, plus 2 additional news articles.  The articles must concern current events in your country from a legitimate news source.  For each article, you will record the citation, main idea, and your notes.

You will then write a script.  Your script must contain at least 4 facts from your research.  Underline these 4 facts in  purple on your script.  As a reporter, you need to describe the situation in your country to give your audience a sense of what is happening around you.  You only have 2 minutes, though, so you have to be concise (this is a pretty accurate time frame in terms of what network field reporters would be given).  Station yourself at a key location for your story (Start your script with something like "Good evening, this is So-and-So reporting live from ...)

Your field report needs to answer two main questions: What is happening, and why is it happening?  Now, the events in your countries are quite complicated.  Therefore, you need to answer these questions succinctly.  You don't need to report everything you know about the situation.  Choose what is most important and report that.

If the action has quieted down a bit in your country in the last few days, you can report "live" from a date in the recent past.  Just make sure you mention the date of your field report in your script.

Here are some news outlets to consult when starting your research:

Additionally, search engines like and can help you find articles from additional news sites.  Remember to cite the actual news site in your citation and not a search engine.

Presentation will be delivered in front of the class starting Friday, February 18.  Scripts do not have to be memorized, but you should practice enough that you can make eye contact with the camera.

Screenshot Credit: Daily Mail (U.K.)

Fantasy Story Page Order

1.  Cover
2.  Title Page
3.  Map
4.  Acknowledgements (if desired)
5.  Pre-Story Outline (if necessary)
6.  Story
7.  Post-Story Outline (if necessary)
8.  About the Author (if desired)
9.  Blank Pages for Comments (2)

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Quiz Bowl #3

4 Questions:

1 Geography or Science
1 Pop Culture or Current Events
1 Sports, History, or Literature
1 Pot Pourri


Complete Sentences.
Answers may not include numbers or dates.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Fantasy Story Final Instructions

Cover: Use white drawing paper. Create one inch margin on left side. Leave this margin blank. Use bold lettering for Title. Place your name on the cover. Add an illustration or drawing. Front cover must be colored. Any medium can be used for the cover.

Title Page: Center all text on page. Place title of story in largish font 1/3 the distance from top to bottom of page. Place your name in slightly smaller font 3/5 the distance from top to bottom of page. Place the following information on 3 separate lines at bottom of page: February, 2011; NOVA School; Olympia, Washington (leave out the semicolons, of course). Remember to center all the text.

Pre-Story Outline: Create an outline of the events which come before your story, if applicable. Use the text from your storyboard to create this outline. Each panel from your storyboard should correspond to one event. If you’ve changed your storyboard, disregard it; your outline should reflect your actual story. Number the events consecutively.

Post-Story Outline: If your story ends before it is finished, create a Post-Story outline. Instructions are the same as for Pre-Story Outline.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Geo Quiz #31: Oceania Cities & Physical Features

Cities: Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Wellington, Auckland.
Physical Features: Great Dividing Range, Cape York Peninsula, Gulf of Carpentaria, Great Victoria Desert, Great Australian Bight.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Geo Quiz #30: Oceania

Papua New Guinea, New Zealand.
Australia: Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Fantasy Story Final Draft Instructions

Read through story corrections and comments. Make corrections in computer lab where needed. You have editorial say over your story. You may overrule the corrections made to your paper.

Look for places in your story where detail is needed. Your story should provide balance between detail, dialogue, and action. Place an orange crescent moon next to the most descriptive passage in your final draft.

Your Final Draft story segment must be between 8 and 12 pages. If you’ve only written the minimum 6 pages, you will need to write 2 additional pages.

There is no maximum page length for your story. You can continue writing until the Final Draft is due. Do not work on your story at the expense of your other homework, however.

The Final Draft will be due Monday, February 14. The Final Draft will include a cover, title page, map, and story. Place an orange star at the beginning of your story segment and place two orange stars at the end of your story segment. If your story is less than 12 pages, you do not need to include any stars.