By John Everett Millais - Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by Mattis. Original uploader was Rednblu, Public Domain,

Narrative, advertising, and the importance of storytelling in our time

From the earliest days of human history, we have been storytellers. Cultural norms have been created, reinforced, and transmitted to successive generations through stories. Before we began to use science to explain natural phenomenon, we used myths to make sense of the otherwise inexplicable. Today, we don’t need a story to explain that when a […]

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Sharing openly and freely: lessons, tests, and unit plans

I first developed this logo for a hoped-for consulting practice that unfortunately did not materialize beyond the planning stages. However, the idea behind Beyond Bricks and Mortar is as relevant as ever. This logo symbolizes the power the Internet gives teachers to share professional resources and practices. When I first reached out to a small […]

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On to new challenges

After 25 years, my time in front of a classroom is at an end. I am retired from teaching, not retired from life. I will leave this site intact and teachers can search for resources that may be helpful. Please comply with my statement regarding using resources published on this site. I wish all the […]

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Dear President Obama

Dear President Obama, I watched the 2012 Democratic National Convention. I listened as Michelle told of your ritual of reading letters from ordinary (perhaps extraordinary, too) Americans each night. She said that you believed these letters are a key to being better informed. That impressed me. I hope you don’t mind if I publish my […]

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Beyond Another Brick in The Wall

In my first years of teaching, I was still learning the ways of students whose veiled ulterior motives were not always obvious to me. However, as I listened to Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in The Wall yesterday on the radio, I realized suddenly that when my English 11 students in 1991 were begging me to […]

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Books I haven’t read, and won’t

People say “life’s too short” to refer to numerous things they choose not to do. Life’s too short to …. just fill in the blank with whatever you think is a waste of your time. For me, life’s too short to read bad books. I never did read the Twilight series, even though many of […]

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You Will Live Many Lives

What follows is the text of my farewell speech, written as part of the final AP English Literature project. We all wrote farewell (valedictory speeches) and delivered them formally in the auditorium. It was a unique experience. See the Wordle I created from all of the speeches in the post below. You Will Live Many […]

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AP English Speeches, A Wordle

I wanted my senior AP English Literature class to have an important experience for their end of the year project, something after the exam that would be personally meaningful. I also recognized that public speaking was not something we focused on in AP, but a skill they would need again and again in the future. So […]

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