I’ve been really remiss about posting on regular basis lately. It’s not that I didn’t think about the blog, but I just wasn’t feeling it. Thanks to a whole lot of English education and a brief stint in the field of journalism I can pretty much write on demand, but my thought process went somewhere along these lines: it’s summer and there are no looming deadlines, so why force myself?

I have been reading a lot this summer, however, thanks to a muscle tear in my calf that occurred the day before school ended. This meant shelving our plans to hike the the John Muir Trail and left me in a foul mood for most of July. Thankfully in that regard, summer is winding down and I’m starting to look ahead to a new school year (one where I’m not doing double duty as technology facilitator either, yay!) and after meeting with Heather and Justin to hash out some new additions to the English 4 curriculum, I’m inspired to write again. Thank you both!

I’m starting off easy, which as any good writing instruction will say is the place to begin. What follows are some new additions to my Writing Territories list, an assignment we ask the seniors to complete as they are setting up their blogs. The list is intended to give them a place to go when they come up empty-handed for ideas.

So, here are my additions:

1. The Dark Side by Jane Mayer. I’m about halfway through this book about how the Bush administration’s war on terror lead to the erosion of the civil liberties we’ve championed at home and abroad since our inception. Even though I knew this was happening, I’m nonetheless appalled by the details I’m reading. If you want to check what compelled me to read it, check out Alan Brinkley’s review for the Times’ Sunday Book Review, Bob Herbert’s mention of it in his Op-Ed column, and Jennifer Schuessler’s review for Books of The Times.

2. Hunter S. Thompson and Gonzo journalism. I read three works by Thompson this summer and became slightly addicted to his out there brand of writing and reporting. I was especially intrigued with Fear And Loathing: On The Campaign Trail ’72 and what I learned about the inner workings of a national election.

3. Mountain biking and big bruises. I’ll let you guess on this one, but the bruise was so impressive I had Stanley take a picture.

4. Home improvements. Since we didn’t get to hike the John Muir Trail this summer, we worked on our house. Joy and happiness. I did get to use a nail gun though.

5. Interdisciplinary instruction. This is my latest foray into the world of professional development. I’m looking forward to working with five English and Social Studies teachers to explore the pros and cons of this approach.

6. Gender specific instruction. The Boys’ Literacies study team will consider whether the changes we’ve implemented have been effective and whether gender-specific classes are advisable.

7. All of the other books I read this summer. You can check out my Shelfari page if you want a sneak preview.

8. What I am going to do next summer…especially considering how academic this list is. I mean, good grief, I need to get a life!

Until next time.