Scenes of Literacy and Thievery

The basement of 33 Himmel Street

The basement of 33 Himmel Street

What if you could make a movie for the book you were reading? What if you had total artistic control — with an unlimited budget? Ninth grade readers of Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief have been given precisely that chance.

Well, in their imaginations at least. They’ve been creating storyboard-like scene compositions for memorable or meaningful scenes from the novel.

Josiah, one of our students who happens to be an aspiring animator, has really gone above and beyond with these assignments. Rather than sketching out stick figures, he creates three-dimensional Lego scenes and photographs them. His work shows both a careful attention to detail from the book and a solid grasp of the cinematic techniques we discussed in class.

You can see more of this student’s work below. Continue reading

Student Book Recommendations

In Mrs. Boland’s Critical Thinking class, students have been reading a self-selected book during class.  For information on why we think this is an essential part of our curriculum, check out this great defense of self-selected reading (SSR).

After finishing their first book, students had three options for how to respond to what they had read.  Students could present an in-class book talk, a 2-3 minute review and recommendation.  So far, we’ve heard reviews about books such as Maze Runner and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.  Students could also choose to interview a friend, teacher, or family member who had read the same book.  One student chose to interview his father about Godel, Escher, Bach, and another chose to interview a friend about The Fault in Our Stars.  Finally, students could choose to write a book review about the book they’d read, modeled after the great work of the students at the CTL in Edgecomb, Maine.


Student book reviews were then published near the classroom library.  Below are excerpts from some of the student book reviews:

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Similar Triangles

Gateless Gateway

Measuring the shadow of the WCC Gateless Gateway to determine its height.

Our students are wrapping up a unit on similar polygons this week by learning how to use their knowledge of similar triangles to make indirect measurements.