BHS Book Madness – Less than one day away!

At the stroke of midnight tonight, we’ll open the first round of BHS Book Madness. Y’all ready for this? On March 1st, we’ll post a form that you can use to register your vote in these four first-round matchups:

Freshmen Region (March 1-3)
The Lord of the Flies (Golding) vs The Odyssey (Homer)
Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare) vs. Great Expectations (Dickens)
Edith Hamilton’s Mythology vs. To Kill a Mockingbird (Lee)
Animal Farm (Orwell) vs. The House on Mango Street (Cisneros)

As these are freshmen texts, all BHS students ought to be able to weigh in. Get your votes ready, and may the best book win!

Book Madness

Further Information on Holly Thompson, Author (Visiting BHS on 3/18/13)

Holly Thompson, author of the young adult verse novels, Orchards (APALA Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature) and the forthcoming, The Language Inside, the picture book The Wakame Gatherers, as well as the novel Ash, and editor of Tomo: Friendship through Fiction: An anthology of Japan Teen Stories will be coming to Burlington High School on Monday March 18th.  She will be working with Benjamin Lally’s creative writing classes, Pam Coppola’s Journalism class and Molly Stuart’s Young Adult Fiction class, which is a new elective offered this year in our Language Arts department.  In preparation of her visit Ms. Stuart’s class will be reading Holly’s book in verse, Orchards, a Novel.

Raised in New England, Holly is a longtime resident of Japan, where she teaches writing a Yokohama City University. She serves as the regional Advisor for the Tokyo chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Holly has presented and led writing workshops at conferences, schools and universities in the U.S., Japan Cambodia, China, Australia, Vietnam, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand and Mongolia. She is happy to give readings, workshops and presentation to students from elementary grades through university, to writing teachers, and to adult writers and readers.
Visit her website http://www.hatbooks.comand her blog

Good Luck to Allie Hardy in the Poetry Out Loud Semifinals!

Good luck to junior Allie Hardy as she competes in the 2013 Poetry Out Loud Massachusetts semifinals on Saturday morning in Framingham. Allie is one of only 79 remaining students in the statewide competition, and in her semifinal, she will be up against approximately 17 other contestants. Five of the students at the semifinal will move on to the state finals which will be the following weekend in Boston.
If you can’t make it to the semifinals, take a moment to wish Allie luck this week as she gets ready to represent BHS at the next level.

Poetry Out Loud Semifinals - 2013

BHS World Book Night – Titles Revealed!

The good news keeps coming in regarding World Book Night at BHS. As it currently stands, four English teachers (Ms. Bularzik, Mrs. Janovitz, Mr. Lally & Ms. Stuart) have been selected as givers and each will receive 20 copies of their book. And while some of the copies will be distributed outside of BHS, the large majority will go to BHS students. This year, the titles will be available to all four grades, and we will come up with different ways of getting the books into the hands of as many students as possible, but the titles that we’ve been allotted (so far) are the following (click on the book cover to open a description of the book):




BHS Book Madness Brackets Clarified

So you can prepare your opening picks, here are the opening-round brackets for the 2013 BHS Book Madness.

Reminder: Anyone can vote – this will be open to current students of all grades, faculty, parents and visitors. Voting opens and closes at midnight.

Freshmen Region (March 1-3)
The Lord of the Flies (Golding) vs The Odyssey (Homer)
Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare) vs. Great Expectations (Dickens)
Edith Hamilton’s Mythology vs. To Kill a Mockingbird (Lee)
Animal Farm (Orwell) vs. The House on Mango Street (Cisneros)

Sophomore Region (March 4-6)
Of Mice and Men (Steinbeck) vs. The Things They Carried (O’Brien)
A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens) vs. The Old Man and the Sea (Hemingway)
The Hunger Games (Collins) vs. The Oedipus Trilogy (Sophocles)
The Catcher in the Rye (Salinger) vs. Death of a Salesman (Miller)

American Region (March 7-9)
The Book Thief (Zuzak) vs. The Scarlet Letter (Hawthorne)
Into the Wild (Krakauer) vs. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Kesey)
Their Eyes Were Watching God (Hurston) vs. The Shining (King)
The Crucible (Miller) vs. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)

British & World Region (March 10-12) 
Things Fall Apart (Achebe) vs. The Metamorphosis (Kafka)
The Canterbury Tales (Chaucer) vs. Life of Pi (Martel)
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (Sijie) vs. Beowulf
Macbeth (Shakespeare) vs. Hamlet (Shakespeare)

Author Holly Thompson Coming to BHS

Holly Thompson, author of the novel-in-verse Orchards, will be coming to Burlington High on Monday, March 18th to speak with students about her work as a writer. Our Young Adult Fiction class is reading Orchards and she will visit that class to talk about the book. She will also visit our Creative Writing courses to discuss writing and becoming a published author, and will perhaps visit our Journalism class as well. We are looking for ways to open this opportunity up to further students, so stay tuned!

Orchards by Holly Thompson

Orchards by Holly Thompson

Course Book List Pages Overhauled

In anticipation of the 2013-14 course selections, which are upon us already, we have redesigned the Book List pages for our four core courses (at every level), one of our two AP classes, and our two literature-based electives, Contemporary Literature and Young Adult Fiction. These new pages delineate what books are requirements for the course, and which ones are titles that you might encounter, depending on the teacher. The images are greatly enlarged from our previous versions, and clicking on the covers opens a slideshow of the entire course. Also, we’ll be able to make changes to our offered texts much more easily on these new pages, which had already become outdated since September. Check out the links below to see what books we have in store for you!

Core Courses
Intro to Literature I
Intro to Literature II
American Literature
British and World Literature

AP Literature (Grade 12)

Contemporary Literature
Young Adult Fiction

Get Ready for Book Madness – BHS Style

Considering how well both the boys and girls basketball teams are doing this year at BHS, the English Department wants to get in on the action.

The people over at Out of Print Clothing are preparing their third-annual Book Madness tournament – a showdown where 64 books were selected and then pitted head to head, with people voting on their preference; the title that receives the most votes moves on to the next round in a single-elimination, NCAA basketball style tournament. Last year, Margaret Atwood took home the championship for best 21st Century novel with Blind Assassin.* Check out their 2013 tournament HERE. This year at BHS, we’re offering the same concept: An open vote to determine the best book in the BHS curricula. To make it easier, we’ve trimmed the list down to 32, and we’ve divided the opening round up into four brackets, one for each year of study at BHS. The voting is open to everyone – current students, alumni, faculty and curious visitors, and the rounds will run as follows:

March 1-3: Introduction to Literature I (Freshmen) Opening Round
March 4-6: Introduction to Literature II (Sophomores) Opening Round
March 7-9: American Literature Opening Round
March 10-12: British & World Literature Opening Round
March 13-16: Sweet 16 – Grades 9 & 10
March 17-20: Sweet 16 – Grades 11 & 12
March 21-24: Regional Championships (Elite Eight)
March 25-28: Semifinals (Final Four)
March 29-31: BHS Book Madness Finals

Here’s a preview of our Book Madness bracket so you can prepare your opening-round votes, and so you can fill out your own bracket on how you think it will all play out. BHS does not endorse student gambling. (Do your best to decipher the shorthand version of the titles… we are only allowed 8 characters to type in… But our tournament will reveal any mysteries that you cannot solve!)

* CORRECTION: Blind Assassin lost in the finals to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

(click on bracket to enlarge)

Book Madness

BHS to Participate in Nationwide Book Giveaway

For the second straight year, Burlington High School will be a launching point for World Book Night, which is in only its second year in the United States. The concept of World Book Night is simple: on a single day (April 23, commemorating Shakespeare’s birthday), people across the country will give away copies of a single book in order to promote literacy. The titles that get distributed each year are determined by the World Book Night committee (the 2013 list can be found HERE), and the hardbound editions are specially bound for this occasion. Last year, BHS teachers gave away 20 copies of Junot Diaz’s novel, The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, and Burlington’s participation was highlighted in the Boston Globe (click HERE for the article). This year, two English teachers have already been selected as distributors, with perhaps more to come! And this year, we already have some plans in store on how we can better distribute our allotted books. Stay tuned to find out which title(s) we will be giving out this year!



The 2012 Editions of Oscar Wao’s Novel, Which We Distributed on the Inaugural World Book Night