The second of the two Fall 2013 updates to Exploros has arrived, and is ready to download. We will post a longer list of benefits and upgrades later, but among the most visible:
- In the definitions, the words are not cut off at the bottom, and scrolling through the words has gotten easier
- Responses are now time-stamped
- Connectivity issues should be far more infrequent
More later, but for now, please download the update. You can find it in your App Store, or through this link:
The English Department has branched out further into the extracurricular offerings with the newest BHS after-school group, The Devils’ Playlist, a group for music lovers. Here’s a description from their webpage:
The Devils’ Playlist is a Burlington High School club for students who love music. We spend weekly meetings sharing and evaluating different styles of music, discussing music news, and creating content for our site. Our mission is to incite a passion for music and create a stronger creative community here at BHS, while participating in the developing cultural conversations about relevant topics and artists – both new and old. We are dedicated to highlighting the talent and ideas of BHS students and faculty, as well as supporting various forms of music education, exploration, and contribution.
Check them out! They have a great webpage, a Twitter Feed, a Facebook page, and a page on Pinterest. In fact, you probably already know about this group. If you’d like to join, please see Mrs. Janovitz.
Also, the group is currently running a contest where if you tell them about a song that you like and explain why, you will be in the running for a $10 iTunes gift card, and your song will be played on the intercom system at BHS. Check out the rules for the THIS IS MY JAM contest, which runs through November 5.
Mountains of Books!
Lally’s Literati, the book-purchasing program at BHS has struck gold. The Used Book Superstore in Burlington is running a promotion in October where teachers can get clearance books for free – as many books as they wish. And with the Literati, a good deal for teachers is a good deal for YOU. We’ve picked up the books pictured at right and will begin distributing them out (for free!) to students starting in November. If you see a title that you like, JOIN LALLY’S LITERATI (click the link) and put in a book request. And don’t stop with the titles you see here – put in a request for ANY book that you would like, or any author you’d like to know better, and you may get something else for free!
Our Exploros-based textbook for our freshmen and sophomores was mentioned in a recent article in Bloomberg Businessweek that examined the benefits of running a 1:1 program with iPads. The article lists some of the ways that our move to the iPad has benefitted the students, and we were excited to see our textbook held up as one of the best examples.
To read the article, CLICK HERE
And to read up on our textbook itself, CLICK HERE to read our post from December 2012, when the textbook launched, which explains the rationale and the benefits of this text.
This evening, World Book Night America, which enters its third year, announced the list of titles available for this year’s massive book giveaway. This year’s list includes some titles that have been taught at BHS (The Perks of Being a Wallflower, When I Was Puerto Rican – available in English OR Spanish), a good amount of Young Adult fiction, Agatha Christie, some non-fiction and a collection of famous poetry. This year’s selections are decidedly more modern than what has been available in years past, and the list is fairly light on “Classics”.
As a reminder, on April 23rd of every year, over a half-million books are given away in a celebration of literacy and of sharing books with one another. BHS has participated for both of the program’s first two years, with four English teachers (Ms. Bularzik, Mrs. Janovitz, Mr. Lally & Ms. Stuart) being accepted as “givers” of free books. We hope to participate once again this year, and our applications are already in. For a recap of our scavenger hunt and Word Wealth Quest from last year, CLICK HERE
For the full list of books being offered this year (on April 23, 2014), please visit THE WORLD BOOK NIGHT WEBSITE. Happy Reading!
Billy Budd, Sailor and Other Stories
by Herman Melville
We have been placing books out on a table in the English hallway to help clear out our overstock in the book room, and make space for the new titles that we have been purchasing, and I have seen a lot of our titles (Night, Huckleberry Finn, Tuesdays With Morrie, Plainsong) get swept up in nearly no time. And yet our supply of Herman Melville’s short fiction remains untouched. I understand, to an extent. 19th century fiction is not for everyone, and Melville is not an easy read (although our copies of Moby Dick are being grabbed up pretty rapidly…) And I do not heartily endorse the title story – it’s pretty predictable, really. But this collection contains one of the best short stories of the 19th century, possibly of the entire history of American literature: Bartleby (also known sometimes as Bartleby the Scrivener)
Does the man have you down? Are you tired of jumping through other people’s hoops? Well, so is Bartleby, a crumple of a character who works in a miserable Wall Street scrivener’s office, hand-writing copies of documents for hours, days, a lifetime. But as his boss brings him additional tasks to complete, he begins to reply to them with an emotionless, “I would prefer not to.” Not an outright refusal. Just a statement of preference. It has been described elsewhere as the “Meh” of the 19th century – an apathetic dismissal of menial drudgery. And the boss doesn’t know what to do with it. So Bartleby just remains there, preferring not to do anything.
The line itself has become a sort of banner for the disenfranchised. Tote bags proudly carry Bartleby’s words. There is a Tumblr page dedicated to Bartleby’s line. It has even been turned into an ironic justification for not reading Bartleby the Scrivener.
The best part is, that at about 35 pages or so, this is a story that you can knock out in a single sitting, and have knowledge of one of the more memorable characters in American Literature. And the next time you are being asked to perform some ludicrous task at work, or at college (but surely not at BHS), you can drain the emotion from your face, take a deep breath, look at the person making the request, and hit them with Bartleby’s motto. Get a copy while they are still there!
Two of our four years of core English classes at BHS are undergoing the first stage of a significant overhaul, where we are reshaping the requirements and options for what books are taught during what years at BHS. The book lists attached to our courses have been updated (CLICK HERE to navigate to our core course book lists), but are somewhat in limbo, as we will be rolling out our new requirements over the next three years. And our initial plan is just a starting point – we will continue to introduce more teacher options in the following years. But the biggest changes to our courses are in our sophomore and senior years, where we have already begun the following:
SOPHOMORE YEAR – Introduction to Literature II
New Mandatory Texts (optional this year, mandatory next year)
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka (which may be supplemented by more of Kafka’s short stories)
The Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
EITHER Life of Pi by Yann Martel OR The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
SENIOR YEAR – British Literature
New Mandatory Texts (to be introduced as optional next year, mandatory in the following year)
A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift – This essay will be included in our self-printed textbook next year
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
EITHER 1984 by George Orwell OR The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (for CP II)
New Optional Texts
Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
We are excited to bring these classics into more of our students’ experiences at BHS.
The English Department proudly unveiled two new plaques in our hallway to commemorate our annual Brown Book Award, given to outstanding achievement in the junior year in English, and the 21st Century Book Award, which we give annually to the student in each grade who has improved the most in his or her English class. Congratulations again to our students who are enshrined on these plaques!
Brown Book Award Plaque
21st Century Book Award
Here are a few quick pointers for how to get the Out of Print coupon code to work – this code provides FREE SHIPPING on any order through Out of Print between now and November 1, and provides proceeds to Collab, the BHS Literary Magazine.
Once you have selected your items, you will get to the checkout page. At the bottom of the page, you will see these options:
Click on “Apply a COUPON” and enter BURLINGTON. When you do, you will see “Burlington High School” appear in your cart (as seen in this picture). But you are not done!
Make sure you go back up to the shipping preference screen and change your shipping to FREE standard shipping (see below) – entering the coupon code does not automatically change your shipping option, you have to change it yourself. But once you select FREE shipping, you’ll save yourself $6 or more on your order! And Collab thanks you for your support!
Eleanor Catton, a 28-year-old writer from New Zealand, today won the 2013 Booker Prize, a highly touted award given to the best work of fiction published in the UK or one of the former British colonies. Starting next year, American authors will also be eligible to compete for the Booker Prize. At 28, Catton becomes the youngest winner of the prize, which is now in its 45th year of existence.
At BHS, we are proud to offer a healthy selection of Booker Prize winners:
William Golding, author of The Lord of the Flies, won the Booker in 1980 with his novel, Rites of Passage
Kazuo Ishiguro’s 1989 Booker winner, The Remains of the Day is slated to become a part of our senior year curriculum within the next two years. Ishiguro’s novel, Never Let Me Go, is already a core novel in our Contemporary Literature elective.
Graham Swift, Salman Rushdie and Ian McEwan have all had some of their short fiction appear in the Contemporary Literature elective.
Yann Martel’s Life of Pi, a new option for our sophomores as of this year, won the Booker in 2002.
And Julain Barnes’s The Sense of an Ending, which won the award in 2011, is making its debut in Contemporary Literature this year.