• Mr. Armstrong

This post is long overdue, but I realize that because of Google Classroom and email that basically no one is really reading this but me. WHICH IS FINE EVERYTHING IS FINE.

Seriously, though. This really is just a record for me of what happened this year.

The month of November we focused on our second portfolios and finishing our first whole class novel, Up from the Sea by Leza Lowitz. We searched for hope in hard times.

Now that we are done with the book, you should have turned your double-entry journal in either last Friday or during our two remote learning days.

This week coming up we will be in the library finishing our portfolios and posting them to Google Classroom so Mr. Armstrong can consume large amounts of coffee before grading them over the two weeks before Finals.

FYI if you are reading this, I'm so sorry about the Finals schedule. It sucks.

Alright, that's all I've got. It's Sunday afternoon and the Chiefs play in a couple of hours. Looking forward to watching Tom Brady lose.


  • Mr. Armstrong
  1. We were with the counselors all week doing college/career readiness prep and working on scheduling.

  2. It is never going to stop raining; we will never see the sun again.

  3. Next week we will start our second portfolio and continue reading our book.

Peace out. Enjoy the long weekend.


  • Mr. Armstrong

'Twas a dark and stormy Sunday and Mr. Armstrong's tummy was a-hurtin' from eating too many donuts and bratwursts on Maple Leaf Saturday. Oops.

(I regret nothing!)

For our first lesson this past week, we wrapped up our "practice run" using text connections, universal themes, and notice & note strategies to build a bridge between you and whatever text (book, movie, song, article, short story, play, poem, whatever) you are working with or enjoying to give yourself a more meaningful experience.

We responded to images which fall under one of the three following dates which will be relevant while we read and respond to our first whole class text, Up from the Sea by Leza Lowitz: 2001. 2011. 2021.

2001 - the attacks of September 11th

2011 - the Japanese Tsunami, the Joplin Tornado, and the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks as commemorated at the World Trade Center Memorial and Museum

2021 - the world we are about to step into, which will be created and shaped largely by our choices and actions. So much of this book is about how we recover from tragedy and crisis, how disaster can bring out the best in people (and the worst). I ask you to think about the future you want to see. This will become a central argumentative question as we finish the book.

For our second class period this week, we started the book! We read the first two sections of "Spring." If you were gone or need to refresh (or just want to listen to my smooth and calming voice) I have posted my audio recordings from class on Google Classroom under the Classwork / Resources section.

This week we will have one class to finish the first season of the book and then one class in the library to type up our double-entry journals, which will serve as the main grade you will be receiving for this book study.

If you want to go ahead and make a copy of it, I have posted the document in Classroom.

Last, this week I tracked down the Survivor Tree that Joplin Mercy Hospital received on the 5th anniversary of the Tornado. The original survivor tree was saved from the ruins of September 11th and nursed back to life. Every year, three saplings are "awarded" to different cities in the country that have faced tragedy that year and are trying to rebuild and recover.

Below are the two pictures I took and an image from the original tree at the 9/11 memorial in NYC. Our tree is, appropriately, planted just outside the Cancer Center. If you have a chance I suggest you visit it and the Tornado memorial in Cunningham Park.

See you soon.


About Mr. Armstrong

This will be my twelfth year teaching English Language Arts and my fourth working at Carthage High School, which I graduated from in 2005. I love being back in my hometown helping our sophomores find an appreciation for reading and writing while challenging them to discover and develop the value, depth, and power of their own voices. Hopefully this will be a year of daring greatly and learning bravely.