About Mr. Armstrong

This will be my eleventh year teaching English Language Arts and my third 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.



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Updated: Oct 4, 2019

There are three steps to your first quarter common assessment. We will only do steps one and two today. We will do step three next class.

Step #1. Read the nonfiction piece "Want to Get into College? Learn to Fail," a commentary by Angel Pérez. I have paper copies around the room or you can read it online here.

Step #2. Follow this link to a Google Form with four questions over the reading. Make sure you select Armstrong as your teacher (obviously, right?). You must be logged into your Google Account to take this quiz.

Step #3. After I have explained the directions, open this Google Doc and make a copy of it. Complete the timed writing essay and then share it with me, either when you are finished or when time runs out.



Updated: Sep 5, 2019

Welcome to our class website! I will posting helpful resources and reminders here throughout the school year, so be sure to check back from time to time - especially if you are absent, if you are expecting to miss class, or if you need help. Here is your update for today. READ ALL OF IT. Or else... [insert spooky threatening sounds]

Reading Workshop:

-I would like for you to dedicate a page in your binder to books you've finished and/or abandoned this year. I suggest just splitting a sheet of dot paper down the middle to make two columns. Label one "READ" and the other "ABANDONED" or "QUIT" or whatever.

-If you need help setting up your GoodReads account, please let me know. I am going to be showing everyone soon how to add me as a "friend" so I can get updates on your progress. You are not required to use GoodReads but it is a really easy way to provide evidence to me of your reading while also finding new (and maybe better?) stuff to read this year.

-For a grade, please write your first and last name on a post-it note along with the answer to this question: What are you reading? If you asked me to order/track down a book for you, please remind me of it on your post-it. I have a lot of books in the mail right now and it's hard to stay organized. Stick your post-it on the markerboard under your class section.

Writing Workshop:

-I will be showing you the format for your digital portfolio in the next week or so. For now, as you shape drafts of your five pieces of writing, I recommend getting them in Google Docs as soon as possible. Save any rough drafts (phone, paper) that you want to show me later as evidence of your efforts.

-Your first major turn-in day is the last class in September. That might sound like a long time away from now. It is not. Use your workshop time wisely. The clock is ticking.


-last class we started a discussion of IDENTITY using a "hand map" exercise. Every core theme we discuss in class this year will be accompanied by a series of questions we will explore in our class texts. These will be our Driving Questions.

ASSIGNMENT: open and make a copy of this Google Doc. In the space provided on the right, answer all of the questions as best you can using complete sentences. I will show you how to email it back to me next class. This assignment is due by the end of the week. You don't have to finish it today, but you should be able to make quite a bit of progress. Answer as best you can. None of these questions have a single correct answer.


Mr. Armstrong

Dear Student,

You are probably both excited and terrified by whatever comes next after high school. So much about the next few years is unknown, unknowable, beyond your control - or so it can seem. If you are anything like me, that truth is both exhilarating and overwhelming. You want to go there, do this, or study that; first, however, you have to get money, get hired, get accepted. One week, you know exactly who you are and what you want to do; the next, many of you would gladly let someone else make those decisions for you. There can be a lot of pressure to get it right all the time.

The future is uncharted territory, and there is not a map to tell us the perfect path to our desired destination. Sometimes we don't always know or care where we end up. Regardless, it is up to each of us to forge our own paths, steer our ships, and push forward into whatever lies ahead. Because staying the same is not an option. We are all always changing.

The world is in need of the person you will become. If you are up to the challenge.

(You may be, even if you think you are not.)

The themes, readings, writings, and discussions this year are meant to challenge you to have the conversations that need to be had, to push you past your comfort zone and into the wild unknown, while also developing the essential skills required for whatever comes next in your life. As you read, write, listen, think, watch, talk, and research your way through the work of this class, I hope you will be reminded that the story of your life is yours to write.

Show up. Be seen. Do the work. Dare greatly.

-Mr. Armstrong