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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About Me


“Values are like fingerprints. Nobody's are the same,
but you leave 'em all over everything you do.”

                                                                        —Elvis Presley


  1. What do I stand for?

  2. How have my beliefs changed over time?

  3. What does my credo challenge me to be or become?

  4. In what ways have I failed to live up to my beliefs?

  5. Have my beliefs ever created conflict in my life?

  6. Where do I turn for wisdom and guidance?

Several words might come to mind when we reflect on the meaning of credo: belief, principle, value, motto, slogan, philosophy. In its original Latin, the word credo means "I believe"; in English, it represents those beliefs that guide our thoughts and actions. A credo can serve as a sort of compass at certain moments in life when we feel a bit lost or confused about who we are and what we want to believe in. We all seek direction from time to time, especially when the future feels uncertain or overwhelming. The path isn't always clear, but our values and beliefs can light the way. 



In this unit, you will find a range of perspectives on this idea of a guiding principle. Many of the readings focus on an individual's quest to discover what is "out there" as well as what is within ourselves at our core. And together, the readings suggest that knowing who we are and belonging to something greater than ourselves leads many of us to a life of deeper meaning, happiness, and purpose.



So, what do you believe? What do you value most, in yourself and in others? What are you willing to fight for?

POTENTIAL core texts

"Wild Geese"
by Mary Oliver

"Whoever you are,
no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination."


"Demeter's Prayer
to Hades"

by Rita Dove

Demeter. the Greek goddess of the harvest, addressed Hades, the Greek god of the underworld. 


"Death of an Innocent"
by Jon Krakaeur

The true story of young adventurer Chris McCandless, who abandoned his comfortable life to go on a risky, and ultimately tragic, adventure into the Alaska wilderness in search of true meaning and happiness.


"If I Can Stop One
Heart From Breaking"
by Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson had the gift of saying a tremendous amount in a few perfect words. The poem's message is simple and self-explanatory.


by Langston Hughes

The speaker describes, in a few precise words, what his motto is toward living life.


"Lives Worth Living
in a Secular Age"
by Hubert Dreyfus &

Sean Dorrance Kelly

Two philosophy professors explore the similarities between sports and religion and the central role that community plays in the experience of each.


"Where I Lived and 
What I Lived For"
by Henry David Thoreau

An excerpt, from Thoreau's book Walden, focusing on the writer's beliefs, especially about the importance of nature. 


"What Teachers Make"
by Taylor Mali

Slam poet Taylor Mali describes the importance of teachers and teaching after he is offended at a party.


"A Better Life: Creating 
the American Dream"
by Kate Ellis & 
Ellen Guettler

Originally produced for radio, the podcast explores the roots of the American Dream and its evolution from the pursuit of happiness and a better life to materialistic expectations of wealth and ownership.

Fourth of July Pin

"Birdfoot's Grampa"
by Joseph Bruchac

A young speaker rides in a car with an old man who is determined to save the many frogs on the road in front of them.


"Do Not Go Gentle
Into That Good Night"

by Dylan Thomas

A poem from the author to his dying father.


"The New Colossus"
by Emma Lazarus

American poet Emma Lazarus wrote this sonnet in 1883 to raise money for the construction of a pedestal for the Statue of Liberty. In 1903, the poem was cast onto a bronze plaque and mounted inside the pedestal's lower level.