Friday, November 6, 2015

Extra Credit: Why is Jerusalem Considered a Holy City by Jews, Christians and Muslims?

Visit this BBC website for a video overview that tries to answer the question.  You might want to take some notes.

Create a one-pager that answers the question.

Include on you one-pager:

  • The question.
  • Three statements (short paragraphs) that answer the question for each religion.
  • Appropriate visuals for each religion.
  • What do you think?  Include a final statement that tells us what you think about Jerusalem. 
Poster rules do not apply.  Feel free to make your one-pager any way you'd like.  

Due by Nov. 20 for extra credit in history.  Projects must show effort to receive extra credit. Extra credit always counts in the 30% category.  

Friday, October 30, 2015

Latin Root Word Booklet Assignment

Make a page for each word listed below. Your page should include the Latin root, its English definition, the four example words and one or more pictures related to the root word or the example words.

  1. foli=leaf:  foliage, bifoliate, portfolio, defoliant
  2. manu=hand: manufacture, manuscript, manicure, manipulate
  3. mal=bad: malevolent, malicious, malady, malnutrition
  4. miss/mitt= to send: missive, transmit, missile, missionary
  5. gen= birth; origin:  genesis, generation, gender, indigenous
  6. ped/pod=foot: pedal, pedestal, pedestrian, podiatrist
  7. stell=star; stellar, constellation, interstellar, stelliform
  8. aqua=water: aquarium, aquatic, aqueduct, Aquarius
  9. mob/mot=to move: motor, automobile, motivated, remote
  10. bene/bon=good: bonus, benediction, benefactor, benevolent
  11. cor=heart: courage, encourage, concord, discord
  12. cis=to cut: scissors, incision, incisors, precise
  13. cred=to believe; to trust: credit, incredible, credentials, credibility
  14. dict=to say: dictator, dictionary, predict, contradict
  15. fract/frag=to break: fraction, fragment, fragile, fracture
  16. mem=mindful: remember, memory, memorial, commemorate
  17. port= to carry: portable, import, transport, portfolio
  18. rupt=to break; to burst: erupt, interrupt, disrupt, rupture
  19. scrib=to write: scribble, prescribe, manuscript, inscription
  20. spect= to look at: spectator, specimen, inspector, suspect
For the cover of your book, include:
  • an original title
  • your full name
  • a clever Latin phrase or proverb. (You can find these on-line.  Google "funny Latin phrase" or something like that until you find a really good one.
  • the Latin phrase in English
  • illustrations
This project is due on Tuesday, November 3.  That's election day.  Don't forget to vote! :-)

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

History Test Study Help

For the history test on Thursday you might want to know these words:

Black plague

Byzantine Empire
decline of Rome
Joan of Arc
Justinian I
legacies of Rome
Magna Carta
Motte and Bailey
Roman Catholic Church
Thomas Aquinas
100 Years War

Friday, October 16, 2015

English Extra Credit Magic Trick

Here's a way to earn some extra credit in English.

Since our book, Hugo Cabret, features magic, let's have some magic tricks.  Prepare a magic trick to present to the class next Thursday.  Your trick should take less than three minutes to perform.

Prefect your trick, present it to the class on October 22 and earn extra credit in English.

For a Scorpion Card stamp be the first one to tell me the appositive used in the above sentence.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Common Core Writing Task #1. Why did the Black Plague kill so many people?

Question: Why did the Black Plague kill so many people?

Read and analyze the following resources before you begin the writing task.

Horrible Histories: Plague Song and Pied Piper Parody

Histroy Alive! Section 5.3, The Bubonic Plague

The Spread of the Black Death

Note:  The heavy red lines with arrows show the spread of the Black Death. the faint lines show trade routes.

“Study Shows Black Death Did Not Kill Indiscriminately”

Task: After reading the articles and text and examining the map above, write a long paragraph that addresses the question and analyzes the reasons why the Black Plague killed so many people providing examples to clarify your analysis. What conclusions or implications can you draw?  BE sure to support your position with evidence from the resources.  Make sure you cite the above resources to support your answer. L2 In your discussion, address the credibility and origin of sources in view of your topic.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Hugo Cabret Videos

Here are some of the movies mentioned in Hugo Cabret so far.

First, The final scene from Safety Last (1923) starring Harrold Lloyd.

Here's the musical clock shop cartoon Hugo saw with his father. From 1931, The Clock Store from Walt Disney.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Chapter 4: Daily Calendar Page

First finish your notes for chapter 4. Staple your packet into your history journal.

Complete a daily calendar page to describe what a typical day might have involved for someone living in a town in medieval Europe. You calendar page should have an hour-by-hour account of the day and include relevant details from the various aspects of life you learned about.  Begin your calendar page with the three entries shown below.

5:30 A.M. Rise from bed. Wash face with cold water. Pluck eyebrows. Tie hair in net and put on skirt and hat.

6:30 A.M.  Eat breakfast (bread, cheese, weak cider).  Throw scraps in street for hogs.  Begin walking to market.

7:30 A.M.  Pick up shoes from cobblers' guild. Ask master if his hand is healing properly.

Complete your schedule through to 8:30 P.M. when you go to bed. Write your schedule in your history journal.

Your notes for chapter 4 should be stapled into your history journal once you have finished them.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Maillardet's Automaton One-Pager

You can use these links to complete the one-pager assignment about Maillardet's automaton.

CBS Sunday Morning video The Lost Art of Automata Lives Again

The Maillardet automaton in action

Read Andrew Baron’s essay

If you have time, check out the videos on this website of a company that restores old automata.

If you finish this assignment before class is over, this is an excellent opportunity to work on the William the Conqueror extra credit.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Annotated Castle Drawings


Your project:

  • Castle drawing
  • Motte & Bailey or a later type of castle.
  • Can be and view of the castle
  • Use the book "Castle" by David Macauly or another image or imagine your own.
  • Must be realistic/historically accurate
Projects must be annotated.
  • 10 annotations total.  (An annotation is a label with a sentence or two that adds information or a definition.)
  • Six of the annotations must be features of the castle.
  • Four of the annotations must be about people in the castle: peasants, lords/noblemen, knights/vassals, and the monarch.
Projects are due on Tuesday.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

William the Conqueror Mini-Book Extra Credit

To help you with this project here's a video about the Bayeux Tapestry.

If you find a good website for this project, please list it in a comment so that other students can take a look.  If you list a good site, then see me for stamps on your Scorpion card.

Get the mini-book directions for this extra credit project from Mr. Chester.

This counts as one assignment in the 30% category for history.  Please complete it by next Friday, October 2.

Life of Charlemagne by Einhard and You

To create your one book about the life of Charlemagne visit the websites below.

But first, watch this video.  Wear your ear buds and beware: video contains strobe effects.

Now visit these websites to learn more about Charlemagne. be sure to watch the video on The Reign of Charlemagne and to read the article aftewards.

For a simpler version of Charlemagne's life visit

To find out how Charlemagne helped spread the religion of Christianity visit  You can't read all of this article, but you can read enough to answer the question.  You can watch the video and read along with it or just read the article.  They are the same.

Monday, September 14, 2015

"Zebra" and the Hero's Journey: Test

English students should complete the Hero's Journey chart for the story "Zebra" for Wednesday.  Do this on your own since it's being counted as a test.

Use the notes in your journal for information about the Hero's Journey.

If you need to read the story again you can find it on-line at this link.

Write your answers in complete sentences.  High scoring tests will fill the boxes with information whenever possible.  A few items have very quick answers. You can skip the "shadow" as there really isn't one in "Zebra".

Completed papers are due at the start of class on Wednesday.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Empress Theodora the Music Video!

To earn stamps on you Scorpion Card follow these steps....

1.  Watch this music video about Theodora, empress of Byzantium.

2.  Look up one of the things mentioned in the video.  Be sure no one has already done that topic by checking the comments first.

3.  In a comment, name the thing you looked up and write two sentences describing it.  I will be checking for plagiarism so be sure to list your sources and to use your own writing.

Correct comments will earn Scorpion Card stamps.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Dot The World Videos

Here is the video from today, Dot the World.  I've also included a video about how it was made.

Earn a stamp by posting a comment about the videos.  Your comment should talk about how the videos relate to the Hero's Journey.  You can relate the Hero's Journey to either one of the videos.  Don't repeat something someone else has already said.  Be sure to include your name and period as part of your comment.  No last names please.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Some Rome Items You Should Check Out

Stanford's Roman travel website.  Only one class had time enough today to look at this website.  Take a look at it and see what you can figure out about it.  Let me know what you think.

Here is a music video about Rome:

Here is a comedy video about the decline of moral values in Rome from Horrible Histories.  Do not watch if you don't like snakes:

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Your first assignment

Here is your first Internet assignment:

Find someone who knew you as a baby and interview them.  Ask them to describe what you were like. Maybe they have a funny or interesting story about you.  You may interview more than one person.

Write a detailed paragraph based on your interview.  Do not include your name in the paragraph or the names of anyone in your family.  (Use, Father, Mom, my brother, my younger sister, our hamster, instead.)

Type your paragraph and print it out.  (One page maximum.) Paragraphs will be posted for everyone to read, so make sure they are free of embarrassing spelling and grammar errors.

Attach a picture of yourself as a baby to your paper.  You may do this on your computer so the picture and the paragraph are on the same piece of paper or just clip your picture to your paper.  Pictures will be posted with your paragraphs.


We will use the picture and the paragraph for a an activity next week.

I will make every effort to get your picture back to you in excellent condition, but please don't turn in a one of a kind picture that your family cannot live without.  I've never lost a picture before, but you never know.

This assignment is for all  Mr. Chester's English classes only:   3/4 and period 5/6.

Due Thursday, August 27.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Mandatory Extra Credit: Mr. Chester's Vacation

California has 58 counties.  I want to see them all!!

So one of my goals is to visit, and spent at least one night in every one of California's counties.  I've already visited 26, so I have 32 to go.

This summer I am considering taking a trip to Plumas County, Sierra County or Ventura County.

Your assignment is to use the internet to help me decide which county to visit.  I'll need to know what there is to see and do in each county, where I can stay and what the good restaurants are.  I don't go to amusement parks, but I do like hiking, history museums, book shops, walking tours of historical sties and neighborhoods and unusual hotels.  Places with lots of California history are a plus.  I don't like staying in large chain hotels.

So, begin by doing a little research on each county.  You can google "visit ______ county" and you'll usually find good websites with local information. You can start by using the links above. Read up on each county and then decide which one I should visit.

Write me a one page letter explaining which county you think I would enjoy the most.  Be sure to list some things to do or see in that county, some places to eat and a place to stay.

This will count  as extra credit by raising one 30% assignment in either English or history to an A.  Be sure to let me know which subject.  Letters must present a good case for that county to earn extra credit.

You may work with a partner, but you must write your own letter.

These are due by Thursday morning.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Renaissance Facebook Pages Projects

Make a fake Facebook page for your Renaissance person.

Use the research you did in class, the history book and any other sources (internet) that you can find.

Be creative.

Make it look like a real Facebook page.  You can find samples by searching for images of "historical facebook pages."

You can do this assignment on paper or by using Fakebook at

Select Fakebook once you are on the Class Tools website.

You'll have to do several postings before you can save.


You must keep track of your template link and your password to edit your Fakebook page later.

This project is due on Tuesday. You can do it on paper or by using Fakebook.  Please print your project if you can. If your page will not print, send the correct link to me at

Remember, if you cannot figure out how to use Fakebook, do your assignment on paper.  There is no penalty at all for doing the project on paper.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Renaissance Dinner Party Assignment

Cut out or tear out the ten heads of the people we studied in chapter 30 on Leading Figures of the Renaissance.

Draw a large rectangle in your history journal to serve as a table.

Arrange all ten people around the table as though they were guests at a dinner party.

Be sure to seat people next to or across from people they have something in common with.  You don't want any guests sitting next to someone they would not like.  They should be able to have a conversation with the people they are sitting next to.

Glue the heads into your history journal.

Label each head.

In a short paragraph explain why you sat everyone where you did.  Write this paragraph in your history journal. You may want to write it inside the rectangle you drew for the table.

This assignment is due on Friday.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Flowering of the Renaissance Metaphor Help

If you're looking for help with the Renaissance metaphor paragraph, this video provides a good explanation of humanism.

It's just 8 minutes long.

Paragraphs are due tomorrow, May 1.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

English Extra Credit: Dog Stories

If you'd like to earn some extra credit in English here's a project you can do.

For your next Reading Race book select a book about a dog.  An adventurous book would be best, but it's not required.

Mrs. Denton has a cart full of dog stories in the school library for you to choose from.  I also have a small selections of good titles you can choose from.

Read the book!!!!

This can be your next Reading Race book or it can be an extra book.

Please let me know what book you have selected.

When you finish reading the book please see me.  The project will be to create a detailed Venn Diagram comparing the dog in the book you read with Buck in The Call of the Wild.

This assignment will count as two extra credit assignments in the 30% category.

Due by the end of May.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Vocabulary Challenge #3: Hullabaloo vs. bugaboo.

What is the difference between  hullabaloo and bugaboo?

Explain in an illustrated, typed paragraph that includes the following:
  • an interesting hook
  • a definition of each word that cites the sources
  • an example of each word used in a complex sentence.
Make the sentences funny if you can.

Your paragraph must be typed and in MLA format

Due Thursday, April 30.

Or Else!!!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Geo Challenge: Renaissance Europe

Geo Challenge: Renaissance Europe

1.  Draw a map of Europe in your journal.  Make it an outline map of the continent. Use page 313 in your history book as a guide.

2.  Research each of the people listed below:

  • Queen Elizabeth I of England
  • Catherine de Medici
  • Catherine the Great of Russia
  • Isabella I of Spain
  • Leonardo da Vinci
  • Copernicus
  • Vasco da Gama
  • Martin Luther
  • J.S. Bach
3. Mark the birthplace of each person on your map.  Label the location "__________, birthplace of ________."   For example: "Millington, Tennessee, birthplace of Mr. Chester."

4.  Annotate each location with one complex sentence explaining why that person was important.

5.  Include a drawing or symbol somewhere on your map for each person.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Vocabulary Challenge: Gobsmacked vs. Shellshocked

What is the difference between 'gobsmacked' and 'shell-shocked'?

Answer in a paragraph that;

  • defines each word citing a source for the definition
  • uses each word in a complex sentence that illustrates the meaning of the word and starts with a subordinate clause
  • concludes by stating why one is worse than the other.
Remember to cite your sources.

You may illustrate your paragraph.

Put an MLA heading at the top of your paper.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Outsiders Essay Topic Sentence Help

To improve your thesis statement and your topic sentences answer these questions.  Your answers will work as topic sentences and as your thesis.

 Paragraph 1: How does Ponyboy's view of Greasers and Soc's change over the course of the novel?  Include some of  these key words in your answer: grows, changes, evolves, stereotypes, individuals.

Paragraph 2: How does Ponyboy view Greasers and Socs at the beginning of the novel?

Paragraph 3:  How does meeting Cherry Valance cause Pony to begin to think differently about Socs and Greasers?

Paragraph 4:  How does talking to Randy change the way Pony views Greasers and Socs?

Paragraph 5:  How does the author use the conflict between the Greasers and the Socs to explore the theme 'things are rough all over'?

Please see me by Thursday if you need any help.

Final drafts are due Monday.  Scroll down for directions about MLA format.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Here's the Aztec Priest's song.

 You can find the Pachacuti song here:

MLA Format for The Outsiders Essays

Key things to remember for MLA format:

  • Double space the entire essay, even the heading.
  • Indent paragraphs.
  • Center only the title.
  • Do not change the default font or its size.
You can find details about MLA format at these links:

Purdue OWL  Check this site for complete details.  If you scroll down, you'll find a sample page from a student essay.  Your paper should look like this one when it's in MLA format.

CSUS This site has basic, easy to understand instructions for MLA format.

Essays are due on Monday, April 6.  

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Vocabulary Challenge: Kerfuffle vs. Brouhaha

Which is worse a 'kerfuffle' or a 'brouhaha'?

Use dictionaries and internet sources to find the answer.  Decide which is worse.  Explain why in a typed paragraph.

You paragraph should follow these steps:

  • Start with a hook that grabs the reader's attention.
  • Use a (green) topic sentence that includes both words.
  • States a definition of each word.  (yellow)  Cite the source of the definition.
  • Give an example sentence that shows the meaning of the word. (Red) This can be a sentence you make up or one you find in another source.  Cite the source.
  • End with a conclusion (green) that states which of the two words is worse
Type up your paragraph.  

Your answer is due on Wednesday, March 25.

You may illustrate your paper.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Ponyboy Poetry

Write a poem in the voice of Ponyboy from The Outsiders.

Pretend that you are Ponyboy.  Write a poem that he might have written.  You can be writing just after a certain event in the book has happened, or you can pretend that you are Ponyboy after the book is finished and are looking back at your life.

Ponyboy's poetry would be...

  • about a subject he is interested in like one of the motifs we have been following: gold, sunsets, heroes, things are rough all over, etc.
  • like the poetry of Robert Frost: short, rhyming, full of images from nature.
Type your poem up. Include a proper MLA heading.

Make sure your poem looks like a poem, not like a paragraph.  

Do not center it; use left justify instead.

You may write more than one poem on the same paper.

Give your poem a title.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Geography Challenge: Meso-America

Step 1.  Research.

Research one interesting fact about #1-7

  1. Andes Mountains
  2. Amazon River
  3. Yucatan Peninsula
  4. Sierra Madres
  5. Tenochtitlan
  6. Lake Titicaca
  7. Valley of Mexico
Step 2.  More research

Find the ansers to #8-10.

8.  Find the size of the Aztec Empire in square miles.
9.  Find out how much a guided tour of a Mayan temple costs.
10.  Find out how many miles long (north/south) the Incan Empire was.

Step 3.  Draw your map and label items 11-19 on it.  Use the map in your history book as a guide.  Do not draw the modern day countries.  Just draw an outline map.  Then draw in items 11-19.`

11.  Andes Mountains
12.  Amazon River
13.  Sierra Madres Occidental and Sierra Madres Oriental
14.  Valley of Mexico
15 Atacama Desert
16.  Lake Titicaca
17.  Inca Empire
18.  Aztec Empire
19.  Mayan Civilization

Step 4.

Use your notes from step one and two to annotate your map.

Vocabulary Challenge: jippa jappa vs. jibber jabber

What is the difference between "jippa jappa" and "jibber jabber"?  Both are English words.

Look up definitions of each.  See if you can find a sample sentence for each word. You might even be able to find a picture of each.  Make sure you understand the difference between each word.

Write a paragraph that explains the difference between jippa jappa and jibber jabber.

Make sure you do these things in your paragraph:

  • Start with a topic sentence.  It can be a fun one.
  • Define each word.  (Cite your source.)
  • Write an example sentence of each word.  (Cite your source or write your own sentence.)
  • Conclude with a sentence that discusses how the words are different.
You may illustrate your paragraph.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015 Projects for Walk Two Moons

Projects are due Wednesday, Feb. 25.

To create your

  • Go to the website.  There is no 'e' in
  • Hit the start brainstorming button.
  • First create an account in case you need to save your work.
  • Sign-in
  • Create your web.  Your web should:
    • have separate bubbles for characters and quotes
    • have about ten characters/quotes
    • use color to group the bubbles in ways that make sense
    • be free of spelling and capitalization errors.
  • You can write on the connecting lines, too.
  • It's better to include page numbers.
To print your project you can just press print.  If the left side is cut off try exporting your project to your desktop. To do this press "Export" in the top left section of the screen.  After you have exported your, open it and print it as you would a picture.

Be sure to put a full heading on the front of your project. You may write this in pen or pencil.

This is a 70% project since it includes reading an entire book.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Japan Geo Challenge

Label these items on your map:

  • Sea of Japan
  • East China Sea
  • Pacific Ocean
  • Kyushu
  • Shikoku
  • Honshu
  • Hokkkaido
  • Chagoku Mountains
  • Japanese Alps
  • Hidaka Mountains
  • Nara
  • Kyoto
  • Mt. Fuji
Answer these questions in your workbook:
  1. Which island has the most people?
  2. What percent of Japan's land is used for agriculture?
Research and record three facts about each of these places:

3.  Mt. Fuji
4.  Kanto Plain
5.  Kyoto
6.  Tokyo
7.  Honshu
8.  The birthplace of Godzilla

Find interesting facts that relate to the history and/or geography of Japan.

Use the above information to make a final, large, version of your map with annotations.  Illustrations are optional.  

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Write Your Name in Chinese

This is a history assignment due this Friday.

Write your name in Chinese characters.  Use the small strip of paper I gave you in class today.  These will be posted in the classroom so make them look good.  Use color, markers, paint, whatever you like to make a good looking product.

To find out how to write your name in Chinese characters use this websites:

On the back write what your name in English characters, what your name means and what year you were born in.