The Rithmatist: Book Trailer

Whoever said you would never use geometry after high school was wrong, dead wrong! Rithmatists use a combination of geometry, art, history, and good old fashion gumption to thwart their enemies in every battle.

Author, Brandon Sanderson, brings alive an engaging tale of intrigue and battle hardened heroes in this first book of this new series, The Rithmatist. Students are trained in the war art of infusing life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalkings to fight off Wild Chalkings in the dangerous territory of Nebrask, yet not all are chosen by the Master to do his bidding as a Rithmatist in this age. Some like our protagonist, Joel, must sit idly by while others solve the mysteries of new threats seeping through the school’s campus. Or does he? Check out this Book Trailer for yourself. A world which combines the power of ART and MATH to create something truly sinister…


Censorship Causes Blindness: READ!

There are many celebrated weeks of recognition throughout the year. Teacher appreciation week is acknowledged in May. Breast cancer awareness is remembered throughout October. National fishing week captivates us in June. Yet, there is one that is often overlooked; the last week in September is set aside to evaluate the merit of banned books.

The general public may not be aware of the book censorship plaguing our libraries and classrooms, but “book burning” is very much alive in America today. Censorship of literature is born out of basic fear. Citizens recognize the use of certain buzz words or uncomfortable themes, and they throw the baby out with the bath water by condemning literature based on out of context issues. Controversy stems from the fact that we as a nation are comprised of individuals with very diverse in experiences, ethics, and cultural standards. Together our goal is to educate children and encourage them to acquire the skills and knowledge needed to become industrious, autonomous citizens.

When we start telling people what they are not allowed to read, personal learning opportunities are impeded. Renowned author Ray Bradbury said, “You don’t have to burn books to destroy culture. Just get people to stop reading them.” This horrific phenomenon is bread out of the best of intentions in sheltering our children. Many of our most loved authors find their works on the 100 Most Banned Books List due to fear and control issues.

My challenge to you, as a now informed citizen, is to do your own research concerning the validity of these claims and start an honest dialogue with the youth in your life. Let’s retain the enthusiasm for reading that kindergarteners exhibit, upon the realization that they have the ability to read, by cultivating a fertile soil in which all books are given equal opportunity to nourish future readers. Celebrate the freedom to read as granted by the wisdom of our forefathers in the constitution. Stand up for intellectual freedom and partner with me in developing lifelong leaders in our community.

“The Maiden Vow”

I have always wondered if math was inherently evil to men and women alike. Being an English teacher, I am sure it is surprising that math is not my favorite subject. I have often found it to be a challenge and believe everyone should conquer it at least once in their lifetime. (which I have done and now leave to stronger women than myself)

I find it hilarious that at one time the NEA wondered the same thing. Only they felt that Algebra was the pleasure of our young women and needed to be avoided at all cost in our public education arenas.

The Maiden’s Vow by: Alice Duer Miller (1874-1942)

“(A speaker at the National Education Association advised girls not to study algebra. Many girls, he said, had lost their souls through this study. The idea has been taken up with enthusiasm.)
I will avoid equations,
And shun the naughty surd,
I must beware the perfect square,
Through it young girls have erred:
And when men mention Rule of Three
Pretend I have not heard.

Through Sturm’s delightful theorems
Illicit joys assure,
Though permutations and combinations
My woman’s heart allure,
I’ll never study algebra,
But keep my spirit pure.”

A Novel Challenge

A Novel Challenge (Challenge Template)

byline: Christy Clay, English Teacher

Building life long readers is my number on professional challenge this year. Donalyn Miller’s renowned book, The Book Whisperer, released a great awakening within my reader’s soul this summer. The jolt was so consuming that I have reevaluated my entire classroom approach to reading. I honestly believe that the more a person reads, the more they will comprehend and build vocabulary. This in turn will lead students to mimic what they have read into their writings. Following through on this concept would effectively meet my Language Arts classroom objectives of reading comprehension, vocabulary expansion, and effective writing.

Anyone who claims the title of master reader knows that it begins by encountering inspirational books, genuine peer recommendations, and a community of readers who corporately express their reading enthusiasm. “A trail of worksheets from a teacher to their students does not build a connection with readers; only books do (Miller, 2009).” Based on these conjectures, I have challenged my students to read forty chapter books across various genres this school year. Their reward for accomplishing this ostentatious goal is not having to take my English semester tests which are all inclusive and ten percent of their final grade. There have been a few grumbles, but most have taken up this challenge with conviction and determination. I have stressed to the students that it is not the final number which should motivate you, but instead it should be the journey of discovery which will occur as a result of reading various genres.

I would like to extend this challenge to the Keya Paha community with a slight twist. Read one author/book for each letter of the alphabet within this school year. This is a great way to locate different authors which you might not otherwise read, and it will spark a conversation with your children who are encountering a similar challenge in their English classrooms. You can start with any letter of the alphabet, use first or last names to distinguish selections, or use key book title words. However you want to challenge yourself! Be creative!

Anyone can join in at anytime. For accountability purposes, create a post on my blog or print my template with your alphabetical list when you are ready to begin. Then update that post as you journey through the alphabet! You can see mine as an example online at or by seeing me in the English classroom at the high school. Add books as you go, upon completion, or make a list based on what you want to read and check them off as you go.

Keep me your reading loop through online posts, emails, or by dropping into my English classroom at the high school. Good luck to all!

A Novel Challenge CSC (My Challenge List/Example)

A Teacher for Each Student

Every student deserves a great teacher. Do you believe in soul mates? Do you believe that everyone deserves something special made just for him or her? I certainly believe in this optimism. As a student, I did not agree with every teacher I was taught by. I certainly had more than a few that I could have lived without. What made me want to become a teacher was not the multitude of educators that disappointed and at times harassed me. It was the select handful that reached me on an individual level and asked me to be bigger than myself. 

As an educator today, I realize that I am not meant to be the “favorite” teacher of every student I meet. I realize that more than enough of my students will look at me and scoff at my high standards and strict disciplined ways. I also realize that as I reach out to each student in my own way, I will have those that respond positively to my teachings and manner. They may never say it, and I don’t think I have to hear it, but in my heart of hearts, I know it to be true.

As a teacher, I do not get to choose what a student will remember about me. Nor do students get to choose what I will remember about them. That is why I am constantly reevaluating my motives in and outside the classroom, so that my most flattering view is remembered the most. Plus there is truth in the old adage of faking it until you make it. Making a difference in one life really does make each day more than worth it.

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