Madness in the Method

         “Though this be madness, yet there is method in ‘t.” – Polonius in Hamlet This blog is for the reflections, thoughts, rants, and discussions of Mrs. Caldwell’s Senior English classes at Mountain Brook High School. Come and check out the madness. There is method to all of it, I assure you!

July 31, 2007

Blog Hiatus

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This blog was developed during my time as a senior English teacher at Mountain Brook High School in Birmingham, AL. Inspired by my work as a 21st Century Fellow with the Alabama Best Practices Center, this blog represents technology integration and student accountability at its best.

I am taking a year off from teaching to be with my new baby and pursue my desire to train and motivate other teachers through professional development. Feel free to peruse the blog, particularly the archives and see the growth my students made over two years of using this tool. I am very proud of this blog and what it meant in my classroom.

UPDATE: I am now working at Technology Integration Specialist for St. Clair County Schools.  If you are a teacher that comes across this blog and would like further information on blogging in the classroom or any Web 2.0 tools, please visit my Tech Integration Site.

Feel free to contact me and visit my new professional website: is my professional blog

Happy Blogging!!!

April 4, 2007


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Choose one of the following cartoons.  Identify the number and explain what you think it is satirizing.  Also, tell what satirical device(s) it uses:




March 12, 2007

Blogging Break

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Because I am catching up with grading and you have 9-weeks tests, we will not be blogging for points this week.  The exception is if you are willing to visit Mrs. Shaw’s class blog and enter an insightful comment, I will reward some bonus points.  (Don’t ask how many, if you need them do it!).  Once you have done that, come back to this post and let me know so I will check her blog.  Include the name of the post you commented on.  Have a great week and good luck on your tests! 

March 9, 2007

Share the Love

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Go to the following blog and weigh in on the post called “Responsibility”.  Please identify yourself as one of Mrs. Caldwell’s students and make an intelligent response using examples from Frankenstein to back up your ideas.

Sharpen your EQ

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What is an essential question? Questions that probe for deeper meaning and set the stage for further questioning foster the development of critical thinking skills and higher order capabilities such as problem-solving and understanding complex systems. A good essential question is the principle component of designing inquiry-based learning.

What constitutes a good essential question? In general, the best essential questions center around major issues, problems, concerns, interests, or themes relevant to students’ lives and to their communities. Good essential questions are open-ended, non-judgmental, meaningful and purposeful with emotive force and intellectual bite, and invite an exploration of ideas. Good essential questions encourage collaboration amongst students, teachers, and the community and integrate technology to support the learning process.

How do we write good essential questions? First, consider the focus of the unit or lesson activity. Ideas for a good essential question may stem from your students’ particular interests in a topic (e.g. What makes a video game good?), community resources (How does pollution impact the Rio Grande River?), local curriculum expectations (e.g. Who was a great New Mexican leader?), or a topic suggested by the standards themselves (e.g. Where do waves come from?). Then, examine the theme or concept in the curriculum that must be addressed and brainstorm questions that you or the students believe would cause them to think about the concept without dictating the direction or outcome of their thinking (e.g. “Why is fighting bad?” contains its own answer, namely that fighting is bad). Finally, utilize the six typical queries that newspaper articles address: Who? What? Where? When? Why? and How? and add the word “good” in front of the theme or concept.

Once you have decided your group’s essential question, post it here on behalf of your group (one post per group).  Once someone has established their group’s question, no other group can use that same question.  Be creative!

March 5, 2007

Modern Movie Monsters

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Choose a movie and explain why you think it exemplifies the themes in Frankenstein.  Be specific explaining movie, a short plot synopsis, why it relates to the themes of Frankenstein, and what parts of the book/movie represent this common theme.

Human Beings

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What constitutes someone being a human?  Do you think Frankenstein failed or succeeded as a human being?  What traits or attributes, do you think, led to the creature’s fate?  Cite quotes to support your thoughts.

Frankenstein Themes

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Frankenstein has many themes.  Identify what you think to be an important theme and cite one quote from the book that exemplifies that theme.  Once someone has used a quote to back up a theme, it cannot be used again.  Be creative and use original thought on this one.

The Modern Prometheus

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Read the following article and weigh in on its contents.  Explain why Frankenstein is titled The Modern Prometheus

February 28, 2007

Yack Pack

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I am in the process of giving you feedback on your 2nd drafts using a software called Yack Pack. This online service allows me to record my feedback and allows you the ability to retrieve it at any time. I would like to have your comments regarding this service. Let me know if you have not received the invitation to the Pack. I took your email from your account, so hopefully it is correct. What do you think? Have you gotten the invitation or the message about your 2nd draft? Since we had no time for a conference, I think this is a good alternative. Go to to learn more.

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