class dismissed

Welcome to Bray’s House! (Which is what I used to call my classroom, until I came to occupy the room already named for the women who had one of the most significant impacts on me as a teacher, Ruth Mosby Green.)

The inaugural purpose of this page is to give a few students of mine, who are in my regular sophomore English class, the opportunity to earn credit for Honors English. I am experimenting with the efficiency of posting recordings of my Honors class here for those students to watch on a daily basis. At this point, this seems easier than setting up an account with iTunes or sending them to to search for the most recent lesson. We’ll see…

Now Showing: Bray’s 11- Someone wants to hurt Bray, the beloved AP writing teacher. Who? Why? And will they succeed when the AP writing exam turns up missing only 11 days before it must be taken?

This parody of Ocean’s 11 served as the end-of-the-year-exhale-after-the-exam project for my AP writing students. I set them free to see where their imaginations might take them. It’s amazing how closely life can imitate art or vice versa. Somehow the students who ended the year with me convinced the students who left early in the year to play themselves in this overly-sinister adaptation of what actually happened. Go figure!

Again, this is a high school learning project created for non-commercial use; don’t be so small as to come after me for copyright infringement; it’s free publicity for you.

Everybody Knows- Eric and Jasmine must filter through the well-meaning but specious advice of their friends to discover whether dating is worth the work. This is the inaugural film project of high school writer and director Tyler Roberts. It finds its way here because Tyler asked me to be the sponsor of the film club he founded in this his senior year at Pine Forge, PFA Productions. Little did he know that sponsorship for me means I teach and facilitate, but I don’t work. The group had to sink or swim on their own accord. And they swam! This is a high school learning project created for non-commercial use; please don’t come after me for copyright infringement; it’s free publicity for you.
HE2 (10/8-09)- Lively conversation regarding irony and ambiguity in the Roald Dahl classic short story “A Lamb to the Slaughter” as well as Shirley Jackson’s layered “The Possibility of Evil.” I’m trying to teach my students how to argue textually and contextually, instead of just fussing at each other.
Singsperation- A satirical parable composed to remind my students that what we rehearse matters and to encourage them to create art that reminds them of what matters. The term “singsperation” is a made up word that has cultural significance amongst black Seventh-day Adventists; it simply means inspirational concert.
HE2 (12/8-08)- For the past week they have been designing (and completing) activities, as if they were teachers, that solicit progressively higher order thinking, as based on bloom’s taxonomy of cognitive processes. The initiative demonstrated the first 2 minutes of this video excited me!
HE2 (11/19/08)- Introduction of the KNOWLEDGE portion of the semester project. Knowing that students often become overwhelmed looking at a project in totality, I’m feeding them the elephant one bite at a time.
HE2 (11/13/08)- Discussion of “The First Seven Years” from the collection “Hearts that Love” from the sophomore literature text.
HE2 (10/23/08)- This was supposed to be a reprise of the previous days sermon, which was “Don’t let others (not even adults)–well-meaning though they may be–rob you of the opportunity to learn.” I got started down a different path with this class (we determined the cost of each of the celebrations we outlined in our Common Good Covenant) and ended up not delivering it.
HE2 (10/22/08)- The 4 purposes of writing; the 3 parts of a good argument.
HE2 (10/20/08)- Writing introductions and theses for exposition and persuasion.

For your amusement, here are a few Brayisms one is apt overhear walking by my classroom…

    There is no success outside of relationship.
    There is no learning without struggle. (cf. Frederick Douglass)
    Two dim bulbs do not a well lit room make. Be the brighter bulb.
    Sophomores [which means "wise fool,"] rise above your name!
    Be not deceived, Bray is not mocked: what you sow, you shall reap.
    Everything costs something–good or bad.
    Mediocrity cannot be quarantined; when allowed to persist, it eventually invades every aspect of our lives, like it or not. (cf. Amadeus)
    It’s easy to be a cynic.  It takes no creativity, just the willingness to tear down what someone else is trying to accomplish.
    We are who we practice to be.

And a few commonly heard quotes…

    “You live; you learn; you do better.” ~Leslie Bray
    “Achievement without contribution is without significance.” ~The Emperors Club
    “We are here to preserve democracy, not to practice it.” ~Crimson Tide
    “This is [not a democracy: it's] a Brayocracy!” ~Anonymous Student
    “Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.” ~ James Baldwin
    “We learned our times tables without understanding their grand principle, simply because we had the capacity and no alternative.” ~Maya Angelou
    “Love is like the sea. It’s a moving thing, but still all in all, it takes it’s shape from de shore it meets, and is different with every shore.” ~Zora Neale Hurston
    “Excuses are the worthless rags with which we mend our garments of failure.” ~Sylvia Barnes
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