Monthly Archives: November 2012

Hemingway Book Club Questions Posted

I have posted the questions for For Whom the Bell Tolls on my class websites for IB Contemporary History and IB History of the Americas.


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Slight Change to Senior CAS Portfolio Deadline

I have discussed the CAS portfolio deadline with Mrs. Kraft.  Although I said Friday I was not contemplating a change to the 5 December due date, I have taken some time to consider the potential conflict with the 7 December extended essay deadline.  The senior CAS portfolio will now be due Monday 10 December.  This will be the final change to the deadline, as I absolutely must have all CAS portfolios prior to semester exam week.  Again, this is something which should already be in reasonable shape and nearly ready to submit.

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Upcoming CAS Deadline for Seniors

This is a reminder that your draft CAS portfolios are due very soon.  Mrs. Kraft and I will be collecting the portfolios on Wednesday, 5 December.  Please consult page 4 of the Rickards CAS handbook to see what is required in the portfolio, and the proper order for your materials.

To preempt the question I am almost certain to get on Monday, no, I am not planning to push back the CAS portfolio deadline.  This has been posted since late September, and at least in theory, the CAS portfolio is something which you are always keeping up to date.  Mrs. Kraft and I need to see what you have completed now, and the sooner we see these, the sooner we can finish reading and commenting on them to give them back.  I will be using the “slug list” and pursuing those who do not meet the deadline pretty aggressively, so get the portfolios ready to submit ahead of time.  I am looking forward to seeing what you have been up to.

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Extended Essay and Internal Assessment Writers: A Good Guide for Avoiding Passive Voice

Passive voice is the bane of good history writing, but often proves a difficult concept to explain to students.  Mrs. Harrington has just passed on a hilarious help for finding passive voice in your sentences.  Just insert “by zombies” after any verb, and if the sentence makes sense, you have passive voice!


“My extended essay first draft was written by zombies.”

“Sorry I’m late, Mr. Harrington.  I was driven to school by zombies.”  Explains a lot.

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Filed under Extended Essays, IB History Course, IB History of the Americas

Happy Thanksgiving, and a Recipe

Please accept my belated best wishes for a happy time of thanksgiving and fellowship with your family and loved ones.  I promised my butternut squash soup recipe to fourth period, but we ran out of time Tuesday.  I realize it’s too late for Thanksgiving this year, but here it is for what it’s worth.


1 large onion, rough chopped

3 cloves garlic, rough chopped

2 potatoes, peeled and chopped into eighths.

1 large or 2 medium butternut squashes, peeled, halved, seeded, and then rough chopped

1 quart chicken or vegetable stock

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 cup half and half

Sour cream or plain yogurt and chopped chives or scallions as a garnish


1.  The prep work is the most difficult part of the recipe, so leave enough time, especially for dealing with the squash.  Butternut squash can be peeled with a knife, or better, with a potato peeler.  Be careful and use a sharp knife with the squash, since it is notoriously hard to chop.  First slice off the top and bottom, and then peel the squash.  Seed the squash after halving it lengthwise by scraping out the seeds and fiber with a spoon, then rough chop.

2.  Saute the onion and garlic in your stock pot (or whatever large pot you’re cooking the soup in) for about four minutes, or until soft.  Be careful not to brown the garlic.

3.  Add the potatoes and squash.  Stir and cook for a couple of minutes.  Then add chicken or vegetable stock to cover.  Bring to a boil, and then turn stove down to medium heat and simmer for twenty minutes, or until the squash and potatoes are soft.

4.  Take the pot off the heat.  Blend the soup either with a stick blender, or in batches in a blender (carefully–you don’t really want boiling soup flying about the kitchen!)

5.  Add the spices and half and half.  Stir well, and simmer for a few minutes.  Keep warm until you are planning to serve.

6.  Serve with ground nutmeg, sour cream or plain yogurt, and chives or chopped scallions.  This is awesome with grilled cheese, or leftover turkey sandwiches.

7.  Fortified with hot soup, now you can work on your extended essay revisions!

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Filed under Extended Essays, Just for Fun

Sir Rex Hunt, RIP

I thought this would be of interest to the seniors, as we are covering the Falklands/Malvinas War right now in class.  Sir Rex Hunt, governor of the islands at the time of the war, passed away last Sunday.  Here is the BBC coverage:

It was Hunt who refused to shake hands with the Argentine commander during the surrender of the islands.  When the officer told Hunt that this refusal was “ungentlemanly,” Hunt responded that the invasion itself was an “ungentlemanly act.”

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Filed under IB Contemporary History, IB History of the Americas

New MacMillan Questions Posted

The second set of reading questions for Margaret MacMillan’s Paris, 1919 have been posted on the course webpages for IB History of the Americas and IB Contemporary History.

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