Friday, December 20, 2013

CHS Radio Club - The Film Strip for 12-20-13

CHS's own movie review radio show gathers to discuss the new Hobbit movie "Desolation of Smaug"...check it out!!!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Friday, December 13, 2013


Hi Everyone, You are all invited to join the WCHS Radio Club as we broadcast "THE GRINCH WHO STOLE CHRISTMAS" as read by Boris Karloff (Frankenstein, The Mummy, Fu Manchu, etc.). We will play this feature in its entirety on WEDNESDAY Dec. 18th beginning at 10:45 am!! If you are able, please come down to the WCHS studios in room 148 at Communications High School. We'll have food, and beverage, and a fun time for all. What's that? You can't make it to room 148? No worries! You can always tune in to WCHS through your classroom TV sets...put on Channel 63 and join in the listening party! But AREN'T at CHS you say? Still NO PROBLEM! WCHS is available any-time, anywhere, on-line! You can listen live using any computer, snart phone, iPad, or other handheld device (as long as it has Quicktime Player installed!). That's right if you want to listen to "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" with us all you have to do is point your browser here: Viola!! Crystal Clear streaming audio in blazing 128kbs!!!!!!!! Once again, that's "The Grinch who Stole Christmas" streaming at 10:45am on Wednesday Dec. 18th!! BONUS: WCHS will also feature Holiday Music ALL WEEK LONG! We've hand picked a fine selection of Christmas and Hanukkha songs, both new and old, and will be playing those all week between Mon. Dec 16th and Friday Dec., we'll keep that playlist streaming all over winter break. So, if you have a fever for some Christmastime flavors just tune in on Channel 63 or online at

Monday, December 9, 2013

Poemas sobre la naturaleza

The assignment:  Students in my IB Spanish class at Biotech were told to write an original poem about the beauty of nature.  The only requirement was to include 5 vocabulary words from our nature and ecology unit.   I gave them about 20 minutes in class to begin, and then they finished for homework.  I decided to join them in writing a poem, and I was very proud of mine until the students began sharing theirs, and I realized they are far better poets than I!  Still, it was a very fun experience to write alongside the students and share my work with them.

Below is my poem, and please take the time to read my four favorites from my extremely talented students, which are linked here.

La belleza de la naturaleza
por Sra. Olsen

Estoy triste porque creo que mucha gente
No se dedica a cuidar el medio ambiente.
La única manera de aliviar mi tristeza
Es escribir un poema sobre la naturaleza.

Las montañas, los árboles, los ríos, las flores,
Todos hermosos, llenos de colores.
El cielo azul, en un día soleado,
O un gris muy profundo en un día nublado

Los animales se apoyan en una red delicada,
Crean un coro de música a lo largo de la jornada.
Nosotros y ellos merecemos un brillante futuro
Con agua cristalina y aire muy puro.

Pero desgraciadamente, la situación es muy grave
Para cada planta, animal, insecto y ave.
Tú y yo podemos hacer este mundo mejor
Antes de que todo se ponga peor.

Muchos animales están en peligro de extinción.
Ésto nos debe servir como gran motivación.
Son majestuosos:  el búho, el pingüino, el oso polar,
El elefante, el leopardo, la gran tortuga del mar.

Estamos destruyendo sus árboles con la deforestación,
Llenando los ríos y su mundo con la contaminación.
Tenemos que empezar a respetar los animales -
No hacerlo es ser egoístas y crueles.

Los contaminantes en el planeta son venenosos.
Les dan a los animales problemas dolorosos.
A todas las criaturas del mundo hay que cuidar;
La naturaleza es algo que todos podemos disfrutar.

Monday, November 11, 2013

CHS Juniors Radio Class - Breakfast Club - week of 11/4

It may have been a week short on days, but NOT on content!! The Breakfast Club holds down WCHS's morning news, including the fantastic SUPER HERO episode on 11/6!! Enjoy!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Best of CHS Fall Web Design Class

Below are the five best websites from the Fall Web Design class at CHS. These students enter the class knowing nothing about web design, and in 8 weeks are able to create a basic yet well designed website for a fictitious company.  Click on the student name or the image to visit the complete website.

Alli Long

Carolyn Stanton

Sarah Pearson

Ronak Nair

Jackie Child

Friday, October 25, 2013

CHS - Junior Radio Show THE BREAKFAST CLUB week of 10/21 - 10/25

At CHS the Juniors continue to provide the morning announcement show...this marking period it's THE BREAKFAST CLUB. Here's their offerings for the week of 10/21 - 10/25...including the launch of the WCHS Traffic Helicopter!!!! Check them out!!!

Follow ALL the action at WCHS The Voice of Communications High School!

How can anyone join in on the fun at the CHS radio station? You can tune in to WCHS in several ways!!!!

WCHS is broadcasting live 24/7 via streaming audio! You can LISTEN LIVE from any computer, phone, pad, or other hand held device that supports QuickTime. Live shows at 8:57 am and during lunch (between 10:30a and 11:30a) music and student productions all day long! Stop on by the LISTEN LIVE page to link in:

You can also keep up with what's going on at WCHS by following our stream on SoundCloud. SoundCloud is an audio hosting service where WCHS productions are stored and shared. You can access SoundCloud from any computer anywhere, and it is available as an app for phones and pads. You can find WCHS on SoundCloud here:

In addition to SoundCloud, Mr Bengle also maintains a blog/podcast site on Google Blogger. Through the blog you can download or listen to shows, add comments, share different productions, and access all the archived shows! Find the Radio Class and Radio Club blogs here:

Thursday, October 17, 2013

WCHS Radio Class - Interviews

The Live Studio - Radio class was tasked with interviewing members of the MCVSD's what they came back with! Be sure to follow both the Radio Class and Radio Club blog sites: And listen to WCHS "The Voice of Communications High School"...streaming audio online 24/7 with music and student productions, plus live shows at 8:55 and 10:30!! You can listen live by clicking on our LISTEN LIVE PAGE:

CHS Live Studio Production - Radio Daily Program.

Marking Period 1 Juniors radio class. They call themselves the Breakfast Club, and here is a recent weekly run. The click on the files to listen, download, and share via sound cloud. Be sure to follow both the Radio Class and Radio Club blog sites: And listen to WCHS "The Voice of Communications High School"...streaming audio online 24/7 with music and student productions, plus live shows at 8:55 and 10:30!! You can listen live by clicking on our LISTEN LIVE PAGE:

Friday, October 11, 2013

Comics en español!

Students at Biotechnology High School have been busy making Spanish comic strips! Check out a few highlights below!

La Vida de Swimmy el Pez
by Hannah P.

Una Chica Bonita
by Alex Y.
(click here or the image to see the entire comic)

Wilfred the Catby Maggie H.
(click here or the image to see the entire comic)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

HTHS Freshman Class One-Page Magazines!

Inspired by the One-Page Magazine published each week the The New York Times Sunday Magazine, the freshman class at High Tech spent the last month designing their own version of the magazine.  Working in groups of five, they wrote and designed the one-page magazine, which included elements covering biology, technology, summer reading choices, social studies, and their passions.

Spanish 1 students @ CHS created comic strips to demonstrate proficiency using conversational expressions. Posted by Kathy Mazzacco

Another Creative Resume from the CHS Media Writing Class

Check out the creative resume that Alek Burke submitted to showcase his experience.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Media Writing Creative Resume Project

Jordana Deutsch, an 11th grade student at CHS, put a unique spin on her traditional resume for her Media Writing creative resume project. Nice work!!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

CHS Literary Magazine - Summer Edition

Closing out the school year with the final edition of the CHS Literary Magazine - welcome to the new editor, Linette Reeman!

CHS Has TWO Published Authors!

Juniors Gia DeWitt and Linette Reeman are the first published authors to come out of the new ePublishing course.  Gia's book Dynamical is available on Kindle and Linette's collection entitled Shut Up is available through Lulu.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Women in Media

We've been talking a lot about the role of women in literature and media in IB Lang & Lit this year, and BTHS junior Mia S. wrote a great post about women in the media. This post was inspired by a class discussion about Merida's makeover when she was sworn in as a Disney Princess.

Please take a few moments to read the post entitled The Lack of Women in the Media!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

"One Book, One Community" Summer Reading at CHS

This short video explains the reasoning behind the new summer reading initiative at CHS as well as how it will work when we come back to school in Fall 2013. Thanks to all the students who were interviewed specially Reanna Penn who spent a lot of time and effort editing, re-editing, rendering, and listening to Courtney say "jazz" during the making of this video!

Monday, May 13, 2013

HTHS Freshmen Participate in #coverflip!

In English class the HTHS freshmen read Maureen Johnson’s awesome essay, “The Gender Coverup“, wherein she takes a look at gendered book covers and calls to task those who think there are  ”boy” books and “girl” books.
After reading the article and viewing the slideshow, the students were challenged to attempt their own #coverflip.
From Maureen Johnson's Tumblr.   
1. Take a well-known book. (It’s up to you to define well-known.)
2. Imagine that book was written by an author of the OPPOSITE GENDER. Or a genderqueer author. Imagine all the things you think of when you think GIRL book or BOY book or GENDERLESS book (do they EXIST?). And I’m not saying that these categorizations are RIGHT—but make no mistake, they’re there.
3. Now, COVERFLIP! Make the new cover and put it online. Tweet or Tumbl it with the tag #coverflip. 
In groups, the students decided on a book that they felt had a cover that appealed more to one gender than necessary.  Then, they searched for Creative Commons images that they could use to create a new cover.  In photoshop, they designed their new book cover with either a more neutral cover or one that appealed to gender stereotypes.  Take a look at what they came up with!

Monday, May 6, 2013

National History Day

Please spend the next nine minutes watching BTHS junior Grace Huang's documentary about the impact that Snow White and the Seven Dwarves had on the animation industry. Grace made this documentary as part of National History Day. She participates in this competition on her own, with no supervision from teachers; it is a true independent project. What's even more impressive is that even without an official school sponsorship, Grace moved on to states with this video! This is just one more example of how awesome MCVSD students are!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Promoting Safety in the Workplace While Highlighting MCVSD Vocational Programs

The SkillsUSA club at Communications High School recently submitted the video below  to CareerSafe's National Youth Safety Video Contest.  The PSA video conveys their message related to youth safety in the workplace while showcasing the vocational programs in our district.  Now that the judges have chosen our submission as one of the 15 finalists, the public needs to vote. Please help us win $5,000 and vote for video #6 at the following website:

CHS Literary Magazine - Spring Issue

Click on the image below to see the newest issue of the Literary Magazine from Communications High School! (Check out submissions from one of our faculty members, Mrs. Harmon.)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

6-word memoirs en español

As part of Sra. Olsen's Spanish unit on family structure and relationships, students watched Francis Ford Coppola’s My Family.  The film also tied into their previous unit:  immigration.  The assignment was to write a 6-word memoir as one of the characters from the movie and make a web page using basic HTML.  Here is the link to the Mozilla Thimble page (courtesy of the National Writing Project) we used as a guide.

Click here to take a look at some samples of the beautiful work that Biotech students completed!

Monday, April 1, 2013

CHS New Media Podcasts

Students in the New Media class must produce a podcast during the 8 week course.  The following 2 podcasts discuss life in high school and at CHS from the students' perspectives.

Things You Do in Class That Aren't Class - Billie & Caroline
Fact or Fiction: Do High School Stereotypes Transfer to an Academy - Muggsy & Abby

CHS Acceptable Use Policy YouTube Video

The students in the third marking period New Media class explore the nature of a Social Media Acceptable Use policy and the possible ramifications of not having one at a high school through the fictional kidnapping of a beloved stuffed animal.  These videos aim to educate through a YouTube sense of humor!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

CHS New Media Skypes with Guernsey College

On Monday, March 18, 2013, the New Media class at CHS had the opportunity to Skype with the Business Administration course at Guernsey College on the island of Guernsey.  Below are links to two blog posts written by Michaela Burke and Nicole Smith, two Design Academy students currently enrolled in New Media.

Skyping with the Girls of Guernsey
Cali, Jersey, The Big Apple, and Fancy Guys

Below is a photo of the Girls of Guernsey College:

Monday, March 18, 2013

Pyramus and Thisbe

The freshmen at High Tech recently finished Romeo and Juliet  and also studied the myth of Pyramus and Thisbe.  After reading both, they were challenged with analyzing Hans Baldung Grien's famous painting of Pyramus and Thisbe, set in a more medieval time.  The themes of all three are the same, despite the different mediums (drama, poem, and painting) and students analyzed all three.  Then, they were challenged with creating their own piece of art that shared the same theme, but in a more modern setting.  Below is Jess W.'s painting, a Pyramus and Thisbe tragedy set in the modern age, with prescription drugs as the fatal weapon, rather than swords.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

español a Biotech

Ever wonder what Biotech students do in Spanish class? Now you can find out!

Take a look at BTHS freshmen Anshul and Kat's children's story. Their Spanish 2 teacher Sra. Carbajal notes that it is creative and well written. To top it off, it has a moral!

Click here to enjoy El Jardin Para Jugar!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Slice of Life Roundup at High Tech

The entire freshmen class at High Tech is participating in the Slice of Life blogging challenge!  Woohoo!

The challenge is to write daily.  Students are blogging their slices of life, or stories of small moments in their lives, for at least 20 days this month.  They have been challenged to write a new slice and post it every single day between March 1st and March 31st, if they choose to accept that challenge.  While it can be difficult at first, a few students have noted that they have started to enjoy the writing and find themselves looking at their daily lives a little differently.  Many of the freshmen haven't missed a day yet!  They are encouraging one another with comments, too.

A handful of the freshmen have made the decision to "go public" with their blogs for this challenge, rather than continuing to blog on our private class Ning.  You can read some of those blogs by following the links below.  Be sure to leave comments!  Comments are like candy to our writers. :)

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The British Invasion Comes to Biotech!

It is a truth universally acknowledged...

...that Biotech students are awesome! 

Take a look at BTHS junior Justine G.'s blog post about the connections she sees between Pride and Prejudice and Downton Abbey. Students watched the first episode of Downton in class as a way to help them understand many of the cultural traditions that contribute to the main conflict in Pride and Prejudice.

Click here to read all about it!

(And if you're not watching Downton Abbey yet, you should be!)

Biotecher blogs about education

You may have seen this video: 

But have you read BTHS junior Akhil C.'s response to it? 

Click here to read his thoughts about the future of education in America.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

#viznotes at HTHS

Inspired by the sketch noting commonly found at TED conferences, the freshmen at HTHS have been learning about visual note-taking  this week.  Visual notes have been proven to help the brain make meaning when traditional note taking doesn't work.  Students watched Tom Wujec: 3 ways the brain creates meaning and then chose a TED talk that interested them to try for homework.

The next day, students shared some of their first sketch notes and compared them to sketch notes made at various conferences.  After browsing some of the images uploaded to the TED News Pinterest page, students tried their hand at collaborative sketch notes, using the visual alphabet, frames, connectors, and colors.

9th graders at HTHS collaborating on visual notes for Nina Tandon's "Could tissue engineering mean personalized medicine?"

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

IB vs. AP?

As you may know, students at Biotechnology High School are IB Diploma candidates. The IB curriculum has become somewhat controversial in America, and students here at Biotech often question our decision to require that all BTHS graduates go through this rigorous process.

The IB mission statement is:

The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.
 To this end the organization works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment.
These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.
BTHS junior Shawn S. is quite familiar with the IB program now that he's almost finished with his first year in it. Read his thoughts in this insightful blog post about different opinions about IB.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Pride & Prejudice comic strips

Biotech juniors Nirali P. and Maura M. create comic strips to demonstrate their understanding of Pride and Prejudice through a critical literary theory. The comic pictured here will analyze P&P through a feminist lens. Other lenses include psychological, Marxist, archetypal, formalist, and historical.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Godkin Saves the World Again

In this Flash game created by CHS Senior David Miele in the Java Programming course, Steve Godkin, Physics Teacher and Super Hero saves the world from robots, zombies, and spacemen.


Click the image to play.

Guerison: a Java Game

Every year, the CHS java class creates text based games with static images. Junior Kevin Gibson's game "Guerison" is by far the most complex and enjoyable of those produced this year. Download the .jar file here, then doubleclick the file to run.

CHS Social Media Plans

The final project in the New Media class is a comprehensive social media plan for a local business. This marking period, Top Tomato Superstore was selected as the organization students analyzed then create a promotional plan using social media websites for presentation to the client. Students were given the option of a report or an infographic; the first file is an infographic, the other 3 are reports.

Click on the image to see the infographic or read the document. Note that the PDFs may take a few moments to load:

Monday, February 4, 2013

MCVSD Students Quoted in New York Times Learning Network Blog

Congratulations to Biotech and High Tech freshmen for their excellent discussion of "Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek"! Many BTHS and HTHS freshmen posted comments on the NYTimes Learning Network blog as part of their English class. We are extremely proud of all who participated and excited that so many of our students got shout-outs. Nearly every comment mentioned in this blog post is from an MCVSD student. Way to go, everyone!

The source text ("Snow Fall") is being hailed as the future of web journalism. It's worth taking the time to experience it if you haven't already.

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Rant on Mainstream Music

Congratulations to Nick C., a freshman at High Tech! A blog post he wrote as part of his class blogging assignment helped him get a writing job!  Nick will be reviewing concerts in the tri-state area for a major music blog over the next few months.  His awesome blog post, which caught the attention of the music blog, is reproduced below:

IF YOU ARE IN LOVE WITH ANY OF THE FOLLOWING, PLEASE STOP READING! Adam Levine, Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Ke$ha, Katy Perry, Chris Daughtry, One Direction, and (this one's for you, Greg) Eminem. 
    There's no dancing around it... I hate pop music. All of it. It's terrible. The only reason Daughtry is on that list is because he is JUST popular enough and his lyrics are JUST meaningless enough for me to hate him too. Don't get me wrong, I hate all modern pop, rap, and rock songs that lack substance equally, I just picked these talent-less hacks because they were the first ones that came into my head.
     Let's see, where do I start... Oh yeah! Adam Levine! I have a few questions for him and all of his fans. Adam, dude, "I try to tell you no, but my body keeps on telling you yes," seriously?? Did you ever graduate middle school? Or are those preteen hormones still rushing through your veins in a pointless loop like cars on a Nascar track? (By the way I'll rant on Nascar some other time.) First of all, any seventh grader with a crush could have written the lyrics to that song, second, you have literally no singing ability whatsoever and even with whatever machinery/software goes into making your pathetic excuses for songs, your voice still sounds as weak as an Alvin and the Chipmunks version of Joan Rivers.
     Moving on. Rihanna. Oh, darling, where do I even begin? Your lack of talent smacked me in the face harder than a tire iron shot out of a cannon as soon as I heard Diamonds. It didn't even need a whole verse to convince me that I never wanted to hear you sing again. I don't think I've ever heard more repetitive lyrics. Was it really necessary to repeat the phrase, "Shine bright like a diamond," THAT many times? Or is every single copy of that song a broken record? Was it your intention to sing only four or five different notes throughout the whole song and have the most basic chord progression that anyone who has ever used GarageBand can throw together? Come on now, we all know you can do better than GarageBand, as it must take some pretty amazing software to get your voice to the barely tolerable stage.
     Next up, Taylor Swift. Now, I'm not going to bash her as hard as I have the others because, I admit, SOME of her songs may be considered halfway decent at very low volumes. But lately you have been going downhill faster than a snowboarder that just plummeted down an alpine cliff. At first I didn't actually believe that the title of the song about never getting back together was, in fact, we are never ever getting back together. I was hoping you would give it a title that was a little... BETTER but given your track record of literally just copying the most memorable line of your chorus and using it as a title, I should have expected to be let down. Ya know, I just have a problem with that song in general, but I can't quite put my finger on it. Is it the fact that the lyrics are redundant with no substance and could be written by anyone that has enough of a hatred for their ex? Or the general lack of effort clearly present in the making of the song? Not really sure.
     Ke$ha and Katy Perry are awful for obviously awful for many reasons. Neither can sing at all and get by on their excessive makeup and lack of brains. And I don't think either has ever sung live in front of an audience. The lyrics are typical, clubs, drugs, love, all that stupid stuff you two clearly did not grow out of when you turned 20. I think it's pretty safe to say I don't need to spend any more time on these two.
     Chris Daughtry is awful for the same reason Rihanna and Adam Levine are, his music just features an electric guitar to distract you from his monotonous, boring voice, which I actually appreciate. I say monotonous and boring because all his songs are the same. They are more identical than every song on a Nickleback album. Plus, the songs all have that sad, feel-sorry-for-me, sob-story tone and it just gets annoying. This guy complains more about life in these songs than Lindsay Lohan and Brittany Spears put together. I'm really tired of hearing him cry to the tune of an electric guitar and a drum beat so simple I could probably learn it (I've never played a drum set in my life).
     Do I need to go into One Direction? I doubt it, but its the same, different British boy band. They just modernized the 'appeal to American girls by telling them they're pretty' technique used by more British boy bands than there are obese people in Texas. They sing about how amazing you are and you love them for it, yeah, I get it. But can you honestly tell me that their songs are good? Can you actually tell me the lyrics have meaning? Or are they a bigger waste of time and paper than most of the bills Congress has written in the past few years?
     I hate all rap music, but Greg thought it would be a great idea to force me to listen to a few Eminem songs, so this guy will be taking the heat today. I really hope most of you out there hare rap music as well and agree that you cant understand a single word these tone deaf, stuttering idiots are saying, the songs (if you take the time to translate them into English) promote the kind of drug abuse and violence that drags so many people in this country down, and rappers themselves portray an image of disgustingly baggy clothes, not having a care in the world for the rest of society, and have a generally negative impact on the human race. Eminem in particular has a song called... *sigh* ... Drips, I think (is that right?) and if you've ever heard the song, you will know why it made me want to throw Greg's phone across the room, but I refrained, and instead threw his earbud across the table. Can this even be called music? Eminem just can't sing. I don't care how many words you can fit into one breath or how fast you can mumble, and if I were paid to listen to that whole song, I still don't think I could pull it off.
     While I hate the style of music, some pop singers at least put thought into their lyrics. Namely, Lady GaGa. While I don't like the style, I can say that, despite how much hate she gets, her lyrics actually mean something, much more than I can say for Levine, Rihanna, etc, etc. If you are really into the whole lyrical thing Rihanna desperately tries to pull off, please, just listen to ONE Adele song, just one. The Lumineers and Of Monsters and Men are 1000 times better than Harry Styles and friends could ever be, and First Aid Kit triumphs Katy Perry and Ke$ha in every respect known to the human species. I rest my case. 

The Voice of an Introvert

BTHS junior Melissa Dong voices her opinions about being an introvert. Her insightful post serves as an excellent reminder that students don't need to be loud to be smart!

Click here to read her post!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

CHS Literary Magazine - Winter 2012

One Book, One Community

Over the past few months, CHS explored the concept of a "One Book, One Community" summer reading project.  New Media students interviewed students and teachers about various aspects of the initiative when it was first proposed.  (Note that aspects of the programs and opinions expressed in the video may have been altered since this was filmed.)

Ecommerce Fall 2012 Final Websites

A semester course, Ecommerce teaches students how to develop a business concept through the production of a comprehensive business plan and the creation of a website. The students in the fall 2012 Ecommerce class completed their websites using Dreamweaver, PHP, and mySQL. The five companies' websites can be viewed below:

Dinner Doctors - a mobile dinner delivery service
Master Bakers - a "build your own cake" bakery
Sassy Sentiments - a greeting card company
iSalvage - a company that makes iPhone cases from recycled products
Ritz Barkleton - a high end pet boarding facility

Social Media Acceptable Use Policy

The students in the second marking period New Media class explore the nature of a Social Media Acceptable Use policy and the possible ramifications of not having one at a high school. (Note that this is a fictional news report.)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

What Makes a Book Good?

Freshmen at HTHS blog every other week on our private Ning.  The topics are varied and we all learn a lot about each other through the blogs.  Right after Hurricane Sandy, Jesse posted a thought-provoking blog about books and reading.   (Because the Ning is private, the post has been reproduced below).

 With Hurricane Sandy selfishly taking away all the electricity, almost everyone in Monmouth County was left without power. As teenagers, many of us panicked. What are we supposed to do without internet and TV? For some of us, including myself, we had to resort to the old fashioned way of entertainment--reading. 
     Up until about 6th grade, I loved to read. I would get a stack of books from the library and end every night reading in bed. However by the end of 6th grade, I started to focus on what was even more beneficial to my brain than this--electronics. Reading started to seem time consuming and was something that I was doing at school, so I thought why do it at home when I could have fun playing a video game, watching TV, or listening to music. But during the hurricane, when there isn't electricity for entertainment, I decided to get going with our 40 book challenge. 
    During the break I read two books and started a third, which may not seem like a lot but that is because I got the books when there was only a couple of days left without power. The first book I read was "Framed" by Malcolm Rose. This book was about a child Forensic Scientists in the future that has to solve a murder at his school. I really liked this book because it was very suspenseful at parts and kept me guessing, while trying to solve the case myself. The next book I read was a re-read of "True Talents" by David Lubar. This is the sequel of the book "Hidden Talents" which is one of my favorite books. Both books are extremely suspenseful and I am personally fascinated with the idea of supernatural talents that aren't ridiculously far fetched. The third book that I started and am continuing to read is "Looking for Alaska" by John Green, which was highly recommended by Matt Kumar. Although I only just started it, I am already captivated by the humor and wit used by the author. I think that all of these are very good, which brings the question, "what makes a book good?"
   In my opinion, there are a few attributes to what makes a good book. The first is that the reader can relate to situations. In all  books, even fantasy, there are situations that the reader should be able to relate to. In "Looking For Alaska" the main character goes away to boarding school and has to make new friends. Even though I never went to boarding school, I went to sleepaway camp and could relate to the first meeting of my bunkmates and making new friends.
   The next quality of my idea of a good book is humor. All of the books I read had parts of comedy, but "Looking for Alaska" and "True Talents" use a lot of humor. The jokes add some laughs to reading which everyone likes, and it can also add some relief during very suspenseful parts. 
    The next quality of good books, which has been mentioned a lot, is suspense. The ability to keep the reader from putting the book down is one of the most important things. It makes the reading go quick, and leaves the reader wanting more. This is what makes some books real 'page turners'
     The last attribute I would say is vital in a good book is a smooth plot with a solid beginning, middle, and end. If just one of these is weak, it will kill the flow of the book. This is true in movies too. For example, the movie "Captain America" was doing pretty good...until the ending. It just ended abruptly with a stupid ending that seemed like the writer couldn't think of anything good and just wanted there to be a hint of a sequel. 
     I didn't expect myself looking forward to reading, but now I feel very differently about it compared to how I felt before the storm. Now, reading doesn't seem like a chore, and I enjoy long as the book really is good and no one is forcing me to read.

Inauguration Rhetoric

Check out Biotech juniors discussing the rhetoric in Barack Obama's Second Inaugural Address! They do a great job analyzing the speech and thinking about what Mr. President is REALLY saying.

Students had the option of posting an individual response or scheduling a chat with their friends. You can see the results on this group blog page.

Click this image to go see more great discussion!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Save the Coral Reefs!

Freshmen at Biotechnology High School recently completed an interdisciplinary project that combined skills from Biology, English, and Digital Literacy. The project taught students about the importance of conservation in a variety of ecosystems.

Check out this awesome web site created by Aakansha K., Kat H., Emma M., and Amanda S.! You can even follow them on Facebook and Twitter!

Click this image to go to the web site.

You can also see another great project here. This multimedia experience was created by Holly R., Sam E., and Max B..

click here to see the project

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Another Accolade for Linette Reeman, an Impassioned Creative Writer at CHS

Linette Reeman, CHS Class of 2014, wins second place in OPPF's Young Leader's Poetry Contest for her poem "wounds".  All awardees will have the opportunity to share their poems in front of invited esteemed delegates from United Nations agencies, UN delegations and missions, development partners, members of the civil society, and other young leaders.  You can visit the contest website here.

history taught us to put 
bridles in our mouths and submit
to the cracked whip of
inequality. but we no longer
bite the bit to bleed our gums
over starving sermons; crying
children held at gunpoint
in our wombs. we are backs
aching from being bent; throats
swollen from swallowing our
precision, our pride, but now
we are also a gleaming mass of
new-born hope; we swivel our hips
to maracas and catch our tears
in the upturned corner of our smiles.

no longer do we meekly grasp
the white flag of prejudice; instead
our banner unfurls across a
cheering sky as we don our
ballet flats and suspenders; apply
our battle lipstick and hair gel,
before stitching history’s wounds