Messages 2015-2016

End of the year survey

posted Jun 8, 2016, 8:28 PM by Scott Harris   [ updated Jun 8, 2016, 8:28 PM ]

If you have time, please take a couple minutes to fill in THIS SURVEY. Thank you in advance.

Threads Final

posted May 28, 2016, 11:02 AM by Scott Harris   [ updated Jun 6, 2016, 6:21 PM ]

You need to prepare for Socratic Seminars on the following topics:

Click on QUESTIONS to see your fellow students' questions they created. You don't have to  (and shouldn't) prepare for every single question. But read through all of the questions and think about several of them from EACH category. In Google Sheets, you can click on any of the cells and you can then see the full question near the top of the screen.

You will need to prepare to lead your two topics (assigned below.) You need to create at least five questions for each of those two topics. The questions will be due on Monday, June 6. For now, just think about the conversation and what questions you will prepare. You will receive more directions on how to submit the questions and how to prepare for the seminar on June 2.

Question: Which topics do I need to prepare to lead?
Answer: Check the list below. Prepare for both topics.

Question: Will I lead a seminar on both topics?
Answer: Most of you will only lead a seminar on one topic. Some of you will lead more than one topic.

Question: Which topic will I lead?
Answer: You'll find out on the day of the final. For now, prepare for both.

Question: What kinds of question should I prepare?
Answer: Each person in the seminar will want to show that they understand the literature and history you learned this school year. Each person will want to show original and creative thought. So prepare open-ended questions that will start a conversation. Yes or no questions should follow up with "Why?".

Question: Can I completely ignore the other two topics?
Answer: You will take part in the seminars for those topics. You will receive more directions for that later.

Ally War The Future of America
Bailey Good v Evil The Future of America
Carlie Good v Evil The Future of America
Chlöe Equality Good v Evil
Gracie War The Future of America
Jaxon Good v Evil The Future of America
JJ Good v Evil War
Kara War The Future of America
Karen Equality Good v Evil
Katie Equality Good v Evil
Kristie Equality War
Kylie Equality The Future of America
Lauren C Equality The Future of America
Lauren S Equality The Future of America
Lawrence War The Future of America
Lindsey C War The Future of America
Luke Equality War
Mackenzie Equality Good v Evil
Mateen Good v Evil War
Nate Equality Good v Evil
Nicole War The Future of America
Rachel D Equality Good v Evil
Rachel M Good v Evil The Future of America
Rachel W Equality War
Sophie Equality Good v Evil
Stella Good v Evil War
Sydney War The Future of America
Tara Good v Evil The Future of America
Taylor Equality War
Vanessa Equality War

WWII Newscast Absence Make up

posted Apr 12, 2016, 3:34 PM by Scott Harris   [ updated Apr 12, 2016, 3:34 PM ]

If you were absent for your group's presentation, they presented without you. You will now need to present without them. Make a video of you performing your part. You may ask friends, family, acquaintances stuffed animals, drawings, strangers, enemies, or anyone else to play any other parts that you need to interact with. When it's finished and uploaded to your Google Drive, submit the Absent Work for (found on the tab titled "Absent or Late Work").

Junior Research Project Part 4

posted Mar 23, 2016, 8:23 AM by Scott Harris   [ updated Mar 23, 2016, 8:23 AM ]

If you were absent on Wed, March 23, ask to be assigned a group. You can read the general directions on the Google Slide linked above. You will be given further directions when you are assigned to a group.

American Foreign Policy Actions

posted Mar 16, 2016, 8:37 AM by Scott Harris   [ updated Mar 16, 2016, 7:59 PM ]

Junior Research Project Part 3

posted Jan 29, 2016, 12:37 PM by Scott Harris   [ updated Feb 18, 2016, 10:00 PM ]



  • Part 3 does not follow the full appearance of an MLA paper as it is still an outline. The double spacing and indenting are different in an outline. Please follow the template. However, your works cited page should appear in perfect MLA format.
  • Please leave the words Supporting Idea, Evidence, and Analysis as they are. They should appear in bold before your actual idea, evidence, and analysis. Again, this is an outline, so it will not look exactly like a final MLA paper.
  • Start by adding your own, editable copy of the template to your own Google Drive (File - Make a Copy). Rename it. Then go ahead and just type right over the top of the filler text.
  • Feel free to share it with me if you want feedback. However, you need to specifically ask for what you want.

Rounding grades

posted Jan 19, 2016, 3:24 PM by Scott Harris   [ updated Jan 19, 2016, 3:24 PM ]

So you want me to round up your grade. After a full semester of opportunities to complete a variety of assignments, take several quizzes, and show your overall performance and desire to receive an excellent grade, you're now really close. And you believe that sending me an email asking me to raise your grade should make the difference. Here's the bad news - it won't. Sorry. I won't raise your grade because you ask. It can't work that way.

But there's good news. I will round up a few grades. But I won't round up all of them. Is that unfair? Probably. But here's what I'm going to think about before I consider the possibility of raising your semester grade.

If you are close to the next higher grade, I'll ask this basic question.  "Did you actually show effort every single day of class and an honest desire to receive a high grade?"

You might be thinking to yourself, "Well that's certainly arbitrary." (If you really believe you deserve a higher grade, you would either already know the definition of arbitrary or you would look it up instead of just skipping over it).  Yes, that question by itself is arbitrary. But here's the type of thing I will think about before I answer that question.

Did you participate in class regularly? This means you raised your hand to answer questions. You raised your hand to ask questions. You raised your hand to make comments. You raised your eyebrows when I asked a question you didn't know the answer to. You kept your eyes raised in my general direction while I talked. You kept your head raised off of your desk for the entirety of the class. When you were in groups, you acted as a leader. You asked and answered questions. You helped discover answers.

Were you here every day? Yes, this includes being on time. You were never tardy. You were in your seat ready to work when the bell rang. If there was a starter, you had your notebook out and were writing or at least thinking of what to write when the bell finished ringing. If you were absent (legitimate and excused), did you check the daily log to find out what you missed? Did you complete the missing work right away instead of waiting until after it was listed in the gradebook? Did you ask questions about the lectures you missed? Did you ask to retake the quiz you missed the day you returned?

Did you complete every assignment? Did you complete every assignment on time? Did you put effort into every assignment? Did you put your name on every assignment? Did you write with complete sentences? Did you care about the assignments (or at least fake it so well that I couldn't tell the difference)? That assignment that I told you was optional? You did that, right? When I asked you to read something? When I asked you to take an online survey? You did those, right?

You see, these things are the little things. They are the details. They are the things that many students consider unimportant. They don't think they will matter - they just worry about getting stuff done. On a daily basis, one event at a time, they don't matter. They matter to me every day, but they don't to you. But today? Today they matter to both of us. Today I care about these things. And today is the day I get to decide if you get the next higher grade or not.

For a couple of you reading this, you won't get your grade bumped. I didn't write this for you. I wrote this for the rest of you, most of you, whose grade I will bump. Thank you for making my job easier and for doing your best.

Junior Research Project - Part 2

posted Dec 16, 2015, 8:30 AM by Scott Harris   [ updated Dec 16, 2015, 8:30 AM ]

Here are the templates for PART 2

Microsoft Word

Google Docs (File: Make a Copy)

Depending on your computer, it could look different than originally intended. Look at this pdf to see what it should look like.


CC Library research database  Start with "Middle, High School Research." You might also find good sources in "Contra Costa Times/ U.S and World News" and "Points of View," and if your topic is relevant, "Magazines by Title." Don't forget that you need your library card number to continue.


Extra Credit - CRASH the Seniors' Party!

posted Oct 13, 2015, 4:03 PM by Scott Harris   [ updated Oct 13, 2015, 4:07 PM ]

No, not the Senior Picnic.

According to the Twitterverse, Northgate Seniors are going to LIVE TWEET tonight's Democratic Debate. They will use the hashtag #BroncosDemDebate -  Take a look HERE.

Here's the thing. Seniors? WEAK! Juniors? Less weak. Strong! You guys know what's going on just as well IF NOT BETTER THAN the seniors. So we're crashing their party. Live tweet the debate. Use their hashtag. In fact, steal their hashtag. BUT you'll only get extra credit if your comments are EXCELLENT and RELEVANT. Bonus extra credit if your comments are EXCELLENTER* and RELEVANTER* than the seniors. Show Northgate that the REAL strength of the school comes from its JUNIORS (and not just because B16 doesn't actually spell BIG).

It starts at 5:30! Don't miss it! But of course, make sure your essay is finished and excellent first.

*not guaranteed to be real words

Election 2016 11-sentence paragraph essay

posted Oct 6, 2015, 8:27 AM by Scott Harris   [ updated Nov 1, 2015, 6:06 PM ]

With a mere 13 months to go before we vote for the next president, let's take a look at the candidates and issues.

Topic Option #1 - Choose a candidate and explain why he or she is the best candidate and deserves my vote. Choose any candidate listed under "Prominent Candidates" on this page, including any of the possible, declined, or dropped out candidates. If you have a totally different person you would like to choose, see me before you submit your topic.

Topic Option #2 - Choose an issue and explain why your side is the right side. You may choose any issue listed on this page. If you would like to choose a totally different issue, see me before you submit your topic.


1. Choose your topic and submit it HERE. DUE by the time you get to class on Friday, October 9 (Note - if you forget your topic or want to change it, simply return to the link. On order to activate this feature, I have to require you to sign in to your gmail account before you submit your topic.)

2. Write your 11-sentence essay.

No matter how you wrote them last year, you must these directions:

1. Thesis
2-4. Evidence - Analysis - Analysis
5-7. Evidence - Analysis - Analysis
8-10. Evidence - Analysis - Analysis
11. Conclusion

Include MLA format in-text citations in your essay. Paraphrase most quotes used for evidence and only use exact quotations when the original is incredibly beautifully written. Page two should be a Works Cited page.

3. Print a copy. Turn it in on Wednesday, October 14, beginning of class.

4. Submit a copy to by Wednesday, October 14, 11:00 A.M. (late start that day for PSAT).

  • Please focus on excellent analysis. Many of you aren't used to having six sentences of analysis, so this is a good chance to practice that.
  • Your MLA format should be PERFECT. Remember that if it's wrong, it will be returned to you. This time, however, that will make it late. You need a minimum of three citations from three different sources. If you don't it will be returned to you. This time, however, that will make it late.
  • Use transitions to move from  your last analysis sentence to your next evidence sentence. Search the internet for transition words if necessary.
  • You should not use the candidates own website as one of your cited sources. However, you can use it to get started on what they think, and it might have links you can follow to reputable websites.
  • You should not cite ballotpedia. Like wikipedia, it can be easily revised or vandalized. However, the ballotpedia entries for each candidate have dozens (if not hundreds) of citations with easy to follow links.
  • Be careful if you cite Politifact. Politifact does a good job of providing links to match their claims, but don't take anything out of context. You are probably better off following their citations.
  • Avoid Wikipedia altogether for this assignment. Pages about political issues are often prone to constant revision and are easily vandalized. They are far less reliable that the history pages. Don't start there unless there is a basic definition of an issue that you need defined. You might find links to other sources from there, but be careful as you search for them.

Challenge: Pick a candidate you dislike or disagree with or pick the opposite side of an issue from what you currently believe. You'll either learn how to make a stronger argument on your behalf or see some new evidence that could change your mind.

Worksheets to help you (not required, but recommended):

Evidence and Analysis Practice  View Download

11-sentence paragraph visual guide worksheet: View Download

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