Monthly Archives: October 2014

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Next week, Massive goes open and online! If you don't want to to miss the release time, look through the announcements at SpecialEssays.com.


There will be no class in G-08. Rather, we will meet at 4:10pm at


The room will open around 3pm. Feel free to come chat or just log in, test, and go watch cat videos. You should be logged in by 4:00pm so that you don’t miss a minute. You will need to log in using a Gmail address that supports G+, so your Harvard email won’t work.  Please log in from a space with good internet with a quiet background where you can talk. We recommend wearing headphones. More details for participating in an unhangout are here.
If you have log in difficulties, tweet me at @bjfr or email me at [email protected] or text me at the number that I’ll send you by email.


Any of your friends, family, colleagues, or enemies are welcome to join us online in the unhangout for class. Forward the unhangout link to anyone who you think would be interested in participating in class:



Your assignments for this week include a few short readings, a talk from our special guest pessimist Tressie McMillan Cottom, and an assignment. You need to post by Tuesday at midnight a dramatic rendering of a worst case scenario for large-scale learning technologies in education. Poems, videos, skits, stories, fake news articles, or any other genre accepted. Put up on your blog, or on Twitter, or email me by midnight on Tuesday. We’ll use the best of these to kick off our discussion.


More details on the agenda for the session are at




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--Originally published at Language, Literature, & Inspiration

Title: A Wrinkle in Time

Author: Madeleine L’Engle IMG_0723

Reading Level: 5.8 grade level equivalent (according to Scholastic); despite it’s lower reading level, this book includes sophisticated vocabulary and sentence structure variety; though probably best as a middle school book, it could be valuable even for early high school learners who are working to develop their reading comprehension skills

Synopsis: A Wrinkle in Time begins L’Engle’s Time Quintet by introducing Meg Murry, Charles Wallace (her brother), and Calvin O’Keefe (their new-found friend).  From the second page, a mystery evolves; Meg’s father has been missing, and no one knows why.  While the adults in town whisper about him running off with another woman, Meg does not believe the rumors.  Rather than focusing only on one puzzle, the novel uncovers several more mysteries in quick succession; the sudden appearance of three unconventional women in an abandoned house down the road is only the first step in a succession of puzzles that the three children must untangle.  The adventurous tale draws the children through time and space to exotic corners of the universe, and the children’s success in their quest will affect much more than their own lives.

Context/Themes: L’Engle has crafted a book that blends the genres of science fiction, mystery, imaginative fiction, and coming-of-age stories.  Meg is a relatable protagonist, and the reader gets to join Meg in her adolescent experiences as she comes to terms with her own quirks, her lack of self-confidence, her father’s absence, and her responsibilities as a big sister and as a daughter.  L’Engle also presents the theme of good versus evil while subtly exploring religious, political, and dystopian perspectives.  In addition, she includes several allusions to renowned works of literature; while young readers may not understand the full significance of these literary connections, the allusions still expose readers to sophisticated writers and ideas.  This novel offers an exciting plot, an elegant writing style, and complex themes, and I highly recommend it to young readers.  A Wrinkle in Time was my favorite novel as a child, and rereading it as an adult reminded me why I loved reading it many years ago.